It’s impossible to imagine a world without Led Zeppelin… unless it looks like you’re Greta Van Fleet. From the moment the Grammy-winning quartet burst onto the scene, Michigan rockers drew a strong comparison to the most iconic and influential hard rock band. In recent years, everyone from NME and Rolling stone at Ultimate Guitar noted the striking similarity between the legendary Led Zeppelin sound and the music GVF began to make decades later. Even Robert Plant intervened, claiming that “they are Led Zeppelin IIn 2017.
But the band themselves played down that connection, initially only recognizing Led Zeppelin as one of the many diverse influences they drew inspiration from. This has just stoked the fires of online derision from fans and critics alike, who have called the group a “scam” of the original, with fork fiercely dismissing them as a band that “don’t even realize they’re more of an algorithmic fever dream than a real rock band.”
It is perhaps not surprising that the band quickly began to bristle at the comparison, with guitarist Jake Kiszka going so far as to sarcastically claim that he had “never heard of them” when asked. asked about Led Zep in an interview. As you can imagine this only made the situation worse, and now it’s hard to talk about GVF – which is one of the most popular new guitar groups of recent years – without mentioning the accusations. Led Zeppelin scam.
Corn Why does Greta Van Fleet’s music sound so much like Led Zeppelin’s? We all know this instinctively, but there must be some reason for it, surely? Well, let’s find out …
Take Tune Highway, GVF’s 2017 hit and still their most popular song – it’s easy to see why, this gritty but polished track is a three-minute slice of remarkably faithful classic rock, but even putting the genre aside, there is has something very familiar about it, almost like we’ve heard before.
Perhaps the most striking similarity is Josh Kiszka’s vocals – the high-pitched moan that opens the song is remarkably plant-like, and given that the two singers share a range of almost four octaves, it is may be inevitable, but there is more here.
In 1975, Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album, Physical graffiti has a track called, The rover, a classic song by Page that features a memorable gritty bluesy riff. Written in F ♯ minor, this riff features a descending minor pentatonic scale figure at the end that indeed sounds very familiar. Return to Tune Highway and we have a very similar pentatonic figure, with the same descent and same semitone string curves, but increased by a semitone in key and changed to a major key.
If we look at another of GVF’s biggest hits, Safari song, we can note more sound similarities. Again, Josh’s vegetal moan instantly sets the tone, but this time it’s more of the folk-meet-rock vibe of Led Zeppelin IVis classic Rock and roll that Jake seems to channel here, with similar “rockabilly” vibes and the high, stiff guitar hits, and the bridge chords on When the curtain falls have more than a little in common with the choir of Hiking on It’s not just the guitar either, if you listen to the song carefully The power of the flowers, you will notice that the organ fade is almost identical to that of Led Zeppelin Is Your The time will come.
It looks like
But it’s not just the notes that are played of course, and it’s hard to miss the remarkable similarity between the sounds that Jake Kiska gets. It’s all the more interesting that his rig sounds so similar to Page’s given that he’s primarily a SG player, when most of Led Zeppelin was recorded with a Telecaster or the iconic Les Paul. ’59 from Page – maybe their common affinity for vintage-style Marshalls is the secret ingredient. Either way, the tonal similarity is unsettling, and it’s something that recurs elsewhere in the band – Danny Wagner’s Ludwig Vistalite drum kit was John Bonham’s favorite product.
But the ultimate question is: does it really matter? It’s not like Led Zeppelin didn’t take a lot of inspiration from their influences when they were writing anyway. When John Paul Jones wrote Black Dog, he couldn’t even remember which of his blues icons he checked off – first stating that he had listened to Muddy Waters when he came up with the riff, before subsequently correcting the recording he made. was actually Howlin ‘Wolf.
And it’s not like GVF is the first band to be compared to Led Zep, either. In the 1980s, Robert Plant memorablely christened Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale as “David Cover Version”, such was their perceived similarity in their vocal style. Even this year Eurovision Kings Måneskin has been compared to Led Zep, among others, although Italians seem to have accepted these comparisons as a compliment, as opposed to a criticism.
When the curtain falls vs Hiking on
The third track from GVF’s 2018 album Anthem of the Peaceful Army is hard to miss. You don’t get a more monstrous riff than the beginning. But does this sound familiar to you? Maybe this doesn’t appear to be a carbon copy of Zep’s Hiking on, but the structure remains melodically similar. Based again on the pentatonic scale, much like the result of blues-rock, Kiszka’s riff is a fleshed out and stronger interpretation of Page’s fine rhythmic opening, which would have been played on the lighter-sounding Fender Telecaster. Led Zeppelin was known to play with dynamics quite extensively – this was not lacking in Hiking on as John Paul Jones changed between loud and soft as he conversed with Page via eighth notes and eighth notes.
Maybe GVF takes it upon himself to stick to the forte and mezzo forte dynamics, leaping over the strong / soft swing often woven into Zeppelin songs. But GVF plays classic rock because it’s, in the words of drummer Sam Kiszka, “a lost ideology” (Apple Music, 2018), and who wouldn’t want to play it from the roof if he’s dying? From vibrant rock ‘n’ roll textures to throbbing shreds, screams and screams, they couldn’t be played on any volume other than full.
Clone the saga
And that is perhaps the main difference that made Greta Van Fleet such a polarizing band – by trying to avoid the obvious comparisons to Led Zeppelin, they made people more aware of themselves. It looks like on that one, the young rockers of Detroit mellowed out a bit, with Kiska recounting FaceCulture, “I think we’ve become more aware of that because I don’t think we’ve ever really realized, in many ways, the similarities or commonalities that we share with this band.
“It’s repeated over and over again, and I think that’s one of the biggest compliments you can give a young band like us. They’re arguably one of the greatest bands in rock. of all time, so it’s humiliating, inspiring and honorable, in that sense.
The history of popular music would not exist without the people who wrote and borrowed from artists who came before it, and in this regard, Greta Van Fleet continues one of the great traditions of rock’n ‘roll – there is nothing to be ashamed of there.
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