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 A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Led Zeppelin X 4 Lp (ii, Iii, Iv, Houses Of Holy)uk Atlantic Green/orange Ex/vg+First True Pressing Of Original Led Zeppelin I- Tan/ Purple Label Cat#sd 8216Rare Led Zeppelin 1 1969 Purple & Tan Label Atlantic Sd 8216 Sta-681461Led Zeppelin - 1 Lp 1969 Uk Orange/green Atlantic Fully Laminated CoverLed Zeppelin Ii Lp Rl Ss Both Sides Robert Ludwig Hot Mix Sd 8236 MonarchLed Zeppelin ‎- Led Zeppelin Ii Us Lp (double Ludwig)Lot Of 6 Rock/pop Vinyl Records- Doors Led Zeppelin Creedence Clearwater RevivalReel-to-reel Tape Led Zeppelin Iv Atlantic M7208-a Rare 7-1/2 Ips In Box NiceRare Vintage Lp Led Zeppelin Ii Robert Ludwig Hot Mix Rl In Deadwax Both Sides Led Zeppelin Presence 1st A1 B2 Uk Press Lp Mint Time Capsule Copy In ShrinkLot Of 25 Rock-metal-pop 33rpm Lp Warhol- Zeppelin - Beatles - Rolling Stones ++Led Zeppelin Iv (zoso) Rare White Label Promo Lp In Nice ConditionLot Of 25 Rock - Metal - Pop 33rpm Lp Zeppelin - Beatles - Rolling Stones +++Hawkwind The Space Ritual 1st Press Uk Lp Ua Labels Poster-prog (zeppelin,floyd)30 Lp Lot Rock Bob Dylan Led Zeppelin Pink Floyd Blue Oyster Cult John Mayall 22Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin Ii 1969 Uk Press 12" Vinyl Record Album Ex/exLed Zeppelin Ii: Withdrawn 'wreck' Miscredit Uk Plum Atlantic Vinyl, Green SpineLed Zeppelin - 'ii' 1969 Uk Red/maroon Atlantic Lp 588198!Led Zeppelin , Vinyl Lp Record , Re PressingLed Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975 2x Vinyl Ssk 89400 G Condition 1st PressingLed Zeppelin - Iv (1971 Uk Atlantic Green/orange Reiss 1st Press A2/b2) Ex+/ex+Very Rare Led Zeppelin Iii 3 1st Press 'do What Thou Wilt' Grant, Vinyl RecordLed Zeppelin Bbc Broadcasts Tmoq Box Top Records 1984 Orange Vinyl Lp Ex/vg+Led Zeppelin Four Symbols Atlantic P-10125a Japan Obi Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin Original Vinyl Album Led Zeppelin Debut Atlantic Uk Rock Prog PsychLed Zeppelin Ii Original Press Rl Robert Ludwig Ss Hot Mix Sd8236 Cleaned/gradedLed Zeppelin Lp Album Collection 4 TotalLed Zeppelin Starway To Heaven Rare Russian Press LpLed Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti - 12" Vinyl Lp (double Album)Led Zeppelin In Through The Out Door Swan Song P-10726n Japan Obi Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin - Same (first Album) - 12" Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin 1v ( Four Symbols)Lot Of 7 Led Zeppelin (these Are Filler Albums) - NrLed Zeppelin - Acoustically Ep Led Zeppelin - S/t Us Lp (mo)Led Zeppelin 3 1970- Uk Early Press -atlantic Red Plum Lab (a5;b7) - Ex+Classic Rock Lp Lot Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Beatles & More Fast ShippingLed Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy Atlantic P-10107a Japan Obi Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin~1st Album~rare Orig '69 Atlantic Lp~in Shrink~stunningly BeautifulLed Zeppelin I: Ex/ex Early Original 'superhype' Uk Plum Atlantic VinylLed Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin Iii - 12" Vinyl Lp First PressingLed Zeppelin - This Is - EpLed Zeppelin Same Atlantic P-6516a Japan Obi Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin Iv - Four Symbols - Red Plum Label, 1st Press 1971 - ExcellentSealed Led Zeppelin Iii Lp 1971 Japan 1st Pressing P-10106a Ii Record5 Led Zeppelin Vinyl Lp Presence Zoso Iv Houses Holy Song Remains Same Debut LotLed Zeppelin Physical Graffiti Lp AlbumLed Zeppelin - 'ii' 1969 Uk Red/maroon Atlantic Lp 588198!Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin Iii - 12" Vinyl LpLed Zeppelin I 1st Lp 1969 Uk 1st Press Turqouise Stereo AtlanticLed Zeppelin , Iii , Vinyl Lp Record , ReissueLed Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 2-lp 1975 Us Die-cut Cover Complete Club IssueLed Zeppelin - 3 Lp Uk 1970 Orange/green Atlantic Gfld With Rotating WheelLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Iii P6518 Obi Lp Fz8418Led Zeppelin , Vinyl Lp RecordLed Zeppelin Sealed Dbl Vinyl + Dvd Set Live In Texas '78Led Zeppelin Sealed 3 X Vinyl + Dvd Box Set Live Hamilton Coliseum 1981Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin P6516 Obi Lp Ga2360Lp Jimmy Page Outrider Japan Obi Led ZeppelinPromo!!! Led Zeppelin...gallows Pole...7"...33rpm...advanced Cut...radio Copy