Friar Cous Cous

Trussed-up in a wartime bandage-suit...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Bands (And Stands)

This is a bit of a throwaway and I'm sure I'm not the only one to wonder about it, but why can't bands be a bit more like football clubs?

The most frustrating thing about being in love with a great band is that once they've split up/died (and this is often before you were born), despite a continued enjoyment of past glories, there's no hope for the future. Led Zeppelin - yeah, what a fucking amazing band - BUT - I'm never going to see them live, or experience the excitement of buying one of their new studio albums on the day of its release.

On the other hand, take Manchester United, for example. (I could use any number of teams as an illustration, but I reckon that seeing as we were talking about Led Zeppelin it is appropriate to use as an example their footballing equivalent.) With Manchester United, their European Cup triumph of 1968 just preceded the release of Led Zeppelin I, a similarly spectacular success. The difference is that Zeppelin weren't around to top their effort in 1999, but United very much were.

Why should this be? Well it's obvious that United can continue their triumphs and misfortunes on an ongoing basis because they are an organisation which does not rely on the same or the same core of personnel for its existence. When the team of 1968 gradually ceased to be and the old stars retired or went off to smaller clubs, United were able simply to replace them with fresh blood and carry on in the same tradition. Zeppelin did not, or were not able, to do likewise.

But who is to say that it shouldn't have been so? If Led Zeppelin had been organised along similar lines to a professional football club, they could have replaced John Bonham in 1980 with an incoming world-class transfer. Cozy Powell maybe? A strong team player from the West Midlands (like his predecessor) who was able to command the backline with effortless authority, and who, at the time, was playing out the fag-end of a successful four-year stint with second division Rainbow.

And when Jimmy Page could no longer hold his own as the wing-wizard, he might have progressed on to coaching and managerial duties, leaving room for younger blood to step into his shoes (perhaps Mad Mickey Schenker, German genius who panicked and ejected from a transformed UFO outfit at the end of a groundbreaking US tour in 1978?). And so on, until by about 1989, none of the original 1st IV remains, but the Led Zeppelin tradition nevertheless continues in strength.

Sure, some might say you could never replace Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. But surely they said the same about Georgie Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles? And who can deny that although there may be lean spells to endure - heard about United in the late '80s? - there is, nevertheless, always the chance of glory again (see Cantona, Giggs, Beckham, Rooney).

So, if only Led Zeppelin had taken the football approach, we might have had a Led Zeppelin XXX released in 1999 to match the majesty of the treble-winning United team of that same year.


Blogger Bangalore Bosun said...

#You are my Ole
My one and Ole
You make the sun shine
When skies are grey
That Alan Shearer
Was fucking dearer
But please don't take my
Ole Solskjaer away!#

9:04 pm  
Blogger Friar Cous Cous said...

P.S. For those who might put forward the argument that bands like The Rolling Stones or Yes, amongst many others, have continued their traditions throughout many line-up changes, I might counter with this analogy. The Stones and Yes, as two examples, are the equivalent of Manchester United fielding George Best or Bryan Robson in their next Champions' League match. Yes, there will still be a few old tricks, but the whole thing would be intriguing for all the wrong reasons, and those old bodies just wouldn't look good in the red and white strip anymore. The only band that I might concede fits the bill is King Crimson. Lovely.

10:32 pm  
Blogger nutgroist said...

i would have thought Lynyrd Skynyrd were the Man U of rock, or possibly a supergroup made up of Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Steve Ray Vaughn, Glen Miller, John Denver, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper and Amelia Earhart (back when she was still playing hard bop with Bird)

3:08 pm  

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