Act One - Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin II is the second studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in October 1969 on Atlantic Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at several locations in the United Kingdom and North America from January to August 1969. Production was entirely credited to lead guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Page, while it also served as Led Zeppelin's first album to utilise the recording techniques of engineer Eddie Kramer.
Led Zeppelin II furthered the lyrical themes established on their debut album, creating a work that became more widely acclaimed and influential than its predecessor. With elements of blues and folk music, it also exhibits the band's evolving musical style of blues-derived material and their guitar and riff-based sound. It is one of the band's heaviest albums.
Upon release, Led Zeppelin II earned a considerable amount of sales and was Led Zeppelin's first album to reach number one in the United Kingdom and United States. In 1970, art director David Juniper was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for Led Zeppelin II. On 15 November 1999, it was certified 12x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales in excess of 12 million copies. Following its initial reception, it has been recognised by writers and music critics as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums ever recorded.
Act Two - Hair
Glam metal (also known as Hair metal and often used synonymously with Pop metal) is a subgenre of hard rock and heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene. It was popular throughout the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord-based heavy metal musical style.
The genre rapidly lost mainstream interest from 1991 to 1993 with the rise of grunge and the release of albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind. It experienced a partial resurgence around the turn of the century, due in part to increased interest on the internet, with the successful 'Glam Slam Metal Jam' music festival taking place in summer 2000.
Musically, glam metal uses traditional hard rock and heavy metal songs, incorporating elements of punk rock, while adding pop-influenced catchy hooks and guitar riffs. Like other heavy metal songs of the 1980s, they often feature shred guitar solos. Aesthetically glam metal draws heavily on the glam rock or glitter rock of the 1970s, often with very long backcombed hair, use of make-up, gaudy clothing and accessories (chiefly consisting of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, and headbands). The visual aspects of glam metal appealed to music television producers, particularly MTV, whose establishment coincided with the rise of the genre. Glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles of late-night parties, which were widely covered in the tabloid press.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" - Ninth track on the album and third single of the band. Released on August 18, 1988, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the band's first and only number-one single in the U.S. It reached number six on the UK Singles Chart.
The lyrics of the song are written about Axl Rose's girlfriend (at the time) Erin Everly. The guitar lick at the beginning was a coincidence, as Slash warmed up by playing a circus sounding tune as a joke.
Act Three - Flannel
Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American state of Washington, particularly in the Seattle area. Inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal, and indie rock, grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song dynamics, and apathetic or angst-filled lyrics. The grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music, and many grunge musicians were noted for their unkempt appearances and rejection of theatrics.
The early grunge movement coalesced around Seattle independent record label Sub Pop in the late 1980s. Grunge became commercially successful in the first half of the 1990s, due mainly to the release of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. The success of these bands boosted the popularity of alternative rock and made grunge the most popular form of hard rock music at the time. However, many grunge bands were uncomfortable with this popularity. Although most grunge bands had disbanded or faded from view by the late 1990s, their influence continues to affect modern rock music.
Mother Love Bone was an American hard rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1988. The band was active from 1988 to 1990. Frontman Andrew Wood's personality and compositions helped to catapult the group to the top of the burgeoning late 1980s/early 1990s Seattle music scene. Wood died only days before the scheduled release of the band's debut album, Apple, thus ending the group's hopes of success. The album was finally released a few months later. Although Mother Love Bone is remembered by many as a very talented band in its own right, its legacy, for some, is overshadowed by Wood's death and the bands that its former members would later form.
MTV restrictions on violent imagery prevented Pellington from showing Jeremy putting the gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger at the climax of the video. Ironically, the ambiguous close-up of Jeremy at the end of the edited video, combined with the defensive posture of Jeremy's classmates and the large amount of blood, led many viewers to believe that the video ended with Jeremy shooting his classmates, not himself.
Pellington himself dismisses this interpretation of the video. He said, "Probably the greatest frustration I've ever had is that the ending [of the "Jeremy" video] is sometimes misinterpreted as that he shot his classmates. The idea is, that's his blood on them, and they're frozen at the moment of looking." He had filmed a scene where Jeremy is shown putting the gun in his mouth, but this footage was edited with a zoom effect for the MTV version of the video so the gun was not visible. Pellington also filmed a slightly different take of the classroom Pledge of Allegiance sequence. In the MTV version of the video there is a brief shot of Jeremy's classmates making a gesture that could be either the American Bellamy salute or the Nazi Hitler salute; in the original cut of the video this scene is longer.
After "Jeremy", Pearl Jam backed away from making music videos. "Ten years from now," Ament said, "I don't want people to remember our songs as videos." The band did not release another video until 1998's "Do the Evolution", which was entirely animated.
In 1996, a shooting occurred at Frontier Junior High School in Moses Lake, Washington that left three dead and a fourth injured. The legal defense team for the shooter, Barry Loukaitis, stated that he was influenced by the music video.
After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, MTV and VH1 rarely aired the video, and mention of it was omitted in retro-documentaries such as I Love the '90s. It is still available on the internet, on websites such as YouTube. It can also occasionally be seen playing at Hard Rock Cafe locations. The video has been getting airtime on VH1 Classic and MTV Hits programming as of 2006, and is currently in circulation via late night playlists featured on Scuzz. The video was included in MuchMusic's list of the 12 most controversial videos. The reason was because of the topic of suicide, and recent school shootings. The scene of Jeremy with the gun in his mouth was not shown. It was also included on VH1's countdown of the "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s" at number 11, with several clips of the video shown, including part of the ending. The uncensored version of the video was shown as part of the retrospective "Pearl Jam Ten Revisited" on VH1 Classic in 2009 prior to the album's re-release, including the shot in which Jeremy puts the gun in his mouth.