Dinosaurs have supposedly been extinct for a million years but if truth be told, they did make a fleeting comeback during the 1970s. For how else can you describe a cultural phenomenon as humongous and anomalous as Led Zeppelin the likes of which the world had never seen and is yet to see again? They were Dinosaurs indeed.
With a quartet as talented as Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham at the helm, Zeppelin was always meant to soar but few could have predicted that the foursome would go on to redefine idol worship. They were the biggest band in the world and went on to sell millions of records. Stories of orgies and excesses involving the band abound and perhaps moulded the quintessential rockstar image. But is Led Zeppelin with all its mystic and rawness, the greatest band ever to grace the Earth.
Led Zeppelin is best known as a hard rock band but a deeper scrutiny reveals a plethora of different styles in the band’s body of work. The band explored genres as varied as blues, folk, country, metal, ballads, reggae and even punk. For every Dazed and Confused there is a That’s the Way, for everyKashmir, there is a House of the Holy. The point here is that Zeppelin as a band explored music like few other bands have done. The other band most frequently cited as the greatest ever are the Beatles who themselves have a wide ranging catalogue. However, the Beatles were never a hard rock band. They were more like a pop-rock group. The Beatles despite having one of the most accomplished catalogue there is, lack an out an out stadium shaker a la Dazed and Confused.
Moreover, Led Zeppelin were much better instrumentalists than the Beatles. Each member of Zeppelin would easily make it to the top five of his respective category. The same cannot be said of the Beatles. However, there is a strong consensus on the fact that both Zeppelin and Beatles were greater than the sum of their constituents.
No band can claim to be a great rock band unless it can play live. Led Zeppelin were one of the greatest live acts there ever was. Beatles on the other hand would not last ten minutes on the same stage with Zeppelin. The raw energy of a Zeppelin concert was hardly matched by anyone either before or after them.
On strength of all the above I come to the rather bold conclusion the Led Zeppelin were and are the greatest band in the world.