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1 Rock Star Hated Led Zeppelin, but His Angry Tirade Missed the Mark

Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Showbiz Cheat Sheet
 2022-11-29

Led Zeppelin ’s contribution to and influence on modern music is clear more than 50 years after their debut. They appeased fans by writing some of the best classic rock songs and playing legendary live shows (except for their worst concert , which lasted less than an hour). Music fans clearly love Led Zeppelin, but one fellow rock star hated the band and didn’t hold back when discussing Jimmy Page ’s guitar playing.

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(l-r) Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin’s members freely criticized their own work

Many classic rock fans still love Led Zeppelin, even though one rock star hated the band. Even Zep members have freely criticized their own work over the years.

Page hates “Living Loving Maid” from Led Zeppelin II , even though he’s wrong to detest it and has himself to blame for its radio airplay over the years. (We fully endorse his loathing of the butchered version of a classic Zep song , though.)

Bassist John Paul Jones hated one Zep song from Houses of the Holy because of John Bonham’s drumming. His rhythm section partner felt the same way. Singer Robert Plant outgrew his love of Zeppelin’s signature song, “Stairway to Heaven,” as the band’s career wore on. Years after the band broke up, he said people were right to criticize Led Zeppelin in the late 1970s.

Yet another rock star hated everything about Led Zeppelin, and he was brutally honest about Page’s guitar playing.

Cream’s Jack Bruce hated Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page’s guitar playing

RELATED: Jimmy Page Called 1 Led Zeppelin Song His ‘Baby’

Led Zeppelin never shied away from critiquing their work. Page regrets how he recorded “Tangerine,” which he brought from his Yardbirds days to Zep, for instance. Yet Cream bassist Jack Bruce laid into Led Zeppelin and Page’s guitar playing.

The two bands were barely contemporaries. Cream broke up in late 1968 and released a posthumous album in early 1969. Led Zeppelin, meanwhile, formed in late 1968, dropped its debut in early 1969, and became one of the biggest bands in the world in the 1970s. Yet the years and Bruce’s own accomplishments as a musician didn’t dull his Led Zeppelin hatred. Bruce laid into the band and Page at a 2008 award show, as George Case writes in Led Zeppelin FAQ :

“F— off, Zeppelin, you’re crap. You’ve always been crap, and you’ll never be anything else. The worst thing is that people believe the crap that they’re sold. Cream is 10 times the band that Led Zeppelin is. You’re gonna compare Eric Clapton with f—— Jimmy Page?”

Jack Bruce on why he hates Led Zeppelin

We’ll give Bruce a little leeway here. Page was never as technically accomplished a guitar player as Clapton, but he never claimed to be. Still, Page wrote songs and guitar riffs that continue to hold their own compared to anything else from the era. His licks might not have been as technically proficient as Clapton’s, but Page’s best guitar solos remain some of the most memorable ever recorded.

Fans weren’t being sold anything. Bruce might not have remembered that Led Zeppelin didn’t do much self-promotion. They almost never performed on TV . Their interviews happened less frequently as their career progressed. Fans loved Led Zeppelin because of the songs; whether or not Zep’s music was up to Bruce’s standards was irrelevant.

The salty Bruce (who died in 2014) didn’t hide how much he hated Led Zeppelin, but he was in the minority. Zep’s status as rock legends won’t be changing anytime soon.

Other rock stars weren’t huge Zep fans

RELATED: Jimmy Page First Bowed His Guitar on a Movie Soundtrack Composed by 1 of The Rolling Stones

Cream’s Bruce hated Led Zeppelin from the time they debuted. He wasn’t the only musician of the era who didn’t care for the band.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards didn’t like Led Zeppelin , though his displeasure rested mostly with Bonham’s playing and Plant’s frontman antics. Pete Townshend said Zep was one of several bands from the era that copied The Who , which led to him (like Richards) hating everything about the band except for Page’s playing.

In the end, Cream earned a spot among rock ‘n’ roll royalty in their short time together. They penned several hits, Clapton cemented his status as a guitar maestro, and the band entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame two years ahead of Led Zeppelin. Still, Bruce’s hatred for Led Zeppelin never changed the fact they were one of the biggest bands of that or any other era.

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Comments / 27

Mike King
11-29

Who really cares what Jack Bruce thought? Zeppelin on their worst night would have blown Cream off the stage. Ginger Baker hated Bonham because he was a far superior drummer then Baker...

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Anthony Lamy
11-29

Who remembers Jack Bruce's career now. Page and Zep were a phenom. Not as clean as Clapton, Gilmore or May b uh t they had some absolutely fabulous recordings. you had to be able to appreciate the real blues he was playing. I saw them 9 times in the 70's and they never disappointed us. Self taught and the session player on dozens of hit records per zep. Jack was very jealous to say the least

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cram it clowny
11-29

What’s it matter if one of them hated the other both have great songs both have bad songs. That’s a matter of personal preference. As for talent all were talented who’s the best matter of opinion

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