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ISBN 978-0-8126-9672-1


288 pages

Fall 2009

Led Zeppelin and Philosophy

All Will Be Revealed

Edited by Scott Calef
Foreword by Dave Lewis
Volume 44 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series

Led Zeppelin, who bestrode the world of rock like a colossus, have continually grown in popularity and influence since their official winding up in 1980. They exasperated critics and eluded classification, synthesizing blues, rock, folk, rockabilly, funk, classical, country, Indian, and Arabic techniques. They performed the alchemical trick of transmuting base led into gold—and platinum—and diamond. They did what they would, finding wisdom through personal excess and artistic self-discipline.

Philosophy is probably not up to the task of comprehending the mystery of musical and poetic genius, but in Led Zeppelin and Philosophy, sixteen Zep fans who are also professional thinkers offer their thoughts on various facets of Led Zeppelin. They explain how

  •  an artist’s progress emerges from the struggle for recognition
  • songs like “Custard Pie” and “Candy Store Rock” disclose the true nature of fetishism
  • music expresses what’s beyond the reach of words
  • the awe evoked by the life-threatening is at the core of the Sublime
  • group collaboration may lift individual creativity to new levels
  • borrowing and transforming what is borrowed is the path to true originality
  • the occult doctrines of Aleister “the Beast” Crowley seek to liberate us from enslavement by false desires
  • Dionysian art projects the agony of human existence

“Not a coda to Zeppelin’s legacy, but a blast of metaphysical graffiti as relevant today as the first time we heard the opening chords of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. From Kant to ‘Kashmir’, from Freud to ‘Fool in the Rain’, Calef and company explore Zeppelin’s music in an introspective, suggestive manner worthy of both a blistering Page solo and a bawdy Bonham stomp.”

—Brandon W. Forbes, co-editor of Radiohead and Philosophy

“Led Zeppelin’s albums, personalities, live performances, art work, myths, influences, and more, all come under the microscope. Compelling insights and observations add more depth to a subject that continues to thrill and inspire. Each chapter is driven by an unquenchable thirst for Zeppelin knowledge and pulls the reader deeper into the world of Led Zeppelin . . .”

—Dave Lewis, author of Led Zeppelin: The Concert Files and editor of the Tight But Loose magazine and website

“For those who thought Led Zeppelin were merely a heavy, if not headbanging, dose of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll, along with a nod to the occult, the authors of Led Zeppelin and Philosophy demonstrate that Zep also packs intellectual weight.”

—Deena Weinstein, author of Heavy Metal: The Music and Its Culture

Scott Calef, a traveler of both time and space, is Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Ohio Wesleyan University. He has published scholarly articles in ancient philosophy and applied ethics, and contributed chapters to The Beatles and Philosophy: Nothing You Can Think that Can’t Be Thunk (2006) and Pink Floyd and Philosophy: Careful with That Axiom, Eugene! (2007).

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