Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Celebration Day

Greetings and Happy New Year to all. After a little R&R to start off the New Year, it’s back to business here at Wild Mercury. In the next few weeks I’ll be reformatting the site and exploring some different content, but for now let’s stick to the subject at hand, namely a Celebration Day for the one and only Jimmy Page, who turns 63 today. When I was in high school, there were three basic religions, those that worshipped The Who, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Very few crossed the lines, and those that did were pretty quiet about it. The Zeppelin fans were labeled as burnouts, and generally shunned by the Who fanatics, who tended to be the athletes and the brains (not nerds, mind you). I don’t really remember the Stones camp clearly. I was firmly in awe of the Who, but I confess a pretty strong affinity for Zeppelin that continues to this day. Although Page may not have the fluidity of Clapton or the rhythmic skills of Townshend and Richards, he is the undisputed God of the Riff. Anyone that noodles around on the guitar can likely play a handful of Page’s legendary riffs. His acoustic skills, experimental tunings and exuberant live playing are truly awe-inspiring. Page has been criticized for some sloppy playing in terms of technical playing, but when I listen to the live recordings I hear a guitarist determined to never play something the same way twice. And when he’s hitting on all cylinders, no one can touch him.

For all of the legendary rock riffs, smoking solos and funky grooves in the Zep canon, in my book one of Page’s high water marks is The Rain Song. An acoustic tour-de-force of odd tuning and dexterous playing, The Rain Song is one of my favorites. Here’s a live version, plus the Song Remains the Same, from May 25, 1975 at the Earls Court Arena, when the mighty Zeppelin was at their peak. Enjoy. Happy Birthday, Jimmy.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Brucefan1811 said...

Mr. Mercury,

I spent my formative years with you in south suburbs of Chicago. I agree that many of our friends were basically in the Led Zepplin, The Who, and The Rolling Stones "camps" when it came to our musical allegiances.

I always felt it was a mistake to exclude one of these groups over another, because they all have a place and should all be appreciated for their talents.

There is one major exception, Bruce. Springsteen was not quite established at that time, but he clearly left his mark on so many people in our generation.

As time has passed, I go through phases of looking back at these great bands. Bruce is a constant. The Stones in the late 80's. Zepplin during the early 90's. And, currently it's The Who.

Today's youth have so few bands that will stand the test of time like these pioneers.

For me, Led Zepplin really changed the landscape of hard rock and metal. In many respects, Led Zepplin introduced heavy metal to the world. My favorites: Kashmir, Bring on Home, Nobody's Fault but Mine, Black Dog and Goin to California. Too bad classic rock stations beat the crap out of so many of their great songs.

My favorite "Zepplin" moment was a 1995 concert (Page/Plant reunion). They played Kashmir with the Chicago Sympothy Orchestra behind the band. That probably was the best song I have ever seen live. It was absolutely fantastic. Every hair on the body was sticking straight out. God Bless Jimmy Page.

BP

1:09 AM  

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