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The unsung hero in Led Zeppelin according to Geddy Lee

Geddy Lee
Images from CBC and Led Zeppelin's Instagram


The unsung hero in Led Zeppelin according to Geddy Lee

Rush released its self-titled debut album in 1974, when Hard Rock music was taking the world by storm with bands like Led Zeppelin. In that year, the British band didn’t release a new record but already had five albums out and were one of the biggest bands on the planet.


The Canadian band that at the time had Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and John Rutsey already had shown their Progressive Rock influences on their music but had a sound that was much more closer to Hard Rock. With that and Geddy Lee’s powerful voice, they were compared a lot with the British group and even were called the Canadian Led Zeppelin.

Lee was inspired by many different artists when he was young and one of them was Led Zeppelin. Over the decades he continued to praise the band and even mentioned one of the members that in his opinion was the unsung hero of Zeppelin.

The unsung hero in Led Zeppelin according to Geddy Lee

Years before Rush had the chance to release their first record, when Geddy Lee was only a teenager who loved Rock and Roll. He was part of a band and had the chance to see many incredible groups playing live. The North American market was always very important for British groups since there were millions of fans who could buy their records and go to the concerts. So they used to tour a lot in the United States and Canada.

So he not only discovered Zeppelin at an early age, but he already had the chance to see the band performing live when they still were playing in small theaters. He saw the band for the first time in 1969 as he told Classic Rock in 2021.

“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 continued:

“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 Lee said.

So, by seeing the band live and hearing the records, Geddy became a huge fan of the group. Also since he is a bassist and keyboardist, he knows how important Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones was for the group.

Talking with Guitar World in 2014, he said that Jones was the unsung hero of the group. “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,” Geddy Lee said.

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

In 2018, Geddy Lee released his book “Big Beautiful Book of Bass”, which tells the story of many different famous bass guitars, interviewing famous artists who played them. He had the opportunity to interview many legendary artists for that book and one of them was John Paul Jones.

Talking with Rolling Stone in the year the book was released, he recalled the experience of meeting 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 musician also explained why Jones was such a perfect person for the book. He said: “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,” Geddy Lee said.

He also recalled that he first got in touch, sending him a letter and explaining what he was doing. According to Geddy, the Zeppelin bassist paid for his own taxi to go meet him in London. He brought two of his bass guitars to the meeting. Curiously, he also tracked down one of his original bass guitars and bought it back to show Lee which was the one he used.

Like Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones was also a praised session musician in the 60s. He played on many famous tracks from artists like Donovan, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. Curiously, he also played on albums from R.E.M., The Mission and Heart.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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