Proud member of The
Ring Of Zeppelin.
We're Gonna Groove
Approximately a quarter of a century ago, four musicians came together to form a musical group which would ultimately change the face of the recording industry for years to come. The four members of this soon-to-be famous band came together, in part, by a shakeup of a popular band called The Yardbirds. When guitarist Jeff Beck left the group, Jimmy Page legally inherited the band's name, and was given the duty of reforming the band. He recruited a vocalist named Robert Plant, a basset/organist named John Paul Jones (known as John Baldwin at the time), and a drummer named John Bonham.
On September 14, 1968 the four musicians played their first concert billed as The New Yardbirds. Page was the best known member of the band having had much public exposer with his work with The Yardbirds. Both Plant and Jones had belonged to a little known group call The Band of Joy. In reference to the newly formed band, The Who band member Keith Moon stated, "...it'll go over like a fucking lead balloon!". With debut of an album approaching, the band takes on a name based on Moon's infamous quote. The "a" in lead becomes dropped for reasons of pronunciations, and "balloon" was changed to a name of a blimp. The result was the immortal name of "Led Zeppelin".
Rock and Roll
In October of the same year, LZ recorded their first album. Self-titled after the band's name, and soon to be known as Led Zeppelin I, the album contained an intricate mixture of deep blues rhythms, intense vocals, along with heavy and intense guitar riffs. Released in January in 1969 the album quickly went to fill a void left from the fallout of the flower-power/psychedelic musical era, and the much mourned deaths of rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Bands such as Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, and Alice Cooper followed LZ's avoidance of mainstream rock music to create a new musical movement which still holds vast popularity to this day. In essence, the album gave birth to a new musical movement. This movement has become commonly known as "heavy metal". Although they are largely acredited for creating this type of music, the members of LZ have disregarded this label for their music.
At Surrey University in England on October 17 of the same year, the group played their first public performance billed as LZ. A year later, the band released their second album: Led Zeppelin II. The first track of the album, Whole Lotta Love, contains what is considered the most recognized guitar rhythm of all time. A year later, LZ released their third album: Led Zeppelin III.
Stairway to Heaven
In November of 1971, the group's fourth album was released. To the dismay of record shops, the album was left untitled and contained absolutely no reference to the band's name. In place of the group's name or an album title, four mysterious symbols appeared on the record's label. Without a proper name, the album has been refereed to as "Untitled", "Four Symbols" due to the markings, simply as "Led Zeppelin IV", or as "ZOSO" because one of the symbols appears to contain these four letters. Their is no current agreement within the music industry about which of these names is the most appropriate for the album. The album introduced the track Stairway To Heaven. Stairway, as it it informally known, is often considered the most popular song of all time, and despite it's awkward length of eight minutes, it is only reviled by Lynrd Skynrd's Freebird as the most requested song for radio play.
In The Light
In 1976, LZ filmed a feature-length film entitled The Song Remains the Same. The film was largely based on fantasy sequences designed by each of the band members. The film also contains live footage from concerts at Madison Square Gardens on July 27, 28, and 29, 1973. A soundtrack for the film was also released.
Other album releases by LZ included Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti, Presence, and In Through The Out Door. Coda, a compilation of unreleased material, was released in November 1982.
Ten Years Gone
On September 1980, tragedy struck the band in the worse of possible fates. Bonham had been found dead. A coroner's report reveled Bonham's death to be accidental by Bonham choking on his own vomit following a heavy drinking binge.
In December, the surviving members ofthe band issued the following statement: "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were. Led Zeppelin."
Dazed and Confused
Despite the band's overwhelming popularity, the group has been tainted by several factors. First, the band has been accused of backwards masking (the recording of backwards speech) on the song Stairway to Heaven. Accusations remain unproven. Secondly, Page has been refereed to as "a Satanist". Page flat out denies the label. The rumor is due in part to Page's purchase of deceased occultist Aleister Crowley's home, and his collecting of occult books and paraphernalia. Thirdly, the band's image is overshadowed by presumed drug use. Jimmy page has been reported to have been addicted to heroin during the early days of LZ, and Robert Plant was once arrested on drug possession charges while on one of LZ's tours. Bonham's death only leads to speculations regarding overabundant drug use within the group.
Rumors of a LZ reunion tour continue to persist. Despite the lack of a reunion tour, several reunion concerts have taken place since the group's dismissal. On July 13, 1985 the three living members performed together during the Live Aid Festival in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, where they performed the rock classics Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven. On May 14, 1988 the surviving members played at Atlantic Record's 40th Anniversary Show, which featured John Bonham's son Jason Bonham on drums. The four played Kashmir, Heartbreaker, Whole Lotta Love, Misty Mountain Hop, and Stairway to Heaven. The group members also have played together at Plant's daughter Carmen Plant's 21st birthday party, and at Jason Bonham's wedding.
The Song Remains the Same
LZ continues to influence and shape the music industry. Many of the group's songs are considered rock anthems; songs which stand out above all others or are considered to be of historical significance or importance. A few of these titles are Dazed and Confused, Immigrant Song, Whole Lotta Love, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, and Kashmir. The legacy of music in which LZ has left behind has been more influental, more far reaching, and more dominate than that of any other single musical performer or group. While the band may not exist in physical form, it's spirit lives on in the form of it's music.