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Led Zeppelin

Formed:
1968

Genres:
Blues Metal

Jimmy Page, fresh from the Yardbirds, wanted to form a hard-rock driven blues band, and enlisted the help of manager Peter Grant to do so. Grant had just helped the Yardbirds achieve success, and didn't want his cash cow to dissolve, so his motivation was to keep his money making machine alive. Page had heard of a drummer from the black country that was supposed to be phenomenal, so he went to listen to him. Soon, he invited insanely loud drummer John Bonham into the group, to supply the driving beat for the new sound. Bonham suggested a buddy of his, Robert Plant, do vocals. Plant had a vibrato and wail that Page instantly liked, and Robert was also a genuinely likeable guy. Page then called master session musician John Paul Jones, who agreed to join his group. The extraordinary Led Zeppelin was formed, although they would first call themselves the Yardbirds II. The first time they performed together was rumoured to have been sensational, and things kept getting better from there. It took less than one week for the band to go into the studio and recorded Zeppelin I, which includes such famous hits as "You Shook Me" and "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You." An album made up of almost entirely blues standards, Led Zep put a whole new spin on American Blues. The next album, Zeppelin II, was another monster hit, and the tune "Whole Lotta Love" became a psychedelic blues metal favorite, with Jimmy Page's screeching guitar noises splashed throughout. The band toured successfully through Great Britian, and then through Europe. They sold out every concert hall they played, but had yet to conquer America. But, on March 27 of 1970, they finally embarked on a massive American tour. Again, their shows were all sellouts, and the band felt the pleasures and pressures of being a high-stakes rock and roll band. After the tour, the band returned to England, and Page and Plant disappeared for a while to Page's cottage, Bron-y-Aur, where they began to write furiously for the next album. It was May of 1970, and the band rehearsed through the rest of the summer. The studio work for the new album was finished by the end of July, and the band again began to tour again, starting in Germany and working their way through Europe, then into North America. In October, Zeppelin III was released, and the album received much criticism. Critics and fans thought it was too soft, and sales noticeably slumped. In spite of this, the album did eventually catch on, and "The Immigrant Song" ended up reaching the top 20. In January of the following year, the band hit the studios again. By the end of February, the band had enough material for an album, and they again immediately embarked on a club tour. Due to poor mixing, the album's release was delayed, and it was October of 1971 before a remixed album was released. There was much controversy surrounding the new album immediately, because of the strange signs on the front cover. The name of the band or title of the album was nowhere to be found. So, to the band's disliking, people refer to the album as Zeppelin IV, Zoso, and the Four Symbols. Whatever the name, the album was and is considered, by many, Zeppelin's best work. Launching countless hits, "Black Dog" and "Stairway to Heaven" were among the tops. This time, their album sold over twenty million copies, and propelled them into god-like status with fans. The band did a short tour through Britian, and finished 1971 by taking a break. By mid-1972, the band was ready to go back into the studio. They began working on their fifth album, and had the studio work finished by June of that year. They quickly embarked on an extensive tour through America, Britian and Europe, and the new album was finally released in April of 1973. Houses of the Holy received mixed reviews from critics (much like the third album), but sold very well, and the hardcore Zeppelin fans loved "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "The Ocean," as well as the rest of the album. They began their biggest American tour ever, complete with their own personal plane to fly them from destination to destination. The party stories from the tour are legendary, and full of debauchery and rudeness that is only appropriate for rock stars. From this tour, the band made the film The Song Remains the Same, which was a documentary about Zeppelin on tour. The band launched their own label, Swan Song, in 1975, and immediately signed up-and-coming rock band Bad Company. Peter Grant, Zeppelin's long-time manager, also managed Bad Co., giving them the edge they needed to become successful, therefore making the Swan Song label that much more prominent in the late 70's music scene. 1975 should have been Zeppelin's best year, but tragedy marred that from the beginning. Fans and cops were fighting at shows (mainly caused by police brutality), and Plant became very sick with the flu, forcing him to either cancel, or to give a less-than-excellent performance, both of which he took very seriously. Physical Graffiti was released while they were still on tour, and featured songs that didn't make the cut for previous albums. A two-album set, many people argue that this is actually the best Zeppelin album in existence. Critics agreed, and the album sold extremely well. The band's popularity was at an all-time high, and they were making more money than ever before. Disaster struck again in August of 1975, though, when Plant was involved in a serious auto accident with his family, and was injured severely in the hip, back, and legs. It would be 6 months before Plant could walk, let alone perform live. So, while Plant was recovering, the band began jamming and writing for their next album. On the last day of 1975, Plant walked without crutches for the first time. It looked as though 1976 would start on an up note. In March of '76, Presence was released, featuring the 11-minute "Achilles Last Stand." While fans loved it, critics didn't, and it sold remarkably less than their last two albums. The band finally released their tour movie, The Song Remains the Same, but critics labeled it a self-indulgent trip that didn't even feature Zeppelin on their best nights. It did better than expected at the box office, however, due to Zep's loyal fan base. With 1977 came an American tour, which was postponed because of Plant's bout with tonsilitis. When the tour finally got going, one month off schedule, it did extremely well, selling out every night. However, the last few nights of the tour were marred by tragedy. One particular night in Oakland, California, manager Grant, Bonham, and a bodybuard beat a security guard unconscious when he wouldn't give Grant's son a sign off one of the dressing room doors. Two days later, much to Robert Plant's distress, his son died from an illness. Zeppelin immediately cancelled their seven remaining tour dates, while Plant went home to be with his family. The rest of the year went by without incidence, while Plant healed from his loss. The world wondered if Zeppelin would continue. It took almost a year, but the band did get together and started rehearsing and writing again. In 1979, the band finally released their long-awaited album, In Through the Out Door. Again, it did very well, and to many, it seemed Led Zeppelin was back on top again. Zeppelin had big plans for upcoming tours through Europe, Britian and America, and they were rehearsing more than ever. Bonham had been experiencing illness recently, though, and wasn't happy about having to leave home to go on tour. One morning, he went to a pub and started drinking. He stumbled home sometime after midnight that night, passed out on the bed, and never woke up. The coroner said that his death was caused from suffocation; He had asphyxiated on his own vomit while sleeping. And that, in one quick wink, was the end of Zeppelin as the world knew them. Page, Plant and Jones would reunite to play together, but they would never be known as Led Zeppelin again.

Band Members:
John Bonham
John Paul Jones
Jimmy Page
Robert Plant

Discography:

In Through the Out Door
Release Date: August 15, 1979
Label: Swan Song
Produced by Jimmy Page

Physical Graffiti
Release Date: , 1975
Label: Swan Song Records
Produced by Jimmy Page

Houses of the Holy
Release Date: , 1973
Label: Atlantic
Produced by Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin 4
Release Date: , 1971
Label: Atlantic
Produced by Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin II
Release Date: , 1970
Label:
Produced by

Led Zeppelin III
Release Date: , 1970
Label:
Produced by

Led Zeppelin
Release Date: January , 1969
Label:
Produced by



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