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3. SUM TOTAL OF BRILLIANT WORK
Here they outdistance The Stones because most of Stones' albums have "filler" material in terms of not hitting same high that they slammed in all their best songs. However, I'd like to say that I don't think either Mick or Robert are capable of recording anything short of a brilliant vocal. The Beatles actually exceed Led Zep in terms of numbers of great albums that constitute a greater body of brilliant and uniquely innovative work that literally broke new musical ground with every single song they recorded. The Beatles were simply The Beatles, and they were most creative rock and roll band ever, from being best singers and songwriters ever right down to their individual charm and charisma. But without denegrating their gorgeous, sensitive and original style of playing, what they recorded is not heavy type of rock and roll that either Stones or Led Zep played. George, Paul and John were all brilliant and creative guitarists, but because they did not improvise on stage, they were not really master guitarists. I love and respect Ringo as both a person and as a very creative drummer who mastered art of drum sounds. He has his own unmistakeable Ringo style for both, but he's not really a master drummer in sense of being able to play with great speed and dexterity. I'm talking about 9 albums chock full of brilliant and intensely high Led Zep songs - I don't know how many hours of great rock and roll listening that is. There's hardly a single weak track among all that work, and there's simply no question that they consistently broke new ground musically. Their debut album is still best one of all time (including Cream's), and Coda, their "swan song" is equally perfect.
4. STAGE PRESENCE
Led Zep was there when concept of "rock and roll star" was still evolving. I will grant that Stones at least deserve honorable mention as best rock and roll band ever, but it's mostly because of their impressive touring record and Mick's superstar stage presence with his ability to put on a great show every single time he appears. And he's still doing it at age 60 for goodness sake! My point isn't that Led Zep necessarily had best stage presence, just that they did have that true rock star sexual aura, and when you add all these important qualities together, they really do deserve being called number one rock and roll band of all time.
I could go on about Jimmy Page's abilities as a producer, and there are other aspects to their greatness like length of time they were together without a change of band members. And life they actually led as archtypical wild rock and roll bad boys equals life led by Rolling Stones in intensity, if not length. In this sense both bands are perfect examples on a conceptual artistic level of what I call FORM = CONTENT. The above four categories do enough to fully qualify Led Zeppelin for my not-so-humble award. There will never be another rock and roll band to approach stratospheric musical heights that Led Zep reached. The Recording Industry Association of America, who has correct statistics, lists Led Zeppelin as third best selling musical act/artist in history. The Beatles are first, with 166.5 million albums sold in USA alone, Elvis is second with 117.5 million, and Led Zep is third with 106 million. I think it's very significant that those statistics are becoming geometrically times greater than number of albums that they sold during their performance lifetimes. What has happened and is happening is that young people of today are discovering them in droves because they are coming of age sexually and they recognize and connect with most powerful musical example of that sexual power. They are buying their CD's, shirts, posters and other memorabilia. And frankly, I'm thrilled.
Peter Cross is a singer/songwriter/producer who was among the first to put music on the internet in downloadable format in 1996. To this day, he is one of the only musicians who has created and designed his own music web site in html, and at 104 pages filled with entertaining content, it's one of the largest. Check it out at: http://www.starcrost.com