Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV
It was 1985 and I listened to a lot of Top 40 until Mr. Bowden's Summit Country Day class covered a section on Rock & Roll. With one headphone run of "Hey, hey, mamma," it was over.
I realized how bored I was by Q102, shoved it for WEBN, bought Led Zeppelin IV and haven't turned back. Its mix of Blues, Hard Rock, World Folk, world religion and real danger has challenged me for 20 years. It's not my favorite, but it has the most power over me. IV lead me to Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, King Records and to pick up a guitar. IV lead me to take a trip to Shake It (Records) to confirm that "Rock and Roll"s intro beat was lifted from Little Richard's "Keep A Knockin'." In eighth grade, me and my mates performed IV songs in the church undercroft and on the football field. In fine balance of heaven and hell, the artwork hides tarot card imagery and half faces (for fun, find the LP,take the inside right edge of the sleeve, make it perpendicular to a mirror and see the face painted into the mountain). And even though we're just emerging from a decade of dipshits trying to twist Led Zeppelin into an '80s hair band, IV survives more than ever. The beat of "Rock and Roll" is invading our TV screens on car commercials and through Midwest Rock & Roll bands conquering the world. And I applaud.
ELLIOT RUTHER TRIO (elliottruther.com) appears at Purgatory on Thursday and Shake It Records (7 p.m.) and Neon's (10 p.m.) on Friday to promote his new disc, Rock-N-Roll Conceived. The official CD release party is May 7 at the Northside Tavern.