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(Credit: Alamy/Sheri Lyn Behr)

Music

Why Iggy Pop hated Led Zeppelin

@TomTaylorFO

On the Iggy Pop and The Stooges live album Metallic K.O. you can actually hear the sound of a hurled beer bottle smashing against an already fuzzed-out guitar. On any latter-day Led Zeppelin album, you’d struggle to hear a hurricane ripping the studio roof off amid all the swirl of rock ‘n’ roll music at its utmost orchestral.

That merely represents two different approaches to music. Neither is right nor wrong. However, whether you love Led Zeppelin, loath them, or somehow remain nonplussed, you have to admit that the words pompous and overblown will always remain applicable, it’s just a matter of opinion if you render it ‘joyously pompous’ or ‘horrifically pompous’. Needless to say, Iggy Pop thought Led Zeppelin thought the latter and there is no doubting that they were artists who lived on the opposite sides of music town. 

Lou Reed revelled in Pop’s dirty dirges and mucky instrumentation and when referencing his love for the shirtless human Lemur, he may well have had bands like Led Zep in mind. “I have always loved Raw Power,” Reed once said of the famed Stooges album. “I like the sound – the honest sound of young guys trying to break the barrier of stilted moulded sterile rock. And they did. Great guitar and wonderful vocals from Iggy. And inspiration for young men to this day.”

If that seemed like a pointed prod at what is now termed ‘Classic Rock’ then Pop went the whole hog and cited his dislike for Led Zeppelin outright. When discussing the music scene in 1995 with Joshua Berger, he offered up this disparaging take: “The ‘music’ is mostly 60’s and 70’s rehash, especially, Led Zeppelin, who I never could stand in the first place. Also ‘folk-rock’ is back as ‘alternative’, gimme a break.” 

He continued his diatribe by adding: “The ‘bands’ dress this mess up in various ‘HIP’ clothes and ‘political’ postures to encode a ‘lock’ on social belonging which you can open by purchasing a combination of products, especially their own, none of them have fuck-all to say.”

In truth, it’s not all that surprising that Mr Pop has never been enamoured with the stylings of Led Zeppelin. He has always favoured things on the raw side of things, once claiming that the gutsy analogue roar of The Stooges and other such bands was like “throwing an amp into the spirit of man.” 

Usually when too many elements enter the mix, Pop walks out, and the cacophonous sound and fantastical inspirations behind Led Zeppelin simply weren’t to his liking, clearly.