Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Led Zeppelin

I am participating in the 2016 A-to-Z Blog Challenge. My theme is the music of my life.


The first song I ever learned on the guitar was "Stairway to Heaven." Big surprise. Isn't that the song everyone first learns on guitar? Well, that's what I thought until I started teaching high school and I realized that no one was learning that song anymore in their guitar instruction. In fact, none of students had even heard the song. Really? Who hasn't heard of Led Zeppelin?

I wasn't a huge Zeppelin fan when I was a teenager. They were slightly before my time, but every musician I knew practically worshipped the band. So I learned to listen to their music too.

For the entire summer of 1987, I was staying with my family in Tennessee. Music lessons were cheaper there, so I decided this was a the perfect time to learn to play guitar. My grandmother took me down to the local music store and signed me up. When I first met my guitar teacher, T (no names mentioned here), I nearly jumped for joy. He was exactly what I thought a guitar teacher should look like. He had long, black hair teased on top in the style of all the heavy metal musicians of the late 80s. I was obsessed with Whitesnake, Motley Crue, and Poison at that time, and he fit my image of what a rocker should be.

For the next year and a half, I made every effort to get to Tennessee (six hours away from  my home in DC) to take guitar lessons. Every holiday, school break, and family event was an opportunity to squeeze in a lesson. Despite the fact that T was twenty-five and I was fifteen, we became good friends. We wrote letters back and forth and even spoke on the phone a few times. My family seemed slightly concerned, but they just chocked it up to me having a teenage crush and him being flattered by my attention.

It wasn't until the fall of my junior that the kiss happened. I was sixteen by then and convinced I was in love and that there was somehow a chance we could end up together. A hug progressed into a kiss, and afterwards he asked me not to tell anyone it had happened. Of course I wasted no time in publishing the news to each and every one of  my friends who immediately began planning my underaged wedding.

Within a few months, I stopped hearing from him. He was engaged to someone else (my grandmother sent me the newspaper clipping with the engagement announcement). Never one to pass up an opportunity for romantic drama, I demonstrated my heartbreak by listening to the hardest and angriest metal music I could find and swearing off love forever. I would never love again.

I would, of course, but in the meantime I returned to my obsession with David Coverdale, Rudy Sarzo, and Adrian Vandenburg from the Led Zeppelin-inspired band, Whitesnake.





Do you remember your first love?

7 comments:

  1. That last song reminds me of working at the college radio station...I don't know why--it would have been a year or two old by then, but I must have played it! I saw Tawny Kitaen on a reality show and wow, that woman's a mess now. I hope she finally got it together. She was supposedly trapped in a house with a bunch of other celebrities, but somehow she must have been getting drugs because she was acting whacko after a couple of weeks in there.

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    1. I used to long to look like her. I saw her a few years ago and was shocked too! That's so sad how these people disintegrate after years in the spotlight.

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  2. He was probably a bit concerned because of the age difference and the fact you were still a minor :)

    Hubby taught guitar for years off and on; wonder how many crushes his students had on him (in the younger years).

    betty

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    1. Oh, I'm sure he did! Those guitar teachers attract adoration like flies to honey!

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  3. Red flags on the guitar teacher...danger Will Robinson! Anyway, I cut my teeth on KISS and other glam rock/metal bands of the eighties, and only later discovered the music of those bands who had inspired them: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and the legendary Black Sabbath. My favourite Zeppelin song is Whole Lotta Love.

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    1. Great pick! I also grew to love Black Dog.

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  4. And my first love? Sure I remember. First crush, first kiss, first love, first etc etc

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