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Kennedy Center Honors Reminds Ryan O’Bryan That Led Zeppelin Will Always Be Awesome [VIDEO]

Led Zeppelin - Press Conference
(Photo by Danny Martindale/Getty Images)

They make you sweat, they make you groove, and they’ve been doing it for over 40 years.

I went through a spell for several years where I was just burnt out on Led Zeppelin. Chalk it up to the six years I spent on our sister-station, 103GBF where at the time songs like, “Black Dog”, “Ramble On”, “Living Loving Maid”, and of course “Stairway to Heaven” were commonplace in the station’s library. Meaning I heard these and a few others almost daily. After a while, I was just done with them altogether. That’s right kids, radio DJ’s don’t like every song we play. Consider the curtain pulled back on the wizard.

It took me watching the tribute performance during the recent Kennedy Center Honors on CBS 44 to remember that I hadn’t really listened to Led Zeppelin in a while. I don’t mean it had been awhile since I heard their songs, I mean I hadn’t really listened to them. There is a difference between hearing and listening.

While it was Zeppelin themselves performing that night, the three surviving members sat in the balcony along side the other honorees of the night (David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, and ballerina Natalia Makarova), watching Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, and Heart perform a few of the bands classic hits with such passion and excitement literally gave me chills and reminded me that Led Zeppelin isn’t just some popular classic rock band, they are THE rock band. The one all artists strive to be. The guitar riffs of Jimmy Page, the bass groove of John Paul Jones, the maniacal drum beats of the late John Bonham, and finally the bluesy-rock voice of Robert Plant that tied it all together and brought it to life have been an inspiration to countless musicians from the moment the notes touched their ears for the first time.

In case you missed it, here’s the complete tribute performance from the Kennedy Center Honors. It begins with a brief biography narrated by actor/musician Jack Black with the actual performances beginning at the 7:05 mark.

“But you guys don’t play Led Zeppelin, you’re a Top 40 station,” you say? You’re right. We don’t play Led Zeppelin, and we are a Top 40 station, playing songs from Flo-Rida, Pink, and like. However, if you think that Led Zeppelin hasn’t influenced those artists and the others we play in some fashion over the years, you are solely mistaken.

A quick search of Led Zeppelin on whosampled.com brings up pages and pages of non-rock artists who at some point in time have sampled the bands music for their own. The Beastie Boys used samples of the Zeppelin tunes “Moby Dick”, the aforementioned “Black Dog”, and “When the Levee Breaks” in “What Comes Around”, “Beastie Groove”, and “Rhymin’ & Stealin’” respectively. T.I. used “Black Dog” in his song, “Make You Sweat”.

The inspiration doesn’t stop at samples, several non-rock artists have covered Zeppelin songs, like Mary J. Blige covering “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven”. There’s even a video on YouTube of Lady Gaga covering “D’yer Maker”.

The point is, like them or not, Led Zeppelin is one of those bands who have stood the test of time and will continue to inspire artists for years to come.You can count me in the permanent “like” column.

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