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 ...
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 A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.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 toured together in the 1990s. Later in the decade, Page could be seen sharing the stage with the Black Crowes while Plant would go on to record the Grammy Award winning “Raising Sand” with Alison Krauss.
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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Concert review: The National Arts Centre Orchestra plays the music of Led ...Ottawa Citizen (blog), May 23rd
Originally conceived in 1995, The Music of Led Zeppelin was their first baby, and it's grown into a wonderfully vibrant creature, as a less-than-full Southam Hall audience witnessed on Wednesday. The first of Windborne's two nights with NACO happened...Read more
What Is So Great About Led Zeppelin?Huffington Post, May 23rd
Sure, The Rolling Stones had the swagger. And The Beatles had all the hit songs. But there was something about Led Zeppelin. Not just glamour, the other bands had that in equal measure. What Led Zeppelin had was force, power, mystery, that unknown...Read more
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience Going on Tour This SummerArtistdirect.com, May 22nd
The son of drumming icon John Bonham, known for his work in Led Zeppelin, created the experience as a tribute to the legacy his father left behind. The Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Experience is teaming up with Heart for a summer tour they are calling The...Read more
Led Zeppelin Singer Robert Plant -- Obsessed Fan Ordered to Stay 300 YARDS ...TMZ.com, May 22nd
Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant just bought himself a stairway to stalker-free heaven -- because the obsessed fan he accused of following him around the world has just been ordered to stay the hell away. TMZ broke the story ... Plant obtained a...Read more
'I could listen to Led Zeppelin just for the drums': Tony Banks on how John ...Something Else! Reviews, May 21st
Genesis' 1980s-era transition from producer David Hentschel — who oversaw four studio albums beginning with 1976?s A Trick of the Tail — had to do with an abiding passion for the thunderous drum sound of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham. “We went up to...Read more
NACO gives the symphony treatment to Led Zeppelin classicsOttawa Citizen, May 21st
Personally, I was worried when the National Arts Centre announced last fall that its orchestra would be playing two nights of the music of Led Zeppelin. Having invested much of my teenage-hood in the back of crowded cars listening to Black Dog and...Read more
Ellie Goulding and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant added to Electric Picnic line-upIrish Independent, May 21st
Comments. Email; Print; Font Size. Ellie Goulding. Ken Sweeney – 21 May 2013. LEGENDARY Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant and pop sensation Ellie Goulding have been added to the Electric Picnic line-up...Read more
Entertainment sceneWinnipeg Free Press, May 19th
IN the run-up to a New York benefit concert for victims of "superstorm" Sandy, Hollywood tycoon Harvey Weinstein had a request for his old pal Bill Clinton: turn on the charm and talk Led Zeppelin into reuniting for the show. Associated Press, which...Read more