Led Zeppelin Classification

There is little argument when it comes to the vast influence and incredible genius of the works of Led Zeppelin. Their 1995 induction bibliography in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cited them “as influential” during the 1970s as the Beatles during the 1960s. However, when it comes to their classification as a musical genre, there is much debate, not only from fans or their music, but from the band members themselves. In this discourse, I will examine whether or not the band can be labeled as “metal,” and if not, then where exactly should their works be displayed at the record store? Music is divided in to all sorts of genres and subgenres: Blue, Jazz, Folk, Latin, Pop, Rock, Country - and sometimes, it isn’t easy to put a song in to just …show more content…
Upon learning I was taking this course, my own father, a fan for the past 40 years, outright said they were a metal band, not a hint of doubt in his voice. I, on the other hand, am not so sure, so I decided to look around for some different opinions. One music blog I subsequently visited not only called them a heavy metal band, but credits them with creating the whole genre. But then another one linked right beside it paints a different story, citing the band’s acoustic attributes as precisely why they shouldn’t be classified as heavy metal at all. Certainly, there are many songs with acoustic themes, however there are also many that do not. If one, for example, looks only at their second album, they could fairly safely say that it is, in fact, a metal band. The songs embody nearly every element of the guidelines for defining a metal song, right down to their influences. It has even been said that Led Zeppelin II was the “musical starting point for heavy metal.” If the same person were to look exclusively at Led Zeppelin III, released only a few years later, they might be so confused with their previous classification that they would hemorrhage. The contrast of “Immigrant Song,” and “That’s The Way,” is so drastic, there is simply no way one could rationally place the two in the same category. The former …show more content…
One of such occurrences was when Page himself told the Classic Rock Society he was “not really sure where [they] got that tag,” and that “the reality of it is that this is riff music, and riff music goes back to the blues.” He even got in an argument with the New York Times, who called them a “seminal heavy metal band.” Some view their third studio album as a response to such labels, and that had some influence on them demonstrating their more acoustic, blues, and folk styles. When listening to s song like “Tangerine,” there is no metal to be heard, therefore the band can not be classified as such. When examining their work closely, it seems there are a lot more elements of blues than metal, particularly in their earlier work, though both elements can be seen throughout. Maybe it was their style and take on classical blues styles that is what created metal as they knew it, and this morphed in to how we view it now. Led Zeppelin is often cited as one of the creators of metal, and I believe this is rightfully so. Not many would argue that Page’s distorted guitar style, Plant’s dramatic vocals, and the overall composition of their music defined central aspects of the then-emerging metal genre. However, the band and their works, as a whole, cannot be put in to that category. Part of the beauty of their music is that it doesn’t need to be classified in to categories, and why

Related Documents