Friday, August 06, 2010

The greatest band of all time

One of the greatest, most wasteful ways to spend your time is to sit around thinking about ‘what if’.

Today I came to think – what if the greatest band that has ever walked this earth hadn't been completely ruined by its useless poser of a front-man.

I am of course referring to Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant.

I was listening to my iTunes on random. Something I almost never do. I wasn't paying much attention until a guitar solo of such brilliance and originality leapt out and demanded my admiration.

To compare this to their mega-band contemporaries, I heard:

  • none of the unrefined torrent of Hendrix;
  • none of the white-knuckled clinching to the old school of blues we see with Clapton;
  • none of the Vaudeville of Queen;
  • none of the adolescence of The Who;
  • talent, unlike with the Stones;
  • and none of the Nigel Tufnel as with Jeff Beck.
To this point I hadn't recognised the true giant amongst giants in Jimmy Page.

I had come across Achillies Last Stand. Skip forward to around 3:30 and you'll hear 70's guitar rock at its absolute finest. The maturity, restraint and originality displayed in this passage came as a revelation to me. I had never really paid attention to Zeppelin – I was much more the Floyd kind of guy.

The reason I wasn't a Zeppelin kind of guy is plainly evident at 7:20.

What we hear from here is amongst the most annoying sounds a human body can make. His nasal whine sounds like a leaf blower. And his lyrics make me think… ‘who cares’.

But I'm a can-do kind of guy. I like to offer solutions, not just point at problems. So in that spirit I offer a collection of front men that would have rounded out this band and fulfilled its destiny as the greatest.

Joe Strummer, Roger Taylor, John Fogerty, Phil Lynott, Justin Hawkins, Dr Dre, Sonny T, Nigel Tufnel, Linda Ronstadt.

And also in the spirit of the greatest blogger ever, I invite all the Squinkers to put their shoulder to the wheel and solve this riddle once and for all…



Blogger Paddy said...

What an impressive debut. I like your work borg.

What about Zack de la Rocha? Instead of having whinily sung songs with lyrics about Greek mythology, hobbits and hedgerows they'd be gutteral shouts about urban grit and corrupt politics.

Or David Gilmour? Plenty of urban grit, corrupt politics and gutteral shouts in his solo material too.

7/8/10 09:15  
Blogger Unrelenting Tedium said...

Right. Monday brings me round to find a new blogger and long time member of the Squids. Welcome.

I have spoken at length (as on most subjects) about Robert Plant and what a total cock he is. Absolutely agree. Ruined Zeppelin to the point where I find them unlistenable. Well done on finding a solo he doesn't moan through.

Daltrey is another one who gets up my nose, not so much for his posing as for the sneaking suspicion I have that he can't actually sing in tune (check A Legal Matter from the first album). And the adolescence doesn't annoy me so much as the amount of poor british music hall rip-offs that fill most of their albums.

Jimmy Page, whom, just to be an iconoclast, I reckon lacks enough personality to actually be great,did need someone (Jeff Beck never worked this out for himself).

John Fogerty is an interesting choice as he was both Jimmy and Robert...Tom wasn't playing those solos.

Front men are annoying. The only two exclusions I can think of are Iggy and Ozzy. And Ozzy first and foremost. Forget the cartoon character that Sharon Arden has been whoring around since he was kicked out as an alcoholic mess in 1980, and listen to the first six Sabbath albums. He sings the songs loud and straight. Never moves in on a single solo. Apparently wrote some cracking counter melodies to to Iommi/Butler riffs. And has never even met melisma let alone built a painful career on it (check his successor in Sabbath, and recently dead, Ronnie James Dio for how it can go wrong). Sabbath are the best example I know of 4 individuals who are each excellent at what they do, who together amount to more than their sum.

Iggy, considering the times I have seen him tour with the equivalent of blow up dummies can still search and destroy, is more of a one-man band than front man. He actually changes the oxygen in the room.

9/8/10 09:00  

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