HomeMusicMusic: The Best Live Bands #1 | From Zeppelin to Queen

Music: The Best Live Bands #1 | From Zeppelin to Queen

So, I have this thing… maybe it’s a little weird, but I like to ask people I’m getting to know this question. If you had a time machine and could go back in time to see any five bands live, in their prime, who would you go back to see? To me, the answer tends to tell you a fair bit about the person. Spoilers; Led Zeppelin is definitely on this list!

The kinds of music and the band’s someone listens to really does tell you a lot about someone, and sometimes the things you learn will surprise you. I posed the question to my fellow TWM writers and I can’t wait to see what they come up with, but today I am going to give you my picks for who I would love to go back in time to see. I’m a huge metal fan, but I bet my picks today will be a bit surprising. Anyway, here we go! Welcome to Time Travelling Man!

5. The Ramones | 1974 – 1996

Favourite Song: I Wanna be Sedated

So, my first pick is The Ramones. Cited by many as the first true punk rock group, The Ramones enjoyed 22 years of relative success before they called it a career. Formed in 1974 by Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone, the band enjoyed their first real bit of success after their debut album was released in 1976. Blitzkrieg Bop is an enduring track off the album, and a fun fact about it is that the longest track rang in at barely two and a half minutes in length. The band’s debut album was greeted with rave and glowing reviews by rock critics. Despite a lack of chart success in the beginning and lots of conflict between members, the Ramones released fourteen studio albums before calling them quits. Unfortunately, all four of the original members have passed away as of 2014 but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band left a legacy that is not easy to top. I would -love- to have been able to see them back in 1975 when they were performing with the Talking Heads.

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd
1964–1977, 1979, 1987 – Present

Favourite Song: Call Me the Breeze

Ok, so obviously I know that Skynyrd is still touring today but for me, their peak was between 1964 and 1977. Any fan of the band knows about the plane crash in 1977 where Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, along with backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact. That crash derailed the band for quite a while until they were able to reform and resume touring. To date, there are fourteen studio albums with the fifteenth and final album said to be in development. As I said though, I love the older Skynyrd more than anything after 1987. I would love to have seen them live, in person, during their peak which was between 1973 and 1977. Especially during their Nuthin’ Fancy tour of 1974-75 or the Street Survivors tour of ’77.

3. Queen | 1970-present

Favourite Song: Bohemian Rhapsody

Any true rock fan, or music fan in general, should know the band Queen. With the iconic vocals of the late Freddy Mercury, Queen is easily one of the most influential rock bands to come from England. With fifteen studio albums to their credit, Queen is responsible for several of the best rock songs to ever be released. Some of their classic songs include the anthems like We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, Radio Gaga and the iconic Bohemian Rhapsody. There was even an incredible movie made about the band that I absolutely loved. It’s a shame we lost Freddy Mercury so young, but what he contributed to the band’s success will live forever. Steve Baltin, writing for Forbes back in 2019, said this of Queen. “Musicians have been saying for decades Queen is in the pantheon of all-time greats. In the countless interviews I have done over the years they have been name-checked by numerous superstars. What is most impressive though is the diversity of artists they’ve influenced. Why Queen was able to cut across such an incredibly wide range of musicians is easy to see – they are one of the most versatile bands that rock has ever had.” There will never be another band like Queen. If I had to choose, I’d want to see them on their News of the World tour. I have watched the video of their show at Live Aid, but experiencing them in person would have been an epic experience.

2. Pink Floyd | 1965-1995, 2005, 2012-2014

Favourite Song: Money

We’re coming down to the wire now and I have to pick Pink Floyd for my number two band. Pink Floyd was an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining an early following as one of the first British psychedelic groups, they were distinguished for their extended compositions, sonic experimentation, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows, and became a leading brand of the progressive rock genre, cited by some as the greatest progressive rock band of all time. Pink Floyd was founded by Syd Barrett (guitar, lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass guitar, vocals), Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals) and Bob Klose (guitars). Under Barrett’s leadership, they released two charting singles and the successful debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour joined in December 1967; Barrett left in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health.

Waters became the primary lyricist and thematic leader, devising the concepts behind the band’s peak of critical and commercial success with the albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979). In total, Pink Floyd released fifteen studio albums. Floyd is one of my all-time favourite bands, and I would love to have seen them during any of their tours between 1973 and 1979, I wouldn’t be picky.

As you can likely tell, I have a very eclectic taste in music but have a real taste for the classics. So we’re at the number one band I would love to go back in time and see live. Ladies and Gentlemen, taking that title for me is one hell of a legendary band.

1. Led Zeppelin | 1968-1980 [No Reunions]

Favourite Song: Kashmir

For me, the peak of rock is the legendary band Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. With a heavy, guitar-driven sound, they are cited as one of the progenitors of hard rock and heavy metal, although their style drew from a variety of influences, including blues and folk music. Led Zeppelin has been credited as significantly impacting the nature of the music industry, particularly in the development of album-oriented rock (AOR) and stadium rock. Many critics consider Led Zeppelin one of the most innovative and influential rock groups in history. Believe it or not but Zeppelin only released eight studio albums. But what they contributed to rock and roll cannot be disputed. Without Zeppelin, music would not be what it is today, I firmly believe that. I don’t care what tour it is, I would have loved to see Zeppelin back in their prime.

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