led zep 1arts

Rock and Roll Cadillacs

Okay, maybe it was a mistake for Led Zeppelin to let Cadillac use Rock and Roll for an advertising campaign. But come on, they’re just boomers trying to make a buck. Why can’t they cash in now? When you have artists who have only been around for a year selling their songs to Verizon so they can feature it in cellphone ads, what’s wrong with selling a few cars? Besides, sales of Cadillacs went up 16% that year, so other balding-graying-creaking boomers bought into the message.

 

With their historic one-time only reunion concert in London’s O2 arena last September, the Zep was back. And only 40 years or so after they began. Considered by many to be the first heavy metal band, there’s a soft spot in a lot of boomer hearts for these guys. Jimmy Page on guitar, Robert Plant on vocals and harmonica, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards, and John Bonham on drums. Three hundred million albums sold worldwide is pretty mind boggling. Rolling Stone magazine calles them “the heaviest band of all time.”

led zep posterTheir hits are all around you, in Cadillac ads and movies: Gallows Pole, Immigrant Song, Achilles Last Stand, That’s The Way, Misty Mountain Hop, Tangerine, Kasmir, Communication Breakdown, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, and of course, Stairway to Heaven. Go the discography on their official site to put it all in perspective.

Descended from the blue-influenced Yardbirds group, Led Zeppelin took on a blues guitar driven sound and and an early repetoire that drew heaving on the the blues standards. Throw in an abiding interest in mythology, middle earth fantasy and the occult and you have a recipe for unique song writing. Supposedly, Keith Moon came up with the group’s name and the group was an instant smash. By 1975 they were being called the most popular rock group in the world, but with Bonham’s death in 1980, the ride was over.

There have been minor renunions for Live Aid in 1985 and in 1988 for Atlantic Records 40th reunion. In 1995 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but the led zep at O2big reunion was in 2007 for the London O2 concert in memory of Ahmet Ertegün. Bonham’s son Jason was on drums for the well received concert that sold out overnight. Instead of flickering lighters, fans held up cellphones to take pictures of the band. Ironic, given that now Led Zeppelin has made their music available digitally, including as ringtones for Verizon phones.

Even though it was billed as a one-off, it sounds as though the band may come together again when Robert Plant finishes his tour obligations with Alison Kraus to promote their Raising Sand CD. Stay tuned for news of Led Zeppelin world tour. Maybe Cadillac will be one of the sponsors?

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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