Thursday, October 10, 2019

Singapre 60s Music: Best Heavy Metal Band Led Zeppelin By Michael Bangar

The Greatest Heavy Metal Band Is LeD ZEppELiN.
Written by: Michael Bangar.

The letter below was written in reply to my short review of the Illustrated Biography 'Led Zeppelin' book by Gareth Thomas from Transatlantic Press (2009). Michael has always been thinking out of the box. That's the way it should be. Thanks, Mike.

Hi brother Andy,

I am a big fan of the band. I watched on YouTube when President Obama presented the three surviving members (as you know their drummer John Bonham died in his sleep - apparently choked naturally) their Kennedy Centre Awards. MC Jack Black called them, The Greatest Band of All Time. I think The Greatest Heavy Metal Band would have been more appropriate.
Stairway To Heaven, the best song ever for many Led Zeppelin fans.

I am a nobody in this huge worldly music business, but I don't agree with Mr. Jack Black. The title of Greatest Band Of All-time must be bestowed upon the Beatles as all great music experts and critics would agree.

But coming back to L.Z., I can't think of any other band to give the number 2 title to, number 2 to the Beatles, that is. All LZ albums are excellent pieces of music. Coupled with the way each band member excelled at their respective instruments, (like bassist John Paul Jones who played excellent keyboards too).

They took heavy metal from The Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (the inventors), pushed it into a new direction and opened it up to the world. Many bands tried to follow in the footsteps but few succeeded. Their monster hit, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, was voted The Song With The Best Guitar Solo Ever. 

Strangely they never had a Top 40 Single in any music chart. All their great music was released in album format, not in Singles format.  The late '60s and '70s were the era of record albums. Albums with huge sales even found their way to the singles charts during that era.

How Led Zeppelin was born: after their last US tour, The Yardbirds, Keith Relf, Jimmy Page, Paul Samwell Smith and Jim McCarty (guitarist Jeff Beck had already left by then) were in the doldrums and splitting up.

Lead guitarist Jimmy Page who had so many musical ideas in-store was asked to go check out a group called, The Band Of Joy. Impressed he offered singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham to join his new band. Then he called his old-time recording sessions buddy John Paul Jones to join. They completed their remaining US dates as The New Yardbirds.

Then The Who drummer Keith Moon passed a serious comment to them: "If you guys don't make it, you are gonna come crashing down like a lead zeppelin (The Hindenburg). They decided it would make a great name but took out the 'a' in lead. That's how the band got its name.

The rest is a great music history. And you know what brother Andy, as soon as I see it, I'm gonna buy this book for my collection.

Cheers, my friend. 


So come on guys; is this band the greatest?
Or do you know of another that's better?

Read the original posting and book review:
The book that was reviewed that lead to Mr. Bangar's comment. Thank you.

Images: Google and YouTube.


Alfredo Wongo said...

Well-written piece on Led Zeopelin . kudos to Mike


Andy, Led Zeppelin!
In my younger days OK lah.
Now I prefer ballads.


Yes, that's my favourite rock band.
It's featured in my Facebook.
I think it's a tribute to them.
One of the best rock groups from the 70s.

Peter Diaz said...

I remember being so awe struck when I heard Whole Lotta Love and Immigrant Song. I remember thinking r these guys from another planet or what. We were so into The Beatles and Bee Gees at that time. Even today when u listen to Led Zeppelin it just hits u. Amazing band!


Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven “is one song that I like.
As for the best band, it’s a matter of choice.
The Beatles, The Eagles, and The Rolling Stones are just as good


Saw JIMMY PAGE at the National Theatre.
He was the lead guitarist of the Yardbirds.
We watched the band for free, ticket daun.


Led Zeppelin formed in 1968 and went on to become one of the most influential, innovative, and successful groups in modern music, having sold more than 300 million albums worldwide.

The band rose from the ashes of The Yardbirds, when Jimmy Page brought in John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant to tour as The New Yardbirds.

In 1969, Led Zeppelin released its self-titled debut which was produced by Page, as were all the subsequent albums.
It marked the beginning of a 12-year reign, during which the group was widely considered to be the biggest and most innovative rock band in the world.


Micael Lee
Hi Andy, agree with Stephen "Stairway to Heaven" is a beautiful song.
In my humble opinion too, there is no best as it depends on what you like or want.
Also, each is good in their own way.
As the saying goes - One man's meat is another man's poison.

Freda Hanum
Interesting article Andy, yes when I was started to begin to play music, I loved listening to rock songs and I find some slow rocks are very inspirational.
I also like that song "Whole Lotta Love".
There's this group "Ten Years After" also.

Every night I would put my small tape recorder next to my ear listening till fall off to sleep.
It was those rock songs inspire me so much during my music scene, but of course we only can play more to commercial songs only, not that capable to play that kind of songs hahaha... but anyhow we managed to put in a few songs like American woman, All right now, Cocaine, Always Somewhere, When The Smoke is Going Down by Scorpions.

I really loved some of the rock groups, not so much on the aggressive noisy ones, but only some of the slow ones, yes "Stairway To Heaven" indeed very nice.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you, everyone, for the interesting comments and personal thoughts about listening to heavy metal.
I'm always learning from you all who write to me so effortlessly to tell your stories and experiences.
All Facebook and other comments have been transferred to the blog as open treasures for everyone to read.

FRED CHING said...

Irene Yap
Oh yes!!! Whole Lotta Love!! My all time favourite!!!

Fred Ching
Brother Andy, this is a well-written article by Michael Bangar. My love for Led Zeppelin dated back in 1969 and 1980 where they released nine multi-million selling albums (a tenth was released posthumously in 1982), six of which hit #1 on U.S. charts. Still, remember they played a series of record-shattering global tours-reigning as the unqualified biggest band in the world.

I do keep a huge collection of music by them from studio works, box-sets to even some rare bootlegs as collectibles. I would say they were much merely a “heavy metal” band as the Beatles were simply a “pop” quartet. Love their tremendous energy which was equally effective in acoustic, folk-flavored ballads as well as wall-of-sound rock, influenced by rhythms and straight-ahead blues.

Dazed And Confused, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog and Going To California are my favourites. Of course not to mention Stairway To Heaven, the track that crystallized the essence of the band, though never released as a single, it remains to this day the #1 most requested song at rock radio stations.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you, everyone, for the interesting comments and personal thoughts about listening to heavy metal.
I'm always learning from you all who write to me so effortlessly to tell your stories and experiences.
All Facebook and other comments have been transferred to the blog as open treasures for everyone to read.

I must really thank Michael Bangar for this comment piece.
His articles have brought many readers to the blog. His writing style and knowledge of the subject is excellent.


They are definitely regarded as ‘proto-metal’ and have a few songs that could fall under the metal label. However most of their song portfolio consist of heavy blues-rock and mainstream 70s rock. What really needs to be stressed is that Jimmy Page’s guitar sound is NOT what makes certain tracks “metal” but rather the magnificently brutal drumming and bass from Bonham and JPJ.


Hafizah said...

When I was younger, my brother used to play Led Zeppelin songs all the time so listening to Stairway To Heaven again was very nostalgic to me. I enjoyed reading the original posting and Michael's input and review of it as well. I really admire the passion in his piece and knowledge on their history and origins!

Was previously doing a school project on the history of rock music in Singapore and chanced upon Andy's blog. Really had an insightful and wonderful time hearing from Michael, Jerry, Winston and yourself on your own personal stories and experiences. Thank you for the opportunity!

facebook chats said...

Thanks to old and new friends who LIKE this post
Stephen Han
Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Ho Victor
Van Der Beek Philip
Chuen Keok Tan
Jun Mazon
Cheowchiang Tan

mattjsltan said...

Jimmy Page’s guitar sound is NOT what makes certain tracks “metal” but rather the magnificently brutal drumming and bass from Bonham and JPJ.-------------------

TOP MARKS TO A MAN WHO KNOWS HIS MUSIC. yes, led zeppelin is all about bonham and jpj..
if you took away all the blues..and flower power.. to which most of it are WILLIE DIXON , JOAN BAEZ,.. black cat bone mojo and pot respectively..
which were already being widespread in USA hip scene of greenwich village with JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, MOBDY GRAPES, BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD...

as always, UK was the last to know.. of the real source ..
they sort of white-washed and botox everything like rolling stones (chuck berry).cliff richard (eddy cochran)..beatles (buddy holly)..even rod stewart (sam cooke, levi stubbs, james brown).. to a mainstream teeny boppy status quo of BBC and
TAMI show US TV opiate for the masses which still permeates via MTV
and all its crassness.

the scene in london was bubbling with a lot more better musicians for sure,
ask anyone who were there..
or better still ask Pete Townsend of The Who.. who has been said to say (available on youtube).. i never really thought much of them (jimmy and his boys).

it was as i said, like Jeff Beck with Keith Mooon, really.
and Pete sure knows what he is talking about...

as a guitarist, i think page ranked #3
to clapton and beck..
even slowhand admitted this .

Anonymous said...

In terms of Art, and certainly music , the more pop you are, the least ability and creativity you have. It's the bane of becoming famous.
It's why newspapers cater to the mass public writing in Primary 5 English or whatever the language of the masses .
As you go up the ladder of quality (for lack of a better word), the "fanship" gets more and more restricted.
example, less people would read, or have read Tolstoy's "War & Peace". or Khalil Gibran's "The Prophet" , or Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist"
than your newspapers or some two-bit paperback .

Same reason why the golden M serve more people in one day than say, an Italian restaurant where you actually is asked how every dish is to be prepared by a Chef to your specific preference down to the wine.

To quote a phrase, the most "pop" is the opiate of the masses,
where the musician plays to the tune , usually the same old same old formula
in order to keep their names up in the Billboard 100.

I think that was the reason Prince and many superstar quit .
Another case in point, how many people have heard of Imogen Heap
as opposed to Madonna or Lady Gaga?
John Coltrane as opposed to John Travolta.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Matt and Anon. for contributing to the already growing number of replies and comments streaming in.

Even both your writing differ in style and taste.

All goes to show the flexibility and ingenuity of the human psyche.

I hope Mr. Michael Bangar reads this.

He has drawn many bees to this welcoming pot of honey.