While Led Zeppelin aren’t my favourite rock band from the 1970s, they are such an archetypal group and widely copied.
Let’s take a look at what made Led Zeppelin special and wonder what it would be like if more Led Zeppelin soundalikes had made it big.
Led Zeppelin – Why Are They So Special?
The Led Zeppelin Band Members
The band members all had very distinct profiles:
- Robert Plant – the sexy bare-chested lead singer in tight trousers and with the high shrieking voice.
- Jimmy Page – the guitar hero with interest in the occult.
- John Bonham – the hard drinking, thunderous drummer.
- John Paul Jones – the quiet, reserved bassist and keyboard player.
Led Zeppelin The Biggest Band In the World
For much of the early seventies, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Who battled for the title of the biggest band in the world.
According to Wikipedia, Led Zeppelin are still the fourth best selling artists in the United States although they are a long way behind The Beatles.
No wonder they were such a big influence on up-and-coming band and were regularly imitated.
Personally I always thought it was lazy journalism. For example, I remember reading many comments that Aerosmith sounded like Led Zep but looked like The Rolling Stones.
It’s also ironic as Led Zeppelin themselves plundered the blues heritage as they took ideas and adapted them.
What If All Rock Bands Sounded Like Led Zeppelin?
It would be so boring.
Variety is the spice of life and a pale imitation of Led Zeppelin is just that.
But we see imitation so often in business.
If something works well and proves popular, there is a huge temptation to copy it.
Too often product-markets converge into commodities where preference is driven by price since there’s little difference in what you get.
But success in rock music is different.
There are commonalities within musical genres but each successful group creates its own identity which makes it unique.
Robert Plant was born in West Bromwich, about four miles away from where I live. His big rival as a heavy rock singer Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath was born in Aston, Birmingham and that’s about three miles away in the opposite direction. They were even born in the same year, 1948.
While Zeppelin and Sabbath were both pioneers of rock, their sound is very different. I can imagine some fans loving one and hating the other. Personally I preferred Deep Purple and The Who to both.