The Cinematic Mythology of Led Zeppelin

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When a movie or TV show uses a pre-existing song rather than an original composition, it is referred to as a needle drop. Needle drops in film and television are a dime-a-dozen, but when the needle drop is a Led Zeppelin song, something special happens.

There is an eerie sense of wonder; the scene takes on a new life and almost inherits a somewhat mythic quality. It’s fitting that the band’s ethos is heavily rooted in mythology– Zeppelin lyrics cover everything from Norse mythology to The Lord of the Rings– because when it comes to film and television production, Led Zeppelin has a mythical aura. The band’s remaining members are extremely picky when it comes to licensing their music. From Richard Linklater to Taika Waititi, countless filmmakers have tried (and often failed) to acquire Led Zeppelin song rights. So, for a work to be allowed to utilize one of their songs is something special (the recent HBO series, Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams, is a prime example). A Led Zeppelin song creates a distinct, mystical and compelling feeling and, perhaps most of all, it’s a feeling filled with purpose.

And for more on how soundtracks manifest on film, check out our pieces on the art of the needle drop, and whether or not the movie soundtrack will last. While you’re here, you can also watch our take on another musical icon’s onscreen presence: the one-and-only Prince

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