No, kids, Led Zeppelin is not a mineral – Orange County Register

Memo to my teenagers:

Once upon a time, before you were born, there was a hugely popular and very hairy rock band called Led Zeppelin. Lately, you’ve been asking me about them, because you’ve seen news stories about a lawsuit over their most iconic song, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Yes, you’ve heard that song playing in elevators, grocery stores and pretty much everywhere you go. Yes, they still make gobs and gobs of money every time you do.

I never taught you about Led Zeppelin because I was too busy making you food, hauling you to youth group and Boy Scouts and having bitter arguments over homework, but, apparently, I am now a Bad Mother because you can’t sing “The Lemon Song.”

This is according to the fans on my Facebook page, who unanimously voted me Worst Mother of This or Any Other Galaxy for never teaching you anything about Led Zeppelin.

Well, this is what you need to know: When I was your age, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we only had one musical device in our house, a big wooden console stereo that occupied 90 percent of the space in our tiny living room.

Hard to believe, right? No, you couldn’t stream anything off your mobile devices because they hadn’t been invented yet. You had to physically go to a store and shove other teenagers out of the way to get the most popular music when it was put out on the shelves.

If I wanted to listen to a record album (Definition: Big round black thing that melts when you leave it in a sunny window seat, trust me on that one), I had to go into the living room and play it in front of my stay-at-home mom, who was usually vacuuming our tile floors.

She vacuumed 12 hours a day as a hobby. Usually, she paid no attention to the music I played while she was doing this. The songs could have threatened the imminent destruction of the United States or the rise of Satan’s reign, and she would have been oblivious.

But, when I proudly pulled out the “Led Zeppelin II” album I’d had to fight off a pack of other teenagers to buy and put it onto the turntable (a thing that goes around in a circle and plays the aforementioned records), her head popped up from over the vacuum roar.

“WHAT did he just say?” my mom demanded. “What? Squeeze me until the juice runs down my legs?” Her entire face became suffused with red and she glared at me accusingly. “What does THAT mean?”

“Um, I think he’s cooking something, Mom,” I stammered. “I don’t know. I don’t really listen to the words.”

The song really continues, “The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed,” but I didn’t share that with her. Instead, I hurriedly took the record off the stereo and resolved in future to wait until she was out of the house to play it.

Nowadays, those lyrics actually seem tame compared to some of the hip-hop songs you kids listen to on your iPhones, which seem to largely revolve around becoming intoxicated in clubs and doing unmentionable things to women with ample rear ends.

Since you teenagers control the car radio, (which makes me a wimp but it’s better than arguing constantly,) I have to click it off about once every nine minutes when something shockingly vulgar comes on one of your preferred stations.

“Mom, you don’t have to turn it off, you could just change the station,” you tell me every time.

“No, I actually just want to turn it off,” I reply. “I’m not listening to that junk.” Then, you are forced into the agonizing task of finding a song on the dial that won’t make me shudder, the way Led Zeppelin made my mother shudder.

Last night, my friend Lori also scolded me for not educating my children properly about Led Zeppelin, even though she admits she was never a huge fan. Just to shut her up, I’m probably going to rent “The Song Remains the Same” and force her to watch it.

But I am proud to say that you kids know most every song in the Beatles playbook.

When you were little, we went to a music store to replace a string on Cheetah Boy’s violin, and I saw a poster of that famous album cover of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. You probably don’t remember.

“I actually was on Abbey Road, and saw Paul McCartney drive up to Abbey Studios,” I bragged to the bored-looking kid who was replacing the string, pointing to the poster and expecting him to be impressed. “He smiled and waved at us when he got out of his navy blue Mercedes.”

The kid glanced up at the poster. “Oh, yeah. I don’t really know too much about the Beatles.”

I was so horror-stricken that I immediately took you home and started your Beatles education. I even made you sit through a five-part video documentary of the group, you may remember with a groan.

So, maybe you don’t know Led Zeppelin, but you can sing a pretty mean version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

That’s good enough for me.

Contact the writer: or 714-796-7994

Read more Frumpy Middle-age Mom. It’s 42% better than real life!

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