Despite being one of the best known songs of all time – and one of the most frequently requested on radio – Led Zeppelin’s eight minute opus was not released as a single until years after its legend was well established. It was the fourth track of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, and its length precluded its release in single form in the 45rpm vinyl format.
It at once sums up everything that’s right and everything that’s wrong with seventies rock in one song: it is pretentious and wanky, with lyrics that make little or no sense; but on the other hand, it rocks damned hard, has one of the greatest guitar solos ever, and is completely made of awesome.
Mark David Chapman is, by any standard, an idiot. On this day in 1980, he shot John Lennon five times, in the back, while Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono looked on helplessly.
Whatever his actual motive for shooting John Lennon – and Chapman has contradicted himself on several occasions regarding it – the fact remains that he achieved only two things: depriving the world of a truly great musical talent, and giving the rest of the world one more reason to loathe American culture.
The fact that he has not been shanked in the yard at Attica State Prison only serves to underscore the massive injustice of Lennon’s death.
Jeff Buckley’s career was really only just starting at the point where he died. He’d released one album, which had done well for him, especially his cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (although ironically, it was not released as a single until long after his death, it’s probably still Buckley’s best known work).
Despite the inevitable rumours in such cases, an autopsy showed that Buckley was not drunk or on drugs at the time of his death, and he had not seemed to be suffering any unusual stress or depression. He simply drowned by accident while swimming in a quiet bay of the Mississippi near Memphis, Tennessee. His body was not recovered until June 4, however, which left plenty of time to speculate before the truth could be discovered.