With its sunny climate and beaches that were gold in color and bordered by palm trees, California had everything it required to welcome visitors from all around. Millions were undoubtedly mesmerized by the ambiance, and it didn’t take long for the region to build its own legacy and turn into a timeless myth.
The Beach Boys certainly had a lot to say about the “Californian myth” as they used the vehicle to drive their fictional convertibles to beach parties, sunbathe with women, and surf on friendly waves while praising their beloved home state and the fantasy it inspired in millions of people.
The Californians attempted to resist the British Invasion while the Fab Four quickly and cheerfully landed on the continent and took over the charts; they were possibly the Beatles’ biggest creative competitors. One of the first times the West Coast scene ran afoul of its British counterparts was in that situation. As the years passed and other bands from both scenes emerged and disappeared, the West Coast was home to notable acts like Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrds. Due to its reputation over the years, it was clear by the late 1960s that California was a hotbed for rock, especially following the Monterey Festival in 1967.
With countless legends making their debuts and impacting the industry globally, the British scene was also humming. One of these idols was Led Zeppelin, a group that swiftly rose to the top of the scene, connecting with sizable American audiences and carrying the British Invasion torch.
There was no doubt that the West Coast and London scenes competed despite being thousands of miles apart from one another, as the creative competition that began with the Beatles and Beach Boys plainly continued deep into the ’70s.
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin apparently had some complaints about his Californian colleagues because he thought the American bands sounded bad. You can only imagine his surprise when Robert Plant revealed that he was into the West Coast scene given that they had just recently met and were attempting to connect through a common interest in music.
The guitarist spoke fondly of the vocalist and reminisced about how they connected right away since Plant was into the melodic explorations and riffs Jimmy had been doing at the time they first met in 1976. However, when Page discovered that his new buddy liked the West Coast culture, they were unable to properly connect.
Jimmy said, “There was this thing of forming a group, and then, well, we seemed to get on pretty well. He was very bluesy orientated, and of course, I’ve been through that as well, and then I played him a lot of other things which I sort of attempt things like, ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,’ things like that which had a totally different approach to the way that it’s originally been done by Joan Baez. So, he definitely seemed to be into those things, so it was definitely on.”
He also talked about the differences and said, “I remember he was doing a lot of West Coast music, which I had an aversion to [laughs].”
It was therefore strange to hear the guitarist criticize his American contemporaries, since, in the course of the conversation, Page spoke about how horrible Buffalo Springfield sounded on stage, despite the fact that Plant’s fondness for the West Coast scene did not prevent Page from planning to create a band with him.