Stephen Davis – Hammer Of The Gods, and LZ-’75

I like Led Zeppelin’s albums, but I’d never cared to read much about the band’s story, knowing only the broad impressions everyone has of them. I prefer to let the music speak.

However, something possessed me (haha) to sign both of these books out of the library recently, and I read them both within three days (no small feat, with a two year old son who refuses to nap underfoot). One book I loved, the other I thought was a rip-off. Allow me to explain.

By now, everyone who cares about the band will have devoured and internalized Hammer Of The Gods for the hilarious, intriguing story that it is. As a relative neophyte to their story and history, I thought it was great. The best fiction writers couldn’t conjure a better story of excess, oddity and pure testosterone and adrenaline that this purportedly real tale claims to be. Mix in mythology about black magic and deals with the devil, then sprinkle liberally with various substances, underage groupies and a management team that took no prisoners, and you’ve got one helluva tale for rock’s history. If even half of these stories are true, Zep still lived through an unbelievably unique experience, indeed. This book will make you want to play all their albums over again, even if you just heard them yesterday. Recommended reading.

There were 25 years between the writings of these two volumes, during which the author claims to have eventually found another box full of notes and stuff from his brief time with the band in 1975. Already, alarm bells went off in my head. I mean, really? Even if it’s true, it sounds more like a cash-grab, to me. Anyway.

LZ-’75’s dust jacket promises a lot, and I will grant that it does offer a few new insights and pictures. But a good chunk of this book is simply a blatantly re-worded re-telling of the same period as told in Hammer, with some artful additions to make the author seem more savvy than he probably was at the time (retrospect, a desire for more association with the legend of the band, and the need to fill pages will do that for a guy). There are also a few tales from his own experiences during that time, unrelated (really) to the story, again giving the sense of filling pages with minutiae that no one really would care about. I know I didn’t. Some of the quotes have been slightly altered (e.g. the brief Bob Dylan quote to Peter Grant), among others. To make things worse, this book totally lacks the fire and vigour of Hammer, as though the passage of time and the need for a fresh infusion of book royalty cash has slightly dulled the whole affair. It smacks of too little, too late.

If Davis had written up the decent pages of concert reviews and few new insights from LZ-’75, pasted it into Hammer’s text and re-released it as expanded and updated, that would have made more sense to me, as a reader. The rest of it is unnecessary twaddle. I’m sure most Zep fans, after getting this paperweight home, were pretty pissed to have shelled out $28 (CAD) of their hard-earned, in these hard times, no less, on what mostly amounts to the same stories over again.

I imagine Davis was hoping not too many people would do what I did, reading the books back to back, rendering the repetition obvious and the new insights not interesting enough to warrant a whole new volume. Skip this one, and stick with Hammer.

Advertisements

Posted on March 21, 2011, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Have Your Say!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Aphoristic Album Reviews

Personal Album Review Website

My life in music lists

These are the songs that have and will continue to soundtrack my life.

timeweleftthisworldtoday

This world's so mixed up everywhere you go

Buns Are All That You Require

Naughty Stories and Mature Content

Little Bits of Gaming & Movies

REMEMBERING THE GAMES & MOVIES I GREW UP WITH AND MUCH MORE

Blog All Night

Rhyme All Night

Stuff and That.

We do reviews, ya dig?

stoneygate

chilled out music

Every number one

Journey through all the songs that topped the charts

Resurrection Songs

music makes the people come together. yeah.

The Audible Stew

Salt to Taste

KingcrimsonBlog - The official Blog of Kingcrimsonprog

A Metal Nerd's Blog... Well, What did you expect, porn?

1537

Vinylicious

Crash And Ride Music

The latest album reviews, concert reviews, and interviews of progressive and alternative rock and metal.

HEAVY METAL OVERLOAD

... and classic rock too!

Metal Odyssey > Heavy Metal Music Blog

Welcome to Metal Odyssey, it will be quite the Metal trip!

This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle...

...who evidently found a deer head in the landfill.

The Ü | Reviews and Stories

Jade's Movie Reviews, Original Fiction, and Beyond.

Songs on a Theme

pop, jazz, & other by subject

Living a Beautiful Life

~ Short Stories, Flights of Fancy and Everyday Anecdotes ~

jhubner73

Midwestern groaning since 2011

vinnieh

Movie reviews and anything else that comes to mind

mixolydianblog

music is life, music is breath, music is us

A (Mostly) Music Blog

Some other stuff too, but mostly music.

Boppin's Blog

Albums, concerts, reviews, audio gear, how to's

Tangled Up In Music

Music Reviews (and other things)

Music Insanity!

The ramblings of a self-confessed music addict.

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

Guitar for Weddings, Corporate and Private Events...

LP on 45

Celebrating how rock music sends us, saves us, and shows us our true selves—one single at a time

Free City Sounds

Album Reviews by Marshall Gu

80smetalman's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

mikeladano.com

LeBrain's Record Store Tales & Reviews

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

CD & Festival reviews

by Jon Wilmenius

the EARL of SWIRL

"to be average scares the hell out of me"

1001albumsin10years

Just another WordPress.com site

Stick It In Your Ear

Rock Album, Concert Reviews And The Odd Book Review

Caught Me Gaming

Confessions of a Casual Core Gamer

%d bloggers like this: