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Trampled Underfoot June 7, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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I’ve been reading Barney Hoskyns book on Led Zeppelin ‘Trampled Underfoot’ (the perfect counterpoint to Tracey Thorn’s superb autobiography – and speaking of autobiographies, next stop Viv Albertine’s!). It’s an oral history and it’s a gloomy one too in its own way. The early part is fascinating in detailing the music scenes in Epsom where Page was from and how characters like Lonnie Donegan could be… well, radical in their own odd way. Moreoever the sheer range of Page’s involvement in music in the 1960s is staggering. Did he do nothing else?

But as Zeppelin takes off, so to speak, the story sours, and the mid to late 1970s make for grim reading much of the time.

Here by the way is Page and Plant’s riposte to punk. This was apparently written in anger at the snottiness of the newer form. It was recorded during the sessions for In Through The Out Door (a remarkable album in its own way) but only saw the light of day on the Coda release following the death of John Bonham. I’m not quite sure listening to it – good though it is – that they really got what punk was about.

Still, two other thought, Plant comes out of the book remarkably well. And it becomes ever increasingly understandable why he might not be anywhere near as keen as Page to reform the remaining line-up.

And just as Epsom and surrounds had a strong music scene, one really gets the sense of how Birmingham and the Black Country was a ferment of creativity in rock music. The list of those involved: Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood (and the rest of the Move), Carl Palmer, the Moody Blues, Plant and Bonham, Judas Priest, Sabbath, some of Deep Purple, Steve Winwood, and on the list goes. There’s got to be sociological research in them thar hills. I should add that my mothers family is from there too, and that she shares a surname with a member of Sabbath. Sadly no relation that I know of.

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1. Mick Hall - June 7, 2014

“next stop Viv Albertine’s!). It’s an oral history”

Sorry juvenile but could not resist it.

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WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2014

Ouch! Didn’t see that. It’s definitely…. erm… radically different to Tracey Thorn’s from what I can tell just flicking through the pages.

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2. sonofstan - June 7, 2014

Re Zep and punk; i remember an NME interview with Generation X where they were using Zep’s rehearsal studio, with Plant and Bonham casting a fatherly eye on the little tykes. Come to think of it, given that they picked Gen X to patronise, it sort of proves they didn’t get punk

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WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2014

Yeah, exactly, and yet and yet, when Beck left the Yardbirds (according to the accounts in the Hoskyns book) the page led four piece played a mixture of covers including… The Velvet Underground. I just don’t get that. I’ve always liked their experimental tendencies (given the genre they were most closely associated with – though always thought it was probably more Plant than him) but didn’t any of the VU stuff impact on him/them?

Funnily enough at this remove the guitarist Page reminds me most of is John Squire and a not dissimilar dynamic post Stone Roses for the latter.

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WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2014

BTW, have you read the Albertine book?

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sonofstan - June 7, 2014

No but B. has and has more or less retailed the best bits to me, eh, ‘orally’. Saving it for the holidays and the end of marking.
Re the Yardbirds/ Velvets thing: pretty sure that was all Keith Relf, who had pretty advanced tastes. Must admit i could never stand Zep, and a lot of that was down to Plant’s voice, though in many ways, as you say, he seems the sanest and most interesting.

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WorldbyStorm - June 7, 2014

It’s very good so far.

Re VU, yes Relf would make sense.

Zeppelin, like the British Labour Party, I’m conflicted about!

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sonofstan - June 7, 2014

Both Trampled UnderFoot.

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WorldbyStorm - June 8, 2014

Ain’t that the truth.

Got to admit a sneaking regard for the Yardbirds. Some good songs.

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