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 A withdrawn 45 for “Whole Lotta Love” from “Led Zeppelin II” is also highly prized.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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Enter for a Chance to Win Deluxe Led Zep Prizes in 'Physical Graffiti' GiveawayRollingStone.com, March 4th
"All of us knew that it was a monumental piece of work, just because of the various paths that we'd trodden along to get to this," Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page tells Rolling Stone, talking about the band's 1975 album Physical Graffiti. "It was like a...Read more
Led Zeppelin concert event arrives in movie theaters March 30cleveland.com, March 4th
Robert Plant onstage at the Coliseum in Richfield, April 1977. Led Zeppelin's two-night stand at the Coliseum in Richfield on April 27-28, 1977, has achieved mythic status among diehard fans of of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rock quartet. (Photo...Read more
Cover Alert | White Denim Tackle Led ZeppelinJamBase, March 3rd
White Denim is among an all-star lineup of artists who will appear on MOJO magazine's Led Zeppelin tribute album Physical Graffiti Redrawn, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the landmark double LP. Other artists including Syd Arthur, Laura Marling, ...Read more
KIM THAYIL Says SOUNDGARDEN Resisted Early LED ZEPPELIN ComparisonsBLABBERMOUTH.NET, March 2nd
According to The Pulse Of Radio, SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil said in a new essay which he wrote for Rolling Stone that his band at first resisted early attempts to compare them to acts like LED ZEPPELIN. Thayil explained, "We started getting that...Read more
The Louisville Leopard Percussionists Love Led ZeppelinNPR, March 1st
The Louisville Leopard Percussionists Love Led Zeppelin. March 01, 2015 5:19 PM ET. Audio for this story from All Things Considered will be available at approximately 7:00 p.m. ET. Diane Downs teaches music to the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, ...Read more
Xtina Does Britney, Led Zeppelin on Xylophone and More Viral VideosDaily Beast, March 1st
Led Zeppelin's classic double album Physical Graffiti turned 40 this week. To celebrate, here's a rendition of its signature track—the epic “Kashmir”—as performed by kids with xylophones. The Louisville Leopard Percussionists first posted their cover...Read more
Fans fill the Midland Theatre for Led Zeppelin's musicThe Newark Advocate, February 28th
NEWARK – Fans who miss Led Zeppelin — and others who missed them altogether in their heyday — flocked to the Midland Theatre on Saturday night to hear Philadelphia-based Get the Led Out recreate the songs and sounds of the seminal British band...Read more
Jimmy Page Reflects On 40 Years Of Led Zeppelin's 'Physical Graffiti'NPR (blog), February 25th
Forty years ago this week, Led Zeppelin released the band's monumental sixth album, the double LP Physical Graffiti. It was, as guitarist Jimmy Page himself tells us in this interview, "the mother of all double albums," with some of the band's most...Read more