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Led Zeppelin

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 certain song (you know the one). This is because LedZeppelin are singly one of the most influential, groundbreaking, and iconic musical ensembles ofmodern times, and have had a lasting impact on the development of Rock, Hard Rock, and Metal (inparticular, drummer John Bonham has been highly instrumental in the development of rockdrumming), and their record sales in the US alone number at around 300 milion, placing themsecond in line in popularity on ...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 certain song (you know the one). This is because LedZeppelin are singly one of the most influential, groundbreaking, and iconic musical ensembles ofmodern times, and have had a lasting impact on the development of Rock, Hard Rock, and Metal (inparticular, drummer John Bonham has been highly instrumental in the development of rockdrumming), and their record sales in the US alone number at around 300 milion, placing themsecond in line 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. The burden of completing these contracts fell uponthe shoulders of non-other than guitarist James Patrick Page (better known to the world as Jimmy).His original choice for vocalist, Terry Reid, declined the opportunity, but selflessly recommendedthe young Robert Plant. Prospective drummers included Procol 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 that appears 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 their session playing days. This was a fortunate cameradery, as Jones was one of the most in-demand session musicians around at the time. The group maintained this lineup for the rest of itstwelve year life. The band members where told they would only play together until the touringcontracts had been fulfilled, but as the concerts unfolded, Page and his bandmates began to realisethat they were on to a winning formula, and began playing new songs at their gigs. When questionedabout Jimmy's new project, then Who drummer Keith Moon was quoted saying that Page's bandwould "Go down like 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) Because they had been playing some of the largestvenues in the world (The ones The Yarbirds would have played) they were immediately skyrocketedinto super 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 only reached #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 central medley 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 of the latter's most famous tracks (Killing FLoor). There was also some controversy over AWhole Lotta Love, which was found to be almost identical to 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 to Dixon 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, thegroup decided to leave the album untitled consisting of four stylised symbols sybolic of each of theband members. This album, usually referred to as "Led Zeppelin IV", "Fours Symbols", or "Zoso"sported the highest charting song in the world's history, "Stairway to Heaven". After this Zepcreated their own 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 both areas).

However, on September 25 1980, John Bonham tragically died by asphyxiation after consuming 49measures of alcohol at Page's house. (shortly before embarking on an American tour). Thesurviving members decided that they could no longer play or record as Led Zeppelin. The groupdisbanded in December 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 late John Bonham's son, took up drumming dutiesfor the band. That was the most recent appearance for the band, and although there has been moretalk of further reunion plans, the Zeppelin has yet to come off the ground again. The surviving threemembers have been involved in other projects in recent years, Plant collaborating with Americanbluegrass singer Alison Krauss on the 2007 album Raising Sand, and John Paul Jonescurrently playing in the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, also featuring Josh Homme (Kyuss,Queens of the Stone Age) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters).

Despite their relatively short tenure, Zeppelin have earned a deeply engrained place in westernculture, and it is likely that their influence on music will remain visible for many years to come. « hide

Similar Bands: The Yardbirds, Atomic Rooster, Coverdale and Page, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Deep Purple

LPs
Coda
1982

3
764 Votes
In Through the Out Door
1979

3.3
1,031 Votes
Presence
1976

3.6
1,103 Votes
Physical Graffiti
1975

4.3
2,058 Votes
Houses of the Holy
1973

4.3
2,281 Votes
Led Zeppelin IV
1971

4.5
3,659 Votes
Led Zeppelin III
1970

4.2
2,382 Votes
Led Zeppelin II
1969

4.4
2,756 Votes
Led Zeppelin
1969

4.3
2,733 Votes
Live Albums
Celebration Day
11/19/2012

4.3
161 Votes
How the West Was Won
2003

4.4
484 Votes
Led Zeppelin [DVD]
2003

4.5
370 Votes
BBC Sessions
1997

4
236 Votes
The Song Remains The Same
1973

3.8
377 Votes
Compilations
Definitive Collection
2008

4.6
34 Votes
Mothership
2007

4.3
356 Votes
Early Days/Latter Days
2002

4.1
215 Votes
Best Of, Vol. 2: Latter Days
2000

3.8
172 Votes
Best Of, Vol. 1: Early Days
1999

4.2
213 Votes
The Complete Studio Recordings
1993

4.2
43 Votes
Led Zeppelin [Box Set 2]
1993

3.9
17 Votes
Led Zeppelin [Box Set]
1990

4.4
47 Votes
Remasters
1990

4.3
144 Votes

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