Monday Morning Music

So, back when I was a kid, I pretty much listened to the Beatles and Led Zeppelin constantly. (I’m sure my parents were thrilled about this, but as long as I kept my bedroom door shut and didn’t wake up my dad [he worked night shift], they didn’t complain.) I was so much a Zeppelin fan that I transcribed their lyrics by hunching over my record player, picking up and dropping the needle a gazillion times as I scribbled them down in a notebook (that I might still have somewhere around here). This was long before the Internet, so this was my only option. No one had even published a book with their lyrics that I knew about. Yes, I lived in stone age.

Flash forward thirty-some years, and the surviving members of Zeppelin have been honored by the Kennedy Center. I have mixed feelings about this, as I still strongly believe in the rebellious roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Putting on tuxedos and performing for the President of the U.S. doesn’t really fit that image in my head. Kinda like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. So not the point. At least to my cynical idealistic self.

But, then again, Led Zeppelin was never a poster child for working class hero of the year. They were always about excess and consumption and all that, even when they were terrifying mainstream culture. So, anti-establishment and yet, so much a part of it. The fact that three of the four of them actually survived is a testament to something or other. So, why not get a medal out of it?

The trippiest part of all this, though, is today’s video. Ann and Nancy Wilson from another big ’70s band, Heart, were called upon to close out the show at the Kennedy Center, playing “Stairway to Heaven” to President and Mrs. Obama, as well as Page, Plant, and Jones. I think it’s an awesome performance (and watching Yo Yo Ma rock out in the audience makes it worth watching, if nothing else), and yet…full orchestra, a full choir? Nothing I ever expected to see. Still, I sniffled a bit. My boys did good. And Ann Wilson’s voice continues to be killer. Enjoy! (Oh, and that’s Jason Bonham, son of the late John Bonham, on drums. Cool.)

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