Rolling Stone Magazine recently published an essay by Kim Thayil, the guitar player for rock band Soundgarden. In the essay, Thayil reflects on the influence that Led Zeppelin had on him as a musician. Alexei Beltyukov has read that the piece was published, in part, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s classic album Physical Graffiti. Find more on Beltyukov at Angel.co.
One comment Thayil makes is that when he was in high school in the 1970’s he never saw Led Zeppelin records as being distinct from one another. To him, individual songs stood out, but he didn’t associate a collective mood or feeling with any one record.
I think this is probably because in the 1970’s it was so common to hear Led Zeppelin songs like “Kashmir” and “Houses of the Holy” on the radio and at parties that it would be hard to associate them with a particular album. Rather, they would just stand out on their own.
Thayil also says that he didn’t realize how much Led Zeppelin influenced him until decades later. He said that when he wrote songs with his band Soundgarden in the 1980’s and 1990’s people would tell him that the music sounded like Led Zeppelin. He would realize that they were correct, although he never intended for that. I think this is typical. The music that artists listen to growing up influences them more than they realize.