Led Zeppelin History – Aug 20

Today is Robert Plant’s birthday. Today in 1948 the Led Zeppelin lead singer was born in West Bromwich, Staffordshire. He grew up in the town of Kidderminster, where by age fifteen he had quit school in favor of music. Plant joined various bands in the area, such as The New Memphis Bluesbreakers, The Black Snake Moan, The Delta Blues Band and The Crawling King Snakes. In 1966 Plant gathered a group together, named Listen, which recorded a few singles for CBS. That went nowhere though, and Plant soon joined The Band of Joy. By late 1967 he was fronting the group’s most stable line-up, which included John Bonham on drums.

It was around this period that Plant began listening to – and became influenced by – emerging west coast acts like Moby Grape, Love, and Buffalo Springfield. The Band of Joy adopted the loose blues structures and free-form experiments favored by the California bands, a style which would later be evident in Led Zeppelin’s first album. Although The Band of Joy was successful in local area gigs, they failed to secure a record contract and disbanded in the spring of 1968. Shortly thereafter, Plant teamed up with blues legend Alexis Korner for a couple of recording sessions, and they went gigging around the Midlands with a band named Obs-Tweedle.

One day in August of 1968, guitarist Jimmy Page and his manager Peter Grant came to see Obs-Tweedle perform at a teachers training college outside of Birmingham. At the time, Page was all that remained from the recent Yardbirds dissolution, and he was left with the band name and the obligation of fulfilling an upcoming fall tour. After hearing Plant sing, Page asked him to join the band. John Paul Jones had recently joined Page as the band’s bassist. Also in need of a drummer, Plant suggested that Page hire John Bonham. Bonham eventually agreed to join, and they fulfilled the Yardbirds’ previously booked engagements in late September 1968, performing under the name the New Yardbirds. The following month, the group switched their name to Led Zeppelin, recorded their debut album in just under 30 hours, and secured a contract with Atlantic Records in the United States before the year was out. The rest is history…

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