Led Zeppelin History – April 3

Today in 1974 Led Zeppelin’s new record label, now officially named Swan Song, set up offices in New York and London, and signed Bad Company and Maggie Bell. As Led Zep’s manager Peter Grant revealed in a 1989 interview in Raw magazine: “We first got the idea for Swan Song after Atlantic fucked-up the pressings for Led Zeppelin II. They actually ran off 100,000 copies which jumped all over the place because they didn’t follow Jimmy Page’s precise instructions on how to handle the master tape. So we just decided that it was time for us to take control of our own situation and ensure that Led Zeppelin were presented in the best possible manner. We oversaw every aspect of record manufacture. I would go down to the pressing plant myself and make sure that everything ran smoothly.” So the Swan Song launch came after Zeppelin’s five-year contract with Atlantic Records expired at the end of 1973. Atlantic would continue to distribute the Swan Song product though.

The Swan Song logo design was adopted from an 1896 work by American painter William Rimmer entitled Evening: Fall of Day (currently in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts). Jimmy Page modified the original painting slightly, with both arms raised and some alteration to the wings, for the Led Zeppelin logo. The name of the label came from a long acoustic-guitar instrumental piece Page had been fooling around with during recording sessions. A semi-classical epic with added vocals, it had no name until somebody asked him what it was called. Page replied “Swan Song”.



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