Led Zeppelin (biography)
Led Zeppelin (biography)
Robert Plant ,
John Paul Jones
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page , singer Robert Plant , bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones , and drummer John Bonham . The band’s heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal , though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music and blues .
After changing their name from the New Yardbirds , Led Zeppelin signed a deal with Atlantic Records that afforded them considerable artistic freedom.
Although the group was initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), their untitled fourth album (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973),and Physical Graffiti (1975). Their fourth album, which features the track ” Stairway to Heaven “, is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to secure the group’s popularity.
Page wrote most of Led Zeppelin’s music, particularly early in their career, while Plant generally supplied the lyrics. Jones’ keyboard-based compositions later became central to the group’s catalogue, which featured increasing experimentation. The latter half of their career saw a series of record-breaking tours that earned the group a reputation for excess and debauchery.
Although they remained commercially and critically successful, their output and touring schedule were limited during the late 1970s, and the group disbanded following Bonham’s death from alcohol-related asphyxia in 1980. In the decades that followed, the surviving members sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off Led Zeppelin reunions. The most successful of these was the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London, with Jason Bonham taking his late father’s place behind the drums.
Formation London-based session guitarist Jimmy Page joined the blues-influenced rock band the Yardbirds to replace bassist Paul Samwell-Smith .
Page soon switched from bass to lead guitar, creating a dual lead guitar line-up with Jeff Beck . Following Beck’s departure in October 1966, the Yardbirds, tired from constant touring and recording, began to wind down. Page wanted to form a supergroup with him and Beck on guitars, and the Who ‘s Keith Moon and John Entwistle on drums and bass, respectively.
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”, in a session that also included bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones .
The Yardbirds played their final gig in July 1968 at Luton College of Technology in Bedfordshire.
They were still committed to 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 the lead singer was Terry Reid , but Reid declined the offer and suggested Robert Plant , a singer for the Band of Joy and Hobbstweedle.Plant eventually accepted the position, recommending former Band of Joy drummer John Bonham .
Jones inquired about the vacant position at the suggestion of his wife after Dreja dropped out of the project to become a photographer.
Page had known Jones since they were both session musicians and agreed to let him join as the final member.
The four played together for the first time in a room below a record store on Gerrard Street in London.
Page suggested that they attempt ” Train Kept A-Rollin’ “, originally a jump blues song popularised in a rockabilly version by Johnny Burnette, which had been covered by the Yardbirds. “As soon as I heard John Bonham play,” Jones recalled, “I knew this was going to be great … We locked together as a team immediately”.
Before leaving for Scandinavia, the group took part in a recording session for the P.J. Proby album, Three Week Hero .
The album’s track “Jim’s Blues”, with Plant on harmonica, was the first studio track to feature all four future members of Led Zeppelin.
The band completed the Scandinavian tour as the New Yardbirds, playing together for the first time in front of a live audience at Gladsaxe Teen Clubs in Gladsaxe,Denmark, on 7 September 1968.
Later that month, they began recording their first album, which was based on their live set. The album was recorded and mixed in nine days, and Page covered the costs.
After the album’s completion, the band were forced to change their name after Dreja issued a cease and desist letter, stating that Page was allowed to use the New Yardbirds moniker for the Scandinavian dates only.
One account of how the new band’s name was chosen held that Moon and Entwistle had suggested that a supergroup with Page and Beck would go down like a “lead balloon”, an idiom for disastrous results.
The group dropped the ‘a’ in lead at the suggestion of their manager, Peter Grant,so that those unfamiliar with the term would not pronounce it “leed”.
The word “balloon” was replaced by ” zeppelin “, a word which, according to music journalist Keith Shadwick, brought “the perfect combination of heavy and light, combustibility and grace” to Page’s mind.