If you happened to read the first installment of this series when my “classic rock credentials” were established and chronicled, it was noted that in 1969 I received an album titled Led Zeppelin as a Christmas gift from my 9th grade boyfriend.
The boyfriend is long gone but his gift began what has been a life-long love affair with Led Zeppelin and its “Rock God” lead singer Robert Plant.
Now, 43 years later, I am a married 57-year-old church-going Republican woman and embarrassed to admit that I still crave the sounds of Led Zeppelin — and further embarrassed to admit that nothing satisfies that craving more than listening to the raw, primal grit of Led Zeppelin’s first self-titled album now known as “Led 1.”
So, PJ Lifestyle readers, when was the last time you actually sat down and listened to this groundbreaking 1969 debut album in its entirety? And how long was your hair at the time?
Listening from a fresh 2012 perspective it becomes apparent that every song on “Led 1” helped develop and define the phrase “classic rock.” Especially noteworthy is the number of “top tier” classics spawned from this one album. Songs like Good Times Bad Times, Communication Breakdown, and Dazed and Confused, to name a few.
More remarkable is the fact there were only nine songs on this album — nine songs that changed music forever, influencing generations of musicians and inventing a rock genre now known as “heavy metal.”
At 13 years of age this album injected itself into my blood stream, which resulted in a Led Zeppelin addiction that has never left my system.
For the sake of brevity I will not obsess about how my enduring love for Led Zep has manifested itself throughout my life, but I cannot resist a few short tales.
Most important of these was the role Led Zeppelin played in convincing the man who is now my husband to ask for my hand in marriage.
It turned out the youngest teenaged son of the gentleman I was dating was not too keen on me as his potential step-mother and this (I found out later) was a roadblock stalling a marriage proposal.
However, it was during a family vacation when young son and I bonded after discovering we shared a strong appreciation for Led Zeppelin. As a result, he gave his dad the green light to proceed and we have all lived happily-ever-after.
Then there are the tribute bands…..
A few years later, still bonding with my youngest stepson over Led Zeppelin, I heard about a female tribute band called Lez Zeppelin playing at a local venue in Northern Virginia.
This is a band I have now seen twice and highly recommend because these “Lez” girls really capture the energy and spirit of the original boys. Looking over the very young crowd in attendance one could imagine that some of their parents were conceived while “Led 1” was spinning on the turntable!
And these grandparents were out in force when I saw another tribute band called Get The Led Out which bills itself as the “American Led Zeppelin.”
They put on a terrific show but the audience itself was a total downer, accompanied as they were by an arsenal of walkers, canes and wheelchairs.
Further proof that aging baby boomers had indeed aged and not well I might add.
Just like Robert Plant himself!
For recent photos indicate the “Rock God” of my youth has become a scraggly haired, deeply wrinkled mortal, who, along with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, now occupies a place in the “Rock Stars Who Aged Really Badly” Hall of Fame.
This depressing topic has me reaching for a corkscrew to open a 2010 bottle of Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir. Now I can mellow out and try to forget the image of all those Medicare beneficiaries leaning on their walkers and canes wearing their original faded Led Zeppelin concert t-shirts.
Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir is described on the label as delivering “black cherry and raspberry fruit with plum and spice.” This lovely California fruit of the vine is a good value when on sale for $13.00.
So open up a bottle, sip it slowly and transport yourself back to 1969 by listening to the magical riffs of “Led 1.”
Just imagine the impact this album had on a 13 year old hearing it for the first time. This was MY music, especially reserved for my friends and me despite my parent’s constant pleas to “turn off that junk”.
Four decades later, I laugh when I think about the answer my 13 year old nephew gave me when I asked him if he had discovered Led Zeppelin. “Yah, they are alright”, he said, “We play some of their songs in our school marching band. “
Well folks, before Wednesday night this piece was finished and ended with the line above. THAT was until Congressman Paul Ryan professed this love for Led Zeppelin during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential nominee.
Fortunately, I was in the Tampa Forum Wednesday evening when Ryan proudly announced his iPod playlist “starts with AC/DC and ends with Zeppelin” and the crowd roared its approval.
Then, at the end of Ryan’s speech while hugging his cute, young family on stage, the house band breaks into the lamest version of Zep’s classic tune Rock and Roll.
I took this as a sign that writing this piece was divinely inspired by my aging “Rock God” Robert Plant.
But the REAL take away is, as a 57 year old Republican church-going woman, Paul Ryan has now made it cool for me to openly admit that Led Zeppelin will always be part of my GOP platform.
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