Heart Rocks!

Music Friday!

The Kennedy Center honors recipients recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts-whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television-are selected by the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence.

This year the winners were bluesman Buddy Guy, actor and director Dustin Hoffman, comedian and television host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, and rock band Led Zeppelin. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, guitarist Jimmy Page, and singer Robert Plant will each receive the Kennedy Center Honors.

Heart performed a remarkable version of the classic Stairway to Heaven in honor of the band.  When I first heard that Heart was performing the song, I kind of scratched my head and said “And it makes me wonder”.  (See what I did there 🙂 ) But I was just blown away by this performance.  Spend the few minutes watching this.  Put your headphones on and crank it up. Unbelievable.


Put a Little Led Into Your Marketing!

Led Zeppelin IV – Their fourth album sold 23 million copies, spent more than one year at the top of the charts and produced many classic songs such as “Black Dog”, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Going to California“.

Awesome right?  You know what is even more awesome?  The album does not have a name. We refer to it as Led Zeppelin IV but in fact it has no name.  The album cover does not mention the band or the record label and their is no text.

There are lessons here for today’s marketers:

  1. Substance over style – Emphasis was solely on the music
  2. Passionate dialog – Inside the album, fans found four symbols, each representing one band member.  This has sparked conversation and conjecture among fans that continues to this day. Zep has not released anything in many years but the discussion and the music live on
  3. No unbundling – “Stairway to Heaven” was one of the biggest hits of all times, but was never released as a single

After the sometimes dismissive, critical reaction Led Zeppelin III received in late 1970, Jimmy Page, lead guitarist for the band, decided that the next Led Zeppelin album would not have a title, but would instead feature four hand-drawn symbols on the inner sleeve and record label, each one chosen by the band member it represents.”We decided that on the fourth album, we would deliberately play down the group name, and there wouldn’t be any information whatsoever on the outer jacket”, Page explained. “Names, titles and things like that do not mean a thing.

Page stated that the decision to release the album without any written information on the album sleeve was contrary to strong advice given to him by a press agent, who said that after a year’s absence from both records and touring, the move would be akin to “professional suicide”.In his words: “We just happened to have a lot of faith in what we were doing.

Led Zeppelin – masters of their domain and followers of their own path.