The Reason There’s a Rivalry With Led Zeppelin and Yes
via The Beat Goes On / YouTube
In the 1970s, Led Zeppelin ruled the rock and roll world. Though they weren’t out to win any popularity contests, Zeppelin did get into a few scrapes with fellow rockers Yes.
Despite sharing a record label, Led Zeppelin and Yes’ musical styles couldn’t have been more different. In contrast to Zeppelin, who continued to draw inspiration from the blues even as they explored new musical territory, Yes broadened the scope of what could be accomplished in a rock song by including elements of jazz, classical music, and free improvisation. Guitarist Steve Howe of Yes viewed Zeppelin as an enemy since they were fighting for the attention of the same record company.
His son Dylan claims that due to their antagonism, he was forbidden from listening to Zeppelin too often. Alan White, the drummer for Yes, recalled the beginnings of the rivalry, saying to Rock History Music, “It was down to Melody Maker magazine because for about five or six years, there was a time when we’d win a poll one year, and Zeppelin would win the next year for who was the best band in England.”
Obviously, Zeppelin wants to be in the running for the grand prize. Since The Beatles’ breakup, most fans have turned to Zeppelin for something a little harder, and they would not take well to being challenged by another ambitious rock band. As the boundaries of rock music expanded beyond psychedelia, Zeppelin swiftly became an international phenomenon.
Thankfully, when the 70s came to an end, White developed a close relationship with the rival group, saying: “I got to be pretty good friends with them. We’re really good friends with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. I got to meet John Bonham more than a few times but never really got to know him.”