Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tuneage
Kingdom Come - "Get It On"

Of all the Led Zeppelin borrowings/homages/ripoffs to come down the pipe since Zep hung up their Valhalla helmets after the death of John Bonham, this tune by Kingdom Come stands above the rest. Above Coverdale and Page, PJ Harvey, The Cult, various Robert Plant solo offerings, Plant reuniting with Page, Jason Bonham, and even better than Zebra! (It took a recount, a Swiss Time check, and instant replay, but KC won.)

Here is all you need to know about this song: It sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin. Sure, a tad more glossy, but back in '88 on FM radio it sounded much more like Zep than it does on headphones as I type this and actually contemplate the tune. Here's all you need to know about Kingdom Come: This is their only song to hit the US Hot 100 and all they will be remembered for is that they sounded a lot like Led Zeppelin. If you want to go rock history footnote: They were an opening act (i.e. crappy sound from the board, not that the headliners sounded great at Metrodome anyway) for the likes of Scorpions, Van Hagar, and Metallica.

But I will always be fond of this song, it provided an early Lester Bangs moment for me. I had gotten his Psychotic Reactions And Carburetor Dung book for Christmas in 1987, absorbed it, and realized he was a kindred spirit in rock 'n' roll appreciation. And like Lester Bangs at first hating The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" in part because the freak-out riff break was a complete rip-off of The Yardbirds' one in "I'm a Man"; but then coming to love the song ("One day I was driving down the road stoned and it came on and I clapped my noggin: 'What the fuck am I thinking of? That's a great song!'"), I was driving to my first real job one day in early 1988, "Get It On" comes on KJ104 and getting ready to flip the dial I for some reason kept listening. Then I also thought: "What the fuck am I thinking of? That's a great song!" Except I wasn't stoned like Bangs, though it would turn out that you would have to be high beyond belief to want to work at the company I worked for at the time.

Sensing that they were to be a one-hit wonder as their second tune had come out, sucked, and didn't sound like Zep so much; a few months later in the summer, I asked a buddy who was really into Scorpions, Van Hagar, AC/DC and the more commercially-successful hard rock/metal acts of the time what he thought of Kingdom Come. My friend, twenty years of age, shrugged his shoulders and said: "I'm sure they're big with the high schoolers."