When I first became a father, one of the things that got me through the long nights and gushes of bodily fluids was the thought that one day, I could place a paternal hand on my children’s shoulders (luckily I have as many children as I have hands) and introduce them to the world of Led Zeppelin.
Like any man, I believe the answers to most things in life lie in the cryptic lyrics of Robert Plant and the riffage of Jimmy Page, so surely my children will appreciate me passing on this wisdom?
Of course, I’ve faced some resistance to this, partly from my wife who thinks Led Zeppelin is just another noisy rock band, and partly from my children, who would rather listen to pretty much anything else. But I haven’t given up and I’m here today to help other dads facing this tricky task. So here are the six stages of getting your kids to like Led Zeppelin:
Okay, this one requires some craftiness as well as the time to not only come up with a plan but also execute it. Your car is no doubt full of Disney CDs and other such child-friendly material, and every time you get in and try to put something else on, the chorus from the back seat forces an immediate change, right? Simply replace the discs from these awful kiddie albums with Led Zep. “Oh, you want to listen to Barney The Dinosaur? Sure! Oh no, it’s "Houses Of The Holy." Guess we’re stuck with it…”
That didn’t work, did it? At the end of the car journey, you just had to put the Zingzillas CD back in the car, right? And they ruined the integrity of "The Rain Song" by crying all the way through it. But it’ll be fine. You can try it again tomorrow and they’ll really get excited when "No Quarter" is on, because everyone loves that song, don’t they? Or they might appreciate the pun in the title of "D’yer Mak'er," which sounds like Jamaica… It’ll be FINE!
LET IT GO! LET IT GO? LET THIS GO! *throws "Frozen" CD out of the car window* Well, okay, maybe skip this stage, or just channel your rage into listening to "Led Zeppelin IV" really loud through your bluetooth speaker in the kitchen. While doing the dishes. This isn’t helping is it?
Bargaining with a four-year-old is a daily chore (okay, hourly), whether it’s about getting them to eat their meals, stop strangling their siblings, or an attempt to avoid sitting through the Shaun the Sheep Movie AGAIN. So you must be getting good at it, right? You’ve evolved beyond "new parent" status to "pro parent." Last night they almost ate some peas. So why not use these skills to demonstrate to your children that it’s a privilege for them to listen to you singing along to "Dazed And Confused"?
Day 4 of Operation Led Zeppelin and they STILL won’t accept that John Bonham is a better drummer than Animal from The Muppets (on the plus side you got your kids to watch "The Muppets," even if it’s only the new films, and they got bored when you tried to make them watch "The Muppet Show"). This is never going to work. It’s time to sit in your Man Cave and brood with your original pressing of "In Through The Out Door." Or at least the half of it you’ll get to listen to before someone small comes in and starts jumping up and down on you and turns off the record player.
Right, you’ve brooded but there’s still time for one last go. For one thing there’s that Led Zeppelin lullabies album on Spotify, that might be a sneaky way to imprint the songs into their brains while they’re sleeping. Yeah, that could work! And there’s that Puff Daddy song from "Godzilla" that is basically "Kashmir!" Jimmy Page was even on that wasn’t he? That’s a good gateway song if ever there was such a thing. Hey kids, check out this hip track! Ha! You’re listening to Zeppelin! Wait, what do you mean, "Who’s Puff Daddy?" Come back!
The lullabies album is awful. Not even you like it. They kind of liked the Puff Daddy song, but got bored when you actually started explaining that it came from a Led Zep song called "Kashmir" and then played them the original song. Let’s face it, they are NEVER going to like "Stairway To Heaven" when they won’t sit down long enough for the guitar solo to start. Your wife made you turn off "The Lemon Song." That "Balamory" CD is going to be in the car for the foreseeable future.
But it’s okay, because you could always have another child. No, that’s a terrible idea. But it's okay – your four-year-old still doesn’t like to listen to "Achilles Last Stand," but maybe that will come later. Actually, weren’t you 24 before you realized you liked that song? And 30 before you could tell people with confidence whether it was on "Presence" or "Coda"? As a parent, you’re in this for the long haul and one day the Disney CDs will be banished by your very own children. It’s just a case of playing the waiting game...
The waiting game sucks, let’s play "Hungry Hungry Hippos" instead.