Homer (1970)

Homer_OST_revI may have discovered why Led Zeppelin became so notoriously draconian about licensing their music to films.

Homer is a pretty text book film about a teen coming of age amidst the backdrop of the vietnam war, small town conservatism, and a rising anti-establishment zeitgeist.

It is also the first movie to ever license Led Zeppelin’s music.

We open the movie on a dark highway, where we find the titular character attempting to thumb his way out of his small Wisconsin farm town to San Francisco, only to be picked up by the sheriff and driven home to his disapproving folks. From there the movie breaks out every cliché trope in the book: War Veteran Dad vs. hippie son, repressed young love, garage rock, pot experimentation, and the local golden boy that gets drafted to Vietnam war and sent back in a casket.

The soundtrack is a good smattering of heavy hitters, including three Buffalo Springfield songs (all Stills tracks), The Byrds, Steve Miller Band, Cream, and The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times,” hits during the beginning of a “boy becomes a man” montage, when Homer’s Dad burns all his rock posters (Abbey Road!) and is trying to farmhand him into becoming a respectable adult. The opening shot of Homer milking a cow to the opening chord is not what Led Zeppelin’s people had in mind when they licensed their eight-minute jam to the film’s producers. Adding insult to injury Homer’s dad turn off Zep to listen to Crop Futures, then Homer tunes into The Byrds on his headset!  This is the type of gross misuse of Zeppelin that drove Peter Grant to dressing up like a 30’s gangster.”

Flash forward to 2013 when the mighty Zeppelin forced Ben Affleck to digitally alter Tate Donavon’s hand in Argo in order to clear “When The Levee Breaks.”

One of the deeper cuts on the soundtrack is “Rock & Roll Gypsies,” by Hearts and Flowers. A catchy number that has one foot firmly rooted in the east coast village folk, but whose chorus and harmonies seem to sway to the west coast stylings of the Byrds.

Hearts And Flowers – Rock N Roll Gypsies