Why Kurt Cobain Couldn’t Stand Led Zeppelin

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There isn’t any rock band in the world that will tell you that they don’t owe their career to Led Zeppelin.

Even if they weren’t the first hard rock band in the world, every single aspiring guitarist has paid tribute to the work of Jimmy Page in some form or another, from playing “Whole Lotta Love” at an open mic to adopting the Golden God persona that Robert Plant carried himself with 24/7.

And while Kurt Cobain was no exception to the rule in his youth, the honeymoon period for Zeppelin ended fairly quickly for him.

After spending most of his teen years listening to as much hard rock as he could get his hands on, Kurt talked about falling out of love with Zeppelin specifically because of their lyrical content, saying:

Although I listened to Led Zeppelin, and I really did enjoy some of the melodies they’d written, it took me so many years to realize that a lot of it had to do with sexism.

The way that they just wrote about their dicks and having sex. I was just starting to understand what really was pissing me off so much those last couple years of high school.”

Then again, this should probably come as no surprise from the same man who wrote songs like “Polly” later on, talking about his high school experience saying “I ended up hanging out with the girls a lot. I just always felt that they weren’t treated with respect. Especially because women are totally oppressed.”

Even Kurt’s friend Danny Goldberg ended up going into detail about Kurt’s distaste for Zeppelin’s sexism at the time, saying “I think he liked the music. But the lyrics were not something that he felt comfortable with, for exactly that {sexism}. It was central to who he was as an artist.”

That didn’t stop Kurt from eventually wearing his influences on his sleeve once he got big, covering Zeppelin classics like “Heartbreaker” (in the only way that Kurt Cobain could cover a song like that).

Given how rock was looking in the ‘90s though, Kurt actually standing up for what he believed in was incredibly forward-thinking and something that most of us should take to heart as well.