Geddy Lee once named the “unsung hero” of Led Zeppelin

Geddy Lee

Geddy Lee, Rush’s frontman and bassist, has several idols. From Paul McCartney to James Jamerson and more recent acts like Björk, the Canadian appreciates excellent music of all eras. Despite constantly having his finger on the cultural pulse, Lee has raved over Led Zeppelin more than any other band.

Of course, this makes obvious sense, given the British band represents the peak of musical performance for most rock fans of Geddy Lee’s generation. While The Beatles may have paved the way for them and the other slew of essential groups who arose simultaneously, it was surprising how Led Zeppelin surpassed the Fab Four as the most thrilling band of their day.

They accomplished this by making rock darker and more expansive than it had ever been. They demonstrated genuine creative prowess and daring maneuvers in the studio. On stage, their even more daring commitment to an improvised approach set them apart. Their 12 years in the spotlight were extremely fruitful, whether it was their self-titled debut album, Led Zeppelin IV, or Presence.

Fortunately for Geddy Lee, he saw Led Zeppelin during one of their most exciting eras, 1969, when they released their first two albums and rose meteorically with their earth-shattering sound. Understandably, this revolutionized his life and paved the route for his music career, which would soon become internationally successful.

Lee told Classic Rock in 2021 about what happened that fateful day: “That was August 18, 1969. They were putting up two shows. We were at the first performance. I accompanied John Rutsey (the original Rush drummer) and Alex Lifeson. It was open to the public. We waited for hours.”

We got in, and we sat in the second row,” he said. “And they didn’t walk out on stage, they floated out, I swear.” They brought the house down because there was plaster falling from the ceiling by the end of the night.

In addition to seeing Led Zeppelin’s combined force, that evening was essential for Geddy Lee in that it demonstrated the full scope of how brilliant their bassist, John Paul Jones, truly was. Unfortunately, the Rush four-string hero would refer to the Zeppelin maestro as “the unsung hero” of the quartet.

In 2014, he told Guitar World, “I saw them in Toronto at a little place called the Rockpile.” We were in the second row, and when this song came on, it swept me away. It confirmed my belief in the creative potential of fusing hard rock with progressive music. John Paul Jones was the band’s unsung hero.”

Watch Led Zeppelin live below.

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