The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

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Joe Perry Inducts Led Zeppelin (Part 1)

Everything you ever heard about Led Zeppelin was true. They were like Lord Byron: mad, bad, and dangerous to know. They mixed Celtic riffs with the blues, and spiced it up with Indian and Arabic modes. It was pure chemistry: kind of like Howlin' Wolf meets the Loch Ness Monster. No way was it for the faint-of-heart. Led Zeppelin was the real deal, and it took like Mohammed in the desert. They were even big in Vietnam, where the troops bolted 8-track players onto their personnel carriers, and went into battle broadcasting "Whole Lotta Love." What I loved about Led Zeppelin, besides "Communication Breakdown," "The Song Remains the Same," "Cashmere," "No Quarter," and "The Rain Song," and about a hundred other songs, was that they didn't take themselves all that seriously. They had a no-bullshit mentality, and no compunction about using blues music to catapult their music into Caledonia’s damn knickers. They were simply the best musicians going. You could put Jimmy Page against any guitar-player in the world. Same with Bonzo on the drums, and Zeppelin's unsung hero, John Paul Jones on bass, keyboards, and orchestrations. His musicianship and classical slant on things gave Zeppelin an added dimension that constantly kept them in a class of their own. And then there was Robert Plant. He came to the first New Yardbirds band rehearsal in New London, straight from his job building roads. He had tar on his hands and tar in his hair, and when he opened his mouth, it was like a fucking air-raid siren going off. Keith Moon told them it would go over like a lead zeppelin. For the next 12 years, they reigned as undisputed champions of rock, set an unattainable standard of music and mystique for those of us who tried to follow them.