Crazy as it may be in this day and age, there is something I feel I need to confess to you. I am a Zeppelin virgin. Aside from the inescapable Stairway to Heaven that was played literally at every middle school dance, my exposure to Led Zeppelin was nonexistent. My mother is to blame.
She grew up in the midst of Zeppelin mania. It’s Zeppelin O’Clock the local rock station would say. Days and days on end of nothing but Led Zeppelin on repeat. So by the time I came around several years later she couldn’t stand one more song.
So when I got to middle school and we were all starting to develop our music tastes while denying that some of us were still jamming to the Spice Girls and Hanson, I was perplexed at the multitude of bands that passed me by as a child. My mother was the queen of classic rock and metal, but I found my education on such greatly lacking.
I had never heard anything from the Doors until I was in the sixth grade, and it was probably near eighth grade before I learned that I Love Rock and Roll was a Joan Jett masterpiece. Even now as I poke around Google Play for gaps in my collection I am finding songs I grew up with, but still never knew who wrote and performed them.
Downside, it makes me feel like an idiot whenever the topic of music comes up because I mostly still have no idea. Upside unlike those who have had these songs on repeat since infancy, I get to experience everything just like new. Some of them couldn’t be more new to me if they had been released for the first time yesterday.
This week I have discovered Queen’s Flash Gordon Theme. In spite of Queen being a large part of my musical life, yet another gem that passed me by. As you can imagine, I have been playing it on repeat as well as making the final decision that their version of the Wedding March is what I am walking down the aisle to.
But as good as it is to feel like I am pioneering the classic rock genre, did my mother have a point?
No one can deny that Led Zeppelin is an awesome band who to most could do no wrong, and speaking as a Zeppelin virgin playing their albums for the first time I have yet to encounter a song that I can’t stand. But would I feel the same as she if I heard these songs on repeat day after day?
When Santana’s Smooth came out, it enjoyed a massive radio splurge that seemed to be played every single gym class as we were forced to start our days running laps. Now while the running may have played a huge role in my loathing of this song, the fact that for a month straight it was on every morning consistently drove me insane. That some idiot had to request it every single school dance made me groan and scowl.
But now almost fifteen years removed from that hell, is Smooth really such a bad song? The obvious answer is no. It was never a bad song, in fact, I probably could enjoy it now that I am not struggling to breathe as it plays.
The fact is, a song’s worth is only in the ears of the listener. I love Hey Jude in almost any iteration, but I had a friend in High School who cringed and turned it off whenever it came on. She’s not wrong, I’m not right, it’s just how we feel when the song plays.
I’ve even said before the only reason a song ends up on my list is because it makes me feel good. There are just as many songs that make me cringe as anyone. Songs that ‘he’ listened to that I still associate them with him. They aren’t bad songs, and I even pride myself on working through the knee-jerk reaction to enjoy them for myself and not how I associate them.
So listen to whatever the hell you want to listen to, the rest of the world can listen to what they want. I mean, that is what headphones were invented for.