Thursday, January 09, 2014

Jimmy Page: The birthday boy and a REALLY LONG song

I marked the 70th birthday of JIMMY PAGE today by listening to "FOR BADGEHOLDERS ONLY," a 1977 live bootleg from LED ZEPPELIN'S final American tour.
I listened in the car, while driving to work and running an errand. The bootleg recording reached the song "NO QUARTER" by the time I had finished running the midday errand.
That would be the final track I heard the remainder of the day. The version of "No Quarter" on "For Badgeholders Only" clocks in at a robust 31 minutes.
"No Quarter" is a track from the 1973 album "HOUSES OF THE HOLY" and primarily serves as a vehicle for the keyboard virtuosity of JOHN PAUL JONES.
During the 1977 tour, Jones added elements of a classical piano concerto into the piece, which helped elongate the song but must have always raised questions at the time, such as: Do we really need a 31-minute, piano-based song in the middle of a Led Zeppelin concert?
As I listened to the recording today, I couldn't help but think that this song serves as an example of the type of excess that infuriated younger musicians enough to spark the PUNK ROCK revolution. You could pack about a dozen punk songs into the "No Quarter" time frame.
So, happy birthday, Jimmy. Today, I heard an inadvertant gift your band gave us: A revolution devoted to brevity.


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