God vs The Devil: U2 and Led Zeppelin

U2 vs Zep

My two favourite bands couldn’t be more of a study in contrasts. Led Zeppelin was a hard-rocking, drug-taking, groupie-banging maelstrom of bombastic sound. U2’s music, on the other hand, is infused with spirituality, soaring melodies, and the quest for a connection with a higher power.

And yet I love them both. Which is why I think it’s important to celebrate many different styles of music, from the highly spiritual to the down-and-dirty. And how better to do so than by comparing and contrasting one band of self-professed Christian rockers with another band that was plagued throughout their career by lurid tales of dark arts and devil worship.

Now, I’m not trying to turn this into an epic battle between the forces of Good and Evil…but just for the hell of it, I wonder who would win? Clearly the only way to judge is by employing the objective powers of Science to sort it out.

Therefore, I will be examining each band based on a variety of categories, and totally choosing my favourites utilizing a highly scientifical method that is not at all biased in order to establish the winner in each category. Points from all of the categories will be tabulated at the conclusion of our study to determine the ultimate victor. So without further ado, I present to you our first category:

Lead Singers

Robert Plant:

Robert Plant was an unquestionably amazing singer and front man. His at-times-otherworldly howl was obviously a major contributing factor to Zep’s heavy, rollicking sound. And no matter what the lyrics were, it always seemed like he was really just singing about getting into some girl’s pants. At least, that’s what many of Zep’s songs sound like to me. Also, I think we must acknowledge Robert Plant’s excellent stage attire, which often involved flowery women’s blouses, no doubt pilfered from the closets of his latest conquests.

Robert Plant

I mean come on, how amazing is this?

POINTS AWARDED: 20 for the howl, 10 for the sexin’, and 25 for the women’s shirts. Total = 55 points.


I went into this thinking that Bono was going to be the clear winner, but now I’m not so sure. A pretty good case can be made on Robert Plant’s behalf, I think. I may have just talked myself into switching sides. We will have to wait and see how the points tally up. Anyway, here’s what Bono brings to the table: awesome spirit, gregarious personality, and in-your-face enthusiasm. All excellent qualities in a front man. And his voice! So pure, and beautiful. I find U2’s songs so inspirational in a spiritual sense, and much of that has to do with Bono’s ringing tenor.

When it comes to his look, I was not so much a fan of Joshua Tree-era Bono:

Bono vest

A bit too oily for my my taste.

But I very much enjoy ’80s new wave Bono:



POINTS AWARDED: 10 for the personality, -10 for the leather vest, and 60 for the voice. Total = 60 points.

Well! It looks as though Bono has the slight edge in the end, on the basis of his awesome pipes. What can I say? You can’t argue with Science.

Join us soon for our next installment in this epic showdown between two of the greatest bands of all time…

16 responses to “God vs The Devil: U2 and Led Zeppelin

  • mbenzi

    I have to agree with the science!

  • christian simpson

    ok, so if bono gets 60 points for vox (get it) and plant gets 20 points that would mean bono is 2/3’s better than plant or is it 66% or is that the same. or would it be 300% because 100% of 20 would be 40 so that would make it 200% actually. dang i hate math! anyway im pretty sure my boys (u know who they are) are going to slam dunk the rest of this clash of the titans so this one is a no brainer. looking forward to the breakdowns though. sweet post.

  • Trevor Black

    how can u not see that Plant comes the place created by musical gods & was cut from a fabric specially designed to give birth to music on this level with love, build faith in humanity, that we may bust a nut letting the juice run down our legs…

    which is what gave birth to the Bono’s of the world. Plant should win this section hands down on principle, being the OG!

    BTW, I don’t think U2 has a candy dispenser made after them remember the zep…

  • Mamy

    Let’s keep it simple…Balls vs. Soul…

    • Spencer

      As usual Mamy, you have managed to get right to the heart of the matter, distilling the entire debate into one simple sentence.
      You know you’re a fucking genius, right? Love ya buddy.

  • mark roininen

    OK I gota draw my line in the sand. I’m going w/ the underdogs-U2. Does U2 have the chops that Zep have-no. Did U2 event a sound that never existed before- Yes, did Zep- No. Does Zep look like a bunch of sandal wearing hippies- Yes, unfortunately. Does U2 look like young men that have something to say- Yes. Zep sings about Hobbits and Plant groans like he pulled a muscle. U2 sing songs about Love and War like their lives depend on it. Did Zep redefine Rock’n Roll- No they just took to new debocherus levels. Did U2 – Yes, they proved that a bunch of young Christian kids that can barely play there entrustments could become one of the biggest bands in the world. U2 didn’t play by they rule book-Zeppelin did

    Game on

  • christian simpson

    Oh boy, gotta respond to this but need to get lunch first.catch you in a bit.

  • christian simpson

    hey mark, im about to kick imaginary sand in your face from the imaginary line you drew earlier. zep were not about chops, never were. did they have chops, oh ya, enough that they could spread there wings and create a body of work that was as diverse as their imaginations could take them. there were little if no limitations with this band.
    the greatest thing about the zeps was there incredible chemistry. all (4) members of the band brought something very unique to the table and when it was combined it created something that was so much larger than the very significant sum of its individual parts. there music pulses like a heartbeat, that is very, very hard to do.
    in response to some of your points, did zep look like hippies, initially ya, everybody did at that time. actually i think that was there coolest look, circa 1969. fuckin long hair and beards and all skinny. u2 has had some pretty funny looks over the yrs as well lets not forget.
    yes plant did sing about hobbits (not as often as people like to say), and zep was not a political band at all. they formed at the end of a very political era in western history and i think they realized that there was a change in the air. kids that bought records were looking for something else. this changed a decade later and politics became important in music again. just around the time u2 formed, did they create this..hell no. they did however hop onto a rising tide.
    did zep redefine rock n roll, absolutely. they pretty much changed the entire recording industry. there was a pre zep (1st album)sound and a post zep (1st album) sound. to add, one of the members produced everything they ever did. u2 had some pretty smokin producers to direct them and help with song writing etc. after the sound of there first album everybody else was playing catch up.
    before zep concert promoters would take 50 % of the live gate, after zep bands like u2 now enjoy a 90-95% of the live gate. so they changed the concert industry as well. pre zep concerts where around a half an hour long, after zep began putting on 2-4 hr shows everybody else had to as well.
    they brought so many different styles of music to young ears that none of us can imagine a musical landscape without them. their influence cannot be overstated. i could go on and on and on.
    i remember when u2 first came out. i remember talk of the edges guitar sound which was innovative and there christian (who cares) political leanings but i don’t remember much talk about them re-defining anything really. they got huge but it was a slow burn at first. the edge and bono are amazing songwriters obviously and bono has a killer voice but i find them far to limited to maintain a 30 yr career. hell i think even the beatles would have been stale 30 yrs in. do you still get excited for a new u2 album, i haven’t since joshua tree.
    Ps: robert versus bono = balls versus soul? not quite, plant had both, even old blues guys (documented) would marvel at the soul coming out of this skinny little white boy’s mouth! he also phrased like a jazzer. dude had a lot goin on man!

    peace and arggghhh!!

  • Mark roininen

    Christian I just read this- beautiful. I need to digest and revisit. Can’t wait to respond.

  • Zarathustra

    Jesus Fricken Christ! Why Why Why? U2 are innovative, but how can you call them a political force to reckon with, ever actually paid attention to their “Politically revolutionary lyrics”, they’re just as pathetic as Bono’s Help the Third-World Pleas, somehow, Mr. Bono is supposedly donating millions to the third world with his stunted mind unable to understand that just raining money over someplace ain’t going to change anything… at all! All you do is feed corruption with money, anyone can make an ideological world with peace and happiness, yay! That’s what nobody understands… Bono thinks he sounds clever and so do you! But is he Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan or Roger Waters or Even Mark Knopfler for that matter! No! No! No! Can he bring realism to ideology, no he isn’t some tortured Genius… Bono to me at least now has a bloody cigarette voice and I would dock ten points right now, solely for his attempt to sing I am the Walrus and association with the film “Across the Universe”, and I ain’t done yet just gotta go! I’ll be Back!

  • Zarathustra

    Oh and I think Bono is trying to be the Al Gore of the music industry and I despise Al Gore!

  • Paco

    Well, Bono might have become the next Robert Plant had MTV not spoiled him, and so many others, rotten. ‘In the end, it’s all about tech. ’nuff said.

  • Paco

    Oh and i almost forgot……John Bonham is dead.

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