I want to thank all those who sent in their comments and we are on our way... The "Definition Of Classic Rock" is Posted.

I also want to thank our Friends at Night Waves Radio in Liverpool, especially Eric Baxendale, Losinky Inkson, and his Team for their insight and support. For those of you who want to get your "Voice" heard, and are not a free Newsletter Subscriber yet, please sign up and you will receive a personal copy of our Newsletter.

We will start our Woodstock 55th Anniversary Series July 1

The Classic Rock Chronicle

I Issue #3 April 15, 2024

Everything Classic Rock... the CRocker's Voice

Issue #3 - The "Definition of Classic Rock" Final Draft

Willie's Take on The Boston Tea Party, January 1969

Issue #4 - Willie's Top 10 Classic Rock Songs (Personal)

The Eagles Unplugged... Part #2

Issue #5 - Willie's Top 10 Classic Rock Bands (Personal)

2024 is the 55th Anniversary of Woodstock and I am in the mood to recount some of my great memories of that year... to me, 69 was just as important as 64 in the evolution of Rock n Roll and it all started in January with the Boston Tea Party by Led Zepplin. That Concert is regarded as one of the Top Rock Concerts with an amazing Audience participation... and indeed the 4 hr+ event is one never forgotten as I was there!!!... and I will cover it below in-depth with Willie's Take.

If you have a "Tale to Tell", please let us know by emailing it to news@classicrockturntables.com/BTP1969... we will sort through them carefully and publish those that describe the scene and emotion with gusto to tell the real story of the monumental event in Rock History.

On July 15, we will begin to issue Chronicle Newsletters covering the full aspects of Woodstock 1969... as well as, the period from April to August 15 which was tumultuous for those dealing with the move from Woodstock to Bethel... especially those who labored to get the Site ready for the projected (50,000/150,000/200,000/400,000) Souls who attended.

The Classic Rock Chronicle was created to provide regularly updated Content about the "Goings-on" of the Vast, eclectic, and important period of Classic Rock from 1964 to 1984... Come along and enjoy the ride, Mates

Subscribers to The Chronicle can submit Topics for future Issues and Content to news@classicrockturntables.com

The Story Behind Kashmir by Jimmy Page

The eight and one-half minute Track "Kashmir" the highlight of 1975’s Album Physical Graffiti was inspired by a concert tour in 1973... when Led Zeppelin visited the Sahara Desert region in Morocco, where the Band members were captivated by the grandeur and mystical atmosphere of the landscape and culture.

Page collaborated with vocalist Robert Plant to further develop the song, with Plant writing lyrics that evoke themes of escapism, spiritual searching, and the desire for something greater. Plant admitted that he loved this song for its intensity without being considered "Heavy Metal," a label none of Led Zeppelin members liked.

Guitarist Jimmy Page agreed, "The intensity of 'Kashmir' was such that when we had it completed, we knew there was something hypnotic to it... we couldn't even describe such a quality. In the beginning, there was only Bonzo [drummer John Bonham] and me in Headley Grange. He played the rhythm on drums, and I found the riff as well as the overdubs which were thereafter duplicated by an orchestra, to bring more life to the track. It sounded so frightening at first."

All agreed that it was their best work combining all elements of their portfolio... Page said it was his best work. Page acquired the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard from Joe Walsh in 1969. Before that, Page had primarily used a Fender Telecaster, but the Les Paul quickly became his favorite guitar to use with Led Zeppelin. Page loved the Les Paul for its "beautiful sustain" and "stereotyped sound" compared to the Telecaster, which he felt required more "fight" to play. The guitar had been modified before Page acquired it, with the neck sanded down to be thinner and easier to play.

and Page cited the main guitar riff as his best one.l Led Zeppelin members agreed that "Kashmir" is one of their best musical acts. Robert Plant called it one of his favorites, and Page cited the main guitar riff as his best one.

one of his favorites, and Page cited the main guitar riff as his best one.l Led Zeppelin members agreed that "Kashmir" is one of their best musical acts. Robert Plant called it one of his favorites, and Page cited the main guitar riff as his best one.

The name “Led Zeppelin” was coined by Keith Moon.

Drummer for The Who, Keith Moon is credited with suggesting the name “Led Zeppelin” to Jimmy Page. The band initially performed under the name “The New Yardbirds” but changed it after Moon’s comment that their music would “go down like a lead balloon.”

The Boston Tea Party  January 1969    

Boston in the 60s  

A little History is in order:

My first trip to Boston was in 1966, as a Sound/Bandwidth Engineer for AT&T, when I attended a meeting with a newly formed public company called Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) that had developed the World’s first Mini-computer.  The meetings went well, and after a great seafood dinner, I got a tour of Boston’s Music scene from a young Engineer named Butch…  who just happened to have graduated with me at the Wisconsin School of Electronics in 1965 and was the lead Guitarist in the Band (Bevo) that I managed at the University of Wisconsin in 1963.   

Well, wouldn’t you know that the Yankees were in town and there were no Rooms available so I ended up staying the weekend with Butch and his Wife, Wallace Anne (Wally)… She worked at the Bradford Hotel Grand Ballroom where the great Storyville Jazz Club resided... which I enjoyed the most during that long weekend. 

Many of the neighborhood Clubs we dropped in on played something called “Garage Rock”… a Psycho Boston-version Sound that started in Seattle on the West Coast joining LAX and SFO and was trying to make their mark in the evolution of Rock n Roll like other Cities.  

To me, "Garage Rock" in Boston then was made up of the following characteristics: Very raw and energetic, gritty, fast-paced Sounds... with hard-edged Melodies, Simple Chord progressions, and straightforward, often repetitive lyrics, a precursor to “Punk Rock”. “Louie Louie” is considered the first successful GR Song… it even got in trouble because of its undertone language.  

Anyway, it was a weekend to remember and I was not sure that I wanted to go back… but our relationship with DEC made me go once a month and each trip was mostly business and dining… no more GR for me so I returned home to Wisconsin where sanity was just beginning to lose its favor within the "Youth Rising" period after the War.  

Then, my next memorable trip came in 1967 when I got to spend 2 weeks in Liverpool hobnobbing around with the British Invasion  Clan… By now, I knew which direction I would follow for the rest of my Music life. (see Issue #1).

My whole life changed in 1968 when my first Child (Sooner) was born and the next week I got shipped off to New York City as there was a nationwide Communications Workers Union strike… I was very lucky, as a Manager, in that I got to pick my City to work in. As my Best Auntie lived in Greenwich Village, there was no decision to make here. Being a member of the Greenwich Music Scene was the most awesome experience a Farm Boy from Wisconsin could ever imagine and I took it all in stride (a future Chronicle Issue). 

I got to attend the second annual Greenwich Festival which included a series of Concerts featuring high profile figures, including Count BasieBobby "Blue" BlandTito Puente, and Mahalia Jackson. It was filmed by documentary maker Hal Tulchin, and excerpts were broadcast on WNEW-TV in New York.  It was truly a Summer to remember so the next few months went quickly and I got to go home for the Holidays to see my Baby Girl… what a great life I was experiencing as a 24-year-old Music Wannabee!   Who’d a thunk 1968 could be topped???... well it happened beyond my wildest dreams in 1969  Rock On ♪♪♪  

I got back to work in Brooklyn on the 3rd of January 1969 where things had not gone well for the New York Union… the Strike there was still in Limbo, but the violence had stopped and I was free to work on my regular assignment… the evolution of the bandwidth that affected the quality of Voices (Sounds) over Copper wires (Fiber Optics and Communication Satellites were still in their infancy.)  

The next day, I got called down to Manhattan to meet with the Board of Directors of AT&T on just that issue… it was not that the engineering program about the future was on track or not, it was Who was going to manufacture the multitude of products required to succeed?  The big concern was the Asian faction because of their cheap labor... especially Samsung.  

Also, this was the first time I saw a little panic in them as the majority of our 1 million Employees would have to be retrained. The totality of it all was that thousands would be forced into early retirement, or retrained, and Universities had not kept up with their curriculums… but where were the replacements to come from… Asia?  

So, guess who got a new Assignment to form a group of International Engineers to come together to solve this seemingly insurmountable problem… the next day, I was on a plane to London to meet with the International Society of Engineers. Not only was I on Cloud Nine for the assignment but I got to go back to Liverpool to see, first hand, how things had evolved by the British Invasion… what fun!  

I was able to take 2 Engineers from the States, and of course, my first choice was Butch… my second was Joann who had graduated from MIT. After a stint at Bell Laboratories, she went to work for New Jersey Bell where she knew what was forthcoming in the software for new Tech.  We stayed in a flat that was used by visiting dignitaries who could walk everywhere… Joann was originally from Manchester and knew all the haunts that were not there just 2 years earlier.  Anyway, I was not disappointed although some of the “Merseybeats” young groups were very amateurish.  

My take was that all the better Bands had followed the Beatles to America where the big bucks were… nevertheless, I loved my time there.  After the Cavern went under, Eric’s Tavern took over. They were able to renew Liverpool’s stature, especially when the Ramones took the stage. We flew back on the 7th and spent 3 days writing our report, then we all left for home. My Baby Girl was now 8 months old and her Brother (Jim Bob) was on the way… I was lucky to have a rock of a Wife (called Moose), not because she was huge, but because she could handle herself against any Man so I never worried much about them being ok while I was away.   

After 3 days of rest, I connected with Butch about his company’s reaction and he said everything was a go… but they wanted me to come back to Boston to meet with them. He also told me about Led Zeppelin coming to the Boston Tea Party venue from the 23rd to the 25th and that He had 6 Tickets for the 25th… He was inviting the Boys in our Band Bevo (Bevo from Madison and Mickey from Chicago) from 1965 to join us and the Bruins were playing the Detroit Red Winds on the 23rd.  I did not have to be back in Brooklyn until Feb 1 so I made plans, don’t ya know!

I flew in on Thursday the 23rd at Noonish and we headed into town to plan our adventure… our first stop was Santarpios Pizza joint in the East End where we devoured a “Works” for $6.00 ($26 now).  After planning our presentation to the Board on Friday morn we spent the rest of the time planning our sojourn around Boston to eat, drink, and be merry (across the Mersey♫♫)… the Boys were arriving Saturday morning (25th) so we wanted to scout out the best place for our Reunion!   Here is our short List on one-hell-of-a-DAY!...  

  • The Warren Tavern – great Mussels and Scallops

  • Green Dragon Tavern – is truly a great Bar… felt like George and Paul Revere were going to walk in anytime

  • Hennessey’s of Boston – Oysters were 10 cents each

  • Union Oyster House – Oysters were Back Bay and $1 dozen

  • 47 (became Passim in 69) - a hub for the "new Folkies" and the emerging Folk Rock scene.

  • L Street Tavern – Movie “Good Will Hunting” (1997)

  • Eire Pub – used to be all Men back then… a great pub but with no Females… nah! (Closed)

  • The Bell in Hand – In Quincy market next to Faneuil Hall… great seafood

  • The Ark – We did not make it there but Butch said the 3 Story building was a rockin’… the Grateful Dead was to be there in April.  How many Concerts can I go to in Boston?  

I'd never been to Beacon Hill and he gave me the 10cent tour… it was ok and we stopped by the  Hampshire House as he had heard they were remodeling the old Tavern there… indeed they were.  It was to be called the Bull and Finch Pub that would be open in the Spring (little did we know they would change the name to CHEERS in 1976)… that’s when Butch suggested we call for a follow-up Board meeting in May and we will schedule it when the Yanks are in town… ok?  HFS, mate… till then it is!  

We had dinner at the Joyce Chen restaurant in Cambridge and had Peking Duck for $3.25… it was every bit as great as any I had in China and other Chinatowns I had visited around the US. We went to the Garden and enjoyed the game (tied 2-2) returning to Hennessey’s about midnight for a nightcap commiserating over a night of wonderful dreams… we had a nice talk with Mary Jane and some Irish Wickey… we listened to the first Album Rock FM Station in Boston, WBCN, that began broadcasting out of the back room of the Tea Party and went on to be the highest rated Rock Station in the market at that time. We bedded down and arose with a huge grin on our faces… we had 3 more days to go and Wally was away in NYC… what fun!  

The meeting went well Friday (24th) morning for about an hour so we decided to head out to Portland where my Wife’s Best Friend lived off of a large Oyster Bed and Lobster fishing Sound… we stopped in Salem for a break, then onto Rockport to visit with one of Butch’s youth Friends whose Father was a Reef Donkey (bottom Fisherman)… it was a cold, but calm day so we took an hour ride around the Bay and ate a couple of dozen fresh Oysters.  We got back to Bean Town about 3 taking a shower before heading out for cocktail hour to check out some Bosstown Music.

Here is Butch’s interpretation of “Bosstown Sound”: it was nothing more than a promotional stunt by a guy named Alan Lorber from MGM Records to get young Bands to come out and show their talents if they had any. It was Garage Rock Psyhcodalia at its worst, but the Kids fell for it just for the sounds… Butch knew there were about 200,000 Students around Boston who needed a release from this War CRAP (I am being polite).   

The Boston Tea Party venue had its first-anniversary party last year that lasted for 2 days… more drugs were consumed during that period than in a month.  Well, anyway, Bosstown Music (turned to Punk) was gone and the Kids were into the real music now… The Yardbirds, Velvet Underground, and Cream were there and everybody was starting to calm down, and hopefully, would stop worrying that the World was coming to an end!  

Well, we went to several small Clubs that were not worth mentioning… so we went to plan B and headed to Wally’s Café which was regarded as the birth of Jazz in Boston… a simple place where the walls sang a memory of the old times.  Next, we headed to the Beehive, regarded as one of the top Jazz clubs in the US… their advertisement, “The Beehive includes a mix of Jazz, Blues, R&B, Electronica, Reggae, Latin, Country, Cabaret, and Burlesque”… they were not wrong… it was great and for the first time, I now knew that Jazz was a heavy influence on Rock. (more about Blazz... "Blues/Jazz Rock Fusion" in a later Issue of the Chronicle)   

The Concert at the Boston Tea Party 1969

Saturday (25th) morn was cold as hell and we stayed in and enjoyed Bloody Marys and Mary Jane with our seafood omelet… the Boys were due in by 11ish so we hung out in the United Airlines Club until everyone arrived and headed back to Butch’s to plan our day… as it was 5 o’clock somewhere, we had a Mimosa lunch with a Mary Jane salad and Butch’s seafood stew.  By 3, we lit out for the Green Dragon to hang out and chew the shite. It took a while to get through all of our Family updates but, all-in-all, everyone was doing well and needed a break… we were ready for the Big night. We pushed our way through the fully aroused, stoned crowd at 7... the atmosphere was eclectically electric, to say the least, listening to WBCN who played the Album almost all day long.

The show started at 8 with the Band Raven warming up... Bevo and Mickey wanted to be upfront while Butch and I stayed in the back to take it all in so as not to be involved with the Crazies… the sign of occupancy said the max was 720 and there were easily that number. It was a warmish, sweaty hot feeling but the warm-up went well. Bevo and Mick joined us after the first hour as the Crowd was getting out of hand (BTW, Butch had given the other 2 tickets to 2 hot Chicks from Vassar who came back also)

Led Zeppelin Robert Plant (Vocalist), Jimmy Page (Guitarist),

John Bonzo Bonham (Drummer), and John Paul Jones (Bass

Guitarist and Instrumentalist)

Here is our take on the Concert… the Set List for the Concert

There was a myriad of Sounds in this truly amazing Gig including hard driving Blues Rock, Psychedelic, Bluesy, Soulful, and Folk based Songs (at times, some were hard to hear in the back).  To be sure, we were amazed by their diversity, cohesive but wild Melodies, innovative Riffs, maxed-out Acoustic Guitar, and an energy level that could not possibly be Human.  The Performers seemed like they had been together forever and their Nods to each other were some kind of a Code to do something improvisational.

The experience was more than just the Band’s charisma… it was also the Audience.  We were both 25 and felt old as there was no way we could keep up the amount of energy those crazy Kids (LOL) were able to.  After they started repeating Tracks, some of us older Folks started to leave and the doors flew open… a mad rush of incoming wasted Spirits flooded the place and we both felt this was not going to be good!  So, we left pushing our way through the masses… we passed an interesting young, tall character with sunglasses and long hair dressed either as a Rock Star or Drug Dealer on our way out (Butch told me it was one Steven Tallarico ( Steven Tyler) who had a Band that played at 47… little did we know He would form a Band named Aerosmith the next year.

Well, the bottom line is this… we left feeling in a state of pure wonderment as LZ was immediately in the top tier of our Favs.  When Butch told us there was another Concert in May, it was unanimous that we were returning with Bells On. It was no doubt that we would follow LZ careers in-depth as their Sounds and Audience presence gave “Wow Factor” a new dimension... It was about the "Marriage" between the Band and the Audience.

The set list for the Saturday Gig…  here is our group's take on Led Zeppelin in

1969: Although their Album Led Zeppelin had confusing reviews, we felt strongly

that these Guys were on their way to the Top of the best list sooner rather than

later.  The sounds produced are Yardbirds driven by Jimmy Page, whose mastery

of the Gibson Les Paul is beyond reproach… Page’s way of weaving in and out of

Solos and his driving delivery of the Riff is pure gusto although somewhat

sloppyish!.  We felt He was not a Clapton, yet... but his improvs were

mesmerizing to the Stoned Crowd who, in the beginning, just stared in

amazement that anyone could pull off those extremely loud and violent Sounds.

  Bonham’s Drumming was first-rate and his 5 minute Solo was captivating… John Paul’s Bass needed to be louder to hear it from the back row… Plant’s voice was extremely intense with passion that mostly carried over the noise.  The acoustics were deafening as the old Synogogue had curved ceilings that sent Sounds well over the extreme noise of the Groupies. Later, I heard that Bevo had bought a Slingerland kit that Bohnam played which featured a 22" bass drum, 13" and 16" toms, and a 14"x5" snare drum (for $250 new).

Butch took our Band Boys to Logan while I slept in. Well, beyond my wildest dreams, I awoke to hear Butch screaming… “They announced another Concert tonight and there are 2 Ticks at the booth awaiting our attendance!!!”  My pondering lasted 3 seconds and I called the Airport and snagged a seat to Milwaukee at 6 am Monday.

The whole morn, we just vegged out and talked extensively about our time in

Madison and our dreams of taking over the whole World... right? We watched

Movies and the Celtics with Mary Jane until the early afternoon as the weather was

bad... we finally got dressed around 4 and strolled down to the Dragon. After

getting our Ticks ($3.50), there already was an immense crowd milling around and

you could see the Dealers (young) selling dime bags of something for $10. Butch

said the big thing those days was to infuse LSD in the wrapper with Mary Jane, and as Pot was somewhat

tolerated, it camouflaged the whole experience.

  The Concert on Sunday, the 26th, started with the Boys weaving their way through the frenzied crowd that turned into a nightmarish experience of wild Youth going crazy over Led Zep… I felt like Page's opening salvo solo would go on forever. When they played "Communication Breakdown", the Crowd went absolutely berzerk (we were surprised that no one seemed to get hurt) and many young Boys were bashing their heads against the stage. We could feel the whole building shaking... like it was going to disintegrate. After a break from the 1st set, the Crowd harmonized "More, More, More" at a sound level that should have broken vocal cords. This continued all through the 2nd set which was quite different with more improvisation... and the crowd forced them to do a 3rd... HFS, we were worn out and sweated through our underwear... really!

They came out again soaked to the gills and went into full improv... they did Beatles, Rolling Stones, and some really weird Tracks. Page pulled out a Violin bow and created a sound we had never heard... it reminded us of Jimi Hendrix... and the improvisation kept on at an unbelievable pace. We left after that as it was obvious what was possibly going to happen... we walked by Steven who seemed dazed and confused and had tears flowing.

The show ran for 4½+ hours with many still banging their heads against the stage goading the rest who were still berserk.  Anyway, I had not felt this wasted since my Graduation 3-day adventure and it was time to go home and see my Baby Girl. We wandered around in a daze not feeling any of the cold and crawled into bed around midnight... damn, why did I schedule a 6 am flight (stupid nutcake).

The plane ride home Monday at 6 am was a blur, but I was able to transcribe my crumpled pile of beer-stained notes and fell into a deep sleep. I awoke, looked out the window, and knew it was not Milwaukee... OMG, that is Chicago. I asked my seat neighbor, what was up? He said we were diverted about an hour ago. After I had a Bloody Mary, we struck up a conversation about Boston... he said that my notes had fallen on the floor and he had picked them up and noticed the words Led Zep. I told him about the craziness there... he remarked how serious the Drug problem was getting in Boston (no F'ing Shite)... he said the Boston Music Scene was deafening and would not allow his Son to play that crap at home!

When I landed, I called Tommy, another Friend from my 3rd Rock Band at U of Wis... he picked me up and we almost got in a wreck while I was pontificating about the adventure. I took a long shower at his place 3 blocks off Michigan Avenue downtown. After lunch at the Playboy Club, we toured Rush Steet which was a Rockin' good time. The weather was shitty and I decided to stay the night and drive to Madison in the morn... we had "Deep Dish" (not my Fav) pizza at the Uno that night and hung at Mr. Kelly's until midnight when I finally shut down my Music adventure for January 1969... however, it was just the beginning, to say the least!

  Here is a summary of my Notes and Memories on this amazing trip into the future: Note: My review of Each Song is too long to extend in this epistle here... I plan to cover it in a Newsletter later after I review comments from the Community. (please do so, especially if you were there!)

  • I had never heard much about Boston’s little secret about what a “tight-knit” Community of innovative Musicians it had that were bending the Sounds of their Music.

  • Although the experiment by MGM to create a Boston Sound waned quickly, the Boston Tea Party venue had become a visit to Music Mecca… when I heard that the J. Geils Blues Band, it all came together that the Roots of the Boston scene was not the Bosstown Sound but the beginning of "Boston’s Sound" of great Music in general.  It did not hurt that there were 200,00 College Students in the greater Boston area.

  • The J. Geils Blues Band built a reputation playing in the Boston club scene and became known for hosting Blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker when they came through town.

  • By this time in Boston’s scene, I witnessed, firsthand, the mix of Charm, diverse Culture, and passionate Fan base of the Boston People… especially at sporting events and Concerts. 

  • I gave Led Zeppelin my top marks and we all knew this was the start of something BIG... obviously, they could improvise their Sounds (pure Theatrics) more than any Band I'd heard, and looked forward to seeing how they had evolved in May... can't wait.

  • I counted the Bars and Nightclubs visited at 39... it reminded me when you turned 18 in Madison, you had to drink one Beer in all of the 21 Bars on State Street (I made it to 12... LOL).

  • As a personal note: I now realize how much the British Invasion Band's Sounds had on the evolution of Music back then ... 1964 was a pivotal point that was NOW being "kick-started" by the Youth in 68-69 who demanded changes to their listening experience. It was the release they were looking for in their vision of the future... and no "old fart" was going to get in their way! It was the start of the amazing 70s Music.

  • BTW, it is obvious that the Bosstown scene was the beginning of Punk Rock... although it is not for me, It certainly was for the millions who joined the Cult. Led Zep was pushing the boundaries of Classic Rock towards Hard Rock but was able to intertwine it with some good ol' Rock n Roll magic I had never heard before.

Looking back, as I write this for the Chronicle Issue #3, I want to cover where I am going with my episodes in 1969 for future Issues:

  • I went back to Brooklyn that Spring to deal with the crap that had not yet diminished, but was pretty much free to enjoy the area… I knew that one day I would be transferred to Corporate as things in the electronics World were like a speeding freight Train, so I was able to research where to live and settled on rural New Jersey (a whole ‘nother storyline)

  • I got to see Jethro Tull on Feb 15, Chicago and J. Geils Blues Band on March 8, Velvet Underground on March 15, Albert King and Big Mama Thornton on April 17, Jeff Beck with Rod Steward on May 8, led Zeppelin 3 on May 29, and Velvet Underground and the Allman Brothers on May 30… what fun… there were no complaints from this Boy about being away so long but I did get to see my Son, Bobby, born on March 20 and I had the best of both worlds at hand.

  • In May, things were winding down with my strike duties and I worked mostly at Bell Laboratories when my Boss came out for a visit… He asked me if I had heard about Woodstock... I told him that I had driven up there in April to check it out.   He told me the Promoters were in trouble with their Permit and might have to move to another Farm further away and the Phone Booth issue arose… there was little capacity in the wires for Phone Booths anywhere West of Woodstock. Would I go up there and check it out as it may be the opportunity to try out some new electronics?... No problemo, Sir! We drove up again on May 31... see Issue #7

  • BTW... The Boston Tea Party venue closed down in 1971 to only great memories.

    I will write more about the Summer of 69 in a Series starting in July… till then it is..

    A Boston City Fan forever (Yankee Baseball)… Willie Rock On ♪♪♪

Ramblings and Stuff

Every Led Zeppelin Song inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien

Joe Taysom@josephtaysom

Fri 2 September 2022 8:00, UK

While known for their proliferation of the Delta blues, Led Zeppelin also took influence from the unlikeliest places, and they continuously found themselves returning to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien when they needed a moment of inspiration. The writer’s depiction of Middle Earth spoke to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who used it as a playground for their songwriting.

With the benefit of hindsight, Plant recently admitted he finds it embarrassing how much he delved into Tolkien’s world for lyrical inspiration, but it did help Led Zeppelin craft a string of classics. “Obviously, I was developing all the time with what I felt and what I was surrounded by. I didn’t have to sing R&B stuff because I was able to write stuff. Although sadly some of it was … there were maybe one or two too many well … hobbits,” Plant told Rolling Stone.

He continued: “I can see from this window the hill where Tolkien used to sit and look out over the landscape, and that’s the Shire, and the village just below it is called Bagginswood. I was living in a dream then, talking about C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. And of course, it brings hoops of derision into everybody who picked up a guitar or got near a microphone by 1980. But I was a kid,” said Plant.

Although he now finds it cringe-worthy how much he relied upon Tolkien for influence, Plant was yet to experience the full breadth of life yet, and instead had to draw from literature rather than his own memories.

‘Ramble On’ from Led Zeppelin II is a prime example of Zeppelin’s journey into Tolkien’s alternate reality as the group step into “the darkest depths of Mordor”. In the track, the narrator finds love in Middle Earth and also namedrops “Gollum and the evil one”.

On Houses of the Holy, Zeppelin paid tribute to Tolkien once more on ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’. The song takes its title from a poem penned by the writer in 1915. Although the lyrics aren’t particularly aligned with the works of Tolkien, and it’s a traditional folk-rock love track, the title speaks volumes about his lingering influence.

However, 1971 was the group’s most intense year of infatuation with Tolkien, as they wrote two songs with links to his fantasy land. ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ was named after Bilbo Baggins’ hang-out spot in the Misty Mountains of Wales. However, the lyrics were related to a pro-marijuana rally in London disrupted by the police rather than the writer’s work.

Plant explained: “It’s about a bunch of hippies getting busted, about the problems you can come across when you have a simple walk in the park on a nice sunny afternoon. In England, it’s understandable, because wherever you go to enjoy yourself, ‘Big Brother’ is not far behind.”

Another track on Led Zeppelin IV, set in the Tolkien realm, is ‘The Battle Of Evermore’, based on The Return of The King. There are many references to the book as early in the track, Plant sings, “The Dark Lord rides in force tonight and time will tell us all”. Later on, he adds, “The drums will shake the castle wall, the Ringwraiths ride in black”. The frontman also discusses war, swords and “the dragon of darkness”.

Although Plant’s days of referencing Tolkien are over, and he now looks back upon this period with embarrassment, he should be proud of the songs he managed to mine from his time in Middle Earth.

All the songs Led Zeppelin wrote influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien

Thank You, CRockers!

As we close out this edition of the Classic Rock Chronicle Newsletter, we want to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of our loyal CRockers. Your passion for the timeless Sounds of Classic Rock keeps this Community thriving and interactive. Music is a universal language that speaks to the soul.... it has an incredible power to unite us, transcending language and cultural barriers, and I will do everything in my power to sustain it.

In the next issue, we will dive into the countless Classic Rock Band and Song lists that exist on the Web... many of them provide great links to the News Wire content. Also, some have attempted to rank Artists, Bands, and Songs using their propriety methodology... which I take great exception to for the following reasons:

1. Some do not publish their methodology

2. Those that publish it are made up of so-called experts in the field... ok, but how can a few experts represent anything more than their personal opinion?

3. The way that I am going to present this challenge is to take a stand on my personal List of the Top 10 Classic Rock Songs. Now, we are going to start simply with a minor List of my "Personal" Top 10 Classic Rock Songs that I will publish in Newsletter #4... if you accept the challenge, you will return a form with your List and the reasons you chose them as per my List.

This is your chance to have your voice heard! We encourage all our members to share their opinions and personal favorites. After all, it is the people’s voice that truly matters for the enduring legacy of classic rock. So Mates, as you head into the week ahead, we hope you find ample opportunities to immerse yourself in the Music you love.

May it fill your heart and lift your spirits, reminding you of the unifying magic that Classic Rock provides.

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Please join up and enjoy the Journey… All my best... Willie Rock On ♪♪♪............. and "Take it Easy"

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