I remember all the furore when Kingdom Come was released back in 1988, snide comments from Kerrang! reviewers, letters to Metal Hammer, protest marches in all European capitals, The U.S.S.R joining arm-in-arm with the USA to jointly propose a UN Security Council motion preparing the ground for the immediate invasion of Lenny Wolf (possibly).  Never could see the fuss myself, so thanks to all the publicity I bought it in March that year.  Well, thanks to the publicity and the fact I’ve always been a sucker for marble-effect covers on LPs.

Kingdom Come 03

In the Great Rock Courtroom Kingdom Come were accused of that most heinous of crimes, aping Led Zeppelin.  The prosecution rested on the fact that the best tracks like ’17’ and ‘What Love Can Be’, were basically spliced together from the DNA of several Led Zep tunes and vocalist Lenny Wolf had no business sounding exactly like Wolverhampton’s favourite son when he came from Hamburg*.  The prosecution summoned witness after witness to give damning testimony against the band, but one courageous and roguishly handsome young fellow refused to be cowed and took up the case for the defence, me (obviously, because this is my blog and if I can’t be the hero I’m just not playing).

Sensing he was up against it he, umm, I shuffled up to face the jury and gave a speech of such blinding eloquence that those who were there t hear it account themselves blessed to this very day.

‘Umm, I only own Led Zep II and it doesn’t sound much like that, I think Kingdom Come‘s alright really and that.  Anyway don’t Krokus just copy AC/DC all the time? Burn them!’

So having got Kingdom Come freed on a technicality, I think Krokus were summarily executed by being fired from a big cannon.

And he's buying a ...
And he’s buying a …

It’s all true, in a sort of not literally true at all sense of the meaning.  Arguments about musical legitimacy are fraught with selective revisionist historical attitudes anyway, how many times did Led Zep (who I deeply cherish) rip off various early bluesmen? check out recent song-writing credits on Led Zeppelin II, compared to an original copy and you’ll see my point.  It isn’t like bands hadn’t been merrily ripping off Led Zeppelin for years and years anyway – okay so I know the counter-argument is that most had the good grace/guile to hide it a bit, whereas this lot were just too blatant to stomach.

They were too, ’17’ is by far the best track here – when I first heard it I was only 16, so as far as I was concerned it was a song about older girls!  25 years on … I feel a little seedier singing along, but hey, I still did.

It’s just great, drum echo robbed from ‘When the Levee Breaks’? check.  Jimmy Page’s guitar sound, simplified, stolen out the back of his car when he wasn’t looking? check.  Robert Plant’s vocal chords, ‘borrowed’ one night whilst he slept? check.  But you know what? it works for me, probably because it was just such great source material anyway, but it does really work.  ’17’ is a smooth cruising lust machine of a track – does it matter that Kingdom Come would fail a rock paternity test on it?

Led Zeppelin? no, not us ...
Led Zeppelin? no, not us …

There are other minor highlights such as ‘Pushin Too Hard’ where Robert Plant’s sex God stuttering is reborn and ‘What Love Can Do’ a slick Zep-lite ballad, both of which are good.  However there is a fairly high dross percentage here, tracks such as ‘Shout it Out’ and ‘Hideaway’ just have a MOR 80s rock vibe that I don’t like, slightly treble-heavy production, very average song writing skills – nothing terrible, just not good.

You know what my problem with Kingdom Come is? it doesn’t sound enough like Led Zeppelin.

306 Down.

P.S – the last word goes out to the late-lamented Gary Moore and a track of his with Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals.

*check out 1537’s research, Bitchez!

30 thoughts on “P-P-P-Pushin Hard

  1. Still remember seeing these guys on the Van Halen Monsters Of Rock trek where they played before Dokken,Metallica,Scorps&VH.
    Word on the street is that Lenny the Wolf (in sheeps clothing ) would show up in limos and the other hacks would show up in a rental van.
    But the best was I remember during Metallicas set they played snippets of each band during a medley so they played a little Dokken(In My Dreams) Scorps they played a bit of the Zoo and Halen it was Running With The Devil and for Kingdom Come they played Kashmir !!!
    We all howled!

    1. You gotta love a man with an ego that size, especially when it hasn’t been earned. I love the Kashmir thing too, I bet you could hear Lenny gnashing his teeth even over the sound of the PA.

  2. Moore’s “Led Clones” is classic stuff. That was a great album all around. Moore also did a hell of a cover version of The Yardbirds’ “Shape of Things” on his ‘Victim of the Future’ album….which Jimmy Page was in, playing bass at the time I believe.

    Gary Moore was an amazing guitarist. He was in Thin Lizzy, wasn’t he? Along with John Sykes possibly? Wait, we’re not talking about Gary Moore are we? No, we’re talking about the the untimely execution of Krokus. Damn shame.

    1. Feel free to Gary Moore yourself soft here. he was in Lizzy for a bit and I think he was an incredibly good guitarist, but maybe a bit less of a songwriter. I used to have ‘Dirty Fingers’ (?), ‘Victims of the Future’ and another one I can’t quite remember properly, all on cassette. He had a wonderful tone and feel, but he lost me when he slowed it all down on his blues albums.

      There’s no way he’d have been up for execution though.

  3. Great post..and I’m glad you closed with that Gary Moore tune. That album was my first exposure to his music, and I loved his combination of brilliant musicianship and an obviously great sense of humor. Ironically, I’m never heard the Kingdom Come album, only the handful of songs that made it onto radio/MTV back then. As a Zeppelin fanatic I was skeptical about them, but if (as you pointed out) it’s okay for a band to sound like AC/DC (or any number of punk bands who get praised for sounding like The Stooges or Sex Pistols or The Clash), then what’s wrong with a band trying to sound like the greatest of them all? Especially when that band no longer existed.

    1. Thank you, I loved Gary Moore, although I don’t actually own any anymore, ‘Victims of the Future’ was my favourite.

      I wouldn’t necessarily bother with the KC LP, I had really fond memories of it but chunks of it were just too generic for me this time around. Older and more cynical probably.

      Very little music can be totally original, everyone has to build on some foundations and that’s fine. KC were a bit Grand Theft Zep, it has to be said.

  4. I’m now going to have to live with the mental image of Lenny Wolf being invaded. Thanks for that.

    I’m with you on this. I really like this album although I did discover it long after the furore had died down! And am I right in thinking that Kingdom Come didn’t do themselves any favours by denying in the press that they had ever heard Led Zeppelin? If that’s true then that was a touch daft. If they had been a bit more honest/brazen about it maybe people wouldn’t have minded so much.

    In today’s retro-mania I can’t see people getting as worked up about this as they did then. Originality doesn’t seem to be as big a deal anymore!

    1. Yup, I vaguely remember the Kerrang! interview where he sort of said ‘Led who?’, Hmmm.

      Great name for a side project ‘The Lenny Wolf Invasion’.

  5. I own this album, but have not played it in quite a few years. I’ve been on a kick of led clones lately (Bonham, Coverdale-Page) so maybe I should put this one into the shuffle.

    Trivia: Some people mistook the name/title of their second album “In Your Face”. Some thought the name of the band was “Kingdom” and the album was “Come In Your Face”.

    1. I had fonder memories of this one than I left it with, if you see what I mean. I listened to this a lot back in the day, but I found it mostly pretty weak this time around, with a few high spots – ’17’ is still great.

      The whole ‘… In your face’ thing ? is the sole reason at least two guys I know bought it.

    1. Thank you, my learned paper on Selective Historical Revisionism and Led Zeppelin Songwriting Credits, should be hitting the shops shortly, just in time for Christmas.

  6. There is nothing more convincing than a not-literally-true truism. I am unconvincingly convinced and enthusiastically vote Guilty!…um, or “not Guilty” … which is it we’re pulling for again?

    Turns out I know not whence Kingdom Come, but if they warrant the seemingly non-sequitir appending of a classic from the much missed and revered Gary Moore, they must be worthwhile. I mean they must, right? Because if not then we’d need to get up a mob to set you swinging for blasphemy …

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