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The Who vs. Led Zeppelin....which one do you prefer?

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Showing 26-50 of 474 posts in this discussion
Posted on Aug 10, 2011 6:22:09 AM PDT
zlh67 says:
This is a genuine toughie: I grew up much more on Zep and even 30+ yrs after their demise I can still take out any one of their cd's and listen start to finish without feeling overly compelled to hit the `next track' button (and that includes their outtake album, "Coda"!).

With The Who, their middle albums are all killer (Tommy-Leeds-Next-Quadrophenia) and they have plenty of non-album tracks that are excellent as well, but their very early albums and the last two after Quad (Who By Numbers and Who Are You) are mostly filler. I do like plenty of their early singles, but there's no early Who album (pre-1969) that I really enjoy start to finish. The post-Moon albums "Face Dances" and "It's Hard" are ok, but those played more like Townshend solo albums with the others tagging along than actual "Who" masterpieces. "Endless Wire" has its moments, but is mostly a footnote. So Zep is the more consistently good/great band imo.

BUT... The Who were more explosive/dynamic, so while they may be less consistent, they also have the higher highs imo, and today anyway, if I were to take the top 40-50 songs from each band, I'd probably prefer the Who, primarily because their lyrics are a little more cerebral, more engaging. Lyrics DO matter to me and with Zep the lyrics were often so-so and occasionally flat out indecipherable or absurd, ie, a detriment. With The Who, lyrics were almost always a towering strength.

So... a VERY slight edge to The Who based on my musical preferences today, but Zep is most definitely right there too. Both would be in my top 5 bands of all time.

1. Beatles
2. Queen
3. The Who
4. Led Zep
5. Stones

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2011 6:28:19 AM PDT
B. Haynes says:
The Who's early stuff was their best. Zepplin was untouchable. This is like the old question, "What is your favorite Beatle song?" The answer is simple - the last one I heard!!!!!

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 9:48:46 AM PDT
Tom says:

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 10:23:10 AM PDT
anonymous says:
Zeppelin no contest for me

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 10:23:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2011 10:27:30 AM PDT
D. Mok says:
Led Zeppelin all the way.

1. John Entwistle was good, but John Paul Jones was in a class by himself, especially in terms of arrangement, melody, and tone.

2. Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend were both great with chordal and harmony work, but Page ran circles around Townshend for single-note riffs and solos. Not to mention that Page did almost as much as Jimi Hendrix for expanding the tonal palette of the electric guitar. Anything Townshend could do, Page could. There were many things Page could do that Townshend couldn't.

3. When it fit the song, John Bonham had a light touch that may have been the best of any drummer. "Tangerine", "Ten Years Gone", "Thank You". Keith Moon wasn't quite that versatile.

4. Led Zeppelin could do ballads, folk music, psychedelic and Arabic rhythms, and do them very well. The Who was almost exclusively uptempo; none of The Who's most famous songs is a ballad, and no The Who ballad has ever come close to the status of "Stairway to Heaven", "Tangerine", "Going to California", "The Rain Song", "The Battle of Evermore". Led Zeppelin also knew how to go from ballad to rocker at the drop of a hat: "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "What Is and Should Never Be", "Over the Hills and Far Away". For dynamics, The Who couldn't touch Led Zeppelin.

5. Led Zeppelin's production and sound were leagues above any of its contemporaries.

6. Led Zeppelin never had an album cover starring urine.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2011 1:59:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2011 2:00:03 PM PDT
Hey i love both bands, but if you think John Paul Jones is a better bass player than John Entwistle,You must be from another planet!

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 3:28:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2011 3:34:49 PM PDT
zlh67 says:
none of The Who's most famous songs is a ballad


What about "Love, Reign O'er Me" or "See Me, Feel Me"? And... "Behind Blue Eyes"? Yeah, the latter rocks out plenty, but it starts slowly and builds, similar to "Stairway".

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 3:57:48 PM PDT
D. Mok says:
Neither "Love Reign o'er Me" nor "Behind Blue Eyes" is as popular or instantly recognizable as "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Pinball Wizard", "My Generation", etc. As far as ballad deliveries go, "Behind Blue Eyes" is bland, bland, bland. Much like when Mick Jagger tries to sing a ballad. Robert Plant is a far better balladeer than Roger Daltrey. Daltrey's low range is a pitchy talk-sing with poor engagement, and no intimacy. Robert Plant, Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury can whisper, croon and sing with emotion even when they're not belting.

"Love Reign o'er Me" is pretty good, but it's like a bombastic Jim Steinman showtune. That said, that's one thing The Who has done that Led Zeppelin hasn't.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 5:45:29 PM PDT
Working Man says:
This topic again? It's almost worst than the Beatles and the Stones.
Let me see.

Led Zeppelin stole all their songs
Jimmy Page had a 14 year old girlfriend
Jimmy Page sold his soul
Led Zeppelin quit when one of their band mates passed away
The Who keeps going and going and are now down two.
Pete Townsend or Townshend or however the heck you spell his name had some interesting interests.
Zepplein stole all their songs
Zeppelin didn't credit the orginal song authors
Zeppelin wasn't orignal

Oh Yeah. My pick is - after these messages.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 5:46:15 PM PDT
Working Man says:
Did I forget to mention that Zeppelin stole all their songs.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 6:08:12 PM PDT
D. Mok says:
> The Who keeps going and going and are now down two.

Robert Plant's work after Led Zeppelin fills a catalogue as large as The Who's entire discography. Not to mention the two Page/Plant records and Coverdale/Page.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2011 8:46:26 PM PDT
Dershaw-Zepp is for kids? When did blues music become kids music? Didnt the who have songs like Pinball Wizard, Magic Bus, Happy Jack and Boris the Spider? Those sound like songs for kids to me. If you want in your face rock pick up Slayers Reign In Blood album. No kiddie songs on it.

Posted on Aug 10, 2011 8:58:40 PM PDT
Working Man says:
Led Zeppelin. In the 70's they were THE band in my world. I still love them. While I don't listen to them as much as I used to, but when I do it reminds always of how great they were and how much I enjoy their music. The were the greatest hard rock band in the 70's.

Yes, my vote is for Led Zeppelin, my previous posts were meant to be mostly sarcastic.

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 12:17:37 AM PDT
Bob Bykowski says:
For lack of a better term, The Who's music was much more human than Zeppelin's. Pete Townshend always wrote about true emotions in life, no matter what he was feeling. Combine that with explosive musicianship and a street-tough lead singer who sang rock as if it was opera coming directly from the streets, and you have one unbeatable band.

Zeppelin may have been great musicians, but Page and Plant couldn't cut it in the lyrics department. They always seemed to be writing about some goofy, mystical kingdom when they weren't ripping off blues covers and not giving credit to the true authors of the songs. And Plant's voice begins to irritate after about twenty minutes, with all that excrutiating "WHOOAHH, BAYBEAAHHH!!!" screeching, sounding as if a pitchfork was piercing his scrotum.

Verdict: the Who by a lengthy, unforseeable distance.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 12:42:43 AM PDT
Hinch says:
Great post!

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 1:02:05 AM PDT
Apples & oranges, pizza or burritos, corn flakes or rice crispies...The Who & Led Z are SO different, what's the point in comparing them?

If ya like one over the other, what-ever....but style-wise they are not even close, & both bands did great stuff and both did some crap. ("Hey, let's take some old blues songs and change the lyrics a little, nobody'll notice 'coz they're all stoned!")

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 1:06:29 AM PDT
Lyrically, the difference was/is:

The Who sang about some real-life stuff; Led Zep sang about all this JRR Tolkien/sword n' sorcery nonsense and getting their lemon(s) squeezed. ("Your stairway lies on the whispering wind..." Did Rod McKuen write that?!?)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 4:44:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2011 6:06:33 AM PDT
zlh67 says:
>> Neither "Love Reign o'er Me" nor "Behind Blue Eyes" is as popular or instantly recognizable as "Baba O'Riley", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Pinball Wizard", "My Generation", etc.

Neither "Tangerine" "Going to California", "The Rain Song" nor "The Battle of Evermore" are as popular or instantly recognizable as "Rock and Roll" "Whole Lotta Love" or "Black Dog". What's that prove? These are hard rock bands (primarily), so most of their best-known work is going to be... hard rock. No question that Zep incorporated more folk and acoustic sounds into their work but to me that's not necessarily a plus. I love "Going to CA" and some of the acoustic intros to some of their other songs such as "Over The Hills And Far Away", but they have plenty of other folk oriented songs that to me are at the bottom of their catalog (Zep III is easily the worst of their earlier albums and even 30+ years after I first bought it, I still don't know many of the songs by title because many are so interchangeable and forgettable).

But if who can do ballads better is your criteria and you think Zep does 'em better, then... Zep's better I guess. This is all subjective of course... For me, both bands are full of world class musicians and they each have a truck load of killer songs that defined the 60's and 70's. I think Zep's instrumentation was a little better, primarily because I do agree that it was more diverse, but Townshend towers over Plant and/or Page as a songwriter, particularly in the lyrics dept. As Bykowski said so well, the Who's music just strikes me as more human and more relatable, primarily because of the lyrics, which to me are among rock's best, while Zep sings mostly "about some goofy, mystical kingdom" (to quote Bykowski). And that's when you can even understand the lyrics, which much of the time you can't....

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 11:03:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2011 11:08:00 AM PDT
bass boy says:
Hey D. Mok,

I repsect your opinion, but to say Jones had better bass tone than Entwistle??? Really? Jones bass was almost always muffled in tone, and although Jones definitely knew his way around a bass, Entwistle's stabbing, barking bass tone (especially in concert) is the winner. Entwistle also was a great arranger - he played the horns on EVERY Who record up until his 2002 death. He did the arrangements for the brass and played each horn/part himself. And his bassplaying, for me, was much more interesting and adventurous. Jones was great, but Entwistle was and still is the bass king.

You're probably more correct about your Page/Townshend comparison, athough Pete could do anything that Page could do on acoustic guitar and more - listen to the "Tommy" album or watch any live Who concert film, even the post-Kenney Jones films to see Pete's brilliant acoustic work. "Drowned" from The Who's 2000 "Royal Albert Hall" DVD (released in 2001) is a prime example of Pete's skills on acoustic. And for the record, while Page was more versatile on electric guitar, I always liked Pete's tone and style live better. Pete plays with more fury and passion, more edge, in my book. Page always sounded better on the studio records, while Pete Townshend is more impressive in concert (especially watching him in person, not just on TV).

And what about The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes"? That's pretty much a ballad, certainly by Who's standards, and it's one of their biggest hit songs on radio (and they played it on virtually every tour from 1971 on.) I like Zeppelin. A lot. But Pete's lyrics, brilliantly wild guitar playing, Entwistle's bass, Moon's drums and Daltrey's voice and those great songs that go past gettin' girls, wizards and vikings, do it for me. The Who were more original - face it, The Who ripped off far fewer people musically than Zep. Zep is Top 10, but it's The Who at No. 1 all the way. :)

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 12:46:44 PM PDT
Why is it that members of the who (Entwhistle and Moon) wanted to be in Led Zeppelin and nobody in Led Zeppelin wanted to be in the who? Maybe more respect for Jimmy Page than Pete Townshend? Maybe they wanted a more challenging style of music to play? Thanks to Don Arden making them an offer they couldnt refuse we will never know what wouldve happened. Cant see Zep being as good without Bonhams powerful drumming though.

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 1:11:09 PM PDT
Mod Rocker says:
Apples and what !....
Zep was a line of coke on the parapet of a castle...
WHo was a pint down the pub....
different products for different end uses...

Posted on Aug 11, 2011 1:37:14 PM PDT
bass boy says:
Stephen, I think Entwistle (sp. correct) and Moon AND Page and Plant wanted to be in a band together, at least in theory, temporarily. Your statement made it sound like Zep were snobs and didn't want anything to do with The Who. Lol. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 3:34:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2011 3:35:23 PM PDT
Bob Bykowski says:
Stephen McNary,

Entwistle and Moon did NOT want to be in Led Zeppelin ! In fact, Moon was responsible for Led Zeppelin getting their name by saying "Those guys are gonna go down like a Led Zeppelin !".

Moon did briefly consider joining the old Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, and this was during a period when he and Daltrey were at their peak of arguing over Moon's extensive chemical intake, which Daltrey was totally against. However, they resolved their differences and Moon remained in the Who.

And as far as no one in Zeppelin wanting to be in the Who, why is it that Moon was the only drummer that Bonham EVER let share the stage with him and participate during his drum solo in "Moby Dick" ?? Took place at the L.A. Forum, 6/23/77, and is captured for posterity on the bootleg 'For Badgeholders Only'.

Of course, Jimmy Page is one of the greatest guitarists ever. That cannot be denied in any way. But Townshend could outwrite both Page and Plant with one hand tied behind his back. And guess what ? I would bet that both Page AND Plant would nod their heads in agreement at that statement !

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 3:59:53 PM PDT
The Zeppelin. Not even close.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2011 4:06:00 PM PDT
Jersey Joker says:
Hey zlh67,
Don't forget "The Song Is Over". One of THE best rock ballads, ever.
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