Would Led Zeppelin have benefitted from a fifth touring musician?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Robert, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Dr. Robert

    Dr. Robert Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Curitiba, Brazil
    Don't get me wrong - I absolutely adore LZ's live performances, but does anyone else think that a fifth player would have been benefitial, in reproducing the live arrangements onstage? They had much more complex music on the albums due to overdubbing and so forth, and I think that seeing that on a live ambient would be great (even with the "simplified" versions being awesome)

    Maybe one guy that can handle both rhythm guitar and keyboards, with JPJ focusing more on the bass, and him complemating Page on the guitar parts. Thoughts?
  2. JamesLord

    JamesLord Forum Resident

    Hmm. Personally I think the astonishing versatility and virtuosity of John Paul Jones (bass, keys, guitar, mandolin) means they more or less had one....
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  3. Dr. Robert

    Dr. Robert Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Curitiba, Brazil
    Well, of course. But unfortunately, he didn't have four hands (THAT would have been something!), so if he went to the mellotron, there wouldn't be a bass part, and so forth.
  4. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Jersey City, NJ
    If they wanted to sound more like the some of the records, they would have needed at least 3 guitarists and another bass/keys guy....and more vocalists
  5. Murph

    Murph Somewhere...under heaven

    I don’t think they had studio recreations in mind when they hit the stage.
  6. Dr. Robert

    Dr. Robert Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Curitiba, Brazil
    Hm, I think a second guitarrist/bassist and a keyboardist/backing vocalist would do, really. Most songs only feature 2 guitars, with rare cases of three. In which case the keyboard (not featured in all songs) could cover up for the third one :D
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  7. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    Indeed...unless they were going to get Jonesy cloned or something there was always the possibility that adding another member -even if only for live performances- might have screwed up the chemistry of the band in general. Zeppelin worked as well as it did because it was those four guys.
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  8. seacliffe301

    seacliffe301 Forum Resident

    Absolutely. A second guitarist that could also play bass (to allow JP Jones to keyboard) would have worked out quite nice.
    Much of Jimmy Pages guitar harmonies are sorely missed in their live performances. Nothing wrong with authenticity.
  9. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Jersey City, NJ
    I prefer when bands just go out as the members.
    I didn’t like when the Police brought in singers to cite an example.
    Pink Floyd augmenting their sound with a 12 piece band is kind of a cheat too.
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  10. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    NYC Man
    Oy vey, here we go again.

    For one, it's important to keep in mind that Zeppelin obviously weren't trying to recreate their records on stage.

    You might as well think that the Grateful Dead were trying to recreate their records live.

    Or that Miles was attempting to play the exact same solos live.
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  11. John Rhett Thomas

    John Rhett Thomas Forum Resident

    Macon, GA, USA
    For all the good a second musician would have done to thicken the sound, I'm not sure things would have been the same when it came to Zep's unique style of "tight but loose" jamming. Getting into the single mind those four men shared on stage would have been quite the job, and one probably meriting membership status in the band. Which would have changed everything and now we're not talking Zeppelin anymore.
  12. MarcS

    MarcS Forum Resident

    Oradell NJ
    10 Years Gone would have benefited from someone else playing bass but other than that I don't see a pressing need.
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  13. lucan_g

    lucan_g Forum Resident

    Sure. They could have done their rare "acoustic" sets with Sandy Denny along for the ride. Hell... she could have been there for the whole show if she didn't get bored. At least one tour like this.

    I can only dream.
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  14. ribonucleic

    ribonucleic Forum Resident

    SLC UT
    Might have screwed up the ensemble too. Page was not noted for his precision.
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  15. zphage

    zphage Beatard

    Bucks County, PA
    Zep's live raggedy-ness was part of their appeal.

    If one is to aid JPJ, then a dedicated keyboardist would have freed him up the best to add with various stringed instruments.
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  16. NUNZI

    NUNZI Forum Resident

    If you never had the pleasure of attending a Led Zeppelin show, I could understand why you might say "yes" to a 5th musician. I had the good fortune of seeing them 4 times and my answer is "no".
  17. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    The Southwest
    No. JPJ handled his dual of bass and keyboard work (as well as mandolin on occasion) very effectively. The biggest issue plaguing the band in its later years was JP's wildly inconsistent playing due to his heroin abuse -- but it is hard to imagine anyone would suggest that a second guitarist was needed to clean up that mess.
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  18. Dr. Robert

    Dr. Robert Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Curitiba, Brazil
    I agree that heir live sound was in no way supposed to mimmick their studio recordings, however, I still believe a fifth guy would thicken up the sound, and it would be benefitial, if he managed to get into the same wavelenght as the other four.
  19. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I saw them in 73 and think four was enough.
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  20. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident

    Maybe. But just doing rhythm while Page did amazing solos in certain songs. But I really don't think they suffered one bit with just four.
  21. Overthehillsandfaraway

    Overthehillsandfaraway Forum Resident

    Supposedly Keith Emerson was to be asked to play keyboards at the very start of the band, then JPJ said he'd do that too. I get the feeling everyone wanted to keep it a tight unit with just the four of them, right from the start
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  22. KeninDC

    KeninDC Forum Resident

    Virginia, USA
    Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians backing them up on "Kashmir" would have been cool. Or maybe Bobby Keys and Jim Price doing loads of coke and drowning out the rest of the band like they did with the Stones in 1973. The hypothetical possibilities are endless (and absurd).
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  23. gonz

    gonz Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    No, just another neck on that guitar
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  24. coniferouspine

    coniferouspine Forum Resident

    I don't think they needed it -- they were fine as the four runes, which of course is a big part of where their power and their energy came from.

    But I also doubt if there was anyone around back then in the '70s who could have really handled the position. Those days were not really the era of plentiful, anonymous, faceless, talented journeyman musicians and utility players, like you have in music today. I just don't know WHO back then in those times would really have been able to step in to the circle with them and do the job, a person that wasn't already successful and in demand in their own right, because there were quite simply fewer rock musicians back then. Really, who is on the list or in the band's little black book, available to play, that could realistically get the call and do the gigs? I draw blanks. Also, a fifth person would have added a fifth something, and then you wouldn't have had the same "Presence" that was created by the four of them magically combining all together (yes, see what I did there).
  25. Brother Maynard

    Brother Maynard Forum Resident

    Dallas, TX
    Glad to see this thread. I've wondered that myself (same with Hendrix) but was afraid I might get mauled for asking. Specifically a rhythm guitarist. I'd think that would have allowed Page to show off even more virtuosity. Or just show off.

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