Almost Famous was on AMC this morning and so I had to watch it. The Almost Famous soundtrack has become synonymous with Elton John's 'Tiny Dancer', which is an amazing song, but watching it again today made me thirst for the mighty Led Zeppelin.
I was introduced to Led Zeppelin when I first met my good buddy Wes van der Valk. It was the tail end of grade 9 as we headed into summer break. I remember the night vividly as Tim Holley and I were headed to the Hub Mall to see what was going on that Friday night. The town of Pickering all ascended on that mall's parking lot to see where everyone was going - then cram into cars to head to bush parties or the beach. On route we ran into these 2 dudes named Chris and Wes who invited us to a house party just around the corner. It was Wes' house and his Mom had gone out of town for the weekend.
Wes had an older brother named Will and his hippy uncle Charlie lived in the basement. The house was packed and could very well have doubled for a John Hughes house party from any of his movies. Every room was packed and the hallways lined with senior high school girls smoking cigarettes and drinking Durango coolers. The music was cranked and from each of the massive speakers came the sweet sound of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. It was perfect. It was rock n roll and it was dripping from the walls. The older guys were passing around joints and air guitaring while the girls sang each and every lyric from the top of their lungs. Wes snagged us a couple beers and we did our best to blend in.
Wes' uncle Charlie - aka Big C. - strummed along to the stereo on his 12 string guitar while smoke filled beer bottles got passed around the room. This night was also my introduction to hash.
It was 1990 and we did an about face with what we'd been listening to and quickly fell in love with music from the 60s and 70s. We had to make up for lost time and quickly entrenched ourselves with all things Led Zeppelin. Tim bought the 4 album box set, we made copies of mixed tapes, bought posters and more. I even went to the flea market and bought all 4 Zeppelin logos for the back of my jean jacket.
That was 25 years ago when the Billboard Hot 100 was comprised of Technotronic, Wilson Philips, Bell Biv Devoe and Sinead O'Connor to name a few. Led Zeppelin was a welcome change for us and brought with it a culture that we wanted to be a part of. This was our tribe.
I had to put their music on the back burner for a while simply because I'd listened to too much for too long. We needed a break.
In recent months I've bought Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl. Listening to it this way truly is like listening to it all for the first time. The break is over - we're back.
I may not have seen them live - but I can say that I love Led Zeppelin. It's magical, mythical, mysterious and oozes sex drugs and rock n roll. Every grade 9 kid should have their own Zeppelin experience.
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