Results for Led Zeppelin

interviews

Robert Plant

Robert Plant is arguably one of the most famous names and faces in music history—amazing considering he started his career in the Welsh borderlands of England, or as he says, the Black Country. There he was inspired by sounds from across the pond including the Blues and singers like Little Richard and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Plant went on to found Band of Joy and later Led Zeppelin with his friend, drummer John Bonham, and the two ruled the rock airwaves in the 1970's. Bonham died in 1980, and with him Led Zeppelin. But Plant has never stopped releasing music or exploring new sounds. Examples of this are Raising Sand with bluegrass musician Alison Krauss in 2007 and Band of Joy with singer-songwriter Patty Griffin. His 10th and latest album is called Lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar.

Go to episode 469

Jon Brion

Jon Brion visits the show this week to perform and talk with Jim and Greg. Brion is mostly known for his production work with artists like Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple and Kanye West. Brion is also responsible for the innovative soundtracks to Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist was in town to perform at Chicago's Intonation Music Festival, and he stopped by to meet with our hosts, as well as a live studio audience.

What listeners may not know is that Jon Brion is also an accomplished solo artist, albeit not a prolific one. He holds a residency at Los Angeles club Largo, where he performs a cabaret-style act. Recently, however, a severe case of tendinitis has prevented Brion from playing live much. Lucky for Jim, Greg, and the audience, he was able to play both the piano and the "taro patch" during the interview. You can hear Brion perform "Knock Yourself Out" from I Heart Huckabees and the theme to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the show.

One of the ideas our guest discusses with Jim and Greg is the art of the song. He finds songs to be“astonishing”and distinguishes them from“performance pieces.”Brion's example is the music of Led Zeppelin. He loves Zeppelin, but asks the listener to compare their melodies to that of someone like George Gershwin. Brion adds that one rocker who did manage to write wonderfully constructed songs that will stand the test of time is Kurt Cobain. Listen to how he plays Nirvana's "Lithium" followed by an old Cole Porter standard.

Go to episode 32

Glyn Johns

soundman One day in February 1969, engineer and producer Glyn Johns disembarked a flight from Los Angeles to London. He went straight to a studio to work with the Beatles on what would eventually become Let It Be. That was followed by an all-night session with the Rolling Stones for Let It Bleed. And after that, he rejoined the Beatles and jutted on over to Royal Albert Hall to record Jimi Hendrix live. Just“a day in the life,”eh? Those legendary recordings are just beginning of Johns tremendous list of credits which includes Led Zeppelin, the Faces, the Kinks, The Who, the Eagles and more recently Band of Horses and Ryan Adams. He relays this life spent recording in a new book called Sound Man. And he is as candid in his conversation with Jim and Greg, as he is in print. The aforementioned Let It Be? Johns remarks that Phil Spector“puked”all over it. Of Eric Clapton, Johns admits he initially refused to bring him into a session with Pete Townshend due to his drug-addled personality. And he talks about parting ways with the Eagles after they wanted to go in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction—something Johns says the band wouldn't know if they fell over it.

For more behind-the-booth conversations, check out Jim and Greg's interviews in the Footnotes section with Stephen Street, Butch Vig, Bob Ezrin, Tony Visconti, Mark Howard, Giorgio Moroder, Joe Boyd and of course, Brian Eno.

Go to episode 528

Billy Bragg

Roots, Radicals and Rockers In the 1950s, a surprising, short-lived musical craze swept across the UK: skiffle, a raw version of African-American blues and folk performed by white British youth. Folk-punk singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has written about skiffle in his new book Roots, Radicals and Rockers. This week, he sits down with producer Evan Chung to make the case for skiffle as the origin of English guitar pop and the first sign of the DIY sensibility of punk.

Skiffle emerged out of the trad jazz scene – an early New Orleans jazz revivalist movement in the UK. In the middle of their sets, the trad jazz musicians would put down their horns and pick up acoustic guitars, washboards, and upright basses to play the songs of Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, and others. Skiffle hit the top of the pop charts in both the UK and the US when Lonnie Donegan released his version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line." Bragg argues that this was a revolutionary moment that taught British youth that anyone could play the guitar – and led to skyrocketing guitar sales. As a result, members of The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, David Bowie, and even ABBA got their start in DIY skiffle groups. According to Bragg, if you want to understand everything that came after in the UK – from the British Invasion to the English folk revival to R&B to punk – you have to look at the impact that skiffle had on the emerging British teenage culture.

Go to episode 613

Danny Goldberg

While the rock stars get all the fame, it's often interesting to hear from the people who got them there. This week's guest is Danny Goldberg, a longtime music industry insider who has done everything from doing PR for Led Zeppelin, serving as a label executive at Atlantic, Mercury and Warner Brothers Records, and managing such artists as Stevie Nicks, Warren Zevon and Nirvana. He wrote about his experiences with these people in an aptly titled book, Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business. As he relays to Jim and Greg, sometimes geniuses aren‘t easy to work with, but it’s always worth it.

Go to episode 146

Alex Ross

Music as Violence

Jim and Greg spend most of their time on Sound Opinions talking about music they love. Music they connect with, music that tells a relatable story, music that stirs an emotional reaction. But Alex Ross from the New Yorker magazine came on the show to talk about a different reaction to music, music as a weapon. His recent article When Music is Violence explores the use of music to sinister ends. Alex talks with Jim and Greg about the history of music as a weapon, from the use by the Nazis, to attempts to overthrow Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega with Led Zeppelin, to how classical music keeps kids from loitering in 7-11 parking lots. Alex says that ultimately music is not a sacred space, and the“music we love the most…can be deployed in some horrifying way.”

Go to episode 564
specials

The Dawn of Metal

At this point in the show Jim and Greg take a trip back to The Dawn of Metal. Heavy Metal isn't always taken seriously, but it warrants critical, even scholarly analysis. Before there was Metallica or Guns N' Roses, there was a group of rockers that birthed the genre. Jim and Greg trace the history, primarily back to England in the late '60s. Here are the bands the credit with giving us the metal we know and love today.

  • Steppenwolf
  • Blue Cheer
  • Hawkwind
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Black Sabbath
  • Deep Purple
  • Uriah Heep
  • Judas Priest
  • Motörhead

Fans of this early metal period will be happy to know that many of these bands are still rocking out live.

Go to episode 422

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213
reviews
Raising SandRaising Sand available on iTunes

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant Raising Sand

The next segment also focuses on the melding of pop and folk music. Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant has collaborated with bluegrass virtuoso Alison Krauss on a new album called Raising Sand. Fans of Led Zeppelin III won‘t be surprised by Plant’s interest in American roots music; it's closely linked with Celtic folkmusic. But, Jim was surpised by the lack of chemistry between Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Both are phenomenal singer, and both were backed by a phenomenal band, but Jim just found himself getting sleepy. He can only give the album a Burn It. Greg admits that the record is subtle, and doesn't lend itself to all kinds of listening, but he was amazed by the harmonies Plant gives. He also thinks their song choices, which include Allen Toussaint and Gene Clark covers, were perfect. Greg gives Raising Sand a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 100
ART OFFICIAL AGEArt Official Age available on iTunes

Prince Art Official Age

More than fifteen years after a dramatic falling out with Warner Bros. Records, Prince and the WB are once again reunited. To celebrate the occasion, The Purple One has released not one, but two full-length studio albums. Jim thinks the first record, Art Official Age, is a bloated, science fiction-tinged concept album that borrows too liberally from artists like Led Zeppelin, Janelle Monae, and even Crosby, Stills and Nash. Fans of Prince will probably love it, but Jim's finds it to be mostly filler from a once brilliant artist: Trash It. Greg disagrees, as he thinks this is some of Prince's best material in 20 years. On Art Official Age, Prince creates a rich, layered world of sound where he's free to embody a variety of eccentric and electric musical personalities. And despite Prince being 56-years old, the album's energy stands up next to contemporary R&B auteurs like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. Greg says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 462
Blood Mountain (Deluxe Version)Blood Mountain available on iTunes

Mastodon Blood Mountain

Warning: The first album up for review may blow out your speakers. Public radio listeners aren't likely to hear the gargantuan sound of hard core rockers Mastodon, so Sound Opinions is happy to bring it you. After Tool's recent release, Mastodon's new album Blood Mountain was the most highly anticipated metal release of the year. Both Jim and Greg find the members of Mastodon to be highly proficient musicians, as well as good students of rock history. They have a keen sense of melody and understand the all-important guitar riff, and their sound harkens back to that of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as well as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. In fact, we're hard pressed to classify it, though metal fans certainly love to try. Whatever you call it, Jim and Greg urge you to Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 44
Them Crooked Vultures (Bonus Track Version)Them Crooked Vultures available on iTunes

Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures

The heavily-hyped new supergroup Them Crooked Vultures finally released their self-titled debut. The band consists of Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. So how super is it? Jim was truly blown away by the trio's live performance this past summer. But, with the record the experience is less visceral and more intellectual. The rhythm section is obviously still impressive, but for Jim the songs don't cut it. He gives Them Crooked Vultures a Burn It. Greg thinks Jim hasn't been this off the mark all year. The more he listens, the more he is excited by this sensual, twisting, hard-rocking record. He gives it an enthusiastic Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 208
Wilderness Heart (Bonus Track Version)

Black Mountain Wilderness Heart

Vancouver quintet Black Mountain also has a new album out called Wilderness Heart. Don't let the name make you think this is another folky, beard rock band. Black Mountain is straight up classic stoner rock ala Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and they make no bones about it. Jim describes it as heavy, psychedelic, sultry, trippy-how could he not like it? Greg is happy to hear Black Mountain bringing their sound and influences forward. The songwriting is great, not to mention the mellotron. It's a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 254
Anthem of the Peaceful ArmyAnthem of the Peaceful Army available on iTunes

Greta Van Fleet Anthem of the Peaceful Army

The rock band Greta Van Fleet just released its anticipated debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. The young band hails from Frankenmuth, Michigan and its members are students of rock and roll, which is obviously evident on Anthem. Greg says there's no denying that GVF is imitating the titans of rock history, Led Zeppelin, but notes that they aren't the first to do so. From vocals to sonic style to costumes to lyrics, this band tries to emulate the magic of Led Zeppelin I. While Greg believes the group has musical chops, he wishes the band would create an original sound and album. Jim pokes fun at the albums' serious and dramatic lyrics by reciting a poem made up of one line from each song on the record. He feels like the band members are in costume, wishes they would be more original and take themselves a little less seriously.

JimGreg
Go to episode 674
Interpretations: The British Rock SongbookInterpretations: The British Rock Songbook available on iTunes

Bettye LaVette Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

What happens when a veteran soul singer takes on classic British rock tunes? The answer is actually not as exciting as one might think. Both Jim and Greg were really looking forward to Bettye LaVette's Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook. The album came out of LaVette's Kennedy Center Honors performance of "Love Reign O'er Me," by The Who. She put her unique, alto rasp to use on subsequent covers of songs by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But, as Greg explains, the album's sleepy, slow-burn pace didn't do her voice or the songs justice. Jim agrees, and also wishes LaVette had chosen more original songs by these famous artists. They both regrettably give the record a Trash It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 235
dijs

Greg

“Tangerine”Led Zeppelin

According to Greg, Jim hit the nail on the head with his Led Zeppelin III reference. That's exactly where he went for this week's Desert Island Jukebox pick. The band was often misunderstood and merely a hyper-masculine rock act. They had a substantial reflective side, and that's evident on III. Plant was also wrongly categorized as simply a“banshee screamer.”He could also be subtle, conversational and moving. You can hear the softer side of Led Zeppelin in Greg's DIJ choice, "Tangerine."

Go to episode 100

Jim & Greg

Go to episode 42

Jim

“See No Evil”Television

Jim's Desert Island Jukebox selection is inspired by another recent loss. Musical engineer Andy Johns passed away at age 61. As Jim explains, Johns was witness to the recording of some of rock's great masterpieces, from The Stones' Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, to Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin II. But for his pick, Jim goes to a personal favorite: the debut album by New York punk rockers Television. "See No Evil" still gets heads bobbing in Chicago clubs, and Jim credits Johns with the track's intimate drum sound.

Go to episode 385

Greg

“I'll Keep it With Mine”Sandy Denny

Greg gets to pop a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox this week, and his choice is Sandy Denny's cover of "I'll Keep it With Mine" by fellow folk rocker Bob Dylan. Greg explains that Denny is best known for her appearance on the Lord of the Rings-inspired Led Zeppelin track "The Battle of Evermore." That's a shame, according to Greg. In addition to her work British folk-pop outfit Fairport Convention, Denny composed and performed many great solo songs, including this week's DIJ.

Go to episode 9

Greg

“Who Do You Love”Bo Diddley

Greg takes us back to the desert island with a selection by an artist that Jimmy Page recently cited as an inspiration for the founding of Led Zeppelin: pioneering rocker Bo Diddley. Bo Diddley introduced the hambone beat to rock, which later became known as the Bo Diddley beat - a rhythm with Afro-Carribean roots. His signature sound and swagger are clear on Greg's pick, "Who Do You Love." While Led Zeppelin's debut celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, Bo Diddley's self-titled debut album celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Go to episode 675

Greg

“Train Kept A-Rollin'”Johnny Burnette Rock 'N Roll Trio

The Mekons' 30-year run is an impressive one, especially when you consider that the dominant story in rock is one of instant and fleeting fame. An example of this is the Johnny Burnette Rock 'N Roll Trio, the band behind Greg's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. The Memphis trio comprised of the Burnette brothers and their friend Paul Burlison only had one recording session in the mid-'50s, but for that brief period they were all the rage. Johnny Burnette was Elvis and then some, and Burlison had a completely unique and groundbreaking guitar style. You can hear this on the song "Train Kept A-Rollin'," a Tiny Bradshaw-penned tune, that has since been covered by everyone from Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith to Motörhead. But it's The Johnny Burnette Rock 'N Roll Trio version that deserves a slot in Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 93

Greg

“Watch Your Step”Bobby Parker

Musician Nick Waterhouse recently told Greg that he's always trying to make his music "swing." Except instead of swinging like Benny Goodman, Waterhouse wanted to swing more like blues-guitarist Bobby Parker. Specifically, Parker's 1961 track, "Watch Your Step", which at the time of its release was a huge influence on everyone from The Spencer Davis Group, to Carlos Santana, to John Lennon. Unfortunately for Parker, the general public wasn‘t nearly as smitten by the song, and it’s since faded into obscurity. Greg managed to find a copy of this rare release, and now he's eager for Parker to earn the recognition his riffs deserve. You can hear“Watch Your Step's”inspiration on songs like The Beatles' "I Feel Fine" and Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick".

Go to episode 430
lists

Musical Grand Slams

With Chicago baseball trying to keep their heads up during this World Series, we thought we'd inject a little joyous noise into this baseball season. Jim and Greg team up with Len Kasper, TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, to pay homage to their version of a Grand Slam. We all know how this works in baseball (though sports-phobe Jim DeRogatis is still getting the hang of the rules). A batter hits a home run with bases loaded, sending four players to home plate. In music, Jim and Greg define a grand slam as four masterpiece albums in a row. Which artists have achieved this rarest of rock feats? Jim and Greg sit down to compare stats.

Go to episode 518

Favorite Drum Moments in Rock

Jim and Greg share some of their favorite drummers as well as some notable drum fills, beats and more:

Go to episode 652

Songs of Thanks

'Tis the season to hold family and friends close and be thankful for what we have. Jim and Greg share some of their favorite "song of thanks," tracks that highlight gratefulness and appreciation.

Go to episode 626

Fantasy Songs

Whether Mordor, Westeros, or a dystopian landscape, multiple artists have written songs that pay homage to their favorite fantasy worlds. This week, Jim and Greg share their inner nerdiness and pick their favorite prog rock and fantasy-inspired songs.

Go to episode 608

Songs About The Sea

Seventy-one percent of the earth is covered with water, so it's no surprise many musicians have looked to the sea for inspiration. From adventure to tragedy, Jim and Greg have gathered songs about the ocean that run the gamut.

Go to episode 662

Guitar Riffs

Does anything define rock and roll more than its basic element, the guitar riff? Rock solos can be overblown and overrated, but a riff, when done right, can rule a song. It it in many ways, the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. So, inspired by Greg's recent BBC essay, Jim and Greg run through their favorite examples of guitar riffs in rock history, and they hear some picks from listeners across the country. But first, a definition. A riff is a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song's central hook. And for a guitarist like Nile Rodgers, it's not just a static foundational element, but like a river moving through the song. Now onto the goods.

Go to episode 462

Best Cameos

This week, Jim and Greg share some of their favorite musical cameos, or unexpected guest appearances on songs, from Brian Eno's appearance on a Genesis song to Aretha Franklin guesting on a Eurythmics track.

Go to episode 717

Guitar Riffs

Does anything define rock and roll more than its basic element, the guitar riff? Rock solos can be overblown and overrated, but a riff, when done right, can rule a song. In many ways, it's the essence of rock ‘n’ roll. Jim and Greg run through their favorite examples of guitar riffs in rock history, and they hear some picks from listeners across the country. But first, a definition. A riff is a brief statement – sometime only a handful of notes or chords – that recurs throughout the arrangement and can become the song's central hook. And for a guitarist like Nile Rodgers, it's not just a static foundational element, but like a river moving through the song. Now onto the goods.

Go to episode 596

Grand Slam Allstars

Go to episode 383

Best Instrumentals

The history of rock ‘n’ roll is filled with memorable lyrics, but sometimes it's the wordless songs that stick. This week, Jim and Greg celebrate the Best Instrumentals. Not just any“instrumental”track will do. Both Jim and Greg agree, no“fa fa fa's”or“la la la's”admitted. Here are their lists:

Go to episode 401
rock doctors

Sandy

Once again, it's time for the Rock Doctors to put on their white coats and stethoscopes. During this appointment, Jim and Greg attempt to mend a broken heart with some great new tunes. Their patient is Sandy from Chicago. She's recently divorced after 17 years of marriage. She wrote Sound Opinions saying it“was an eye-opening and heartbreaking experience.”Sandy is now in her early 50s and feels like she“lost or squandered her youth.”The doctors' job is to help her awaken her musical self.

Sandy was completely open to new genres of music but tends to favor classic rock. Some of her favorite artists include Led Zeppelin, Heart and Van Halen, however she also enjoys more eclectic artists like St. Vincent and tUnE-yArDs. While she is a consultant by day, she has a background in acting and singing opera. Sandy is looking for music that will make her feel a sense of exhilaration like she does when she's performing and making art.

Jim's prescription is the album Show Us Your Mind from Portland's Summer Cannibals, while Greg recommended Fantasies by Canadian rock band Metric. During their follow-up appointment, Sandy shared that she really enjoyed both records. She liked the strong voices of the female lead singers as well as the instrumentation. Greg and Jim decide that Sandy might be the nicest patient the Rock Doctors have ever treated and are glad to have helped her.

Do you need to see the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out new patient form and send to interact@soundopinions.org.

Go to episode 484

Brendan

Even the healthiest music listener depends on recommendations from family and friends. But for more severe cases, Sound Opinions recommends people make an appointment with the Rock Doctors. When Brendan from Los Angeles contacted Sound Opinions H.Q. and described his symptoms, we immediately took him in to see the doctors and get a diagnosis. Brendan suffers from an ailment common among people of his generation: 90s-itis. Brendan loves music but hasn't moved forward since 1995. That was the high point of his music listening, and you can still find Weezer's Blue Album and Nirvana's Nevermind in his CD player. He loves the balance of noisy rock and melody in those albums. And, since he can no longer turn on an alt-rock radio station to hear a similar sound, he asks the Rock Doctors, "What sounds like '90s alternative in 2008?"

Greg's answer to this question is The Secret Machines. The group harkens back to that hard, but melodic sound. The group uses elements from that era like strong guitars and drums, and adds space rock. A fan of Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, and even The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, should love "Ten Silver Drops" by The Secret Machines.

Jim's prescription for 90s-itis is Wolf Parade. The Canadian indie rockers have a lot of energy and aggression that Brendan should appreciate. There's a nod to classic rock, but the band is not living in the past. He gives Brendan a dose of "At Mount Zoomer" by Wolf Parade and invites him back for a follow-up appointment in a week.

When Brendan returns he reports that he is slowly recovering. He enjoyed both prescriptions, but thinks he needs to give them more time. Brendan found both records slightly more mellow than he expected, but liked that they weren‘t“screaming.”Brendan now has two albums in his collection that were recorded in the 21st century, and that’s all the Doctors could ask for.

Go to episode 152
features

Rock & The Occult

occultcover Ozzy Osbourne famously serenaded "Mr. Crowley," in his 1980 track. But, poet, novelist and noted occultist Alesteir Crowley has been name-checked, celebrated and explored in hundreds of rock songs. And he's just one example of how the occult has influenced rock and roll, or how it saved it, according to author Peter Bebergal. He talks to Jim and Greg about his new book Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll on this Halloween edition of the show. First off, we're not talking about satanism here. There's no great definition of“occult,”because it carries so much baggage. But Bebergal explains that occult beliefs are a conglomerate of bits of mythology, religion and actual experience, which take the form of mystical or other states of altered consciousness. Despite darker connotations, occult beliefs attempt to understand reality in a way traditional religious practice cannot or chooses not to explore.

Then Jim and Greg get into the music. The occult has trickled into popular music since early blues recordings at the beginning of the last century. That evolved into the hoodoo-inspired sounds of Elvis Presley, the mystical references to the east in the music of The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and even the Illuminati imagery of modern hip-hop.

For more great occult tunes, check out Peter Bebergal's playlist by following us at Beats Music.

Go to episode 465

The Dawn of Metal

At this point in the show Jim and Greg take a trip back to The Dawn of Metal. Heavy Metal isn't always taken seriously, but it warrants critical, even scholarly analysis. Before there was Metallica or Guns N' Roses, there was a group of rockers that birthed the genre. Jim and Greg trace the history primarily back to England in the late '60s. Here are the bands they credit with giving us the metal we know and love today.

  • Steppenwolf
  • Blue Cheer
  • Hawkwind
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Black Sabbath
  • Deep Purple
  • Uriah Heep
  • Judas Priest
  • Motörhead

Fans of this early metal period will be happy to know that many of these bands are still rocking out live.

Go to episode 144
news

Music News

Hard rock gods Led Zeppelin announced its surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will perform live for one night only at England's 02 arena. The missing John Bonham drum slot will be filled by his son Jason Bonham. This event is all for charity. It's in honor of the late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegün. All proceeds will go towards the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund. Robert Plant's altruism and high regard for Mr. Ertegün must be quite substantial considering he had this harsh thing to say back in 2002 about the band reuniting. Jim points out that nowadays no band ever stays broken up and predicts that once the band finishes this gig, they'll launch a world tour. Zep heads everywhere are crossing their fingers.

"Amateur" singer-songwriter Marié Digby rose to pop success this summer from her“DIY”video of her covering Rihanna's "Umbrella" on acoustic guitar. The video has been viewed 2.3 million times and launched her into US radio and iTunes success. It turns out her entire“amateur”marketing campaign was orchestrated by the not-so-amateur Hollywood Records. The Disney owned Hollywood Records signed Digby back in 2005 — well before she/the machine posted her YouTube video. The fact the she was on a major label was kept hidden until only very recently. Greg points out how this shows you how much a sham the major labels have become when Digby herself states she didn't think people would like her if they knew she was on a major label. Greg feels now that the artifice is exposed, her 15 minutes are over.

Pioneering jazz keyboardist Joe Zawinul died recently at the age of 75. Zawinul was one of the founding members of the 1970s jazz fusion band The Weather Report. According to Jim and Greg, the band was the pinnacle of the jazz fusion sound, a melding of rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. Zawinul introduced the synthesizer and electronic instrumentation to jazz. He helped pioneer the jazz fusion genre with Miles Davis on Davis's In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Jim and Greg also ask listeners not to blame Zawinul and Davis for where the jazz/rock fusion led to. As a tribute to Joe Zawinul, Jim and Greg play The Weather Report's most iconic song, "Birdland."

Go to episode 94

Music News

One of the news stories Jim and Greg have been writing about this week is Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's anti-trust investigation of Lollapalooza promoters C3 Presents. Chicago's Lollapalooza, like many large music festivals across the country, imposes a radius clause on its artists. That's an industry-standard contract of exclusivity with performers that restricts their touring within a certain distance. These clauses impact not only bands, but local music clubs, and really shrink their bookings for the summer. Jim and Greg wonder if this type of investigation will grow to the federal level.

Also in the news this week, Led Zeppelin is being sued for copyright infringement by Jake Holmes, a 70-year-old folk singer. Holmes, who toured with Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds in 1967, claims he actually wrote "Dazed and Confused." Lawsuits like this are a dime a dozen these days, but this one sparked Jim and Greg's interested because the evidence is just so darn convincing. Listen for yourself.

Go to episode 240

Music News

Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" has generated $562 million over the years and unsurprisingly, somebody wants a piece of it. Heirs to Randy California, the bandleader of the group Spirit, filed a lawsuit against Zeppelin claiming that Zep stole chords from Spirit's 1968 track "Taurus." While the judge is allowing the suit to go forward, the matter of Zeppelin's legendary“paraphrasing”is likely to be settled out of court.

Speaking of Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney announced on Twitter that he once collaborated with drummer John Bonham. They worked on the Wings' song "Beware My Love," which is available for purchase on McCartney's reissue of 1976's Wings at the Speed of Sound. Though Jim humorously laments that not even John Bonham can save this Wings song.

Go to episode 465

Music News

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant "Stairway to Heaven" is one of the most well-known songs in the history of rock and roll. The 8-minute track is perhaps Led Zeppelin's most iconic number, featuring an opening guitar riff that is legendary in its own right. However, people are now speculating that the band plagiarized the riff. The '60s-era rock group Spirit released a song with a suspiciously similar intro called "Taurus" in 1968, three years before“Stairway.” The late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe (otherwise known as Randy California) wrote the song, and two years ago his estate filed an initial federal lawsuit alleging that Zep had ripped him off. In April, a U.S. District Judge ruled that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the trial later this spring. To get some perspective on the case, Jim and Greg talk with Jeffrey Brown, an intellectual property attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich and former concert promoter and producer.

Go to episode 546

Music News

Go to episode 594

Music News

Music fans and industry analysts have long been wondering when The Beatles would go digital. Many suspected that a deal with iTunes was in the works. But no one could have predicted that the band's foray into the digital universe would be through a video game. Apple Corps has announced a deal with Viacom's Rock Band to feature the Brits in the hit-selling game series. The Beatles see this as a way to reach a new generation of listeners, but Jim doesn't think the game has much to do with music and is certain that members of the group could reach more fans merely by lowering ticket prices.

There have been two major reunion announcements that both daze and confuse Jim and Greg. The first is an almost confirmed rumor that Led Zeppelin will be going out on tour sans lead singer Robert Plant. This would leave only 2 of the original members, and no one, including the band's former promoter, is sure how they can call themselves Zeppelin. In other bizarre reunion news, the Jackson 5 will be coming to a town near you, only Jackson 4 might be a more appropriate name. Michael will be sitting this one out.

The final news story this week signifies another nail in the coffin of the music industry's glory days. One of the true music-loving record executives, Alan McGee, has announced that he is retiring from the biz. McGee founded Creation Records, which launched acts like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain. More recently he has been managing acts like Oasis and The Libertines. Now on his Facebook page he states, "I think I'm a man of the times, kind of like Tony Wilson really. We don‘t really have a place in the music industry anymore because we actually like music." And Jim and Greg believe that’s the truth. Most of the higher-ups are money men, rather than music men. They are certainly going to miss McGee's passion.

Go to episode 154

Music News

A group of musicians led by the estate of jazz musician Chet Baker filed a lawsuit against the four major record labels in Canada. The labels were using artists' songs for compilation albums, but had yet to pay any royalties. Now they're paying up to the tune of $47 million.

Music publisher and television host Don Kirshner died this week at age 76. Kirshner began his career in music at the Brill Building, working with songwriters and producers like Carole King and Phil Spector. He then developed bubblegum acts The Monkees and The Archies before going on to host Don Kirshner's Rock Hour in 1973. Greg and Jim both fondly remember watching Kirshner's stiff, deadpan intros to that era's great acts including Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Sly and the Family Stone. To pay homage to Kirshner, Jim and Greg choose to play Blue Oyster Cult's "Marshall Plan," which features a sample of an intro by Kirshner.

Go to episode 269

Music News

Slayer is undoubtedly one of the most important metal acts ever. Heck, in any genre. And one of its founders, Jeff Hanneman, died recently at age 49. As Greg explains, this guy really brought the riffs. He and fellow guitarist Kerry King were like race car drivers, both playing lead guitar and then zooming out ahead. It was especially amazing to witness this live. Unfortunately Jeff didn't join his bandmates for a visit to our studios a few years ago. But we remember him through Slayer's music. Check out "War Ensemble" from 1990's Seasons in the Abyss.

Say you're Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein. Who do you turn to in order to bring Led Zeppelin back together for a Hurricane Sandy benefit? Why former President Bill Clinton of course! He's brokered many a deal-both foreign and congressional. So why not a rock and roll deal? Well, turns out the Golden God was not so easily moved by Clinton's charms.

Go to episode 389

Music News

The copyright infringement lawsuit over Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" now has a resolution. As we've previously covered, the trust of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe sued Zep, alleging that“Stairway”plagiarized the 1968 track "Taurus." A California jury didn't hear enough similarity between the songs and decided in favor of Led Zeppelin. And as we wind on down the road from the decision, intellectual property attorney Jeffrey Brown tells us this probably won't change the legal standard for copyright infringement. Even when the plaintiffs win – like in the "Blurred Lines" trial – the legal fees are too high to be worth it for anyone but the wealthiest of artists. These cases will continue to be primarily worked out in backroom deals.

Go to episode 553