Frank Zappa's live shows, much like his studio albums, were regarded as much for their irreverent playfulness as their technical virtuosity: They were wildly unpredictable, genre-hopping musical sideshows that united freaks and misfits of all varieties. But on Dec. 10, 1971, that chaotic unpredictability turned ugly, when disgruntled fan Trevor Charles Howell pushed Zappa off the stage at London's Rainbow Theatre, inflicting multiple injuries upon the versatile guitarist and composer, ultimately leaving him bound to a wheelchair.
The past six years have been incredibly fruitful for Led Zeppelin after decades of inactivity. Recently, the hard rock icons have announced a new reissue campaign, received the Kennedy Center Honors, and released the live CD/DVD package, 'Celebration Day,' which features the band's heavily anticipated reunion performance at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert on Dec. 10, 2007. Perhaps it's only a side-effect of this recent Zeppelin whiplash, but it's crazy to think it's been six whole years.
In rock history, there are far more myths (see: The Zeppelin Shark-Groupie Incident) than cinderella stories, especially when you're talking about a band as legendary -- and decadent -- as The Who. But a rare exception took place on Nov. 20, 1973, when Who fan Scott Halpin cemented his status as one of rock's most unlikely heroes, taking the stage to fill in for drug-addled drummer Keith Moon.
Like 'Free Bird' or 'Iron Man' or 'You Really Got Me,' Led Zeppelin's riff-tastic anthem 'Stairway to Heaven,' No. 3 on our countdown of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, is so ingrained in the DNA of rock music that, ironically, it's often overlooked. We've heard these songs so many times in so many formats for so many years, they've become cliches and punchlines -- the kind of song you yell out for during a crappy band's encore when you're trying to snag a cheap laugh. 'Stairway to Heaven' isn't just a great rock song; it's the great rock song -- it can't be over-played if it deserves to be.