My next inductee into my Music Hall of Fame is Led Zeppelin. I had a friend, in the early 80’s that had a Pontiac Firebird and loved Led Zeppelin. He had spent more on the sound system than the car and he played their music really loud. It sounded really good, I’m sure they would have been proud.
In 1966 guitarist Jimmy Page joined The Yardbirds playing the bass. Soon he switched to being the second guitar, next to Jeff Beck. When Jeff left in October he became lead guitarist. The Yardbirds broke up in 1968 but had committed to several upcoming concerts. Page asked Terry Reid to be lead singer, who declined but suggested Robert Plant. Robert suggested a former band member of his, John Bonham for drums. John Paul Jones inquired about the bass guitar position and was accepted.
In August of 1968 this foursome played together, for the first time, in a room below a record store on Gerrard Street in London playing “Train Kept A-Rollin'” as their first number. Before leaving for the Scandinavian tour they took part
As soon as I heard John Bonham play, I knew this was going to be great … We locked together as a team immediately.John Paul Jones
in a recording session for P. J. Proby album Three Week Hero. The album’s track “Jim’s Blues” is the first recorded track to include the four members of what would be Led Zeppelin. They played Scandinavia as The New Yardbirds and in September 1968 started recording an album. After a cease and desist letter from former Yardbird member Chris Dreja they had to change their name.
Page had attempted to put together a Supergroup consisting of Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Steve Winwood and/or Steve Marriott (they did record in 1966 called “Beck’s Bolero” in a session including John Paul Jones). Moon and Entwistle had suggested that the supergroup would have went over like a lead balloon.
They used this joke to create the new bands name, with suggestions from new manager Peter Grant, to Led Zeppelin. The album was recorded and mixed in 9 days. Grant secured a $143,000 advance on an Atlantic Records
contract, the biggest deal of it’s kind at the time. they played their first show as Led Zeppelin at the University of Surrey in Battersea on October 25, 1968. Tour manager Richard Cole set up a US tour and the record was released January 12, 1969. It peaked at number 10 in the US and number 6 in the UK.
During 1969, as they toured the United States, they recorded their second album “Led Zeppelin II” which reached number one in the US and UK.
… the musical starting point for heavy metalSteve Waksman – Rock Musicologist (about Led Zeppelin II)
The band felt their albums were complete listening experiences and didn’t believe in the re-editing for singles. Without their consent, “Whole Lotta Love” was released and reached number 4 in the US. They continued touring, the US, playing in clubs, ballrooms and as their popularity grew, larger auditoriums. Some of their shows were. incredibly, 4 hours in length.
In 1970, Page and Plant retired to Bron-Yr-Aur (remote cottage in Wales) and wrote the more acoustic, folk, Celtic album “Led Zeppelin III”. Again, reaching number one in the US and UK and another unauthorized single, “The Immigrant Song” was released in November of 1970.
III has a great cover, designed by Zacron (a British artist) that is a gatefold. The cover and interior is a surreal collection of images on a white background, with a card disc behind that rotates other images, like the band member faces, into cut-outs. Now becoming the biggest band in the world, they would wear elaborate clothing, travel in a Boeing 720 (named Starship) and trashing hotels.
Their next LP is called, well, the four symbols to the left, nicknamed Led Zeppelin IV. Left to right the symbols mean, Page, Jones Bonham and Plant.
Released November 8, 1971 and becoming one of the best selling albums in history. This cements the band as superstars. The song “Stairway to Heaven” (never released as a single) was the most requested song in the 70’s.
As with IV, the next LP, “Houses of the Holy” does not bear their name on the cover, only two nude children (repeated) climbing over rocks, designed by Hipgnosis. The music takes them further along by the use of synthesizers and mellotron orchestration. It tops the charts Worldwide.
Now playing stadiums and breaking, even the Beatles, records for attendance they play three sold out shows in Madison Square Garden for their movie “The Song Remains The Same” which would release in 1976.
In 1974, taking a break from touring, they launch their own record label “Swan Song” signing artists like Bad Company, the Pretty Things and Maggie Bell. In 1975 they released “Physical Graffiti”, a double LP with 15 songs. In May 1975, Led Zeppelin played five sold-out nights at the Earls Court Arena in London, at the time the largest arena in Britain
After that they took a break until 1977 when they set out, once again, touring and breaking attendance records, even a Guinness Book of World Records at the time. In November 1978 they released “In Through the Out Door” sending their entire album catalogue into the top 200 once again.
The album came in a brown paper bag, six different black and white covers that when washed with water would bring out the colors, again by Hipgnosis. Soon after this, in 1980 John Bonham died. Led Zeppelin was no more.
We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep 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
I have always loved all of Led Zeppelin’s music. The movie is a wonderful experience, I would have loved to have seen them live. They are well deserving of this induction to my Music Hall of Fame