Friday, July 15, 2016

Armageddon

1993 still from Pride and Joy video, Coverdale/Page
People tend to dismiss Coverdale/Page as a Robert Plant substitute effort. I've always thought that doing so is not only a mistake, but that such a viewpoint alters the listening experience enough to make it impossible to really hear what's going on. They're missing out on an extraordinary opportunity to appreciate some first-class music.

Both Jimmy Page and David Coverdale were, by 1993, seasoned musicians and no longer in the flower of their youth. While some would say they were past their prime, when it comes to creativity there may never be a prime -- there may be just one masterpiece after another.

Make no mistake. Coverdale/Page is nothing but a masterpiece.

Jimmy Page and David Coverdale nail it. These two musicians have a nitty-gritty, tarnished depth to them that is different than Led Zeppelin, mostly because David Coverdale is not, in fact, Robert Plant. 

Coverdale delivers something entirely new to the music: Life experience.  In the years when Led Zeppelin was recording and touring, Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham simply weren't old enough to deliver the perspective that sheer number of years lived gives to the music. That's why the music of Led Zeppelin is, in a weird way, pure and sometimes even innocent.

The Coverdale and Page of 1993 can not pretend to innocence.

Beyond the difference between Coverdale and Plant, there is another interesting aspect to the Coverdale/Page album, namely that it contains a lament about the tragedy and destruction of war. As far as I know, Whisper a Prayer for the Dying is the only time Jimmy Page ever put out a song even remotely political, and this one is amazing. 

This is music of grown-ups who now look beyond their own needs and out to the world where there is so much suffering. This is the music of those who have known of sorrow and loss in their own lives. True, Robert Plant sang of the loss of his beloved son, Karac, and it stabbed us in the heart.  But David Coverdale sings of of the pointless loss of beloved strangers, and it stabs us in the soul.  


♪ Whisper a Prayer for the Dying (Coverdale Page, 1993) YouTube
Check out the lyrics.

♪ Coverdale/Page playlist (YouTube)







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