The unsung hero in Led Zeppelin according to Geddy Lee

In 1974, Rush released their self-titled first album during the global Hard Rock explosion, dominated by acts such as Led Zeppelin. Although the British band had five albums out and was among the top bands in the world, they didn’t release a new record that year.

Although their sound was far more in line with Hard Rock, the Canadian band, who at the time included Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and John Rutsey, had already demonstrated their inspirations from Progressive Rock. They were frequently likened to the British group and even dubbed the Canadian Led Zeppelin because of this and Geddy Lee’s commanding voice.

When Lee was younger, Led Zeppelin was one of the numerous musicians that influenced him. He never stopped praising the band, even mentioning a member he thought was Zeppelin’s unsung hero.

The unsung hero in Led Zeppelin according to Geddy Lee

Geddy Lee was a young adolescent who developed a passion for rock and roll years before Rush could release their debut record. Being in a band allowed him to watch many amazing live acts. For British bands, the North American market was always crucial since millions could purchase recordings and attend live performances. Thus, they did several tours in both Canada and the United States.

Thus, he was not only exposed to Zeppelin at a young age but also had the opportunity to witness the band live while they were still playing in tiny theaters. According to what he told Classic Rock in 2021, he first saw the band in 1969.

Geddy said, “That was August 18, 1969. They were doing two shows. We were at the first show. I went with John Rutsey (Original Rush drummer) and Alex (Lifeson). It was general admission. We lined up for hours.”

He added, “We got in and we sat in the second row. And I swear they didn’t walk out on stage – they floated out. They literally brought the house down, because by the end of the night there was plaster falling from the ceiling.”

Geddy therefore became a major admirer of the band after hearing the songs and watching them perform live. Being a bassist and keyboardist himself, he is well aware of the significance of John Paul Jones to Zeppelin.

In an interview with Guitar World in 2014, he claimed that Jones was the group’s unsung superstar. He said, “I saw them in Toronto at a little place called the Rockpile. We were in the second row, and when they played this song it just blew me away. It reaffirmed for me all the creative potential in blending hard rock with progressive music. John Paul Jones was the unsung hero in that band.”

John Paul Jones was really thrilled when Lee interviewed him for his book

2018 saw the publication of Geddy Lee’s book “Big Beautiful Book of Bass,” which has interviews with well-known bassists and recounts the history of several iconic bass instruments. For that book, he got to interview a lot of renowned artists, and John Paul Jones was one of them.

In an interview with Rolling Stone the year the book came out, he talked about his encounter with Jones. “First of all, he’s an incredibly lovely guy. If you ever have the opportunity to sit down with one of your heroes, it’s never an easy situation. It’s always a bit nerve-racking, and you never know what to expect.”

The performer also clarified why Jones was such a good fit for the book. He declared: “John, for example, was perfect for me because a) he was such an influential player in my life; b) he plays what I consider the greatest period of Fender Jazz Bass, a ’62, on all those early Zep albums; and c) he’s a lovely guy. He’s the perfect combination of someone to interview.”

He also remembered the first time he corresponded with him, outlining his intentions in a letter. The Zeppelin bassist reportedly paid for his cab fare to meet Geddy in London. He arrived at the appointment with two of his bass guitars. Intriguingly, he also located and returned one of his original bass guitars to Lee, demonstrating to him which one he played.

John Paul Jones was a highly regarded session musician in the 1960s, much like Jimmy Page. He contributed to several well-known songs by Donovan, The Rolling Stones, and The Yardbirds. Strangely enough, he also contributed to R.E.M., The Mission, and Heart Records.




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