Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hammering the point home, again and again..., 8 July 2004
This review is from: Hammer of the Gods: Definitive Biography of "Led Zeppelin" (Paperback)
I am nearly at the end of this book, which was recommended many years ago. I hope that I don't come across as intellectually overbearing about it, but it has been a bit of a disappointment. The quality of writing veers, quite often, into fanzine over-excitment; and the grammar, syntax and general style falls apart after the first two chapters. It is a fun and fast read (I don't always want an academic plod through rock journalism swamplands), and the first two chapters offer some very interesting insights into the band's genenesis, as well as the 60s music scene. After that, however, the howlers come thick and fast. I won't bore you with a list of "how not to write a bad bio." But one example that remains in mind are the tedious accounts of "Dazed And Confused." How many times can a writer bang on about Pages's bowing technique? Like the accounts of the song's increasing length, with each successive tour, the descriptions become irritatingly repetitive. And using the title as a weak pun twice, within the space of two pages, at on point, pushes the envelope off the table. Relief (albeit dubious!) comes when "Whole Lotta Love" becomes the next fixation. Plant faking orgasms as an accompaniment made me feel that it was no regret to miss them as a live act. Then it switches to (sorry; but I often skip this track!): "Stairway..." I saw one of the very good "Unledded" shows, and was relieved that it was omitted. Plant mentioned feeling almost embarrassed about this blast of bombast (Page disagreed, however), and it seems that the author is absurdly enamoured with this chestnut.
An account of a riotous Italian show is, er, interesting. The carabinieri metamorphose into the gendarmarie within the space of a few pages!
Page's occult interests are lazily brushed aside as rumour at one point. I would like to know more about this, but the author doesn't really tackle it with any rigour.
Peter Grant seems (Bonham, as well) to be too misrepresented as a loveable rogue.
In all, it isn't THAT bad, but "definitive" is really wide of the mark.
I am at the point where John Paul Jones appears to be the only one left intact. I would be interested in a book of it all by him. He is the only one who has gone on to pursue interesting projects (e.g. his collaboration with Diamanda Galas); the others are at a loose end. The funniest part is Bob Dylan's sardonic response to Grant's blustering self-introduction.
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