Led Zeppelin vs Deep Purple

At last ... a serious article about these two great bands.

This site is not supposed to be just about Jim, Moritz and Adelangst, but about Gods of guitar. We have therefore invited fans to review classic guitar rock albums and bands. Here is another of these from Xiago in Singapore. Thanks to Xiago, a chinese rock journalist and his wife, Sweetie for writing the article.

note: Jim and Moritz do not necessarily agree with these comments, but we simply like the debate it opens) 

I notice in "Classic Rock" magazine that Geoff Barton has included an article where he attempts to put forward the notion that Deep Purple are in fact more worthy than Led Zeppelin, and that somehow Zeppelin do not deserve the title of "The Most important band in the world... today" that has recently been bestowed on them by Q Magazine (Q224).

Here I attempt to examine the reasons why Zeppelin do indeed deserve that title, and Purple most certainly do not.  Zeppelin have long been regarded by the British Press and otherwise as the best rock band ever, indeed the best band ever.   Ever since they topped the charts and appeared on Top of the Pops in the early 70's the press has been behind Zeppelin, and quite right too. 

Zeppelin have the better guitar riffs.  OK Smoke on the Water is OK, but a bit dull. I gather even Purples current singer Ian Gillan calls it the "Dan dan" song (although of course the original version was sung by Rod Evans).  Take the Zeppelin classic "No Quarter", a riff of great majesty, if there ever was one. and what about "Trampled Underfoot", pure hard rock genius.

Another factor I guess is famous personnel and in particular guitarists.  Jimmy Page is renowned worldwide as a famous fantastic British guitar player whereas most people wouldn't know who Ritchie Blackmore is at all.  Why is this?  Simply it must be because Jimmy Page is the better player and write the better songs.  Even when Jimmy Page was replaced by Sammy Hagar for a few years Zeppelin remained at the top of the list of bands for the era.

Purple often tried to copy Zeppelin.  Take Stargazer, which was clearly just a take on Kashmir.  Or what about "Sometimes I feel like screaming" which is clearly based on Zeps "Black Dog" (although their song may have been based on Nick Drakes song of the same name)

Purple also copied titles from Zeppelin.  Zep did "The Battle of Evermore" and then Purple replied limply with "The battle of Epping Forest" off "The Battle rages on" album.

Too many Purple riffs are in the key of G.  Smoke on the water, Burn, Man on the Silver Mountain, Gettin Tighter.  Obviously Blackmore only had one mode and couldn't be bothered to move his hand further up or down the fretboard.  At least Jimmy Page could be bothered to change key a bit.  Oh and Mistreated was originally in G apparently, but was toned down to F sharp by the mixing process in order to make Coverdale seem a bit more gravely.  The Beatles did this with "Strawberry Fields Forever" with great success, however Purple managed to make the whole band seem grumpy, even Ian Paice.

Too many Purple songs simply lose their way half way through.  Take "Space Trunkin", again a good riff, however it descends after a couple of verses and choruses into mayhem  and goes on for ages without any real meaning (especially the live version).  Zepplins songs always had cohesion.  take "Whole lotta love", probably one of Zeps most famous tracks, with it's wonderfully harmonic middle section which nicely develops the theme of the song in general.  Also the cleverness of the lyrics are apparent here.  What cleverness does Purple ever give you in this direction?  What the hell is Ian Gillans "Knocking at your back door" about for example?

Purple are too tempted to try silly styles.  Look at "anyones daughter" from Fireball or the awful "Since you been gone", I mean what on earth were they thinking of?  Zeppelin always kept up their Hard Rock mantel, seen for example on their great hits D'Yer Mak'er or All my Love.

Put it simply, Zeppelin are indeed the most important band in the world today.  The British press has always known it, and they are correct.  Zeppelin deserves all the official recognition it gets.  Page and Plant should be Knighted by now and be figures of the establishment.  Deep Purple wrote Smoke on the Water, so what!

Xiago Chi Ip 

October 2011 Response Radek SwaƂtek

Sir, I absolutely disagree with article titled "Led Zeppelin vs Deep Purple", which appeared at your site.
Firstly, I have noticed, that article mostly bases on author's opinions. At the begining, author writes, that he will try to examine reasons, but in all article he examine his own opinions, and on that basis evaluate both bands. For example "Zeppelin have the better guitar riffs". It's not an argument. In my opinion, Deep Purple has better riffs and so what?! This is not also the argument. Futhermore, in the same section there is an awful mistake, which indicates that the author didn't know about what he writes. "Smoke on the Water is OK, but a bit dull. I gather even Purples current singer Ian Gillan calls it the "Dan dan" song (although of course the original version was sung by Rod Evans)". Of course everebody knows (excluding the author), that original version was sung by... current vocalist Ian Gillan. It shows, that this article is just garbage.

But let's go on. Author gives us examples of great Led Zeppelin's songs, but I proved that comparing two bands has no sense, if author don't have knowledge about one of them.
Secondly, there is compare of guitarist. But there is comparing a fame. Is the fame determinant of quality? No. If somebody don't know who is Ritchie, it doesn't mean that he is worse guitar, than J. Page. If yes, Justin Bieber would have been king of pop music. "Simply it must be because Jimmy Page is the better player and write the better songs" Again, we read private opinion.

I read futher, and suddenly stop. I'm totally shocked. Why? Cause again, author proves, that he is *****. Purple often tried to copy Zeppelin. Take Stargazer, which was clearly just a take on Kashmir. But Stargazer isn't even Deep Purple's song! This song owns to Rainbow.
The author discredits himself by making such serious mistakes, doesn't he?

At least, I would like to say that level of Chinese rock journalist is very, very low, and I'm so glad that you do not necessarily agree with these comment.