There’s no denying that our cultural gears have shifted, and there will probably never again be space for another Led Zeppelin. The times are over when virtuoso guitar solos and bad behavior conferred godlike status. Today, performative ‘good’ behavior confers tentative role model status, and we’re really loathe to put anyone on a godlike pedestal. (Even Gandhi is getting put back down a notch.) It’s perfectly reasonable progress that we’re less likely to glamorize drunk young men running haywire, but by no means should we stop equating creativity with godliness. Please, put the virtuosos on pedestals, the songs that saved your life, the voices that speak to your soul – just minus the suicidal debauchery and statutory rape. And no matter how far the world may revolve, I don’t think I’ll ever let go of all my idolatry. If anything, I might just get more joy from seeing Led Zeppelin in all of their anachronistic problematic glory.
Led Zeppelin spawned a lot of bad things, from stoners with uncombed hair to self-indulgent drum solos, but for that we forgive them, because every one of those things was born of awe. Who doesn’t on some level wish to emulate that loud grandiosity? I’m not immune. It’s not music for easy listening; if you don’t crank it and ‘bang, Odin may smite you. There’s really something childish – though not in a bad way – in the simple pleasure of a very loud and pounding song. This one gave birth to a lot of emulations. Few came close.