Image Unavailable
Led Zeppelin

DESCRIPTION: British group Led Zeppelin are one of the world's most iconic heavy rock / hard rock bands. They were considered to be the biggest band in world from the late 60's through to all of 1970's and the early 1980's by many key music media commentators and writers.

ACTIVITY STATUS: Currently Inactive

ACTIVITY PERIOD: 1968 - 1983, (Reunions: 1985, 1988, 1995, 2007)

MUSIC GENRE: Heavy Rock, Hard Rock


RECORD COMPANIES / LABELS (Current & Past): Atlantic, Swan Song

OFFICIAL WEB SITE: http://www.ledzeppelin.com/



Led Zeppelin were an English rock band whose lineup included guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. They were Formed in London in 1968, the group's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music.

After changing their name from the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin signed a deal with Atlantic Records that afforded them considerable artistic freedom. Although the group was initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), their untitled fourth album (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). Their fourth album, which features the track "Stairway to Heaven", is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to secure the group's popularity.


Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_%281969%29_front_cover.png Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_II.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_III.png Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_IV.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Houses_of_the_Holy.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Physical_Graffiti.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Presence.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_The_Song_Remains_the_Same.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_In_Through_the_Out_Door.jpg
Led_Zeppelin_-_Coda.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Boxed_Set.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Remasters.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Boxed_Set_2.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_The_Complete_Studio_Recordings.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_BBC_Sessions.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_How_the_West_Was_Won.jpg Led_Zeppelin_-_Definitive_Collection_Mini_LP_Replica_CD_Boxset.jpg Celebration_Day_cover.jpg



The band was originally founded as a reincarnation of another band, the Yardbirds. Lead guitarist Jimmy Page, ended up as the leader after former members Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck left in 1965 and 1966 respectively. After 2 years of struggle and trying to persuade his band mates about "musical direction," and the possibility of becoming bona fide super rock gods two of the members quit. (You gotta wonder?) Leaving Page with Rhythm guitar player Chris Dreja, who was invited to join what would later be known as Led Zeppelin. In a decision reminiscent of Dick Rowe who told the Beatles to fuck off, Chris declined and became a photographer. (He did photograph Zeppelin many times however, most notably the back cover of the first album) Good one Chris. You’ll find Dreja’s photographic exhibitions on display at the Melissinos snack bar every Friday afternoon.
The Yardbirds were in ashes and Pagey had tour commitments, he needed a new band and fast, he knew John Paul Jones for years as a fellow session musician who played on many Mickie Most British invasion hit singles of the mid 60’s and Most had a business partner, none other than a gigantic man with an equally gigantic temper by the name of Peter Grant who took over duties as manager of the Yardbirds. Grant is possibly the most infamous of all rock band managers. (They made a movie about him in the mid 70’s called “Grizzly”) Seriously, Grant was as ruthless and cut throat as they come, he wanted to manage the biggest band in the world. All he required now was a lead singer, a drummer and a name that would bring down the Hammer of the gods upon all who liked rock music in the late 60’s.
In search of a lead singer for his new band he Jimmy Page met Robert Plant after being turned down by his first choice, Terry Reid, who referred him to a show at a teacher training college in Birmingham— where Plant was singing in a band named Hobstweedle. Yeah, he really needed to find a greener pasture.
I just can’t imagine anyone announcing “Ladies and gentlemen…HOBSTWEEDLE!
Pagey states:
“When I auditioned him and heard him sing, I immediately thought there must be something wrong with him personality-wise or that he had to be impossible to work with, because I just could not understand why, after he told me he'd been singing for a few years already, he hadn't become a big name yet. So I had him down to my place for a little while, just to sort of check him out, and we got along great. No problems” Little did Pagey know?
Lead singer syndrome was a relatively unknown affliction in 1968, Plant acquired it big time by the late 70’s and throughout the 1980’s until he realized his solo career was in the dunny. ”
According to Plant:
“I was appearing at this college when Peter and Jimmy turned up and asked me if I'd like to join The Yardbirds. I knew The Yardbirds had done a lot of work in America – which to me meant audiences who would want to know what I might have to offer – so naturally I was very interested. ”
Plant and Page immediately hit it off with a shared musical passion and began their writing collaboration with reworkings of earlier blues songs. (Basically they plagiarised the shit out of them, but that’s another story, I call them being Zeppelinised) Many of these songs would’ve been long forgotten if not for the Zep treatment. Plant also insisted in bringing along his best buddy John Bonham as drummer, upon seeing Bonham play it was met with overwhelming approval by John Paul Jones. One of the most famous rhythm sections was now complete alongside guitar wizard Jimmy Page and the incredible voice of Robert Plant. All they needed was a better name than Hobstweedle!
Prior to this meeting however Page had met up with Keith Moon and John Entwistle who were considering their future with the Who in June 1968. ’Dogs’ was released as a single and becomes the Who’s first serious flop on the singles chart. Their chart aspirations – and their finances – reach low ebb. Daltry was hot tempered and difficult to deal with and Townshend was disinterested in singles after what he thought was their greatest song I Can See For Miles only reached number 9 and he wanted to record a rock opera. Only their growing reputation as a live band in America kept them afloat financially, and under a constant ‘play live or die’ threat they become a top live attraction.
Legend has it that Jimmy Page suggested a side project featuring himself, Entwistle, Jeff Beck and Keith Moon. Moon and Entwistle suggested that the project would go over like a "lead zeppelin” The Who remained intact and went onto to record Tommy later that year, however the Pagemaster made note of the name, dropping the "a" from "lead" to prevent "stupid Americans" from rhyming it with need. Led Zeppelin was born. Jimmy Page not only insults the intelligence of a country he then intends to conquer it!
With their name in place, Zeppelin released their first album in January of 1969. In a fit of wild, artistic creativity the album was titled Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin quickly became well known as a live act, blowing every band they played with away and followed up in October of 1969 with the cleverly named Led Zeppelin II. This album was also a huge success and again reached the top of the charts in both the US and UK. Led Zeppelin were a worldwide phenomenon and Whole Lotta Love was a full blown orgasmic heavy riff rocker that effectively ended the careers of so many American bands who were never heard of again. By the end of 1969 Led Zeppelin were already establishing themselves as the biggest band on the planet. The band then spent a year working on their next album, presumably spending most of the time thinking of an amazing album title.
Led Zeppelin III was released in October of 1970. It was also very successful, though not as much as the previous two albums due to Page's acoustic guitar work instead of ear shattering rock. Over time critics got over their idiotic rejection of this album and it is now universally acclaimed. Still, the initial negative reaction motivated the band to come up with something that would blow it out of the arse of every music critic who disliked their previous effort. Not only that, they would give the album a name that no-one will understand. This title was so mind-blowing that to this day no one is quite sure what the fuck it actually is.
More commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, the album has sold over 40 million copies and appears on numerous lists regarding the greatest of all time. The album also proved that when Jimmy Page wants to spite someone, their opinion is as good as dead. Much of Led Zeppelin IV's success was due to it containing one of the most important and overplayed songs in the history of music, the legendary "Stairway to Heaven." So back to the remasters we go……
The album was initially recorded at Island Records' newly opened Basing Street Studios, London, at the same time as Jethro Tull's Aqualung in December 1970. Ian Anderson said that trying to record in this studio was very difficult, because of its "horrible, cold, echoey" feel. There were two recording studios at the location; Led Zeppelin worked in the smaller studio while Tull got the larger, (more echoey one) which was the main body of a converted church. ‘Percy’ and Anderson didn’t get along that well, largely due to a Melody Maker comment made by Anderson who stated “with my lyrics and Led Zeppelin’s music, we could be quite a good little Rock´n Roll Band” forgetting completely that it was Plant who wrote the lyrics. This lead to Plant dubbing them Jethro Dull, the Zep road crew also stole his famous coat. Tull got their revenge by finishing their album in no time at all (with less expense) it was released in March 1971 going onto become a rock classic and one of their most famous and biggest selling albums . Zeppelin were languishing, but were still determined to shove it up the arse of every rock critic in the world. It’s assumed Grant was eating children at this time, we’re not quite sure. He certainly wanted to carve up Lester Bangs.
In a rut the Zeps were not happy with the studio either and moved to Headley Grange, a remote Victorian house in East Hampshire, England, to conduct additional recordings. Here they used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Jimmy Page later recalled: "We needed the sort of facilities where we could have a cup of tea and wander around the garden and go in and do what we had to do." Yes, I can picture John Bonham now, having tea, mowing the lawn and watering the garden. If you believe this story given by Page then I am convinced you believe in fairies. This relaxed, atmospheric and isolated environment at Headley Grange also provided other advantages for the band, such as no–one discovering the huge amount of cocaine, underage girls and copious amounts of alcohol.
Once the basic tracks had been recorded, the band later added overdubs at Island Studios, and then took the completed master tapes to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles for mixing. However, the mix ultimately proved to be less than satisfactory, creating an unwanted delay in the album's release. Further mixing had to be undertaken in London, pushing the final release date back by some months. Finally on November 8th 1971 the album with the strange title was released. It was a monster hit. Led Zeppelin IV: A classic album featuring Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, When the Levee Breaks, Misty Mountain Hop, Going To California. It has sold over 40 million copies. Rolling Stone actually liked this one and wisely Lenny Kaye did the original review in 1971, not Lester Bangs who was still in hiding from Grant.
With critical acclaim that followed and enough money to buy Tasmania, the band was on top of the world following Led Zeppelin IV. (Let’s call it that shall we) They soon became known for their rock star lifestyle, which made sense since they were rock stars and they embarked on 18 months of touring the world where upon the usual shenanigans ensued. They ransacked hotels, destroyed rooms, debauchery was the norm, and John Bonham rode a motorcycle through a hotel hallway. John Paul Jones allegedly and unknowingly took a transvestite up to his room, fell asleep while smoking pot, and lit the room on fire. Jimmy Page dated a 14-year old girl and was into Sadomasochism; Peter Grant threatened to punch the lights out of every promoter in the USA. Peter Grant, former bouncer and wrestler, was, in many respects, the physical embodiment of a Led Zeppelin. He was a huge man and weighing over 300 pounds, he used his intimidating presence to maintain order and to keep his charges safe and worry-free. He was fiercely protective of his band and their finances. John Paul Jones: "He was generally held in high esteem by those with whom he came in contact." Peter was a very sensitive man. He was a very, very smart man. People just think of his size and his reputation, but actually he never had to use his size. He could out-talk anybody. Similarly, Page has described Grant as groundbreaking in his style of management, explaining that "Peter had changed the dynamic that existed between bands, managers and promoters. He was a superb, canny manager." Grant had a way with words alright, when dealing a with the promoter of the Tampa stadium he screamed “my band will fill this fucking stadium and I will give you 10% of the take, now do your fucking job or i will do it myself , do you want 10% of something or all of fucking nothing you C%#@! It’s your fucking choice”
When Led Zeppelin played Tampa Florida On May 5 1973 they played to 56,800 fans (breaking the record set by The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965), and grossed $309,000. In total, this 1973 North American tour grossed over $4,000,000. And Grant and the Zep boys took most of it in CASH! Today that $309,000 comes to approximately $1,645,000.
The Zep career has been well documented post Led Zeppelin 4 and they made their way down to OZ in February 1972 playing on a stormy Sunday afternoon for 3 hours opening with the Immigrant Song knowing they could all be electrocuted any minute.
In 1976, Jimmy Page began to experiment with Heroin. Accidents were occurring, Plant lost his son during the 1977 US tour and all subsequent shows were cancelled, Page was by this time addicted to the ‘hammer’. Obviously this had a negative impact on his guitar work. Many of Zeppelin's performances from 1976-1977 were criticised because of Jimmy Page's performance. Drummer John Bonham was also struggling with his own problems, as being on tour all the time caused him to sink into a deep depression, which he dealt with by constantly getting tanked and punching the living suitcase out of people. After one show Peter Grant's 11-year old son was taking down a dressing room sign and was struck by a man. This was seen by Bonham, who then walked over and kicked the shit out of him. Later, when Grant heard about this, he went into the trailer, along with London gangster and hired security guard John Bindon and assaulted the man again with tour manager Richard Cole guarding the door. Bonham really didn’t want to go back to America again.
In 1978 Led Zeppelin began to record what would be their last album together, In Through the Out Door. At this point, Zeppelin was split into two halves, with John Paul Jones and Robert Plant working in the day while sober, and John Bonham and Jimmy Page working at night, while pounding brewskis and dancin' with Mr. Brownstone, respectively. In Through the Out Door again shot up to number 1 in both the US and the UK. Based on the album's performance, the band geared up for a 1980 fall tour.
On September 24, 1980, rehearsals were set to commence at Jimmy Page's house. On the way there, Bonham stopped for breakfast; 16 shots of vodka and a ham roll. Somehow, Bonham rehearsed that night, slamming down vodka throughout practice. Later he finally passed out and was carried to bed. About 12 hours later, John Paul Jones and Zeppelin's tour manager found him dead. The coroner's report stated that Bonham had drank over 40 shots of vodka and asphyxiated on his own vomit in his sleep.
Led Zeppelin was finished. This enabled Robert Plant to go solo and he was moderately successful, feathering his hair like everyone else and having a few hits during the 1980s. Along with fellow bands Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Zeppelin pioneered the genre of heavy metal come hard rock . With Zeppelin gone, the 80s mostly consisted of every arseclown with long hair and a heart tattoo prancing around in spandex and wearing enough makeup to make KISS blush. Oddly Kiss re-acted to his by taking their make up OFF! Then we got fucking POISON! Chaos ensued for years until the Pixies came along…and they spawned Nirvana and Weezer who spent most of their time singing about teenage angst and how mummy never paid enough attention to them. Sales of flannels shirts went through the roof and Calvin Klein couldn’t sell a men’s fragrance to save his life for years.
The band is fiercely protective of its catalogue, they have repeatedly turned down invitations to have their music featured in commercials, movies and television shows.
In 1974 the band set up their own label, Swan Song Records and released the double album Physical Graffiti which went 16 times platinum in the United Sates and sold a gazzilion world wide.
The logo for Swan Song features the god Apollo but is often mistaken for a falling angel. This logo can be seen worldwide on hipsters' t-shirts or being worn by dumbfucks who've never heard Zeppelin's music and bought their shirt at Cotton On or Target!
When you see Brittany wearing a ‘Swan Song’ T Shirt you know that the merchandise side of things is crook in tootgarook. I can hear Peter Grant now “F&#%!@?! &#%-holes!”
Though Led Zeppelin disbanded some 34 years ago, the band still remains an indelible part of popular culture. Demands for one last tour are constant, but old ‘Percy’ (Robert Plant) won’t do it because he’s a stick in the mud, arguing that the awesome 2007 reunion was enough and any organised tour would be a circus! Fuck, i know who the clown is here. Prior to Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were both successful, sought-after studio musicians, steeped in training and capable of playing in a multitude of styles. Jimmy Page was also the lead guitarist of the Yardbirds — a band whose lead guitarist slot has also been filled by guitar rock Gods Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Beyond mere musicianship, both men possessed diverse songwriting chops. At the same time Robert Plant was some unknown singer playing alongside some dimwitted lunatics from West Bromwich howling above the din. One of those dimwits was John Bonham so all is forgiven to a certain extent there. Still, perhaps a re-union tour isn’t such a good idea as the 2007 show clearly told us that he couldn't cop his "Ramble On" vocals 30 odd years later, delivering them instead as a half-arsed pseudo-Elvis.
Led Zeppelin are arguably the greatest hard rock band of all time and are an essential listening experience for any rock and roll fan. As Otto the Bus driver (from the Simpsons) once said,” Zeppelin rules”.

By Glenn Forsyth

Parent Category Page Links: Music Artists / Outfits - UK

Please contribute any writings or images to this page if you have more information or history to share with the Music Industrapedia Community on LED ZEPPELIN. Please visit our Contributions page for details. Also, please feel free to discuss the development of this page by clicking on the "DISCUSS" link at the bottom right hand side of this page.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License