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To Hold No Quarter (A Parenting Success)

March 16, 2013

The music leaking out of the study where my teenage daughter was ensconced seemed familiar but was initially too muted to identify. It certainly didn’t sound like the bass-heavy dance and pop hits that usually served as her go-to homework accompaniment. After a couple of minutes, I finally grasped what I was hearing. My 21st century child was listening to No Quarter, one of my all-time favorite songs by 20th century legends Led Zeppelin.

Fearing that the epic tune might have simply come up randomly in some sort of shuffle-all coincidence, I burst into the study to either ensure due attention and respect was being paid or to compel a skip forward to a more “background”-appropriate song. To my happy surprise, I found the fruit of my loins not only playing the song by choice, but singing along ardently. Professing love for the song and claiming its regular use as a nightcap to send her off to dreamland, she noted having first heard it in the car while riding with me a year or so before, copying it onto her iPad shortly thereafter. What a joy to learn that, without coercion or even conscious intent, my parental influence had spawned such a glorious result – my daughter asks No Quarter!

Sometimes a piece of music cannot be separated from the context in which it is initially heard, and that is definitely the case for me with No Quarter. The song will always send me back into the waking dream I first experienced in the dark, half-filled Egyptian Theater in Ogden, Utah, while watching a special midnight showing of the Led Zeppelin concert film, The Song Remains the Same, one weekend night in 1979. Perhaps influenced by the visuals interspersed within the film’s performance footage, No Quarter still conjures in me slow-motion visions of headless horsemen haunting the fog-filled night of some murky English countryside. From the gloomy keyboards, to the plodding drums, to the skulking guitar, the music seems molded to mesmerize. Add in doom-laden lyrics sung so as to evoke the impending loss of all hope, and you’re left with some of the most mood-altering music ever recorded. And now I get to share the mental trip with my own cherished daughter.

Who needs quaaludes when the winds of Thor blow this cold?

From → Family, Music

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