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

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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 2:19:21 PM PDT
zlh67 says:
Interesting take, Mad Man, although....

With Zep, Bonham's interpretation of Page's riffs were CRITICAL. Not only how he played, but WHAT he played (and what he didn't) made him pretty much the only drummer for Zep. Even so, even WITH Bonham, their last studio albums weren't as well rec'd and aren't as highly regarded today as the 6 that came before it, plus Plant was feeling really confined anyway and Page was completely strung out during the recording of "In Through The Out Door" (which is why Page and Jones had to take more center stage). So, there's a chance that even if Bonham lived, Zep might not have lasted much longer. Without the wakeup call Bonham's death no question sent, would Page have cleaned up or whould HE have been Zep's casualty? If he lived, would he have been any use to Zep in 1981, 1982....? Given all that and Bonham's importance to the band, when he died, there was apparently not much thought to continuing on.

Contrast The Who, and I'd say that while Moon was equally great and equally one of a kind, he was not as central to The Who's sound/success as Bonham was to Zep's. The Who, great as all 4 of them are/were, was always Townshend and Co. He played guitar, he wrote the songs and he even sang some of 'em. I recently landed a boot of the "Who Are You" demos and while that's not a fave Who album of mine, it's very interesting to hear how many of the drum ideas are already there and how fully formed many of the songs were without Moon and the others. No way he could've done all that great work without the others, but it's pretty clear where the ideas and overall sound of The Who come from, so when one died (and then another....), I don't think Townshend saw it as reason to quit. They'd already grown tired of dealing with Moon's antics and decreasing quality of performances starting in 1973-75 and by 1978 they couldn't even tour for "Who Are You" because of the shape he was in. So... not saying that they were GLAD Moon died, because they of course weren't. It was a tremendous loss for music in general and especially for The Who. But at the same time, it opened some doors for the band. Not confined by the original lineup, they added a keyboard player to their touring lineup and went a pretty different direction for their next album ("Face Dances", which I like better than the 2 Who albums before it that featured Moon....).

So... while you give the edge to Zep because they disbanded, I actually think it's a disadvantage: they were already limping along and without a key member to interpret Page's ideas, I think they felt it wouldn't be worth pursuing any longer. With The Who, even without one of rock's greatest drummers, they felt there was enough left to carry on (and having seen them live in 2000, I have to agree).

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 2:19:32 PM PDT
MC says:
zlh67 - First of all want to tell you how much I am enjoying this conversation; Tell you a little story, when the movie first came out I got a bunch of friends together to go, and as you can imagine I raved about their live performances, so we sit down, the movie starts, the sound is not surround sound, the performance is less than electric and I'm embarrassed and upset, and that's before the fantasy scenes.....

I'm sure part of it is as you say, 'the being there quotient' but I do think that how is much better. Was going to ask you about the re-masters, try looking at it this way, they pretty much never played any songs the same way twice (except for Rock & Roll), so now you have two separate shows!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 2:27:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 16, 2011 2:31:34 PM PDT
bass boy says:
zlh67 says: " and by 1978 they (The Who) couldn't even tour for "Who Are You" because of the shape (Moon) was in ...."

Actually, they didn't even have time to tour with Moon when "Who Are You" came out. Didn't Keith Moon die just days, literally, after "Who Are You" hit the store shelves? The tour for "Who Are You," which happened later, had Kenney Jones on drums.
I do agree with your Who Tour 2000 statement. The Who were a raging animal on-stage on that tour. Their Dallas show on that 2000 tour beats anything I've ever seen or heard. I almost forget that Keith was gone when I listen to the (boot) CD of that show, for real ... :)

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 2:29:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 16, 2011 5:31:48 PM PDT
zlh67 says:
Thanks, MC. I enjoy the perspective of someone who was THERE and wish I could have been. A friend of mine with MUCH cooler parents than me had tickets to all their '77 shows at the LA Forum (5 of them, I believe) and I was invited along for one. 16th row! But, I was only 10 and the parents said 'hell no!', so alas, my concert experiences are Zep-less, although I've seen both Plant and Page as part of other projects.

And yeah, I know Zep rarely played most songs the same way twice, and that's what I love so much about the original "Song" soundtrack! I grew up really digging on it and know pretty much every change, every lick, every dynamic of those songs, especially "Whole Lotta Love" and "Dazed" which are so drastically different from the studio versions, so when I hear them differently, they just seem... well, not "off" but... not as satisfying?

So I don't know. I can only speak from my experience and maybe it's just that I latched onto that soundtrack at such a young age that I have no objectivity, but after hearing for so many years that the "Song" performances were "weak" or "off", I figured other Zep shows must've been just too good to imagine. Then I hear boots, boots and more boots of a bunch of different shows from 1970-77 and a couple of other official live albums and... they're plenty good. Some even better than "Song" but... substantially? Night and day? Not to me, but what the heck do *I* know???

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 2:33:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 16, 2011 2:37:20 PM PDT
zlh67 says:
I could be wrong bassboy, but my understanding is that they had already decided they could not and would not tour for Who Are You prior to Keith's death. Normally, if a band is going to tour an album, arrangements are in the works before the album's even done, which is why sometimes a band's tour kicks off before their album is out (they didn't finish the album as fast as they thought they would or there was some delay with the record company or artwork, etc.....). So at the time "Who Are You" tour preparations would have/should have begun in 1978, Keith wasn't together enough to go on the road, so they opted not to tour it. Instead, they just finished the album and put it out, and very shortly after, Keith died.

The first tour with Kenny Jones in 1979-80 was more just to get him acclimated than promote an album and weren't really dubbed as "Who Are You" tour shows I don't believe, though they of course played a few songs from that album....

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 3:32:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 16, 2011 3:33:20 PM PDT
MC says:
zlh67 - Certainly not wrong, just a different perspective, at my first show they played a number of tunes from the yet to be released 'Houses' (one of them twice!), and they were really great, then the album came out and they just weren't the same, and I was bummed big time, now it's one of my favorites... You are a true Zepp goon and I salute you! Been a long time.....

By the way that 2000 Who tour was fricking incredible!!

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 3:53:37 PM PDT
zlh67 says:
Thanks, MC.

That 2000 Who show I saw (Dallas) restored my faith in rock and roll...

Long Live Rock (I need it ev'a'ree night....)

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 5:53:28 PM PDT
Those early BBC sessions with Zep show how well-honed they were already at that point. Their music seems to have more nuance and variety than the Who. I could identify with their energy including the sexual energy upon discovering their albums one by one back in high school.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 7:54:00 PM PDT
Working Man says:
Adam82, I am glad you said something about the fan rivalry. Until I started participating in these Amazons forums I never realized there was so much anti-Zeppelin opinion, especially from fans of the Who. Now of all the Zeppelin fans I know, none ever held anything against The Who and neither do I. I don't know where it comes from, the bands are different and yet in some ways similar, they were pretty much contemporaries. Maybe it's the old Beatles vs. the Stones thing, The Who vs. Zep.

Jersey Joker, I think you're right too, about the passion.

Yes, Zeppelin had the long drawn out solos but some of us like that. Granted I don't enjoy it as much as I did as teenager, often having my conciencness enhanced, but I also have lost my interest in guitars and amps being destroyed. A bit excessive as will in my mind.

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 8:16:59 PM PDT
Fischman says:
While I prefer the Who, I have no anti-Zep hatred. I can see why others might however. The main reason is the level of exposure. Many folks hold the bands in equal esteem, but Zep got so much more exposure--it's like the scene in Wayne's World where the kid in the guitar shop is trying out a new guitar by playing the intro to Stairway when the shop worker yells at him and points out the "No Stairway to Heaven" sign on the wall. We've just had enough. I think this thread demonstrates the relative equality of the two bands, but the popular coverage is way out of proportion. It is like the Beatles vs. Stones thing. Both great bands, but the out-and-out worship of the Beatles makes even folks who think the Beatles were a great band say "Enough is enough!" and point out that they aren't all that and a bag of chips.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2011 8:26:53 PM PDT
bass boy says:
Hey zlh67, if you ever find the Who Dallas 2000 pro-shot DVD, please let me know. I've been looking for it all these years. Lol! And yeah, The Who planned to get Keith Moon in better shape to tour later, but of course, Moon passed away.

Posted on Aug 16, 2011 10:19:26 PM PDT
Shawn says:

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 8:54:30 AM PDT
zlh67 says:
Will do bassboy. I actually just re-connected with a buddy that's a HUGE Who fan and I've sent him some Roger Waters stuff, so I'm checking to see if he's got a couple of items I'm after, and a cd or dvd boot of that Dallas 2000 show is one I'm asking about. Will let you know if I come up with anything...

And... not a big deal, but I could swear I read that at the time of Keith's passing, The Who had no plans of any kind. They were clearly hoping Moon would get himself together and if he did I think it's assumed that they would re-convene and either do another album and/or tour at some point, but I didn't think they had any specific plans or even tentative plans in Sept '78 when Keith died because they didn't feel they could do anything or even plan to do anything until he cleaned himself up. So i think they were just in "wait and see" mode....

I have 2 books on Moon ("Full Moon", written by Dougal Butler, his longtime assistant, and "Moon - The Life and Death of A Rock Legend") and in 1 of them i'm almost certain it was said that one of the reasons for Keith's more serious attempts at cleaning up was the fact that he felt he would be either kicked out of The Who or the band would just break up if he didn't turn it around. HE wanted to tour for "Who Are You", but Pete and the others knew it'd be a fiasco and musically deficient based on Keith's performances in the studio when recording the "Who Are You" album, so they decided against it. When they declined to hit the road to support "Who Are You", there was nothing for Moon to do but clean up and hope they could move ahead afterward.

Which obviously never happened, but his death was due to an overdose of a drug designed to ween him off of alcohol of course, not just him going nuts and up to his same old tricks (which is eerily similar to how Amy Winehouse died if her family is to be believed...), so he WAS trying to turn it around and give himself and The Who some kind of future. What that would have looked like if he'd lived I guess we'll never know...

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 9:32:50 AM PDT
For me, I am fan of both bands and depending on the day either one could be at the top. As many have pointed out, the similarities and differences between the bands make each appealing and compelling in their own right. Zeppelin I always felt was a tighter band with the Who being on the edge of everything falling apart. Either way, both bands rocked. The Who gave us the best live recording ever - Live At Leeds - while Zep gave us 9 of the consistently best crafted albums released by any band.

On a side note, I feel that Zep has treated their fans a bit better than the Who. Sure, there was the crappy Zep remasters from the 90's that eventually got corrected, but The Who has put out versions and deluxe versions and deluxe deluxe versions of their albums ad nauseam without any real end in sight. Plus all the below average video releases from The Who.

As a final note, Zep knew when to call it quits and for that they deserve an extra point.

For me, I have never been unsatisfied with a Zeppelin release, something I cannot say for The Who.

Musically, the edge goes to Zep by a very slight margin, well, as of right now. Ask me again in a month.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2011 9:17:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2011 9:20:24 PM PDT
bass boy says:
Below average video releases by The Who? What videos are you talking about? I love Zep too but why does everyone act like Zep never did anything post 1980? They did Live Aid in 1985 like The Who, they reunited in 1988 for an Atlantic Records celebration event, and Page and Plant did the "Unledded" project (they played Zep songs live even though JPJ wasn't there and the O2 reunion show. Again, I love Zep, but the notion that they quit completely in 1980 isn't exactly accurate. :)

Hey zlh67, yeah, if you do find The Who Dallas 2000 DVD, do holler at me. The DVD is killer, they say. :)

Posted on Aug 17, 2011 9:34:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2011 9:34:38 PM PDT
Fischman says:
"On a side note, I feel that Zep has treated their fans a bit better than the Who. Sure, there was the crappy Zep remasters from the 90's that eventually got corrected, but The Who has put out versions and deluxe versions and deluxe deluxe versions of their albums ad nauseam without any real end in sight."

Is this attributable to the band of to their record companies? Certainly, these things wouldn't have been released this way if there wasn't a market.

"Zep gave us 9 of the consistently best crafted albums released by any band."
Really--you put In Through the Out Door in this exalted category? And to get to 9, you have to be including Coda. Really??? This is not to say that puts Zep behind the Who as their later original studio releases were relative stinkers as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 5:47:14 AM PDT
zlh67 says:
bass boy, yeah, I looked at the setlist the other day to refresh my memory of that show and it is most definitely all killer, no filler, and I remember the band being on absolute fire. I left thinking "I'd like to see one of these younger bands today, ANY one of 'em, try to match THAT." Great show.

Re Zep, I think they are considered to have ceased to exist after 1980 because all the events you list were one-off performances with the exception of the Plant & Page projects which were not billed as Led Zeppelin.

The Who on the other hand have offered new recordings here and there and have done full scale tours billed as "The Who".

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 5:56:31 AM PDT
JK Marini says:
No question. The Who.

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 6:00:02 AM PDT
TC says:
Led Zeppelin.....but it's very close.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 6:08:17 AM PDT
bass boy,
The problem with the The Who video releases is that there have been so many with really the same songs played over and over. "The Kids Are Alright" was the best release, but the "Isle of Wight" wasn't very good and the "Live at Kilburn" didn't really work, plus most of the video releases without Keith Moon.

For all tense and purposes, Zeppelin ceased to exist as a recording artist/band after Bonham passed. The Who really ended as well after Moon died, but they never really realized it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 6:21:09 AM PDT
You make some good points. I sense that you agree with my thoughts about The Who releases and re-releases, but you put the blame on the record company and not the band. OK, I can see that, but I still support the point I made because either way, the Zep catalog has been treated more respectively. I have to believe that the creative forces behind the material still have some acknowledgement of what is being released in their name.

As to the album count, no I didn't include "Coda" that would just be silly. However, I did count "Physical Graffiti" twice. As to "In Through The Out Door", Yes.

As I noted, I give Zep the edge today, ask me again in a month.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 6:38:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2011 6:38:49 AM PDT
zlh67 says:
"I have to believe that the creative forces behind the material still have some acknowledgement of what is being released in their name."


That would be a huge mistake. At least in general. I don't know about The Who specifically, but I know of MANY cases where artists have ZERO control over what is released in their name, particularly when it comes to remasters, re-releases, deluxe issues, etc. Just the other night I was half-watching "That Metal Show" and they were speaking of the flood of re-releases, remasters, etc. and I can't remember which act they referenced, but they said that this particular band was urging people NOT to buy a recent release because they had no input into it and weren't seeing a dime. It happens.

Zeppelin has always had complete control over their releases starting with the very first album, partially because there was such a bidding war to get them under contract and partially because of the shrewdness of Page and mgr Peter Grant. They'd both been around the block and seen it done the WRONG way, so they more than knew what to bargain for when Zep was getting off the ground, and complete ownership of all of their music was one thing they absolutely required and they got it. Plenty of bands don't though.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 6:58:45 AM PDT
Good points as well. I am aware of how record companies try to squeeze every last dime out of the market and if the market is willing to pay, then they will continue to milk the market. I am also aware of how music companies can own and release what they want even without the band's approval. Kudos to Zep for taking and keeping control so that quantity is the driving force. Shame on The Who for not and/or for allowing the raping of the fans.

For me, the "Live at Leeds" releases and releases soured me. Yes, it is the greatest live album ever, but did it really need 4 releases with each release delivering just a little bit more. I see that as greed, whether on part of the record company or the band, it still has The Who name on it. I didn't buy the last deluxe version after having bought the first 3.

But this does depart from the question, which band do you prefer? Musically, I enjoy them both with the edge given to Zeppelin today.

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 8:56:27 AM PDT
Definitely Zeppelin. Can't stand the Who honestly. I didn't grow up in the generation, but Zeppelin pleases my ears more.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2011 9:04:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2011 9:15:17 AM PDT
bass boy says:
Hey Steve, with all due respect, I love "Isle of Wight 1970." It's ragged in spots, but there are many high points throughout the film - "Young Man Blues," "I Don't Even Know Myself," the bulk of "Tommy," etc.
And "Kilburn" is the same for me - not perfect, but it's up there. "My Wife" sizzles, especially when Pete goes mad and pushes one of his top (upper) guitar speakers onto a roadie. That's pure rock and roll. Entwistle's bass - despite Entwistle being extremely drunk during the show - still pops and cracks with greatness.
I actually like "Chicago 1979," although it's in edited form, and The Who's set in 2001 Concert for NYC is killer. I can't see how anyone can watch those four songs at that show and not be moved. "Live at the Royal Albert Hall (shot in 2000 but released Sept. 2001)" also is great.
But hey, it's cool. We just disagree. Of course The Who have must-play songs like "Won't Get Fooled Again," "My Generation" and "Pinball Wizard," but EVERY band, including Zep, has/had those songs. What would a Zep concert have been without "Stairway to Heaven"? :)
And I'm one of the few who like parts of "Face Dances" and "It's Hard." I actually like those two records better than "Coda" and "In Through the Outdoor." But Zep is good, too.

P.S. Steve, I do agree that the last "Leeds" reissue was too much. They should have released the full (even the 2001 2 CD remaster is incomplete) Leeds show and the Hull show (with the right (Townshend) and left (Entwistle) stereo channels corrected as a four-vinyl-LP set, plus those two complete shows on CD (without the excessive noise reduction found on CD 2 of the 2001 "Leeds" remaster), all in the box with a poster and book. I probably would have bought that, but even I, the biggest Who fan of all, can't re-purchase Leeds without some serious incentive. I feel the same about the Zep black box set from several years ago. No extras were found in that box, so in a way, that could be seen as a form of cash-grab.
Hey, I do like Zep a lot. It's just The Who is my favorite. And Zep may seem like they are "nicer" to the fans - I still don't buy that - but I do know The Who is the king when it comes to giving media access. Easiest photo pass request ever, and it was the most stunning concert ever. I wish you could have seen that show I saw.
As for Robert Plant? Good luck on getting any kind of media access to him. Lol! It's all good. :)
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