Trampled Underfoot June 7, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
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.