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 A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.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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Led Zeppelin Members Deposed In Stairway To Heaven Legal BattleantiMUSIC.com, February 7th
The two bands shared the bill at several shows in late 1968 and 1969. Led Zeppelin's guitarist, however, testified his memory of the era was vague, according to the filing by plaintiff's lawyer Francis Alexander Malofiy, who conducted the questioning...Read more
Ramble on: Led Zeppelin tribute band Zoso rocks out in CarlislePennLive.com (blog), February 5th
Those names don't evoke visions of the legendary classic rock band Led Zeppelin like the names Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham do. But the foursome – known as Zoso - is about as close as you might get to seeing Led Zeppelin in its prime. Matt Jernigan as ...Read more
Led Zeppelin Teams With BurtonWWD, February 5th
STAIRWAY TO BURTON: It's been almost 40 years since Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and the rest of the gang first got Led Zeppelin together in London, but apparently Jake Burton remains a fan. His snowboard company has unveiled Burton x Led Zeppelin...Read more
Dagenham Roundhouse relaunch prompts Led Zeppelin memoriesBarking and Dagenham Post, February 5th
“It was a Saturday night, the night after the unknown Led Zeppelin had been on a TV show called How Late It Is. “They said this band would be the new Rolling Stones – so me and my friend decided to go and see them. “It was just a spectacular...Read more
Led Zeppelin's Long Stairway to TrialBloomberg, February 4th
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin have said some of their memories of the 1960s are a bit fuzzy. Now they're unable to answer questions about the millions of dollars they made in the 1970s: "These musicians are not accountants," lawyers for the...Read more
Video: Ex-SLAYER Drummer DAVE LOMBARDO Plays LED ZEPPELIN's 'Whole Lotta Love ...BLABBERMOUTH.NET, January 30th
Sick Drummer Magazine has uploaded drum-cam footage of former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo performing the LED ZEPPELIN classic "Whole Lotta Love" at this year's Bonzo Bash on January 22 at M3 Live in Anaheim, California. Check it out below...Read more
Led Zeppelin Attorneys Accused of 'Fishing' for Irrelevant Information in ...Ultimate Classic Rock, January 14th
The courtroom isn't the friendliest environment, especially when one side is suing the other for plagiarism, and tempers definitely seem to be at a low boil in the ongoing lawsuit between Led Zeppelin and Mark Andes, the founding bassist of Spirit...Read more
Led Zeppelin Accused of 'Pure Fishing Expedition' in 'Stairway to Heaven' LawsuitTheWrap, January 13th
As any Led Zeppelin fan knows, the group has long been associated with one legendarily impure fishing expedition. And now they're being accused of engaging in a pure one. In the latest turn in the “Stairway to Heaven” copyright saga, the group was ...Read more