I do not like the music of Led Zeppelin. I never have.
It all goes back to when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I had a girlfriend who liked to make out to Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” I was 16 years old, just starting to car date, and was dealing with raging hormones that many of us were experiencing at that age. I liked making out with her. I just didn’t like making out to “Stairway to Heaven.”
I had no interest in Zeppelin’s music then, and that’s the way it is now, some 40-plus years later. Sure, I know a couple of their tunes, and can probably sing a couple of verses to some of their songs. But I do not have any Zeppelin in my vinyl or CD collections and don’t plan on adding any.
But the discussion over whether “Stairway to Heaven” is the “greatest makeout song ever” still follows me today. It just so happens that The Blonde Accountant considers it at the top of the list of makeout songs.
“How can you not like making out to a long song like ‘Stairway to Heaven?’” she will say to me. “It’s the greatest makeout song ever.”
I may be old, but I’m not dead. I still like making out. But “Stairway to Heaven” is not the greatest makeout song ever. It is, however, the greatest impotence-inducing song ever.
Oddly enough, it is in this context that we attended the Yacht Rock 2019 show at the Borgata in Atlantic City Aug. 23. The show featured Walter Egan (“Magnet and Steel”); Elliot Lurie of Looking Glass (“Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl”); John Ford Coley of England Dan and John Ford Coley; Peter Beckett of Player (“Baby Come Back”); and Ambrosia, which backed all the other artists that evening, in addition to performing their greatest hits.
I can say without question that there are at least three songs from the artists in that group that are better makeout songs than “Stairway to Heaven”: the aforementioned “Baby Come Back” by Player; “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” by England Dan and John Ford Coley; and “How Much I Feel” by Ambrosia.
In fact, I can make the case that this group of artists has even more songs that are better makeout songs than “Stairway to Heaven.” Walter Egan wrote “Magnet and Steel” because of his infatuation with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks. Ambrosia’s “You’re the Only Woman (You and I)” and Player’s “This Time I’m in it For Love” fall into that category. I’d put “Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne” and “Nights Are Forever Without You” by England Dan and John Ford Coley on the list of songs I’d make out to before “Stairway to Heaven.”
And we heard all of those songs Saturday night. If I was ever going to be in the mood to make out, it would have been after that setlist.
Now there is another aspect of this story that ties it all together. Within the past year, I have taken to rushing the stage at some concerts. To clarify, I don’t actually “rush” the stage at this age. I kind of limp and stumble my way down to the front of the stage. I had never gone down to the stage for all these years, content to stand at my seat for encores. But I’ve had some seats recently that have allowed me easy access to the stage and I have taken advantage of that. It gets you up close and personal with the artists and I can shake a little booty more freely without being boxed in by my row. Plus it makes for some great photo opportunities, which I can use in the next volume of The Vinyl Dialogues.
Because our seats were in the sixth row for the Yacht Rock show, I had to only get past two people to the aisle, where I could step-and-a-half it the 25 or so feet to the stage. Which is exactly what I did.
“C’mon, let’s rush the stage,” I said to TBA. She declined to join me.
For the final song of the evening, all the artists reappeared together to perform . . . “Rock and Roll.” By Led Zeppelin. To close a yacht rock show. Go figure.
Certainly I had heard the song and was familiar with it. I just didn’t know the name of the song or that it was a Zeppelin tune. Still, I rocked out with the rest of stage rushers.
“I just want you to know that you rushed the stage for a Led Zeppelin song,” said TBA after the show, as I hummed the song all the way back to the parking garage.
I know, I know. The irony was not lost on me. But it didn’t change the fact that “Stairway to Heaven” is nowhere near close to being the “greatest makeout song ever.”