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 A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.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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Heart performs Led Zeppelin classics with Heartbreaker TourExaminer.com, June 18th
Besides performing a multitude of Heart classics such as “Heartless”, “What About Love” and “Crazy On You”, they also did a 30-minute set of Led Zeppelin classics with Jason Bonham, son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, on the drums...Read more
Festival Promoter Wants Led Zeppelin and Guns N ' Roses ReunionsantiMUSIC.com, June 18th
(Classic Rock) Download festival promoter Andy Copping hasn't given up hope of a reunited Led Zeppelin or Guns N' Roses headlining a future Donington event. He says: "You can't rule any bands at that level out. Led Zep, the original lineup of Guns N' ...Read more
Photo: Ross HalfinNME.com, June 17th
Download organiser Andy Copping has said that he would love to secure a reunited Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and the original line-up of Guns N' Roses as future headliners. Speaking to NME at the festival, which took place from Friday (June 14) to Sunday ...Read more
AUDIO FILES: Listen to Led Zeppelin, Black SabbathPress-Enterprise (blog), June 16th
His favorite band is Led Zeppelin. I remember listening to his worn out tapes of “Led Zeppelin IV” and “Houses of the Holy” on car trips after my mom would doze off. I thought “Stairway to Heaven” was the coolest thing ever, how it was mellow and then...Read more
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience Comes to KY's Brown Theatre, 8/2Broadway World, June 15th
With the encouragement of Robert Plant, Jason sat-in on drums at the highly anticipated 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion concert in London's O2 Arena. Following that historic event, Bonham created his "Led Zeppelin Experience", a spectacular multi-media...Read more
Smallest room Led Zeppelin ever played: Just 50 peopleWashington Times, June 14th
The Silver Spring gym has been described as the smallest venue Zeppelin played outside Robert Plant's living room. Not only is this venue on Led Zeppelin's official website, the building still stands unchanged today since that memorable evening in '69...Read more
Robe From Led Zeppelin's 1980 Tour Sells for $1000Ultimate Classic Rock, June 13th
A fan has paid more than a grand for a robe that bassist John Paul Jones would have worn on Led Zeppelin's ill-fated 1980 U.S. tour. Drummer John Bonham's death on Sept. 25 that year scuttled the shows and ultimately ended the band. The robe ...Read more
Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones too busy writing an opera for reunionThe Guardian, June 10th
More Led Zeppelin news: John Paul Jones is writing an opera. While Robert Plant has dangled the possibility of reuniting Led Zeppelin next year, the band's bassist revealed that he has his hands full adapting a 105-year-old Swedish play. "2014 is full...Read more