Today in 1968 Led Zeppelin (recording under the name The Yardbirds) began recording their debut album at Olympic Studios in London. Sessions were completed in only about 36 hours, for a total cost of £1,782 (about $2,800), which was self-financed.
“It was easy because we had a repertoire of numbers worked out and we just went into the studio and did it. I suppose it was the fact that we were confident and prepared which made things flow smoothly in the studio. And as it happened, we recorded the songs almost exactly as we’d been doing them live. Only ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ was altered, as far as I remember.”
“The group had only been together for two-and-a-half weeks when we recorded it. We’d had fifteen hours of rehearsal before shooting straight over to Scandinavia for a few gigs, then straight after that we cut the album. There was very little double-tracking. We were deliberately aiming at putting down what we could actually reproduce on stage.”
“I wanted to get an ambient sound and I also had this idea for using backwards tape echo, which I suggested before on a Yardbirds track. So I knew it worked! I also wanted there to be a lot of light and shade and a certain dramatic tension. I know that I influenced pretty heavily the content and arrangements but that was only because we didn’t have the time to discuss everything between us. The first album was a real mixture of blues, rock and acoustic music.”