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History Formation

6 - 10

Early years (1968–70)

11 - 15

Peak of success (1971–75)

16 - 30

Hiatus from touring and return (1975–77)

31 - 34

Bonham’s death and break-up (1978–80)

35 - 42

Post-breakup events

43 - 50

1980s

51 - 56

1990s

57 - 64

2000s

65 - 70


Memorabilia 71 - 74

Ads

75 - 79

General

80 - 84

Passes

85 - 88

Vintage Swag

89 - 93

45’s / 7� Sleeves

94 - 100

Magazines

101 - 106

Tickets

Discography 107 - 112

Legacy

113 - 117

Awards and accolades

118 - 124

External links

125 - 130

Concert tours

131 - 137

References

138 - 145

Notes


Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in 1968 that consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones. With their heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock, even though the band’s individualistic

Led Zeppelin have sold over 200 million

style drew from many sources and

albums worldwide according to some

transcends any one music genre.

sources, while other sources state sales of

Led Zeppelin did not release songs from

more than 300 million records, including

their albums as singles in the United

111.5 million certified units in the United

Kingdom, as they preferred to develop

States, making them one of the world’s

the concept of album-oriented rock.

best-selling music artists of all time, as well

In 2007, the surviving members of Led

More than 30 years after disbanding

as the second best selling band of all time

Zeppelin reunited (along with John

following Bonham’s death in 1980,

in the United States. They have had all of

Bonham’s son, Jason) for the Ahmet

Led Zeppelin continue to be held in high

their original studio albums reach the top

Ertegün Tribute Concert at The O2

regard for their artistic achievements,

10 of the Billboard album chart in the US,

Arena in London. The band was honoured

commercial success, and broad influence.

with six reaching the number one spot.

with the “Best Live Act” prize for their

The band are widely considered to be

Rolling Stone magazine has described

one-off reunion at MOJO Awards 2008,

one of the most successful, innovative

Led Zeppelin as “the heaviest band of all

where they were declared the “greatest

and influential bands in the history

time”, “the biggest band of the ‘70s” and

rock and roll band of all time.” The

of rock music.

“unquestionably one of the most enduring

discography of the English rock band

bands in rock history”. Similarly, the Rock

Led Zeppelin consists of nine studio albums,

and Roll Hall of Fame described the

three live albums, nine compilation

band in the 1970s as being “as influential

albums, sixteen singles, eight digital songs,

in that decade as The Beatles were

three charted songs and two video

in the prior one”.

albums. Formed in London in 1968, the group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bass player John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band pioneered the concept of album-oriented rock and often refused to release popular songs as singles.

4 / Introduction


Led Zeppelin were one of the most commercially successful and influential groups of the 1970s. The band’s popularity in the early years was dwarfed by their mid-seventies successes and it is this period that continues to define them. The band’s image also changed as members began to wear elaborate, flamboyant clothing. Led Zeppelin began traveling in a private jet airliner (nicknamed The Starship), rented out entire sections of hotels (including the Continental Hyatt House in Los Angeles, known colloquially as the “Riot House”), and became the subject of many of rock’s most repeated stories of debauchery. One escapade involved John Bonham riding a motorcycle through a rented floor of the Riot House, while another involved the destruction of a room in the Tokyo Hilton, leading to the band being banned from that establishment for life.

Although Led Zeppelin developed a reputation for trashing their hotel suites and throwing television sets out of the windows, some suggest that these tales have been somewhat exaggerated. Music journalist Chris Welch argues that “Led Zeppelin’s travels spawned many stories, but it was a myth that they were constantly engaged in acts of wanton destruction and lewd behavior.” Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was released on 8 November 1971. There was no indication of a title or a band name on the original cover, as the band disdained being labelled as “hyped” and “overrated” by the music press, and in response wanted to prove that the music could sell itself by giving no indication of who they were.

18 / Peak of success


20 / Peak of success


In 1966, Jimmy Page joined the blues-influenced rock band The Yardbirds to replace bassist Paul SamwellSmith. Shortly after, Page switched from bass to lead guitar, creating a dual lead-guitar lineup with Jeff Beck. Following the departure of Beck in October 1966, The Yardbirds, who were tired from constant touring and recording, began to wind down. Page wanted to form a supergroup with himself and Beck on guitars, and The Who’s rhythm section—drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle.Vocalists Steve Winwood and Steve Marriott were also considered for the project. The group never formed, although Page, Beck and Moon did record a song together in 1966, “Beck’s Bolero”, which is featured on Beck’s 1968 album, Truth. The recording session also included bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones, who told Page that he would be interested in collaborating with him on future projects. The Yardbirds played their final gig in July 1968 at Luton College of Technology in Bedfordshire, England. They were still committed to performing several concerts in Scandinavia, so drummer Jim McCarty and vocalist Keith Relf authorised Page and bassist Chris Dreja to use the Yardbirds name to fulfill the band’s obligations. Page and Dreja began putting a new line-up together. Page’s first choice for lead singer, Terry Reid, declined the offer, but suggested Robert Plant, a Stourbridge singer for the Band of Joy. Plant eventually accepted the position, recommending drummer John Bonham from nearby Redditch. When Dreja dropped out of the project to become a photographer, John Paul Jones, at the suggestion of his wife, contacted Page about the vacant position.


Following these triumphant Earls Court appearances Led Zeppelin took a holiday and planned a series of outdoor summer concerts in America, scheduled to open with two dates in San Francisco. These plans were thwarted in August 1975 when Robert Plant and his wife Maureen were involved in a serious car crash while on holiday in Rhodes, Greece. Robert suffered a broken ankle and Maureen was badly injured; a blood transfusion saved her life. Unable to tour, Plant headed to the Channel Island of Jersey to spend August and September recuperating, with Bonham and Page in tow. The band then reconvened in Malibu, California. It was during this forced hiatus that much of the material for their next album, Presence, was written. By this time, Led Zeppelin were the world’s number one rock attraction, having outsold most bands of the time, including The Rolling Stones. Presence, released in March 1976, marked a change in the Led Zeppelin sound towards more straightforward, guitar-based jams, departing from the acoustic ballads and intricate arrangements featured on their previous albums. Though it was a platinum seller, Presence received mixed responses from critics and fans and some said the band’s excesses may have caught up with them. The recording of Presence coincided with the beginning of Page’s heroin use, which may have interfered with Led Zeppelin’s later live shows and studio recordings, although Page has denied this. Plant’s injuries prevented Led Zeppelin from touring in 1976. Instead, the band finally completed the concert film The Song Remains the Same, and

Plant and Page perform acoustically in Hamburg in March 1973, just before the release of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album, Houses of the Holy.

the soundtrack album of the film. The recording had taken place during three nights of concerts at Madison Square Garden in July 1973, during the

After a 23 July show at the Days on the Green

band’s concert tour of North America. The film premiered in New York on

festival at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland,

20 October 1976, but was given a lukewarm reception by critics and fans.

California, John Bonham and members of

The film was particularly unsuccessful in the UK, where, after being

the band’s support staff were arrested after a

unwilling to tour since 1975 due to a taxation exile, Led Zeppelin were

member of promoter Bill Graham’s staff was

facing an uphill battle to recapture the public spotlight at home. In 1977,

badly beaten during the band’s performance.

Led Zeppelin embarked on another major concert tour of North America.

The following day’s second Oakland concert

Here the band set another attendance record, with 76,229 people attending

would prove to be the band’s final live

their Pontiac Silverdome concert on 30 April. It was, according to the

appearance in the United States. Two days

Guinness Book of Records, the largest attendance to date for a single act

later, as the band checked in at a French

show. Though the tour was financially profitable it was beset with off-

Quarter hotel for their 30 July performance

stage problems. On 19 April over 70 persons were arrested as about 1,000

at the Louisiana Superdome, news came that

ticketless fans tried to gatecrash Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum for two

Plant’s five year old son, Karac, had died from

sold out festival seating concerts while some tried to gain entry by throwing

a stomach virus.

rocks and bottles through glass entrance doors.

24 / Peak of success


November 1978 saw the group recording again, this time at Polar Studios

The planned North American tour was

in Stockholm, Sweden. The resultant album was In Through the Out Door,

cancelled, and despite rumours that Cozy

which exhibited a degree of sonic experimentation that again drew mixed

Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow,

reactions from critics. Nevertheless, the band still commanded legions of

Simon Kirke or Bev Bevan would join the

loyal fans, and the album easily reached number 1 in the UK and the US

group as his replacement, the remaining

in just its second week on the Billboard album chart. As a result of this

members decided to disband after Bonham’s

album’s release, Led Zeppelin’s entire catalogue made the Billboard Top

death. They issued a press statement on 4

200 between the weeks of 27 October and 3 November 1979.

December 1980 confirming that the band

In August 1979, after two warm-up shows in Copenhagen, Led Zeppelin headlined two concerts at the Knebworth Music Festival, where

would not continue without Bonham. The statement said, “We wish it to be known

crowds of close to 120,000 witnessed the return of the band. Plant was not

that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep

eager to tour full-time again, and even considered leaving Led Zeppelin. He

sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves

was persuaded to stay by Peter Grant. A brief, low-key European tour was

and our manager, have led us to decide that

undertaken in June and July 1980, featuring a stripped-down set without

we could not continue as we were,” and

the usual lengthy jams and solos. At one show on 27 June, in Nuremberg,

was simply signed “Led Zeppelin”. The

Germany, the concert came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the third song

first significant post-Led Zeppelin project

when John Bonham collapsed on stage and was rushed to a hospital. Press

was The Honeydrippers, a band formed in

speculation arose that Bonham’s problem was caused by an excess of alcohol

1981 by Robert Plant and featuring Jimmy

and drugs, but the band claimed that he had simply overeaten, and they

Page on lead guitar, along with an array of

completed the show. On 24 September 1980, John Bonham was picked up

studio musicians and friends of Plant and

by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for

Page, including Jeff Beck, Paul Shaffer, and

an upcoming North American tour, the band’s first since 1977, scheduled to

Nile Rodgers. Plant intentionally chose to

commence on 17 October. During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for

focus the band in a very different direction

breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (450 ml), with a ham

from Led Zeppelin, playing standards and

roll. After taking a bite of the ham roll he said to his assistant, “Breakfast”.

more R&B style, highlighted by their cover

He continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the studio. A halt was

of “Sea of Love”, which peaked at number

called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page’s

3 on the Billboard charts in very early

house—The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor.

1985. In 1982, the surviving members of

After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and

the group released a collection of out-takes

placed on his side. At 1:45 pm the next day Benji LeFevre and John Paul

from various sessions during Led Zeppelin’s

Jones found him dead. The cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit,

career, entitled Coda. It included two tracks

and a verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest held on 27

taken from the band’s performance at the

October. An autopsy found no other drugs in Bonham’s body. Bonham

Royal Albert Hall in 1970, one each from

was cremated on 10 October 1980, and his ashes buried at Rushock parish

the Led Zeppelin III and Houses of the Holy

church in Droitwich, Worcestershire.

sessions, and three from the In Through the Out Door sessions.


Led Zeppelin were one of t he most commercially successful and influential g roups of the 1970s. The band’s popularity in t he early years was dwarfedby their mid-seventies successes and it is this periodthat continues to definethem. The band’s image alsochanged as members began to wear elaborate, fl  amboyant clothing. L ed Zeppelin began traveling i n a private jet airliner,rented out entire sections of hotels, known c olloquially as the “Riot House”, and became the subject of many of rock’s most repeated stories of debauchery.


The band officially declared they were changing their name to Led Zeppelin on 14 October 1968, and played their first show under the new name at the University of Surrey in Guildford on 25 October. This was followed by a US concert debut on 26 December 1968 before moving on to the west coast for dates in cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Led Zeppelin

They played initially in clubs

was released in the USA on 12 January 1969, while the tour

and ballrooms, then in larger auditoriums

was underway. It didn’t appear in their native UK until 31

as their popularity grew. For the composition of

March 1969. The album’s blend of blues, folk and eastern

their third album, Led Zeppelin III, Page and Plant

influences with distorted amplification made it one of the

retired to Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, in

pivotal records in the creation of heavy metal music. Plant

1970. The result was a more acoustic sound which was

has commented that it is unfair for people to typecast the

strongly influenced by folk and Celtic music, and revealed

band as heavy metal, since about a third of their music

the band’s versatility. The album’s rich acoustic sound

was acoustic. On their first album Plant receives no credit

initially received mixed reactions, with many critics and

for his contributions to the songwriting, a result of his

fans surprised at the turn taken away from the primarily

previous association with CBS Records. By 1975, the album

electric compositions of the first two albums. Over time,

had grossed $7,000,000. In their first year, Led Zeppelin

its reputation has improved and Led Zeppelin III is now

managed to complete four US and four UK concert tours,

generally praised. The album’s opening track, “Immigrant

and also released their second album, entitled Led Zeppelin

Song”, was released in November 1970 by Atlantic Records

II. Recorded almost entirely on the road at various North

as a single against the band’s wishes. It included their only

American recording studios, the second album was an

non-album B-side, “Hey Hey What Can I Do”. Even though

even greater success and reached the number one chart

the band saw their albums as indivisible, whole listening

position in the US and the UK. The band further developed

experiences, and their manager, Peter Grant, maintained

ideas established on their debut album, creating a work

an aggressive pro-album stance, some singles were

which became even more widely acclaimed and arguably

released without their consent. The group also increasingly

more influential. It has been suggested that Led Zeppelin

resisted television appearances, enforcing their preference

II largely wrote the blueprint for heavy metal bands that

that their fans hear and see them in live concerts. Led

followed it. Following the album’s release, Led Zeppelin

Zeppelin were one of the most commercially successful and

completed several more tours of the United States.

influential groups of the 1970s.

28 / Peak of success


The band’s popularity in the early years was dwarfed by their mid-seventies successes and it is this period that continues to define them. The band’s image also changed as members began to wear elaborate, flamboyant clothing. Led Zeppelin began traveling in a private jet airliner, rented out entire sections of hotels, and

Music journalist

became the subject of many of rock’s most repeated stories

Chris Welch argues that

of debauchery. One escapade involved John Bonham

“ travels spawned many stories, but

riding a motorcycle through a rented floor of the Riot

it was a myth that were constantly engaged in acts

House, while another involved the destruction of a room

of wanton destruction and lewd behavior.” Led Zeppelin’s

in the Tokyo Hilton, leading to the band being banned

fourth album was released on 8 November 1971. There

from that establishment for life. Although Led Zeppelin

was no indication of a title or a band name on the original

developed a reputation for trashing their hotel suites and

cover, as the band disdained being labelled as “hyped”

throwing television sets out of the windows, some suggest

and “overrated” by the music press, and in response

that these tales have been somewhat exaggerated.

wanted to prove that the music could sell itself by giving no indication of who they were.



Led zeppelin-wen shu huang