‘The Song Remains the Same’

I’VE ALWAYS preached and practice what the late Manila Times columnist Jojo Robles once said: “A journalist is never his own story.” But sometimes “even the runner stumbles” not by deliberate choice but oftentimes by inspiration, perhaps an epiphany.

And that is exactly what happened to Moi the other day – a inspiration, an almost déjà vu image appeared:

I was at Starbucks having my caffeine fix in my usual corner table listening on the iPhone to Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven when in came a dude, obviously a Caucasian, sporting shoulder-length curly locks and a five-o’clock shadow, looking like the spitting image of Led Zeppelin’s front man Robert Plant.

The place was full and this Robert Plant doppelgänger asked if I can share my table I said yes. Then he noticed I was on earphones, he said “What’s on your playlist?”

I replied, “Led Zeppelin.”

I noticed he was also holding an iPhone and on earphones. He said, “Me too.”

And that, folks, is the minor epiphany for this column.

The Song Remains the Same is a 1976 concert film and soundtrack album featuring the English rock band Led Zeppelin

For the uninitiated, excerpts from that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet:

Led Zeppelin is 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. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the originators of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including bluespsychedelia and folk music.

Yes, you’re right. The old man’s at it again, this ageing hippie is waxing nostalgia about the music of his dazed and confused generation.

But what else is there to do? The world is now overrun by Frappuccino-infused trendy social climbing idiots, I mean millennials listening to garbage they refer to as “music.”

There you go again. What is this ageing hippie smoking before he went to Starbucks?

Hehehe…secret, but weeds, caffeine and Led Zeppelin are a heady mix for an afternoon delight.

And we segue back to the music:

Led Zeppelin’s music was rooted in the blues. The influence of American blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Skip James was particularly apparent on their first two albums, as was the distinct country blues style of Howlin’ Wolf. Tracks were structured around the 12-bar blues on every studio album except for one, and the blues directly and indirectly influenced other songs both musically and lyrically. The band were also strongly influenced by the music of the BritishCeltic, and American folk revivals Scottish folk guitarist Bert Jansch helped inspire Page, and from him he adapted open tunings and aggressive strokes into his playing. The band also drew on a wide variety of genres, including world music,  and elements of early rock and rolljazzcountryfunksoul, and reggae.

Many critics consider Led Zeppelin to be one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history. They are one of the best-selling music artists in the history of audio recording; various sources estimate the group’s record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide.

Like many of us who are into the music of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (that’s another story) we were all wondering how the name Led Zeppelin came to be.

Still from that free online encyclopedia a.k.a. the internet, the band’s name was supposed to be “Lead Balloon” and then…

The group dropped the ‘a’ in lead at the suggestion of their manager, Peter Grant, so that those unfamiliar with the term would not pronounce it “leed.” The word “balloon” was replaced by “zeppelin, a word which, according to music journalist Keith Shadwick, brought “the perfect combination of heavy and light, combustibility and grace” to Jimmy Page’s mind.

By the way, I watched the film The Song Remains the Same at the old Allegro theater in Iloilo Viejo sometime in 1977, with an old girlfriend. Both stoned, of course.

Let me leave you with some lines from Stairway to Heaven

There’s a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook
There’s a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving. (


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