Led Zeppelin has been my favorite band since I was nearly 16. I used to listen to KNAC in Los Angeles when we lived in Anaheim. You might think it is weird to think of me as a heavy metal fan, but I was indeed. Ask my sister, who comments here frequently and may even verify my membership in the Heavy Metal Chick Club. My introduction to metal was Mötley Crüe and — please don’t laugh — Dokken. I do cringe at the latter, but yes, the first two heavy metal albums I bought were Theatre of Pain and Under Lock and Key during the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I had the former on cassette and the latter on vinyl, if you can believe that.
Some time during my freshman year, I became a huge fan of Bon Jovi. I used to fall asleep every night with my Walkman on, listening to Slippery When Wet. I liked Richie Sambora. I was always weird like that. Because I knew Jon Bon Jovi was the best-looking one, the one all the other girls crushed on, I had to be different and like Richie Sambora. Not that he wasn’t good looking enough. I used to cut Bon Jovi clippings from music magazines and pasted them into a scrapbook. I have no idea whatever happened to that thing, but I carried it with me at school.
One day, I was in my room, listening to KNAC, and they played “Stairway to Heaven.” I had never heard Led Zeppelin before, if you can believe it. I thought it was an amazing song. I only caught the name of the artist, and not the name of the song, so I didn’t know what it was. Back in those days, I used to tape the radio and listen to my tapes over and over. If I heard the DJ annouce a song and/or artist I liked was about to be played, I quickly popped in a tape and recorded it. So one day, the DJ announced he was going to play Led Zeppelin. I recorded it, but it wasn’t “Stairway” — it was “Gallow’s Pole.”
I can’t remember how, but I eventually learned the title of the song. One day when I was out shopping with my dad, I found the Led Zeppelin cassettes and read the back, looking for “Stairway.” I purchased my first Led Zeppelin tape — variously known as Led Zeppelin IV, Four Symbols, Runes, or Zoso, but in actually, untitled except for four symbols appearing on the inner sleeve.
For my 16th birthday, I asked for more tapes. I think I had them all in pretty short order. Some time after becoming a fan, and I can’t remember when, I settled on a favorite Led Zeppelin song: “Ten Years Gone,” which appeared on the double-album, Physical Graffiti. It’s been my favorite Zeppelin song for years now. In fact, a lot more than twenty, never mind ten years gone. I was playing around on You Tube this morning, and I found a recording of “Ten Years Gone” from the famous concert Zeppelin played at Knebworth.