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How I Became Dazed and Confused

I know you might be thinking to yourself, here goes another article about Led Zeppelin.  To ease your mind, I recently (within the last three years) became a Zeppelin fan.  Why did it take so long for me to actually become a fan of one of the greatest Rock n’ Roll bands of all time?  Growing up in the MTV generation, it was frowned upon to be cliché and listen to what you were told to listen to.  Wow, that is a cliché it itself judging from today’s MTV generation.

I took an interest in Led Zeppelin after listening to a couple of vinyl records that an old lady gave me in return for helping her move some furniture.  The vinyl’s she game me were “Led Zeppelin”, “Led Zeppelin II”, “Led Zeppelin III” and “The Song Remains the Same”.  I took them home and laid them on the shelf for a couple of months.  Finally, I broke them out and gave them a real listen.  I had heard Zeppelin songs before, but listened to them like some people do.  I had listened to The Yardbirds and Cream before, how different could they sound from that? It wasn’t until I REALLY listened that I came to appreciate the band tremendously.

I instantly fell in love with the riffs.  For those of you who do not know what a riff is, I would describe it as a short, oftentimes repeated, memorable phrase that is often pitched low on the ole guitar.

I think it was destiny for me to discover Led Zeppelin so late in music evolution.  I had bands shoved down my throat that were “perfect”, with no notes out of place and guitar parts that could not be played live like they were on the record.

Jimmy Page’s guitar style is blues with a rock n’ roll overtone (or visa versa), but was often sloppy and had a live feel.  There are so many rumors on how the band actually recorded or how Page got his guitar sounds that I will not even go into that. He even admits to leaving mistakes on the record because it provided the sound that he was going for.

The first album I spun was Led Zeppelin.  I was instantly hooked.  But I really started to listen when “Dazed and Confused” started.  That is a memorable riff.  It is a chromatic riff that starts on E up to G and then drops to G F# F E, then on to D C# C B.  Eerie in every way, mainly because it is off-scale to the rest of the song, and add Page’s doubling the riff up two octaves (I believe) you have an instant classic that sounded like nothing of that time period.  Grab a copy of  “The Song Remains the Same” and listen to the live version, his adlibbing and hammer-on’s will remind you of the essence of rock n’ roll.

Add John Paul Jones’ bass lick, Robert Plant’s voice and John Bonham’s constant drive to the song and you have a winner in my book.

I will forever be a Led Zeppelin fan because I skipped the trend and actually listened with my soul wide open.  I hope future generations will do the same.  Actually listen, not because it is cool, but because you want something that speaks to you…

2 Responses to “ How I Became Dazed and Confused ”

  1. Mike Mora Says:

    Actually, some interesting data on what Page and Plant actually wrote, but, they still absolutely rock.

    Jake Holmes doing the original version of “Dazed and Confused”.

  2. Mike Mora Says:

    I could spend a week discussing Jimmy Page’s mastery of the hook but to really appreciate Page’s interpretations you really have to get your hands on some Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters. These are the bluesmasters that Page stood on the shoulders of to leapfrog the instrument to where it was in the 70’s.

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