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Sebastian: Queen and Led Zeppelin14 Feb 2004 22:25
Following the Queen and Beatles series, I think the second most important band in Queen's influences is this one, so it's fair to do a chapter about them. So, for a start:
1.Sebastian 14 Feb 2004 23:07
CROSS REFERENCES:

Freddie was so into Led Zeppelin in the early days. I think he had problems in one of his bands because he change the setlist putting many Zeppelin covers. Apparently his first compositions ripped off that band a lot too. Fred referred to Robert Plant as his favourite singer in 1975, and performed Communication Breakdown in one (or several) of his early bands. Immigrant song was played by the band in 1986. When Bonzo died Freddie dedicated 'We Are The Champions' to him

Roger was more Led Zeppelin than Beatles influences IMO, although Roger was perhaps more influenced by John Lennon as solo artist than by John Lennon as Beatle. Bonzo was by far his favourite drummer and Roger sang Rock N Roll on stage a couple of times. Rog also said that if Queen didn't exist he'd like to have been a member of Led Zeppelin (I think Brian answered ACDC that time)

Brian was perhaps more into The Who and Beatles, but still he loved Zeppelin. The similarties between Jimmy and himself must be a cause that both guitarists were influenced by Jimmy Hendrix, more than each other.

John hasn't mentioned Zeppelin so much in interviews, but by one side he hasn't done so many interviews as Roger or Brian, and by other side he's not asked very often about influences. What is sure is that Led isn't in his top bands, but perhaps he did like them as much as Brian, who knows...

The LZ members haven't talked so much about Queen as far as I know, but they haven't given so many interviews as Queen (even Brian May only). Robert did work with Roger in early 80s and participated in Brian's ("Freddie's") Tribute in April 1992. He said that Freddie told him that the lyrics of 'Innuendo' were a tribute to Led Zeppelin. Fred also mentioned that both Robert and Elton John liked 'Killer Queen'.

I think Jimmy played with Brian once, and both Jimmy and Robert mimed Rock N Roll with Roger few years ago in a ceremony.

----------

MAJOR SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES:

- British bands with four members
- Both bands had a frontman
- The basic line-up of Led didn't include pianist, as opposed to Queen's. Keyboards were assumed in LZ by the bass-player
- Only one guitarist (in the basic line-up) for both bands
- Both bands ended because of the death of one of their members
- Both bands had the same members for all the "important" time (excluding some small club gigs by Queen)

SONGWRITING BALANCE:

Led Zeppelin recorded a vast number of covers, as opposed to Queen (who did just 3 if we count HFE, MIH, IWBTLY and TMLWKY as Queen numbers instead of covers of Cross, Mercury and May songs). The original material was mainly co-written (Page/Plant, including a good number of stolen riffs). Bonzo's contribution was in the arrangements of drum parts, he didn't write chords or lyrics as far as I'm concerned. Jonesy came up with some good riffs but his songs were completed by Jimmy until the late period.

Queen had a dominant songwriter, Freddie, in 10 albums out of 15 (without counting compilations and live things). Brian May dominated in two albums and they had a tie in the remaining 3. Still John and Roger were important songwriters (never dominant though) and wrote some succesful hits. Ironically enough Brian May is the most respected musician from the band by the fans (and somehow by the not-fans too, most of them think of Freddie as a gay frontman but not as a musician), but Brian wrote less hits than all the rest. I think personally that it was a major frustration for him, although he's so thrilled with the fame of 'Rockyou'. But apart of that nothing remarkable (in terms of success), while the rest had at least two mega hits each (Break Free, Bites the Dust, Radio, Magic, Bo Rhap, Champions, Crazy Little Thing...).

Led Zeppelin wrote more epic songs although (I might be wrong here) they didn't use so many modulations and didn't cover so many styles.

PERFORMANCE:

In Led Zeppelin all the lead vocals were done by Robert (in a duet with Sandy in one song). Queen was more balanced specially in the early days. 'News Of The World' has 2 songs sung by Brian and 1 1/2 by Roger. 'Queen II' has in the A Side a great diversity: 1 song is sung by Freddie, 1 by Roger, 1 by Roger, 1 by Freddie and Roger, and the other is instrumental. The B-Side, as opposed, has all the songs sung by Freddie (plus one line by Roger in 'March').

I don't consider either band had proper multi-instrumentists. Jones and Brian are over-rated in that sense. I'd never call Brian a pianist although he did record some lines. Moreover I'd never call Brian a bassist or a "kotoist" or a harpist (considering he recorded the chords separately), not even an ukelele player. Brian's piano technique as a child must have been awesome (not as adult Freddie's but better than adult Brian), but he is more a guitarist who can play some piano than a guitarist/pianist. Jonesy is perhaps closer to a bi-instrumentist than Brian, although I don't consider he really could play the rest of instruments he's credited with (like banjo). For that matter I guess any professional pianist (like Freddie or Rick Wakeman) could have learned in half an hour to play the 'Innuendo' solo in flute or oboe but that doesn't mean he's a flautist or an oboist. Also any experienced instrumentist can play drums on a basic level, at least make some simple patterns or rhythm but that doesn't turn anyone of them in drummers.

To be continued...
2.PD 14 Feb 2004 23:09
for a start:
www.brianmay.com

Led Zeppelin is indeed the other classic band Queen are compared to.

- basic line up: bass, guitar, drums, lead vocal.
- live set, audience in the seventies: guitar-driven songs for "long haired" audience. In the beginning most of Queen's fans were also Led Zeppelin fans. Later on (especially from the eighties on) LZ's position among Queen fans' favourites weakened much. To date LZ must be still in the top-5-10. I guess Queen are www-wide less popular among Led Zeppelin fans than vica versa, probably because Zeppelin have huge fan basis in the US where Queen are not particularly popular.

- compared to Beatles both bands had more controll over their arrangements. A plus for Led Zeppelin is that they went behind Queen in terms of self-producted studio recodings.
Led Zeppelin are more respected among fans of progressive-rock. Reasons:
- Zeppelin debuted in 1969 (in the same year with King Crimson). Queen's debut in 1973 is quite late considering that the golden age of the Progressive Rock genre ended around 1975.
- Led Zeppelin were a band of epics with dozens of songs exceeding 6-8 minutes. Queen with just a couple of long songs were not epic-specialists. On the other hand in terms of musical devices Queen songs are averagely more dense.
- Zeppelin's music is more guitar-riff oriented, while Queen's music is more chord-oriented.
- Queen were open for popular and musichall-influenced songwriting. After the Beatles this approach became a "guilty pleasure" in prog-rock circles.
Zeppelin's lyrics are more "serious" with frequent mystical references. Musically Zeppelin never "sold out", stayed on the "serious" side of songwriting. The low number of LZ singles show they remained predominantly album oriented, while Queen were also a band of melodic singles including a couple of dicso-hits.
- Both LZ and Queen have an overplayed signature song, an all-time favourite: Stairway and BoRhap. Queen have another overplayed anthems though: WWRY/WATC.


Form, harmony and rhythm.
-------------------------

Regarding the songforms - in spite of Led Zeppelin's long longs - Queen songs were averagely more clever. I may be wrong as I made this judgement having analysed only one LZ album (ie. the 4th).

In terms of harmony: I strongly suspect that Queen songs are averagely more complex. I mean: more function-wise special chords (even though LZ songbook is full of bluesy chords: bVII, bIII) unexpected chords, more key-changes.

Rhythm: this is another topic under debate.
Bohardy's opinion was that Led Zeppelin were rhythm-wise beyond Queen, while I suspected the opposite. I wish we could read about LZ's rhythmical challenges as extensively as I wrote about Queen's.
One thing is sure: Led Zeppelin also were a specialists of disorienting rhythms (listen to Black Dog for instance) and they were using a couple of odd time signatures (The Crunge, Ocean, Four Sticks) which Queen did just for a minimal extent. The frequency of rhythmical anomalies and tricks on Queen albums drastically decreased in the eighties.


Any LZ analysis or link to one is highly wellcomed.
3.Sebastian 15 Feb 2004 15:37
First of all I'll answer to your points:

> In the beginning most of Queen's fans were also Led Zeppelin fans.

That was something I was going to mention when I logged in today, before I read your post. Yeah, it's more common for Queen fans to like LZ than to like Beatles and vice versa, even though from a general point of view Queen is more similar to Beatles.

> I guess Queen are www-wide less popular among Led Zeppelin fans than vica versa

That's right, but not so much

> probably because Zeppelin have huge fan basis in the US where Queen are not particularly popular.

That's also difficult to assure. Queen's fan basis in the US is huge, maybe bigger in number than most European countries. Of course the fan base is almost minimal compared to Kiss, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Beatles or The Rolling Stones, but it's not entirely that Queen isn't popular. While American market isn't specially fond of Innuendo and the Flash-Miracle era (mainly caused by the lack of promotion), many people - specially Led Zeppelin circles - like the early Queen material and some songs like 'Tie Your Mother Down'. 'You're My Best Friend' has become very popular last months in US, specially since it appeared in The Simpsons (which was a feature caused by the popularty the song was gaining).


In Colombia most of the so-called Led Zeppelin fans don't go further than Early Days and Later Days, very few know songs like Moby Dick or Misty Mountain Hop. In a similar way, the so-called Queen fans don't go beyond Greatest Hits and Love Of My Life (studio version, I don't know why but here the acoustic version is so alien, while nearly every rock fan - even a Green Day fan - knows about the album version).

> Compared to Beatles both bands had more controll over their arrangements.

It's kind of a generational phenomenon, which luckily Queen could more or less continue on. It's like standing over the shoulders of the great people and take the next step if you know what I mean.

> A plus for Led Zeppelin is that they went behind Queen in terms of self-producted studio recodings.

I think they went beyond, but not in a very big difference either. Freddie was so keen in the mixing and production although - unlike Jimmy - perhaps he was completely dense about placing mics and setting amplifiers and stuff like that

> Led Zeppelin are more respected among fans of progressive-rock. Reasons:

I think the most important reason is the lack of popularity of early Queen material. Also the way the band became less over-complex (apparently) from News on. But consider something: Yes also "sold itself" to the market in early 80s and had two succesful singles. Still their progressive material is so famous and they have a respectful position as progressive band. Kiss also sold itself in the 80s, doing some disco music fullfilled with synths and drum machines, a la Hot Space, but fortunately for them they were always known for the heavy-to-the-era music they did in the 70s. The pop era of Kiss isn't even known by most people (including so called fans). Queen had the opposite luck: most people doesn't know about Masterstroke or Father To Son, they only know about Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Another One Bites The Dust and the typical anthems. Oh, and CLTCL. More "curious" people enter in the world of Greatest Hits and fullfil themselves with more "pop crap" like Invisible Man, Flash or the studio version of Hammer To Fall. Under Pressure is very wellknown but very few people appreaciate its musical value. Fortunately Who Wants To Live Forever is averagely popular in classical music circles, although 99% of them don't know it's a Queen song, they just know the Pavarotti & Friends version and the Sara Brightman one.

> Queen were also a band of melodic singles including a couple of dicso-hits.

CLTCL's success went straight into their heads. It was a kind of an accident, they released it because they "had to" release something for the second half of 1979 since the album wasn't ready. They were just recording the rest of 'The Game' when they found out the song was #1 in US, and that was when they obsessed with pleasing the market. Without that accident perhaps the fourth Game single would have been Need Your Loving or there wouldn't be a fourth single. Two singles per album (as they did until Jazz) was a good measure IMO.

> Regarding the songforms - Queen songs were averagely more clever.

Queen had a good advantage, musically: four writers against ... 1 and a half.

> I may be wrong as I made this judgement having analysed only one LZ album (ie. the 4th).

The Runes album is certainly the most creative in terms of forms.

> In terms of harmony: I strongly suspect that Queen songs are averagely more complex. I mean: more function-wise special chords (even though LZ songbook is full of bluesy chords: bVII, bIII) unexpected chords, more key-changes.

Queen were of course more varied, caused by the background of the members themselves. Led Zeppelin didn't have much classical influence except for some Jonesy frustrated piano lessons he had very young. Since Bonham didn't write and Plant didn't add musical parts, all they had was Jonesy and Jimmy, and most of times JPJ only put riffs or little segments and Jimmy completed them. Queen (specially John) wrote a good number of songs in a totally different style, and hence using more varied progressions and arrangements.

> Bohardy's opinion was that Led Zeppelin were rhythm-wise beyond Queen, while I
suspected the opposite.

That's also an ambiguous subject. It's like fact vs achievement. For me, the fact is that LZ had much more complex rhythm. The achievement is bigger on Queen (specially Freddie) because they had less elements. It's like a challenge: you must make a layer animation for a web-site. Led Zeppelin uses Dream Weaver, so they make a great animation in like 20 secs. Queen uses text processor, so they make a not so spectacular animation lasting hours. That comparison is perhaps more useful in a Queen vs Yes contest.

> The frequency of rhythmical anomalies and tricks on Queen albums drastically decreased in the eighties.

That affects very hard the average of anomalies. If Queen had ended on 'Jazz' the story would be very different.

Now the next part:

-------

QUEEN AND LED ZEPPELIN AS MUSICIANS:

The fact Queen had four "complete songwriters" (i.e. the same person did lyrics, chords and most or all of the arrangements) in constant work affected that part as well. The diversity of their music and the individual space of each one were other important factors. While Jones or Plant never thought of playing guitar (even rhythm) in any Led Zeppelin record, the four Queen members played guitar in the Hot Space album (and each one of them participated in more songs of other albums). Since Led Zeppelin was in essence a live band and their songs - except for guitar harmonies - were recorded in one take, they didn't switch positions. Roger referred to Queen as a live band too, and in most of cases they did record piano, bass and drums live, but the difference of the particular member's pieces caused many changes. For instance Brian played the piano of his songs since they matched more his style than Freddie's machine-like precision (that loses the feeling), and John played guitars on his tracks. John's guitar style was very different from Brian's, and in his own field he had somehow an advantage (plus a better sense of rhythm), so a couple of times Freddie and Roger (and perhaps Brian himself) preferred to use John's guitar in determinate parts (e.g. Roger's second solo album or the fills in 'Staying Power').

Hot Space was a do it yourself era and the live band thing was almost completely lost. Brian and Freddie played the bass on the synths instead of using John, and programmed the drums in machines instead of using Roger. The fact each one could do whatever he wanted in his songs favoured those kinds of events. The Miracle and Innuendo are more democtatic albums, so is Made In Heaven, still Freddie's positin as the band's keyboardist was lost and synths were played (or programmed) many times by the creator of the song.

John Bonham is in my opinion much better drummer than Roger, but there's also a lot of legend around him. He certainly made a huge change, and influenced many drummers (including Roger), so he gained an almost unremovable position of "best drummer ever". It's like Pele, Babe Ruth or Hendrix.

As far as bass is concerned, I can't speak too much about the John's since I was always more interested in JPJ as keyboard player. But now we mentioned that, it seems clear to me that Freddie (and perhaps Brian) were more accomplished players than Jonesy. On the other hand Jonesy could program early synths with remarkable talent, way way beyond anything a Queen member could do.

I personally prefer Jimmy as guitarist than Brian, although the difference between them is not as big as I used to think. As I said before, both Jonesy's and May's (and McCartney's for that point) usual credit as multi-instrumentists is way too much. To play banjo in one track is different to be a banjo player. It's more or less the same for Gene Simmon's keyboard playing. Eddie Van Halen is in my opinion an authentic bi-instrumentist. Mick Ronson is a multi-instrumentitst. But David Bowie ... no, not at all. I mean, the fact of recording one little violin segment is more curiosity than proper talent. Jimmy learnt to play mandolin just for the song, then he dropped it. Not a big deal.

John Deacon's voice is not extremely good based on what I've listened. In a singers band like Queen or Bee Gees it isn't a surprise that he's "rejected" in that sense. In a normal band like Nirvana, REM or Radiohead, probably John would be the background vocalist (making parallel fifths or thirds in 'Polly' or 'Karma Police'). Bonzo's voice is more or less in the same level IMO.

Jimmy and Jonesy aren't particularly great singers, certainly below the level of Brian or Roger. Robert is IMO the most expressive of the eight, but not so good on stage. Live, I prefer Roger than Freddie or Robert. Jonesy's craftmanship in the vocal arrangements is minimal compared to any of the Queen members, but also consider LZ never intented to be a vocal band, as opposed to Queen, who even rehearsed Life Is Real a capella but sadly never did it on a concert.
4.Daniel 15 Feb 2004 19:20
Hi

I was really interested in this article because my favorite bands are Queen and Zeppelin (then Beatles, Rolling Stones and others similar).
I started in music with Queen with great influences from their guitar and bass lines. And really i admire lot of guitar players such as Hendrix, keith Rhichards, Harrison, Chuck Berry, Slash, May and others. but when i hear Page i think nothing will be better than him.
Page is all what a musician must be, he has really speed (not just hammer on and tapping as others) a lot of style, rare ideas and great compositions. A song that will never stop of made me cry is White summer.
Brian made better songs than Page, has a better style, great guitars but Page has something that mades his guitars more interesting. Anyway i thing Brian is betters person (but i will never forgive him for playing with Britney Spears)
About Freedie and Robert: i like more Freedie voice and style and he also play piano great and made better compositions, but live Freedie change the voice so much wich is something than robert doesn't have to do and like that.
About John and Jones: Jones made better bass lines but he is just immprovisation, so i like more John.
About Roger and Bonham: We all know even they are really profesionals but Bonham play drums as noone. Roger has  a great voice (but i hate is compositions at excepion of Tenement funster)

Anyway Queen music touch me more than led zeppelin.

Also i live in Colombia and i could say that here music is almost dead, all people hear mostly Punk and techno so i wont say anything of zep or Queen.
5.Sebastian 15 Feb 2004 20:04
Jimmy used to be my favourite guitarist for so long, before I knew about the truly virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai
6.Daniel 18 Feb 2004 22:32
well it's a very ineresting opinion but...
truly virtuosos? yes they can be fast, but what makes a good guitarist is his music, style and skills. But really, you don't have to show a camera the speed of your fingers or just made all the time very fast things so people recognises you.
Just because Jimmy, Brian or much other don't made fast things all the time doesn't mean that they can't do em.
The thing is just the style.    
7.Sebastian 19 Feb 2004 13:31
Have you heard of that theory that everything a person does is in order to cover his/her weaknesses? according to that theory a psychiatrist dedicates his/her life to solve other people's problems because he/she wants to avoid his/her own. I'm not devoted to that theory but I find it has a very good point.

On that matter, perhaps an endless chain of ornaments and show-offs is an indirect way to hide the fact you can't create a melodic easy-to-remember and everlasting solo like the one in 'Get Back', and vice versa. Mick Ronson was not a virtuoso in any sense of the word (as a guitar player I mean). He compensated it arranging very interesting harmonies and creating wonderful melodic solos. His virtuosism was in his mind, and his amazing musical skills (he's the only rock musician I would call a multi-instrumentist, because he in fact can be called pianist, violinist, cellist and guitarist).

Something remarkable about Brian (and also Freddie in the piano) is the possibility of doing variety of styles with an averagely excellent level. Note that Brian could do many different kinds of solos (compare Princes Of The Universe, Resurrection, Modern Times Rock N' Roll, Killer Queen, Son And Daughter, Millionaire Waltz, Days Of Our Lives, Who Wants To Live Forever... they're all different) but he didn't "specialise" in any of those kinds. It can be either a good or a bad thing, good in the sense that he can be very good at any of those styles, bad in the sense that he'll never be virtuoso in any of them.

But sometimes the guitar virtuoso players are under-rated in their other skills. Yngiwe was not only neo-classic metal, he could also play other stuff if he wanted to and his technique is wonderful. A very used argument by May fans is the eternal "he could sing he could play piano he could write" story. By one side, that's out of context: ok, perhaps he's better or more accomplished musician than Jimmy Page for example, but not better guitarist (or in case he is, that's not the reason). But for that matter Steve Vai also wrote songs (much more complicated than Brian's), also played piano and bass, and also sang.
8.Daniel 20 Feb 2004 22:57
Really i haven't heard that theory before but it's interesting.

The part that i can't get that you say is  "he'll never be virtuoso in any of them"
To me, one of the most interesting things about Queen (also Zeppelin, Beatles, stones and many others) music and guitarists is that they always do something different that what they already do. They pick what they hear and make something of them (cause they already know the theory)and it sounds great. If want to see their true style you can hear the their guitars live. Make variety of styles and sound great is what make them special. In a Queen album you can notice that every song is different (mostly in the first albums) but when you just hear the first note you know it's Queen. That make them good, not to try to be virtuos, but they are.
What i don't like of the other kinds of guitarists is that they just try to show that they are good.
You must have noticed that there is people that when they are with someone and pick a guitar the first think they do is to play a fast solo or something like that, so that the people notice they are good, but there are others that just play something without trying  to show that they are good but you know they are good.  
That is what makes a guitarrist for me.

Anyway your theory is very interesting, the thing is just "likes".        
 
9.Sebastian 09 May 2004 18:46
Just to add some more thought to this thread:

Again, as in the Beatles discussion, I think Led Zeppelin`s huge fame was because they made a huge change. Their variey didn`t move so much outside the same kind of variety if you know what I mean. Yeah, certainly my two favourite songs written by that band - Battle and All My Love - are different to each other, but the best known part of their career - ie early days - was based in two or three different concepts only: speed "metal" (`Communication Breakdown`, `Immigrant Song`...), bluesy "metal" (`How Many More Times`, `Dazed And Confused`...) and acoustic "folk" (`Friends`, their cover of `Babe I`m Gonna Leave You`...).

Mercury also gave his personal fingerprint to any style he worked on (from classical to disco) but it didn`t turn up excesivelly well. I think that his sexuality (specially in the 80s) and the whole aids scandal was the worst damage the band received in terms of popularity. If you read 70s or even early 80s magazines you can note Queen had the fame of a meticulous and perfectionist band. That got lost in the 80s with the soundtracks, the Euro-pop and the heavy use of synths. And the sudden change in their live performances, they stopped being concerts by four musicians and started being concerts by a front-man and four backing musicians.

For some extent Fred`s personal problems affected everything too. Note that in June 1977 he claimed that the next album would be the same multi-tracked and over-arranged genre they practiced. But when the album was recorded they decided to do something simpler and more spontaneous. Somehow he gave up his over-clever musical style in that month period. And the difference is notable. I don`t mean `Champions` and `Melancholy` are bad songs (I do find `Get Down` is somehow mediocre), but in both instrumentation and arrangements they`re highly inferior to all the four songs Mercury wrote in `Races`. Note also the number of songs he wrote per album until then: half of the first, half of the second, more than half of the third, 5/12 of the fourth, 2/5 of the fifth. Then suddenly he just wrote three songs in `News`. That somehow affected it a lot since the Queen standard had been his a-cyclic and clever compositions. Yeah on `News` we got Brian doing `All Dead`, which is pretty clever too, as well as both of John`s songs, but it`s not the same as having they all working at their best.

Somehow unfortunately for their fame, their experimental period lasted a lot longer than their "progressive" one, and so the most famous part of that band (except for `Bo Rhap` & `Killer Queen`) is completely in the post-Races time.

Another chapter I wanted to is to compare each band`s extremes:

--------

Improvisation:

Jimmy went much further than Brian in that. Mostly because of the practice, many Led Zeppelin songs gave him space to improvise his solos and see whatever came up, and each night he did so. Brian`s "improvisations" barely went further than changing some notes of the solos, and some well-rehearsed "impromptus" in songs like `Now I`m Here`.

Jonesy didn`t improvise so much. He had the function of being there, playing the basis, so Jimmy could develop his solos. I find John Deacon went further in that part, he could improvise (note Magic Tour concerts) and at the same time he kept being a rhythm basis. On piano Fred went way beyond Jonesy too. I would have loved to hear longer impromptus from him though, it`s hard to determinate how good was he at that only for some short intros he played to some songs.

On drums I find they both did it very well, but of course Bonham had more strength and speed... but to some point he had the benefit of being a legend. I mean, just like Hendrix, he was the first big hero of the instrument and so everything he did was "wow", to his huge fan base, because he didn`t have any competitor. In football it happens a lot: when Diego Maradona did the 2nd goal against England in 1986 (the famous one in which he eluded like five players and finally beat the goal-keeper) it was (and still is) considered the best goal of the World Cup story. When Saeed Al Owairan did the same in 1994 (and even better, with more technique and from a longer distance, passing over more opposite players) it was just a goal.

That`s the `Walrus` point I did in the Beatles thing. The song is very creative and original, but it`s widely considered so because The Beatles released it. If Yardbirds had done it, would it be so famous? Not neccesarily that one, but others like `Mr Kite`, `I Feel Fine` or even `Yesterday`?

----------

Studio Achievements:

Led Zeppelin has a bigger credit, officially, because they (Page) were in charge of the production. But to which extent it`s really a plus point? If you note the mix of the Zeppelin catalogue, it`s not so good. Their strength was more in the quality of the solos (I mean the notes, the scales...) and the virtuosism of the drum-parts than in the actual eq and mix of them. A good example of perfect production is Metallica`s Black Album.

So, in a way, if Paul, George, Ringo and John had recorded the strnig quartet of `Eleanor Rigby`, even if it sounded awful or rookie, nearly everyone would have celebrated that as a hugely impressive achievement. I find it unfair

Something else: Beatles didn`t (as far as I remember) go further than two-part guitar harmonies (And Your Bird Can Sing & Birthday). Nearly any song of the second Queen album (except perhaps `Seven Seas`, `Funny` and obviously `Nevermore`) had more guitar layers than `The Song Remains The Same`, which is like Jimmy Page`s peak on multi-tracking. But nearly nobody cared.

To be continued... (together with a GnR-Queen thread)
10.PD 10 May 2004 07:10
Some thoughts

> I think Led Zeppelin`s huge fame was because they made
> a huge change.
Many point out that their kind of music had forerunners
(Jeff Beck, Hendrix) who are underrated when they credit
Zeppelin for inventing heavy metal.

> I think that his sexuality (specially in the 80s) and
> the whole aids scandal was the worst damage the band
> received in terms of popularity.
I still wonder how well Freddie's popularity as singer could
survive these "scandals".


> If you read 70s or even early 80s magazines
except Rolling Stone...

> That got lost in the 80s with the soundtracks,
> the Euro-pop and the heavy use of synths.
And the changed image, the videos, the weak promotion...

> Improvisation:
> Jimmy went much further than Brian in that.
Definitely. Queen had only a few songs on stage that worked
with an improvised guitar solo.

> I find John Deacon went further in that part, he could
> improvise (note Magic Tour concerts)
could you tell particular examples?


> On piano Fred went way beyond Jonesy too.
Mercury's impromptus, and those mini-piano breaks (ie. the one
introducing Play The Game) were 90% pre-written IMO. Elton John
was probably far more accompished improviser on piano.


> When Saeed Al Owairan did the same in 1994
> it was just a goal.
Yep. Somehow the 86 mundial had a better after-life.


> That`s the `Walrus` point I did in the Beatles thing.
> The song is very creative and original, but it`s widely
> considered so because The Beatles released it.
remember my point about the stereo records.
Except some hard-core experts nobody knows who released
the first stereo LP. If the Beatles were the first, they
were heavily celebrated for having influenced the music
busic business till today, since bands still release
stereo records.
For some extent Queen must be too unfairly overrated
compared to some less known bands.


> `Eleanor Rigby`, even if it sounded awful or rookie,
For the masses it didn't sounded rooky nor awfull. I find
that quartett arrangement quite elaborated and working
well with the "weltschmertz" lyrics. Style-wise it was
an original track in the league of Bohemian Rhapsody
in context of 1975 IMO.


> Beatles didn`t (as far as I remember) go further than two-part
> guitar harmonies (And Your Bird Can Sing & Birthday).
Nor the Beatles and Zeppelin were celebrated for their
guitar harmonies. It's not something over-praised.
11.Sebastian 10 May 2004 10:29
First of all, as always, I answer to your points:

> Many point out that their kind of music had forerunners (Jeff Beck, Hendrix) who are underrated when they credit Zeppelin for inventing heavy metal.

For some extent even Yardbirds are underrated in that way. In my opinion Zeppelin were more Grimm brothers than Hand Christian Andersen. More clearly, they compiled those musical trademarks together and put them in what it was then known as heavy metal (which for today`s standards just would be "hard rock").

> I still wonder how well Freddie's popularity as singer could survive these "scandals".

Those scandals were all in all a good promotion for his image as singer, because it wasn`t anymore "Freddie Mercury, the songwriter/pianist/singer". It was "Freddie Mercury, the gay singer". So it kind of worked out "well" for his image as vocalist. Nearly everyone can recognise his voice, thanks to those scandals.

> And the changed image, the videos, the weak promotion...

More than weak promotion I would say that they had way too much promotion, specially to their singles. As I said yesterday, they lost their work as a band on stage, leading to a frontman-backing-band kind of line-up.

> could you tell particular examples?

I seem to remember White Queen has interesting melodic parts, which could have been pre-written though. Other songs with that, from the top off my head, In The Lap Of The Gods, Hammer To fall (perhaps I misremebered this one), Now I`m Here, I Want To Break Free

> Mercury's impromptus, and those mini-piano breaks (ie. the one introducing Play The Game) were 90% pre-written IMO.

As far as I`ve listened, I have heard like five live versions of `Play The Game`, all with different intros. I haven`t heard so many for `Bo Rhap` though

> For the masses it didn't sounded rooky nor awfull.

What I mean is that, imagine that they instead of hiring session musicians would have played the quartet by themselves. Definitely it would have sounded very rookie, but people would have celebrated it so much because "Ringo is a violinist!, Paul is a cellist!, George is a bassist!, John is a violist!". Similar to the harp thing in LOVM, which I consider is way over-rated, as well as Roger`s bass, guitar and keyboard work, Jonesy`s "multi-instruments", and specially David Bowie (they say he "can" play violin just because he recorded a couple of notes in some obscure song in an album, it`s very unfair). And of course Macca...
12.Daniel 14 May 2004 00:37
Great articles.

Just something, Jonesy DID improvise so much, at that point that you could say that he is just improvisation.  Most of his bass lines (different to John) where only improvisatons, for example the solo of Lemon Song.
That is good and bad, because i could say that he is one of the bassis that i admire most, but just improvisation isnt all good.
I hate, for example, when Brian improvise solos live (like Great King Rat). The same thing happends on some bass lines
13.PD 16 May 2004 06:56
"Shifted accents" in Stairway:

groups.google.co.hu

14.Sebastian 03 Jul 2004 14:22
Talking about under-rated bands, I should put some Sparks analyses. More on that later
15.Sebastian 22 Aug 2004 00:24
Zeppelin-esque details in `Liar`:

- The use of organ (a rare feature in Queen by the way)

- Riff driven instrumental sections

- Power chords

- Very long melody content

- Tempo changes

- Not many modulations (Liar is basically switching from A major to D major)

- Strong vocal harmonies

- Guitar with delay (Liar has it in the demo version)

- Guitar harmonies (mixed in quite a similar way as well)

- Fast (for the era) pentatonic guitar fills

- Chromatic, pentatonic and diatonic scale fragments in the bass

- The final "all day long" part (repeated three times) is very similar in the bass and drums to the end of How Many More Times interlude. Whole Lotta Love also works as cross-reference

The combination of fingerpicked acoustic guitar verses and powerful electric guitar parts later is reminiscent of Stairway and probably contributed to the fact Queen was labelled as Led Zeppelin clones in the early days. There`s some interesting detail about this specific case though: Liar demo proves the song already had the mentioned acoustic/electric feature in September 18th, which is two months before the release of the untitled album (containing Stairway). The fingerpicking pattern sounds similar to Thank You; even though we can`t assure that song was a direct influence (flirting with D major alterations is very common in rock music, even in that era, George Harrison and Bob Dylan also used that a lot), it seems Freddie (and the band) liked a lot the piece, since they used part of it at Freddie`s Tribute Concert, and some lyrics are paraphrased in Innuendo.
16.Sebastian 22 Dec 2004 18:52

Babe I`m Gonna Leave You

|--------x2---------|
Verse` - Verse - Break
Verse``- Bridge- Break
|---------x3--------|
Verse  -Bridge` - Verse```


* My favourite from the band together with Battle

Black Mountain Side

Intro - Song (AAA`A``)

* Always loved that one

Communication Breakdown

Verse/2 - Verse - Chorus
Verse/4 - Verse - Chorus
          Verse - Chorus - Verse...


* Alternate melodies, solo, intro... but the same section all in all. This is the one that got me.

Dazed And Confused

Verse/2 - Verse - Break
|----------------x2---------------|
Verse/2 - Verse - Break
Interlude I II III    - Break
Verse/2 - Verse - Break - Outro


* A classic, but I got used to the live version, now I can barely stand the album one

How Many More Times

AAAAAAAA AAAAAAAA AAAAAAAA` AAAAAAAA AAAABBBB BBBBBBBB CCCCCCCD
EEEEEEEE EEEEEEED` EEEEEEEE EEEEEEEE FF` G
AAAAAA` AAAA` AAAA` AA` AA` A`


* This is the song I always recommend when somebody asks me for an "ultimate epic". No wonder why. Songform is considering the riffs

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