Rock

Phil Collen names the band that could equal Led Zeppelin

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Numerous rock bands continue to draw inspiration from Led Zeppelin, spanning from countless followers in the 1970s to Greta Van Fleet’s detailed replication of the band’s style today. The unique synergy among Led Zeppelin’s members profoundly influenced the rock and roll genre. Despite many attempts, few could rival classics like ‘Ten Years Gone’ and ‘Kashmir’. Phil Collen, however, thought Jeff Beck could have been a serious contender.

Jimmy Page and Beck, despite their distinct approaches, frequently mingled in the British blues circuit, notably during their time with the Yardbirds. In one notable period, Page even played bass at live performances.

Beck’s guitar prowess was undeniable, setting a benchmark unmatched since Jimi Hendrix, with his ability to make the guitar “speak”. His live performances were especially captivating, marked by his innovative use of the whammy bar.

Page, while primarily known for his studio work, was deeply influenced by Beck, pushing the guitar to new heights in Led Zeppelin’s music. He used unconventional methods like playing with a violin bow and exploring different tunings, adding a unique texture to songs such as ‘The Rain Song’.

Phil Collen, initially inspired by Mott the Hoople and David Bowie, acknowledged the unmatched skills of Page and Beck early in his career. Even as Def Leppard’s music carried a hint of Zeppelin’s influence, Collen has always praised Beck’s guitar mastery.

Interestingly, Beck turned down an opportunity to perform at Woodstock in 1969, a decision that came as Jimi Hendrix rose to fame. Collen speculated that with Beck’s guitar skills and Rod Stewart’s vocal prowess, Beck’s band could have rivaled Led Zeppelin’s success if they had played alongside Hendrix at Woodstock.

Collen once remarked to Guitar World that Beck’s instrumental work, especially before Stewart joined the Faces, showcased his guitar skills in a superior manner, suggesting that their absence from Woodstock ultimately worked out for everyone, including the Faces. Yet, he hinted at the potential for greater success had they performed.

Jeff Beck’s journey in music continued to inspire guitarists worldwide, leaving a mark on anyone attempting to master the guitar, often introducing them to techniques Beck pioneered, perhaps without them even realizing it.

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