The 365 Commitment

Be Passionate

I remember the moment when I heard my first Led Zeppelin song. I was a child during the 70s, so it was hard to miss hearing a song or two from them. Led Zeppelin was not a popular top 40 type of band. In their early days they rarely released singles in the United States. Most people carried with them bootleg copies of copies of their early albums. Compact Cassettes were common in those days, and people carried them with them like gold. It was common to hear nicknames for popular band albums that would get past around. Anyway, Led Zeppelin started to become more mainstream around 73. They started releasing singles and in that year they released a single called “the Crunge” with a B side recording of D’Yer Mak’er. That B side recording would go on to have some commercial success, hitting top 20 billboard in the United States. Critics had a field day with the song, they did not know what category to put it into. The drummer, Jon Bonham had come up with a creative way to mimic a reggae beat and Jimmy Page had fun overlaying a sort of “doo-wop” 50s sound on it. This created a silky smooth reggae beat with a slight up tempo, and to top it all off a funny title that no one understood.

Anyway, sitting in a friend’s car that had a tape player in it, he put in a bootleg copy of Zep Sticks and Houses of the Holy. Not wanting to rewind much, we just played it where it was. It was at that moment, the song Dancing Days just faded slightly and the intro drum beat of D’yer Mak’er came over the speakers. It was at that moment that I actually heard Led Zeppelin for the first time. I had probably listened to a song or two before, but this was actually hearing. I was hooked immediately. I made a copy of that tape and held onto it for years. It was the album that you were not supposed to have, you listened to it on your walkman when no one knew what you were listening to. Anyway, I would spend the next 40 years listening to Zeppelin at different phases of my life. There were times when I was a fool in the rain, and other times felt like it was my time to die. There is just something about popping in Zep 1 and 2 and cleaning the garage on a Saturday morning that can lift even the most downcast of spirits.

I remember Sunday nights, parking in my Jeep and looking at the City lights and waiting for KLOS to come on with their once a week broadcast of “Get the Led Out.” It was a moment that all the kids my age would assemble, all throughout Southern California in harmony and collectively dance around as the airways carried our Swan Song. There were moments then that friendships were made that we thought would never fade, but of course they did. The song remains the same, however, unchanged and always available. Part of my soul if you will, an ever coursing, ever present tune in the back of my mind just waiting for me to bring up my favorite play list on Youtube Music or Spotify.

I was listening to an interview with Jimmy Page recently. Here was this white haired old man, standing in his “listening” room. It was part of the documentary he did with The Edge from U2. Anyway, you could see the childlike look in his eyes as he put on an old LP from a long gone blues guitar player. He played air guitar as he listened, feeling the song like no one else could. Then I realized, this was that young boy. When Jimmy Page was a little child, he probably listened to that song in the same way. He developed a passion for the guitar and it became his life’s work. He is not “the guitar guy that played for Led Zeppelin,” he is Led Zeppelin. He is not some old 70s rocker that was good at the guitar, he is the guitar. His hope in life is that he can live long enough to play one more song on his Les Paul.

You see it was never about anything else other then just playing the guitar. That was his passion, completely. He was just eager to be part of anything where he could play. It was from that passion that the rest of us just so happened to tune in during those few years when he was playing his guitar for a popular British Rock and Roll band. What does it take to have that kind of passion for something? Is that not living?

Guy Reams

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