Led Zeppelin, the Daddy of Dubstep?

By Wendy Sivik ’14

Led Zeppelin, the forebears of dubstep? Image courtesy of rock-songs.com

I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, there is no denying that music is, in every aspect, one of the sauciest forms of expression in existence. Since the beginning, countless genres have been getting it on with your friendly-neighborhood musician with hopes of creating new baby sub-genres. The stirring of the genre mixing pot has helped music progress in ways it wouldn’t have otherwise been capable of. American Jazz got mixed up with R&B in the Caribbean in the 1950s and Ska was the consequence.

The 1970s put Ska in the average suburban-American garage to knock boots with Punk Rock. Fifteen years later, Gwen Stefani was spicing up the Ska Punk scene to prequel a short stint as a Pop artist that sold more than eighteen million albums. In 2009, DJ and Producer Dave Nada wanted take it a little slower with Dubstep in D.C. and Moombahton was born. During the past fifty years, the development of music has gotten more action than Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen combined.

Unless you’ve been lost in the woods for approximately a year and a half, it is absolutely no secret that Dance music has found its way out of the clubs and onto….everywhere these days. Pop artists like Britney and J- LO have begun to initially release remixed electronic versions of their singles to radio stations, rather than a basic mix. I see today’s music scene as a kind of incessant creative revolution. Access to technology has increased and made it easier than ever to experiment with your own music without having to purchase a single instrument.

Dubstep is just one step in the evolution of music. Image courtesy of udubstep.com

All over the world, new music is being created electronically from scratch by college kids, high school kids, even your younger brother. Genres are constantly being split into pieces, reconfigured, and dispersed instantly across the Internet. We have consumed our iPods with mash-ups and remixes. We are entranced by that manipulated bass pounding on our dorm room walls. Our eardrums are destroyed and our bass induced H-SC flashbacks are growing more fuzzy. This music is dirty, exhilarating, and part of a whole new culture. This is not our parent’s music, not “rock and roll,” but once upon a time, it was.

It’s a refreshing theory that, no matter how far from the roots it has progressed, a track can always identify with one of various, seemingly eternal, staple-bands. They are the talents that set all the precedents.

They are the bands with music so universally known they’re marketed at Wal-Mart. You know exactly what I mean. That timeless, classic rock and roll that is so flawless, it still sounds perfect on that shoddy old vinyl you dug out of a moldy box in your basement. It’s those truly great artists (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, etc.) that will forever be the standard to which all other musicians are held (and respectfully so), regardless of genre.  The most influential musical act in history, alongside the Beatles, is English Rock quartet, Led Zeppelin. Music today would not be the same if they hadn’t gotten together in 1968.

Led Zeppelin are still performing today. Image courtesy of stryder.de

Their nine album discography is full of ridiculous guitar solos, and choir-esque vocals that incorporate the sickest aspects of rock and the the most beautiful of the blues. Singer and lyricist, Robert Plant’s mystical lyrics are often quoted. He is considered to be one of the best lead singers of all time. The group was a primary inspiration to Heavy Metal, and Hard Rock, as well as a key element in the development of Alternative Rock. Their vast range of sound and influence helps them to transcend genus to an intriguing ambiguity. It is for this reason that their range of influence on others is so shockingly diverse, including, Shakira, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Velvet Revolver. Even largely successful and comparably inspirational bands like Nirvana, the Ramones, Black Sabbath, Queen, and Rush were influenced by Led.

Although Led Zeppelin didn’t ever obtain any Top 40 hits, they controlled the concert scene like typical rock stars. Particularly, in setting the bar for sold-out arena shows. They have been credited with having a major positive impact on the music industry, specifically Album-Oriented rock (Album-Oriented rock is a radio format which focuses on album tracks by rock artists as opposed to singles by pop artists). Having sold more than 300 million records, they are the second best selling band in the United States. All nine of their studio albums reached the Billboard Top 10, six made it to number one. Their musical and industrial impact influenced their large cultural impact. The band’s psychedelic appeal was reminiscent of the 1960s, while their flashy wardrobes, macho attitudes and big hair carried into the 1980s as the primary influence of Glam Bands.

The constant development of new music is eye opening. There will always be a place in my heart for the unification of Electro and Rap, for without it, Lil’ Jon’s touching Crunk classic of hopeful longing, “Get Low,” would never have graced radio airwaves. On the other hand, the fusion of Screamo and Crunk has miserably and obnoxiously brought Crunkcore  into this world, and that is unacceptable. Music really does get around, but when it’s already good, the song remains the same.

Contact Wendy Sivik at sivik14@sbc.edu with any questions or comments.

2 Responses to “Led Zeppelin, the Daddy of Dubstep?”

  1. Tom says:

    Great post, really insightful and well constructed. Regarding the bit in the beginning where you mentioned the incredible growth of electronic music, its truly amazing how the ease of accessibility of production platforms (a simple laptop and DAW software) coupled with the level of growth in sharing across the internet triggered such an explosion in creativity! Were going to see musical progressions like never before…

  2. Tom says:

    Its always refreshing to see new developments in music. Particularly the development of brand new genres such as dubstep. Its amazing how all types of music have their influence on new music like electronic in one way or another. Cheers!

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