Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too

Recently, I've been taking way too much shit for buying the new Jimmy Page & Black Crowes two-disc live set. It's the usual complaints (dinosaur band, Crowes are wannabe-dinosaurs, too much guitar noise, etc.) from the usual suspects. While the set does reek of Career-Stalled-Move (Page has tried to reform Zep with either David Coverdale or the real Robert Plant; the Crowes career is similarly stuck in neutral), the sheer joyous abandon with which they tackle the lesser-arcana Zep material cannot be denied.

Needless to say, the same folks who mock my Zep fondness went out and paid big money to see Mister Brian Genius Wilson play the Pet Sounds album live in its entirety at the State Theater. Alas, Wilson didn't have his orchestra with him, denying the intelligentsia a chance to enjoy some true middlebrow art.

Oh well, since my music friends seem to be split between fans of profound pop and fans of profound noise, I thought I'd fill some space with the following comparison:


Beach Boys / Brian WilsonLed Zeppelin / Jimmy Page
influencesChuck Berry, Phil Spector, chamber music, The Four Freshmen, various excessively white nasally pop artistsChicago blues, Jeff Beck Group, Fairport Convention, Little Richard, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Brown
session-musician shenanigans?yes - Hal Blaine & Co. are rumored to play on many early Beach Boys sidesyes - Jimmy Page is rumored to be the soloist on early Kinks and Who sides
did they rip off black artist(s)?yes - Chuck Berryyes - Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf
did black artist(s) sue and eventually get credit for their work?yes yes
evil connectionsCharles MansonAleister Crowley
post-career-peak outcomenon-depressed members play State Fairs for eternity, taking their fans for granted (or was that just taking their fans?) Brian Wilson rests on laurels.With John Bonham deceased, band refuses to permanently regroup under the Led Zeppelin banner.
notable big-selling collaboratorChicagoPuff Daddy
current collaboratorsmembers of The Wondermints and Poi Dog Pondering - who a friend of my friend's friend once faintly heard a song by on a college radio station while passing through KansasThe Black Crowes, who as you read this are being blasted out of a tape deck in a Chevelle somewhere by burnouts driving around the countryside throwing Old Mil cans at mailboxes.
notable protégésany white pop artist with excessive nasally tones that has come down the pike in the past 40 years; Roth-era Van HalenDavid Coverdale; Great White; Kingdom Come;PJ Harvey
sell their songs to advertisers?yes - this time decidedly ahead of their time and ahead of the Beatles by letting Sunkist use "Good Vibrations" way back in the seventies.no - has not sold out their music.
referenced in Fast Times at Ridgemont High?noyes
incessant critical fawning?God yes - it grows geometrically each yearno



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