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Five Reasons John Denver Was Better Than Led Zeppelin

Updated on January 14, 2013

Why John Denver edges out Led Zeppelin

Any sane person would say I'm comparing apples and oranges here, that this entire subject is completely silly and without merit, Zep was loud, screaming rock, Denver was soft folk. My reply, "No this is a very serious debate we've been avoiding in this country for far too long and I'm courageously bringing it to the forefront right now!"

So let's see...they both had their signature songs that have had massive airplay over the years and have become part of our culture (Country Roads & Stairway). And many, many amateur acoustic guitarists have annoyed anyone within earshot with songs by both artists. In fact, most music stores post signs directed at guitarists saying (ABSOLUTELY NO PLAYING THAT $#%@ STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN INTRO!)

So they're pretty equal there. And when you look at the songs Black Dog vs. My Sweet Lady...well...they're both great in their own way and both have their place so equal there too.

I'll give Led Zep the automatic win in the coolness realm. Thirteen year old guitarists still want to learn their songs more than any of the new stuff out these days while J.D. unfortunately became the punchline of more than one joke for a while there. But John totally owns the audacity department. Remember, in the 70's there were no medical waivers for smoking pot. John not only did so regularly and illegally, he wrote songs about himself toking proudly, knowing he'd be going through airport security!

Unfortunately he loses ground in the "what were you thinking?" department. If you write the love-song-to-end-all-love-songs, professing your undying love forever to your wife, Annie, it makes you look a bit ridiculous if you ditch her a couple years later. "You fill up my senses like the mountains in springtime, until I divorce you for somebody else"?????

Also, he found out the hard way:

If you're gonna fly a plane it's a really good idea to make sure it has fuel in it.

Nevertheless I firmly believe John Denver was and is better than Led Zeppelin and here are my five reasons:

1. John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High

2. John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High

3. John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High

4. John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High

5. John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High

There's not a Led Zep song I don't like, I pretty much love 'em all. But when it gets to the line:

"You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply"

Sorry Robert, but that can't be beat.

John delivering a massive body blow on Robert?
John delivering a massive body blow on Robert?

Led Zep Would Have EASILY Kicked J.D.'s Butt

Yeah, but there were four of them!

If they all ganged up, okay, I agree But what if it was John vs. Robert Plant by himself? What then, huh?

Don't let John's boy-next-door looks fool you, he had a bit of a dark side. And he was nimble too. In fact, here's a rare photo of John ducking out of an intended massive body blow from Jim Croce!

I say Plant vs. Denver would have gone eight rounds, with Plant probably the winner, but no knockout.

Ladies and Gentleman, In this corner we have... - The MAIN EVENT


You're stuck alone on a deserted island with one CD player and thousands of cartons of batteries that have washed ashore, batteries the CD player requires to operate. There is no chance of rescue, you'll live here alone until you die.

The remains of the ship you came in on is going down fast but you can make one last trip to grab either the complete collection of John Denver recordings or a similar Led Zeppelin CD collection.

Which CD collection would you grab and listen to for the rest of your life?

See results

J. D. and Zep Music on Amazon, Take Your Pick

Amazon Spotlight Personal Review

When his music first started hitting radio in the 70's it was immediately clear that John Denver had something totally unique going on. A voice, a sound, a point of view that was so different it just jumped out of the speakers and grabbed you. How do I know this? Because it did that to me.

Just a child at the time I had little use for music. If someone turned music on, I turned it off if I could, ignored it if I couldn't. Music had no place in my life and I was happy about that.

Then one day John Denver changed my life. I was in the family car, frustrated that I couldn't easily reach the radio knob from the back seat and was forced to listen. Before long the song "Back Home Again" came on followed in short order by "Rocky Mountain High". J.D.'s music flipped a switch in me I'll forever be grateful for. I instantly loved it. In fact I loved it so much that overnight I went from a hater to a lover of great melodies and well conceived lyrics; I wanted to buy all of J.D.'s songs and even imitate what the man singing it- John Denver- was doing.

So today, with years of guitar playing and thousands of paid gigs behind me I highly recommend this fine album to you, my friend. It's warm, engaging J.D. at the very peak of his career, telling stories and making great music, in my opinion his best work.

If you've never experienced John Denver before, do add this to your music collection.

And may it flip that same switch in you.

Comments on John Denver, Led Zep or J.D. vs. Led Zep gladly accepted! - Anything else doesn't get posted!

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    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Denver was a talented man and he's missed. LZ and the Stairway......

    • scruffymind profile image


      7 years ago

      Quite a unique Lens, never really thought about comparing LZ to JD, but you make 5 compelling arguments (lol). I would have to give the battle to LZ though, just based on the fact that I can listen to their complete collection of songs, without my brain going to complete mush, where as JD, I can only get through about 1 album before I'm mentally screaming NO MORE JOHN DENVER.


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