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Almost everybody has heard of Led Zeppelin. They might not have heard their music, but they'llknow the name. And probably the name of a certainsong (you know the one). This is because LedZeppelin are singly one of the most influential, groundbreaking, and iconic musical ensembles ofmoderntimes, and have had a lasting impact on the development of Rock, Hard Rock, and Metal (inparticular, drummer John Bonham has been highlyinstrumental in the development of rockdrumming), and their record sales in the US alone number at around 300 milion, placing themsecond inline in popularity only to th ...read more
Almost everybody has heard of Led Zeppelin. They might not have heard their music, but they'llknow the name. And probably the name of a certainsong (you know the one). This is because LedZeppelin are singly one of the most influential, groundbreaking, and iconic musical ensembles ofmoderntimes, and have had a lasting impact on the development of Rock, Hard Rock, and Metal (inparticular, drummer John Bonham has been highlyinstrumental in the development of rockdrumming), and their record sales in the US alone number at around 300 milion, placing themsecond inline in popularity only to the Beatles.
After The Yardbirds (One of the top 5 bands in the world at the time) broke apart in 1968, they hadseveral large touring venue contracts to fulfill. Theburden of completing these contracts fell uponthe shoulders of non-other than guitarist James Patrick Page (better known to the world as Jimmy).Hisoriginal choice for vocalist, Terry Reid, declined the opportunity, but selflessly recommendedthe young Robert Plant. Prospective drummers includedProcol Harum's BJ Wilson, but Plantintroduced Page to his friend John Bonham (who was hastily recruited after five minutes of playing infront of Page).The band's original bassist, Chris Dreja, left shortly after the start of the project andbecame a photographer (he took the photo of the band thatappears on the back cover of the band'sdebut album). He was replaced by John Baldwin (a.k.a John Paul Jones); an acquaintence of Pagefrom theirsession playing days. This was a fortunate cameradery, as Jones was one of the most in-demand session musicians around at the time. The groupmaintained this lineup for the rest of itstwelve year life. The band members where told they would only play together until the touringcontracts hadbeen fulfilled, but as the concerts unfolded, Page and his bandmates began to realisethat they were on to a winning formula, and began playing newsongs at their gigs. When questionedabout Jimmy's new project, then Who drummer Keith Moon was quoted saying that Page's bandwould "Go downlike a Lead Balloon". After hearing the interview, the group jokingly renamedthemselves "Led Zeppelin" (with the deliberate misspelling of "Lead"intended to avoidmispronounciation of the word as "Leed").
Led Zeppelin then rushed into the studio in late 1968 to record their 8 song, self titled debut.(Led Zeppelin I, 1969, Atlantic Records) Becausethey had been playing some of the largestvenues in the world (The ones The Yarbirds would have played) they were immediately skyrocketedintosuper stardom in England with the song "Good Times Bad Times" (released as a single on3/10/69). But Zep didn't really crack the U.S. (the single onlyreached #80 in the US pop charts)until the release of their second album later that year (Led Zeppelin II, 1969, Atlanticrecords) with the single"A Whole Lotta Love" (possibly the band's most regularly played song, itwas released as a single against the group's wishes, with the infamous centralmedley of the albumversion removed).
In their earlier years, the band's music was very heavily blues influenced, with many songs on theirfirst album being covers of popular blues artists.Page and Plant were heavily influenced by suchartists as Willie Dixon and Howlin' Wolf, and The Lemon Song on Volume II is a reworking ofone ofthe latter's most famous tracks (Killing FLoor). There was also some controversy over AWhole Lotta Love, which was found to be almost identicalto an earlier Willie Dixon number, and itwas not until after a court battle that the group grudgingly conceeded to give royalties and a writer'scredit toDixon for the song.
Zeppelin released only one other single; "The Immigrant Song" on Led Zeppelin III of 1970.This third album was greeting fairly badly by critics.The band then released the album that wouldmake them international superstars. After the "failure" of Led Zeppelin III in the previous year, thegroupdecided to leave the album untitled consisting of four stylised symbols sybolic of each of theband members. This album, usually referred to as "LedZeppelin IV", "Fours Symbols", or "Zoso"sported the highest charting song in the world's history, "Stairway to Heaven". After this Zepcreated theirown record label, Swan Song, and went on to become the 2nd most popular and bestselling band in the world. (The Beatles are number one in bothareas).
However, on September 25 1980, John Bonham tragically died by asphyxiation after consuming 49measures of alcohol at Page's house. (shortly beforeembarking on an American tour). Thesurviving members decided that they could no longer play or record as Led Zeppelin. The groupdisbanded inDecember of that year.
There have been a couple of one-off reunions since, most notably the 2007 benefit concert in theLondon O2 Arena, for which Jason Bonham, the lateJohn Bonham's son, took up drumming dutiesfor the band. That was the most recent appearance for the band, and although there has been moretalkof further reunion plans, the Zeppelin has yet to come off the ground again. The surviving threemembers have been involved in other projects inrecent years, Plant collaborating with Americanbluegrass singer Alison Krauss on the 2007 album Raising Sand, and John Paul Jonescurrentlyplaying in the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, also featuring Josh Homme (Kyuss,Queens of the Stone Age) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, FooFighters).
Despite their relatively short tenure, Zeppelin have earned a deeply engrained place in westernculture, and it is likely that their influence on music willremain visible for many years to come. « hide
Similar Bands: The Yardbirds, Robert Plant, Coverdale and Page, Deep Purple
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