Led Zeppelin, One of Rock's Greatest Legends

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 29th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/32w7roim/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Music>Rock

A look into the history of one of the greatest bands of all time. From triumph to tragedy, Led Zeppelin is loved by young and old.

Behind the Music: Album Releases, Concerts, Awards & Personal Tragedy

What does the movie "The Devil's Rejects" and Led Zeppelin have in common? Just a little known fact that Terry Reid, whose songs "Seed of Memory, "To Be Treated", and "Brave Awakening" appeared in the movie, and Terry Reid was the original choice for vocalist in the up and coming legendary Led Zeppelin band, still known as "The New Yard Birds" due to commitments that they were still obligated to fulfill.

Terry Reid was admired for his work around England, and often toured with the Rolling Stones. After the "Yard Birds" disbanded Jimmy Page took notice and quickly became interested in the singer with the soulful voice. Not tiring from the music industry he desired a fresh start with a new group that could offer a multitude of talent. He wanted a vocalist with a set of lungs that could reflect folk, blues, rockabilly, funk, pop, and everything in between.

In early 1968, Terry Reid, busy with other obligations suggested to Jimmy Page that he consider a young vocalist from Birmingham by the name of Robert Plant. He felt that he would not be disappointed with the singer's wide vocal range or his desire to perform in such a powerful way, that audience members would instantaneously become mesmerized with his stage presence.

Robert Plant joined Jimmy Pages new band, "The Yard Birds" and offered his own recommendations for what he knew would make the band a huge success, and that would be a great drummer. Robert Plant and John Bonham had performed together in the past, and Plant knew that the drummer had a unique style that was emphasized on the drummers Ludwig set and long heavy sticks.

Unfortunately Jimmy Page had a list of potential drummers and was not easily persuaded by Robert Plant as Page had already heard the drummer in previous sessions. Fortunately, Page eventually took Plant's advice and gave John Bonham a trial run. The rest is history.

While finishing committed obligations, bassist Chris Dreja had decided that he would not be continuing on with Jimmy Page, but instead would fulfill his dream of becoming a photographer. When they departed ways Dreja took with him a photograph that would later appear on the back of Led Zeppelin's debut album.

John Paul Jones, a long time friend to Jimmy Page had often worked on various sessions together, and upon hearing the news that he needed a guitarist, inquired about the position. Jimmy Page happily snapped up the creative guitarist and keyboard player for what would make his new band, "The New Yard Birds" complete.

The New Yard Birds were gaining the attention of fellow musicians like the Who's drummer Keith Moon who made off handed remarks that the group would go down like a "lead zeppelin", which is nothing more than a gas filled buoyant airship. The name had a catchy ring to it, and it obviously struck a chord with the band, but they feared that Americans would pronounce Lead as Leed, so the new Led Zeppelin dropped the "A" in Lead as to leave no doubt when it came to the proper pronunciation. As for Keith Moon's prediction that was merely filled with hot air itself, let's just say that Led Zeppelin's bank account and fan base speak for themselves.

Complete with raw talent and a new name, Led Zeppelin secured a contract with Atlantic Records abroad in the United States in 1968. Early in 1969, Led Zeppelin set out on their first American tour, opening for Vanilla Fudge. Americans loved their flamboyant style and British good looks, and the band quickly climbed to the "Top Ten" spot within two months of touring, ultimately securing their future success as their second album was released while touring in the fall of 1969, also hitting the "Top Ten" billboards.

Six more albums were released by the band throughout the 70's, and although Led Zeppelin IV was released in 1971, record sales are still strong and have sold 23 million copies as of 2006. Record sales are stronger than ever as a new generation of teenagers is discovering that their parent's choice of music is actually cool. To date Led Zeppelin has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide, with sales hitting the 109.5 million mark in the United States alone.

The death of Robert Plant's son in 1977, drug and alcohol abuse from band members, and a series of other catastrophes were taking over the band. Rehearsals were becoming strained, often giving hints as to what was to come all too soon. Without realizing it, Led Zeppelin played what would be their final European tour in 1980.

Rehearsals were continued and future tours were planned until one September evening while rehearsing at Jimmy Page's house in preparation for their American tour, band members discovered John Bonham dead in his bed, following an all-day drinking binge. He had passed out and choked on his own vomit. The band was noticeably shaken by Bonham's death, and quickly realized that they were unable to continue with touring. With heavy hearts and worn out distorted minds Led Zeppelin announced in late 1980 that they were disbanding. Americans mourned the loss, as did the rest of the world.

Album Releases, Tours, Awards & Upcoming Plans

September 14, 1968: The New Yardbirds debut show in Copenhagen, Denmark

October 15, 1968: The band's first British show took place at Surrey University. They performed under their new name of Led Zeppelin

January 12, 1969: release of Led Zeppelin

October 22, 1969: release of Led Zeppelin II

October 05, 1970: release of Led Zeppelin III

November 08, 1971: release of Led Zeppelin IV

March 28, 1973: release of Houses of the Holy

February 24, 1975: release of the double album Physical Graffiti

March 31, 1976: release of Presence

August 15, 1979: release of In Through the Out Door

1981: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck form the Honeydrippers. Sea of Love from their volume one album reaches #3 on the Hot 100 chart in 1984

November 19, 1982: Jimmy Page compiles outtakes and releases Coda

1982: Robert Plant begins a solo career

July 13, 1985: Led Zeppelin reunion with Robert Plant and John Bonham's son Jason on drums during a Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 12, 1995: Led Zeppelin is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the tenth annual induction dinner

1999: John Paul Jones returned to producing and arranging, and released his solo debut Zooma

2005: Led Zeppelin receives the lifetime achievement award.

October 23, 2007: Release of "Raising Sand" by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

November 26, 2007: Americans are cheated out of Led Zeppelin's live concert as the surviving members of Led Zeppelin will reunite across the pond for this one time event for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute show at The O2 Arena in London. Jason Bonham will fill in for his father on drums. Much to the dismay of Zeppelin fans, the Ertegun concert will be a one-time show, ruining the hopes that an American tour could ever be in the works. Promoter Harvey Goldsmith states that the concerts proceeds will go to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund to establish music scholarships for students at institutions in Britain, the United States and Turkey.

2008: The Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C. is scheduled to open in spring and will feature Led Zeppelin-"The Ride", a 150-foot tall looping roller coaster that will feature an onboard audio system belting out the band's hit, "Whole Lotta Love".

**Platinum album certification are given for every 1,000,000 albums sold**

Led Zeppelin went platinum 10 times

Led Zeppelin II went platinum 12 times

Led Zeppelin IV went platinum 23 times

Houses of the Holy went platinum 11 times

Physical Graffiti went platinum 16 times

Popular Led Zeppelin Songs

Stairway to Heaven/Led Zeppelin: The most-played track in radio history was written in an old mansion called Headley Grange in Liphook Road, Headley, Hampshire. Robert Plant wrote 90% of the lyrics in front of the fire.

Misty Mountain Hop/Led Zeppelin IV: The Misty Mountains are in Wales, and are referred to in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of The King. The song is about a "love-in" near London that was broken up by the police.

Kashmir/Physical Graffiti: Originally named Driving to Kashmir, the lyrics were inspired by the long drive from Goulimine to Tan-tan in Southern Morocco.

Dazed and Confused/Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page performed this with The Yardbirds with different lyrics as "I'm Confused." It became one of Led Zeppelin's showcase songs at concerts.

All My Love/In Through the Out Door: Written by Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, many attribute the message within the lyrics to the band drifting apart.

Whole Lotta Love/Led Zeppelin II: Bits and pieces of the song were borrowed form a song called "You Need Loving" by the 60's band Small Faces.

Poor Tom/Coda: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote the lyrics about Tom's wife cheating on him at Bron-y-aur cottage in Wales.

Moby Dick/Led Zeppelin II: John Bonham's showcase song was named Moby Dick because his son asked him to play "The long song." When John asked why, the boy answered, "It's big like Moby."

Immigrant Song/Led Zeppelin III: To get permission to use this song in the movie School of Rock, Jack Black videotaped himself singing in front of a huge crowd of people, begging for Led Zeppelin to let them use the song in the movie. Led Zeppelin meant for this song to be somewhat humorous, but they weren't known as a funny band, so a lot of their fans took it quite literally.

Black Dog/Led Zeppelin IV: The title of the song came from a nameless black dog that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording. It has nothing to do with the song itself.

Behind the Music

Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant is the man on the cover of the Led Zeppelin album "In Through the Out Door."

Based on combined RIAA certifications of all albums, Led Zeppelin ranks third for best selling artists of all time, falling just behind the Beatles and Garth Brooks.

Led Zeppelin has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide

When Physical Graffiti was released in 1975, all five of their previous albums reentered the charts. They were the first band to have 6 albums chart at once.

Led Zeppelin Tragedies

Robert Plant and his wife were injured in a car crash in August 1975 while vacationing in Greece. Plant was down for 18 months, suffering from a broken ankle. Darkness engulfed him through this period.

Robert Plant's son Karac died suddenly in July 1977 from a virus infection. Plant received the news at the end of their U.S. tour.

Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham is found dead in September 1980

An Official statement was released on December 4, 1980 that Led Zeppelin was formally disbanding. The decision came after the realization that they couldn't go on without their mate John Bonham.


Black Dog, Car Crash, Concert, Dazed And Confused, Debut Album, House Of The Holy, Immigrant Song, In Through The Outdoor, Jimmy Page, Jon Bonham, Karac, Kashmir, Live Aid, London, Moby Dick, Physical Graffiti, Robert Plant, Rock Roll Hall Of Fame, Roller Coaster, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Yard Birds

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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