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Sabbath is Conan; Zeppelin is Lord of the Rings

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  • Sabbath is Conan; Zeppelin is Lord of the Rings

    This isn't really a rock-and-roll thread, as the subject line might suggest, though the impetus to this post was something I read in a book about rock legends Led Zeppelin.

    In his book, Led Zeppelinآ´s Led Zeppelin IV (33 1/3), Erik Davis writes:

    "Like all origin stories, this one depends on your frame of reference, your own lineages, your taste. It’s very much like the question of who deserves blame for the genre of heroic fantasy, whose multi-volume sagas of dwarf-lords and magic blades continue to clog the SF sections of bookstores. Hardcore sword-and-sorcery buffs will rightly name the pulp peregrinations of Robert E. Howard’s Conan, while more literary types will nominate, with equal justification, Tolkien’s "Lord of the Rings". Sabbath is Conan; Zeppelin is Lord of the Rings."

    8O HUH!? "Hardcore sword-and-sorcery buffs will rightly name" Robert E. Howard's Conan as the beginning of heroic fantasy? I don't think so! The Tolkien remark I can tolerate, I suppose, but Howard? I like Robert Howard, mind you, but he was definitely NOT the start of heroic fantasy. Sorry. Nope.
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

  • #2
    Nice thread title! You sucked me in :D

    British rock bands aside, I also understand (not agree with) the Tolkien reference more than the Howard one.

    Maybe the point they were trying to make was something like this: other bands were doing what Sabbath and Zepplin were doing, but until they put the elements together in the package they did, most people didn't pay attention.

    I think you could make a similar argument for both Howard and Tolkien. They did what other people were doing, but put all the elements in a slightly different package and people started paying attention to a (sorry, I have to do it) genre.

    I might actually argue that Leiber did more to establish the form than either Tolkien or Howard (although it would, perhaps, be best to claim that Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, and Poul Anderson--among many others--originated it). Now I have to re-read Wizardry and Wild Romance. :D Regardless, the form was established well enough for deCamp and Pratt to satirize it in the early 40's.

    As far as the musical arguments go, I think the analogies of Sabbath and Howard, and Zepplin and Tolkien are apt.

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    • #3
      Robert Plant was certainly a fan of lord of the rings as Battle of Evermore can testify! A number of their other songs have LOTR references, for example in Ramble On, when he says 'Golum, the evil one, crept up and stole away with her'(I think!).

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      • #4
        Wasn't it whoever's responsible for the Epic of Gilgamesh? And the music? Crikey, we're pre-Elvis here....
        \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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        • #5
          I read that article too, and it pissed me off. Sabbath is so much more H.P. Lovecraft than Robert E. Howard! I'm fine with Zeppelin being Tolkein, but that only explains why I like Sabbath and Hawkwind so much more.
          My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

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          • #6
            Does anyone know what these authors actually preferred themselves? It sure as hell wasn't metal. The only musical project Tolkien was associated with that I'm aware of was an atrocious Flanders / Swann version of songs from LotR. I'm sure that HPL would have favoured the classics - but REH; Wagner seems like an appropriate choice - but who knows?
            \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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            • #7
              HPL at least wrote a lot about eerie discordant flute music, so he might have actually been somewhat aware of the avante garde music of his day. Of course metal wasn't a listening option in the '30s.
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              • #8
                That could have been a Nik Turner slipping through some inter-dimensional wormhole! Personally I'd like to get hold of a recording by Erich Zann....
                \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                • #9
                  Well, Lovecraft and Tolkein both were guilty of a bit of Western/Euro-racism where Eastern culture, be it Arabic or Asian, was often portrayed as dark and evil. That's probably where the scary flute music comes from. Zeppelin certainly picked up on this with their "The piper is calling you to join him" occultism.
                  My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dead-Air
                    Well, Lovecraft and Tolkein both were guilty of a bit of Western/Euro-racism where Eastern culture, be it Arabic or Asian
                    Understatement of the year - I recall HPL's disgust at the "vile asiatic hordes" on the NY subway. The good professor's racism was, of course, much more civilised....
                    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

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                    • #11
                      Hmm, Manowar are Conan!!

                      Sabbath are more Mario Bava & Hammer Horror, to my imagination.

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                      • #12
                        Are Manowar from America?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HawkLord
                          Are Manowar from America?
                          Oh yes, New York originally.

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                          • #14
                            Yep, their original guitarist, Ross the Boss, was in the Dictators first!
                            My Facebook; My Band; My Radio Show; My Flickr Page; Science Fiction Message Board

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                            • #15
                              So Slayer would be .... what? Karl Edward Wagner?
                              Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                              Bakunin

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