When Led Zeppelin hit the music scene at the end of 1968, the decade of peace, love, and flower power was pretty much already dead. Indeed, Led Zeppelin’s pair of vinyl record albums released in 1969, with their crashing chord changes, licentious leads, and wailing vocals, were, in their own way, the first nails in the coffin of the decade of the hippie. But this heavy metal band was different, grounded as much in the folk music of a mythological Middle Earth England as the blues of Mississippi Delta America.
The band’s eponymous first album was reportedly recorded in just 36 hours. Most of it was just captured live in the studio, with minimal overdubs. From the first chords of “Good Times Bad Times,” listeners knew they were about to hear something completely different, melding the heroic architecture of riff-rock with guitar chops that rivaled Jimi Hendrix's. The album featured not one but two tunes by bluesman Willie Dixon. When Robert Plant’s otherworldly vocals were added to this heady mix, the result was an assault on the rock orthodoxy that, of course, quickly became the new norm.
The cover of “Led Zeppelin” on the Atlantic label featured the image of the Hindenburg airship just as it was catching fire on its last voyage in 1937. While most copies feature the band and label names in orange, some feature each in red while others are in turquoise. Collectors look for such differences as well as the credits on the records themselves (the band’s “Superhype Music” publishing arm gets credit on some copies; others pressed in the U.K. are credited to Warner Bros.).
Even more dear are 45s, which Led Zeppelin’s manager forbade in the U.K. Thus, promo singles are widely sought by Led Zep fans, including ones for “Communication Breakdown” and "Dazed and Confused,” both off the band’s first album. A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.
“Led Zeppelin II” is actually an interesting album from a record collector’s point of view. Unlike the LP that preceded it, “II” was recorded in numerous studios in the U.K., U.S., and Canada, as the band struggled to capitalize on its sudden fame by touring while recording. It obviously worked because “II” went straight to number-one in three countries.
Albums “III” and “IV” followed, the latter containing such hist as “Black Dog,” “The Battle of Evermore,” and “Stairway to Heaven,” and that was just on side one! “Houses of the Holy” followed in 1973, even though it had been recorded in 1972—it was the last album Led Zeppelin produced for Atlantic. “Physical Graffiti” in 1975 on the band’s Swan Song label, came next, a double-LP consisting of new material and previously unreleased tracks from earlier in the decade.
After the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, the band’s surviving members busied themselves with solo efforts. Page and Plant collaborated on “The Honeydrippers” in 1984 and t...
In 2007, along with John Paul Jones and John Bonham’s son, Jason, Led Zeppelin played a benefit for the late Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegün’s Education Fund. Naturally, they opened with the first song on their first album, whose words begin: “In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man. Now I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can.” The band has not played together since.
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Jimmy Page Looks Back on Led ZeppelinRadio.com Music and Entertainment News, July 28th
On Friday (July 31), Led Zeppelin will release expanded reissues of their final two albums, 1976's Presence and 1979's In Through the Out Door, as well as the posthumous outtakes collection, Coda. Thus bringing to a close a project that the band's...Read more
Dave Grohl Says He's Air Drumming Led Zeppelin Three Times a Day to Mend ...SPIN, July 28th
Now, nobody on the SPIN staff is a doctor, but we have some doubts about Dave Grohl's latest DIY physical therapy. After breaking his leg in a nasty fall in June, the Foo Fighters frontman has been forced to perform from atop a mighty throne, and to...Read more
Led Zeppelin, 'Dancing Days' vs. the Kinks, 'Sunny Afternoon': Greatest Summer ...Ultimate Classic Rock, July 28th
We've reached the second round in Ultimate Classic Rock's Greatest Summer Song battle, and it's time for two British bands to duke it out: Led Zeppelin's “Dancing Days” takes on the Kinks' “Sunny Afternoon.” After starting with 32 of classic rock's...Read more
LED ZEPPELIN's JIMMY PAGE: JOHN BONHAM's Death Was 'A Massive Loss To Everybody'BLABBERMOUTH.NET, July 27th
In the fourth episode of Metal XS's interview series of Jimmy Page, the LED ZEPPELIN guitar legend talks about ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham's passing and legacy. Said Page: "[John] and I were really good pals. We were really, really close in our ...Read more
Win all nine remastered Led Zeppelin albums on vinylGigwise, July 27th
Led Zeppelin are releasing remastered versions of their entire back-catalogue, and Gigwise are giving away the Deluxe Vinyl Edition, containing all nine albums as well as accompanying companion discs. See details on how to enter below. Each album has ...Read more
Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin: 'Who else but me would have the authority to do this?'Irish Times, July 24th
“There was all that celebration in Sligo recently, wasn't there? I heard that Edna was there for some sort of anniversary dinner. Brilliant poet, Yeats. Not much of an influence on Led Zeppelin, mind, but he could sure string a verse or two together...Read more
25 Years Ago: Dread Zeppelin Merge Led Zeppelin and Reggae with 'Un-Led-Ed'Ultimate Classic Rock, July 24th
What do you get when you mash up Led Zeppelin with reggae, and toss in a dash of Elvis Presley for good measure? The answer is the one, the only, Dread Zeppelin. The group released its debut album, Un-Led-Ed, on July 24, 1990, giving audiences ...Read more
Led Zeppelin, 'Dancing Days' vs. Seals and Crofts, 'Summer Breeze': Greatest ...Ultimate Classic Rock, July 21st
Two summertime favorites square off against each other in the first round of Ultimate Classic Rock's quest to find the Greatest Summer Song. You can vote for either Led Zeppelin's “Dancing Days” or the Seals and Crofts' “Summer Breeze” below...Read more