Why Keith Richards Couldn’t Stand Listening To Led Zeppelin

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Listeners to music can find each other offensive. Someone’s favorite band could be the one that someone else detests the most. This is because music is subjective by nature, making an analytical approach to it unfeasible. Thus, regardless of their level of success, even the greatest bands or artists face criticism at nearly every stage of their careers.

There may be differences between their starting and ending points for their careers. Some great artists receive criticism when they first appear, but later on, they may be acknowledged as geniuses. Therefore, receiving negative feedback early in their career does not guarantee that it will continue similarly. Keith Richards’ remarks on Led Zeppelin, one of the most respected bands of today, also revealed that the band had gone through a similar experience.

Why Did Keith Richards Criticize Led Zeppelin?

The 1969 self-titled album by Led Zeppelin was not well received when it first came out. Although they were perceived as inferior to other well-known bands of the day, such as Cream and the Jeff Beck Band, their sound was comparable to that of such groups. Because he didn’t conform to the conventional rock star image of the time, Robert Plant was also the subject of criticism.

Keith Richards, the guitarist for the Rolling Stones, was questioned about Led Zeppelin, a band that had just released their debut album, in a 1969 Rolling Stone interview. Richards claimed to have heard the band’s CD a few times, but he was completely turned off by its sound. Thus, there came a time when he could no longer bear to listen to them.

The band’s main vocalist Robert Plant was first subjected to scathing criticism from the guitarist, who said that after hearing the record several times, Plant’s voice started to irritate him. He wasn’t sure why exactly, but it could have something to do with his “acrobatic” singing technique. Richards then chastised the band’s late drummer John Bonham for his erratic playing. The musician acknowledged Jimmy Page as a talented and well-respected guitarist, but he felt a little hollowness in his playing.

When questioned about Led Zeppelin, Keith Richards had the following response:

“I played their album quite a few times when I first got it, but then the guy’s voice started to get on my nerves. I don’t know why; maybe he’s a little too acrobatic. But Jimmy Page is a great guitar player and a very respected one.”

Richards considered the other band members:

“I love Jimmy Page, but as a band, no, with John Bonham thundering down the highway in an uncontrolled 18-wheeler. He had cornered the market there. Jimmy is a brilliant player. But I always felt there was something a little hollow about it, you know?”

Although it’s unclear if Keith Richards had a change of heart regarding Led Zeppelin in the future, certainly, he certainly didn’t enjoy listening to the band in the first place. His admiration for Jimmy Page’s guitar playing was matched by his admiration for the band’s music and overall aesthetic.


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