Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXIV
Date: 97-01-30 07:11:20 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Wellllll, Good morning everyone. And how are we all today? I feel like Rip Van Winkle after a loooong sleep. Been away so long, been away so long. Anyway, these little excursions into the Zeppelin catalog will continue, though probably only two to three a week. To little time for a full five per week, but then you never know when I'll get really inspired. To the point, todays Song is, I feel, rather appropriate, a fast juggernaut of a riff, a song that may have signaled the rebirth of Led Zeppelin had our dear Bonzo not been taken from us. To the archives we go, back to 1982 and Coda, track eight, clocking in at 5:27, "Wearing and Tearing".

An absolutely AWESOME beginning, Page, Jones and Bonham locked into the main riff and just threatening anyone to get in their way. This explodes out of the speakers with a force like no other band could accomplish. You can have your heavy metal bands with amps turned up to 20 crushing through power chords, but this, my friends, is the definition of POWER.

When Robert enters the picture, the song is almost "Black Dog" like, except here we get a few simple chords that bang in behind the vocals, as if to reinforce the point. The music behind Robert is simple, yet so effective. We are left on the edge of the seat, (standing on that edge), just waiting, wishing, NEEDING that fast riff to kick back in. And then, it does. Fast and furious.

Jimmy's riff sounds so cool, and yet it's fairly easy to play. As a guitarist this is one of those "addictive" riffs. ( Once you start playing it, you don't want to stop). Jonesy is right there, in the pocket and ripping along. Bonzo shines like always, it's a great lesson in drumming to listen to how he approaches each of Jimmy's riffs. Laying back here, going all out there. And Robert sounds positively energized on this track. His vocals are very alive and full of feeling. You can just see a huge smile on his face as he sings this.

The lyrics here are easy to understand for the most part, and some Plant classics are there as well. When he sings/yells the "medication, medication, medication" part at the very end, oohhhh CHILLS.

This was written and recorded for the "In Through The Outdoor" album, and as you can see it really doesn't fit with those songs. It must have been bloody difficult to have this song in the can and NOT release it. Jimmy has gone on record in saying that he and Bonzo had dicussions as to the follow up album to "Outdoor", and that they wanted a very rocking, guitar oriented album. My feeling is that "Wearing and Tearing" would have been on that album and propelled Zeppelin into the ' 80's with a renewed vigor.

Another interesting note about this song, at the time the new punk bands and lots of critics were referring to Zep as a "dinosaur" band, and that they were washed up. Jimmy said this was written as a response to those who felt Zep were over and done with. Kind of, "Here, 'ave a bit of THIS".

Sadly, Led Zeppelin never did perform this song live. They almost released it as a group of maxi-singles prior to Knebworth 1979, but alas that never happened. In fact it wouldn't see a live rendition until 1990, when Jimmy joined Robert and his solo band at the Knebworth Sliver Clef festival. Forget all about Live Aid and Atlantics 40th reunions, in 1990 Jimmy and Robert showed the world they could still rock together. Their version of this song made up entirely for the previous reunions, and may have actually set the stage for what would eventually happen some four years down the road.

On this song Zeppeiln prove, ( once again) that they were and are the kings of riff rock. Nobody does it better. There have been many who have tried, but the pretenders and never-will-be's could never come close to matching the genius that was, and is Led Zeppelin.

So give this a spin on the old CD player, and prepare yourself for one ferocious song, and when it ends, oh man, just the most incredible ending of all time. Till we meet again,

Rock on,


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