Sunday afternoon in what should now be known as London’s square mile; the once tumbleweed strewn streets of Shoreditch and Brick Lane are now teeming with tourists and orange skinned Essex girls. Every corner stinks of the collective piss of a thousand city boys, every road now hosts at least one high street brand, and word has it you’re never more than 6 feet from a Klaxon whilst you swan around this poxy excuse for a modern day Sodom & Gomorrah.
Yet, it was whilst strolling down the now aptly named Commercial Street that I heard someone wailing along to Led Zeppelin’s D’Yer Mak’er from their car, and it dawned on me that it was high time for some spiky dread pre-history, as every good sub-genre should have one.
Way back before The Roxy rocked out to King Tubby Meets The Rockers, and before Patti Smith’s skanky sojourn to Redondo Beach, Led Zep were marrying rock with reggae to come up with a single which would delight and appall their fans in equal measures.
Easily dismissed as cod reggae, in most part due to it’s unfortunate and self aware title, D’yer Mak’er isn’t really a bad song at all. Page’s picking and John Paul Jones’ Bass-work offer some strains of an authentic reggae rhythm, soon offset by the usual sonic assault of Bonham’s big and bashy drums.
Robert Plant finally whiteys the whole thing up with some silly but downright infectious Oh Oh Oh’s, borrowed shamelessly from doowop, and the result is a rock-reggae monster which can brighten up even the greyest, wettest day in what may as well be London’s new west end.
And here’s Lady Gaga brutally murdering it live at another aptly named location, The Bitter End in Greenwich Village…