Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The hip press

On this day in 1971, Led Zeppelin played at Leicester University in England, and one writer who was obviously with the times wrote a positive review of Zeppelin's show.

The piece said that all the tickets to the Zeppelin show had sold out within hours of the campus box-office opening and probably would again if Zeppelin would schedule another date there the following week.

This was in a newspaper at the university, far removed from the kind of scene Rolling Stone represented, that preferred instead to print negative reviews of Led Zeppelin and otherwise ignore the band.

An author named Robert Godwin conducted research to find and summarize hundreds of articles and reviews about Led Zeppelin from the '60s and '70s. Having published a book called "Led Zeppelin: The Press Reports," he says:
"The epiphanies that I had doing this [were] that the press that I found on Led Zeppelin did not support the historic contention that they were always slagged off by the press. I found that there were at least as many, but generally more, good write-ups than there were bad. That surprised me 'cause, you know, I'd bought into that for years myself, that the press had always been incredibly mean to them, and it turns out they really weren't -- especially the music press.

"They turned on them once punk rock came along, but they didn't just turn on Led Zeppelin. They turned on pretty much all classic rock. You know, if Led Zeppelin thought they had it bad, you should see the things they used to write about Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Yes!"

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