“Whenever I find myself in an argument about the greatest rock bands of all time, I always place Zeppelin third, behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. This sentiment is incredibly common; if we polled everyone in North America who likes rock music, those three bands would almost certainly be the consensus selections (and in that order). But Zeppelin is far and away the most popular rock band of all time, and they’re popular in a way that Beatles and Stones cannot possibly compete with; this is because every straight man born after the year 1958 has at least one transitory period of his life when he believes Led Zeppelin is the only good band that ever existed. And there is no other rock group that generates that experience.
A few years ago, I was an on-air guest for a morning radio show in Akron. I was on the air with the librarian from the Akron public library, and we were discussing either John Cheever or Guided by Voices, or possibly both. Talk radio in Akron is f-cking crazy. While we were walking out of the studio, the librarian noticed the show’s 19-year-old producer; the producer had a blond mullet, his blank eyes were beyond bloodshot, and he was wearing ripped jeans and a black Swan Song T-shirt with all the runes from the Zoso album. The librarian turned to me and said, “You know, I went to high school with that guy.” This librarian is 42. But he was right. He did go to high school with that guy. So did I. Everyone in America went to high school with that guy. Right now, there are boys in fourth grade who do not even realize that they will become “that guy” as soon as they finish reading The Hobbit in eighth grade. There are people having unprotected sex at this very moment, and the fetus spawned from that union will become “that guy” in two decades. Led Zeppelin is the most legitimately timeless musical entity of the past half century; they are the only group in the history of rock ‘n’ roll that every male rock fan seems to experience in exactly the same way.”
~ Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story (New York: Scribner, 2005), pp. 197-198.