Why Led Zeppelin can be considered the greatest rock and roll band

50 years ago: How it all began for Led Zeppelin | Music | DW ...

We got all the mowing done yesterday, so I could be trimming…but I’ll get the trimming done later. I’ve taken a few days off from my online class, so I could be getting some studying done, but all that will get done also. I got a new pair of blue tooth speakers for Father’s Day, and I’m anxious to get a run in with them…but not so anxious that I choose to leave this computer.

No, right now I’m just going to toss away a few minutes writing about rock and roll.

We often talk about who and what is the best. Who’s the greatest athlete, what’s the greatest movie, what’s the greatest song. We’re always talking about the best we have been as humans. But the thing is, no one person can say definitively who or what is the greatest of, or at, anything; rather, we can say who or what our favorite is.

What’s more, we can’t always simply state who or what our favorite is. Instead, we can say who or what our favorite is given certain criteria.

For instance, when we talk about the greatest rock and roll band, we have to consider what our qualifications are.

Whether you like them or not, sheer longevity, output, and seemingly tireless touring have to point to the Rolling Stones being the greatest rock and roll band. Better said, while it might not be easy for some people to agree with that, given their track record it certainly is hard to argue against it.

If you’re criteria is the impact a band had on the genre, an equally good argument can be made for the Beatles. It’s impossible to think of the world of rock and roll without factoring in the Beatles and impossible to think of rock and roll songwriting without noting the contributions of Lennon/McCartney.

I’d also argue that, despite the short life span of the band, if your focus is how many Top 40 hits can be attributed to the band members, collectively, The Traveling Wilburys should get some consideration.

That brings me to focus of my writing, a band that many consider the greatest in rock and roll history: Led Zeppelin.

First off, let me point out where the lines between favorite and greatest get blurry. It’s hard for me to say that Led Zeppelin is my favorite band; in fact, if I could only take one band’s catalog with me to that proverbial deserted island, chances are it might not be Zeppelin’s.

Still, last week I decided to listen to the entire Zeppelin catalog to see if I could finally decide what my favorite album is. (I couldn’t, by the way. It might be II, but ask me tomorrow and it might be I, Zoso, or Houses of the Holy. Ask me the next day, and it might be III or Physical Graffiti.)

The reason for this is the reason that I say there’s a good argument for Led Zeppelin to be considered the greatest rock and roll band of all time. The criteria I use is this: No band in history, in my opinion, had a higher percentage of good songs than Led Zeppelin.

I got through the first four albums while mowing the first day, and I was shocked. For the first time I realized that the band had made four albums and they hadn’t released one bad song. The first song that I came to in their catalog that I can say isn’t my favorite is “The Crunge,” which is the fourth track on the fifth album, Houses of the Holy. It’s not that it’s a bad song, and I’d probably dig it live, but it was the first song that made me think, “Well, this isn’t their greatest track.”

And that’s pretty much how the rest of their catalog goes; occasionally there’s a track that isn’t a standout, but all around it are just excellent songs and more excellent songs.

So, there’s just a few thoughts I’ve had when considering the greatest rock and roll band of all time. When using other criteria, there are certainly other bands to consider, but when considering a band’s percentage of getting it right, I don’t think anyone beats Zeppelin.

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts, too, so comments are more than welcome. Hope you’re well, my friends. We’ll catch up again one of these days I’m sure. Until then, I’ve left you with a few choice Zeppelin songs that I particularly enjoy.

2 Replies to “Why Led Zeppelin can be considered the greatest rock and roll band”

  1. I like your main criteria. It’s still subjective, but I agree as a fan of the genre it’s hard to find a bad song in their catalog if you’re able to look past the repetitive play of some of them on classic rock radio over the years. Even In Through the Out Door is good, just not as strong as the others.

    1. Sure, man, it’s always gonna be subjective, but by that criteria they’re hard to beat. They’re just so easy to put on and let play. I love The Stones, and Floyd might be my favorite band of all time (They definitely would be if I still smoked pot.), but with both of them you just run into songs that drag down the others. That’s especially rare of bands that went fluidly through different genres. You take a U2 or an REM (nothing as unpredictable as Beck), and you gotta love that they feel free to recreate themselves album to album, but, man, some of it just didn’t work.

      Anywho, thanks for reading and commenting. I’ll check out your site.

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