"Power, mystery and the Hammer of the Gods" is a reference to an answer Jimmy Page gave to a searching for just the right photograph, of the band and to me (and a lot of others) that sums up the mystique of Led Zeppelin*.
Absolutely true. To me they are THE band. Led Zeppelin is the best band then, the best band now, the best band there every will be. And the kicker? I was 7 when they disbanded. I never got to see them on stage, but I am a huge fan none-the-less.I started as a fan back around 9th grade. I big influence was by buddy Jeff who was and is a big fan back then too.
The band was and is legendary. To say I'm a huge fan is an understatement. The abilities of the four are definitely greater then the whole, and taken as a whole, the whole is greater then the sum of the parts. They complemented each other like no other musicians I can think of. And because of this is why I think they are the best rock and roll band of all time.
Some might think they are dated (I've heard this recently), but to me their music is timeless, as timeless as the Beatles, perhaps more so. In terms of musicianship, Paul McCartney was head and shoulders above the rest of the Beatles. But with Led Zeppelin? The argument can be made that all four were among the very best in their respective areas. I don't know too many people who will argue that Jimmy Page isn't one of the greatest guitarists of all time. That John Bonham isn't one of the greatest drummers of all time. That John Paul Jones wasn't one of the greatest bassists or that Robert Plant wasn't one of the greatest rock n' Roll vocalists of all time. In fact aside from Freddie Mercury or Ronnie James Dio who is a better singer? The abilities of the four and their ease at a multitude of different styles of music is impressive. Then add Page's monstrous abilities as a producer at a time when it was unheard of for a musician to be his own producer?
With the Beatles, the whole was greater then the parts in my opinion, with Led Zeppelin, both the parts AND the whole are greater, and that's saying something. They were and are greater then anything before or since. I don't know if we will ever see its like again especially in light of the state of music today.
An interesting part to their storied career critics hated them (still due to a degree), were rarely on radio (initially), had no number one hits and yet were still the biggest band of the 1970s. That geriatric rag Rolling Stone still is dismissive too them to this very day. But as Gene Simmons put it so ever so eloquently when speaking of Rolling Stones' dislike of Kiss: "Being accepted by aging hippies is not high on my priority list."
Led Zeppelin's albums and their live shows made them. It would only be after they disbanded that they reached a near mythic status. That and the fact that for the next 25 years every band tried to be them and to sound just like them. Try turning on the radio and not hearing Stairway to Heaven at least once a day from 1980 to 2000, or even now.
In the end it, was perhaps fitting that they called it quits after the death of John Bonham, they had given us 12 years of dominance and never really faltered to any great degree. Like Henry V's short reign as King of England in the early 1400s, Zeppelin burned bright across they sky, like a comet. They didn't have any time to be bad.
And I leave you with what might be their greatest song in terms of range (hard to argue with Stairway, but...)
As Zeppelin famously said in a great song: "Then as it was, then again it will be".
Postscript: In the time I took to write this blog-post, a new band has come along that echoes Zeppelin, Greta Van Fleet. While not exactly Zeppelin there are a lot of influences and aren't direct copies like Kingdom Come (Kingdom Clone). I like them a lot and look forward to seeing what they come up with. Their 4-song EP is excellent and highly recommend it.
* I'll add that while I'm tolerant of free speech to a large degree, I'm not entertaining trolls about Led Zeppelin. If you want to rant about lawsuits and plagiarism? Do it elsewhere. Want to discuss why you don't like them, fine, hurling the crap of plagiarism? The web is a wide-open place. I'm sure you can find other places to do so.