Brian May is a longtime devotee of Led Zeppelin, but when he first heard the band, he was deflated.
Every aspect of Zep's diverse sound was so thoroughly dialed in that May — who was also pursuing a blues-rock direction at the time — thought Zeppelin left no room for him to have a music career of his own.
May recalled Led Zeppelin's impact on him and Queen in a interview with Total Guitar.
"Those guys were not far ahead of us in age," May said, "but the first time we heard Zeppelin, we thought, 'Oh, my God, this is where we're trying to get to, and they're already there!' So in a sense, there were times when we felt like we'd missed the boat. Like we wouldn't be able to get our stuff out there. But our vision was slightly different from Zeppelin, musically. It's more harmonic and melodic, I suppose."
Fortunately, May and Queen stuck at it and eventually forged their own unique and iconic sound; it turned out there was plenty of room for both Led Zeppelin and Queen in the music landscape.
"But I would never be ashamed to say that Zeppelin were a huge influence on us, not just musically, but also in the way they handled themselves in the business, without compromising," May added. "The way they handled their image, the integrity, the way they built their stage show — so many things. I supposed between Zeppelin and the Beatles and the Who, you would see where we came from. That was the kind of platform that we bounced off."
May admitted that Queen's "Now I'm Here" was heavily informed by Zeppelin's "Black Dog."
"I owe a lot to Jimmy Page, of course — the mast of the riff, and the master of getting lost deliberately in time signatures," he said.