Led Zeppelin History – Aug 27

Today in 1976 Jimmy Page completed the mixing of the album The Song Remains the Same, and began coordinating the distribution of the film with Warner. Recording of film and sound footage had taken place in 1973 during three nights of concerts at Madison Square Garden.


Led Zeppelin History – Aug 26

Today in 1970 a Led Zeppelin concert in Public Hall, Cleveland that was scheduled for 8:30pm was moved up to 5:30pm, so that bassist John Paul Jones could return to England directly after the show (his father died earlier that day). Jones actually left before the encore, and an unidentified female bassist in a Belkin Productions (the concert promoter) t-shirt filled in for him to finish the night.

Setlist: Immigrant Song, I Can’t Quit You Baby, You Shook Me, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s the Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ solo, Moby Dick, Thank You-Whole Lotta Love medley.

Led Zeppelin History – Aug 23

Today and tomorrow in 1975, two Led Zeppelin concerts planned for Oakland Stadium had to be cancelled due to Robert Plant’s car accident in Greece earlier in the month. He smashed his ankle and elbow, and would not fully recover for almost two years. Other events cancelled as a result of his injuries were a Sept 6 appearance at the Rose Bowl and tours of Europe, Japan and a (rumored) full South American tour. Text of the official press release is below:

Swan Song press release…. IMMEDIATE RELEASE / AUGUST 8, 1975


From Danny Goldberg, Swan Song press agent.

The AugustSeptember tour of English supergroup Led Zeppelin has been postponed following an auto accident on the small Greek island of Rhodes in which Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant and members of his family were injured.

The accident took place on Monday afternoon, August 4th. Due to the nature and extent of the injuries sustained by Plant  and  his  family, and the inadequate medical facilities in Rhodes, a member of the London staff of Swan Song, Led Zeppelin’s record company, flew to Rhodes in a chartered jet equipped with stretchers, blood plasma, and two doctors from Harley St., England’s finest medical center.

Plant and his family are currently under intensive care in a London hospital. Earlier today, physicians there diagnosed his injuries as multiple fractures of ankle, bones supporting the foot, and elbow. Following this diagnosis, it was announced by Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and Zeppelin attorney Steve Weiss, that the August-September American tour was postponed, as was the October tour that had been scheduled for the Far East. Additionally, there is the possibility that the scheduled November tour of Europe and December tour of Japan may also have to be postponed.

Within the next couple of weeks, doctors expect to have a better idea of when Plant will be recovered and able to perform again. Plant’s wife, Maureen, also in the car, suffered a lengthy  period of concussions, and has broken her leg in several places. She has four fractures of the pelvis and facial lacerations. Plant’s son, Karac 4, suffered a fractured leg and multiple cuts and bruises. His daughter, Carmen 7, has a broken wrist, cuts and bruises.

The band was due to begin rehearsals for their forthcoming U.S. tour, in Paris on August 14. 110,000 tickets to two shows at the Oakland Stadium were completely sold out at $10 apiece. Among the other concerts which were postponed were those in Los Angeles at the Rose Bowl, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, Tempe Arizona, Denver, and Atlanta.

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…

Led Zeppelin History – Aug 16

Today in 1968 Chris Dreja from The Yardbirds decided not to carry on as bassist in Jimmy Page’s new band The New Yardbirds (later to become Led Zeppelin). Bet he seriously regrets that decision now…

So Page called on John Paul Jones, whom he had known from previous session work. Jones had heard Page was toying with the idea of forming a band, and had expressed interest to Page in being a part of any new project he may form.

Also today, in 1969, Zeppelin appeared at the Convention Hall is Asbury Park, NJ. This prior gig commitment prevented them from performing at Woodstock, which was at this time in its second day of “3 days of peace & music”. A small distance down the boardwalk, Bruce Springsteen’s band Child played the first of two shows at the Student Prince, rendering Springsteen unable to attend Woodstock as well.

Led Zeppelin History – Aug 15

Today in 1979, after a two-year absence from the music scene (due to the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac), Zeppelin returned to the music scene with the release of their eighth studio album In Through The Out Door, so named because Jimmy Page said “That’s the hardest way to get back in”.

It was to be their last studio album as a band. The album was recorded near the end of 1978 at ABBA’s Polar Music studio in Stockholm and is musically dominated by John Paul Jones, who wrote six of the seven tracks. Page took Jones’ ideas and experimented with them to create a somewhat morose but keyboard-saturated album, with “All My Love” and “Fool in the Rain” becoming the most popular radio staples. The album was held back a bit for a release to coincide with the Knebworth shows, but in a rare lapse of marketing strategy the album missed the concert deadline and came out a week after the shows. Not that it made much difference; the album went to #1 in the UK in the first week and #1 in the US in the second week. It also instantly topped the charts in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

The album’s sales were the most remarkable thing, considering the attitude of the music scene by this time. During Zep’s absence from music during the previous two years, punk rock had emerged; a central philosophy of which was its contrary stance to massively popular “stadium” bands like Led Zeppelin, who, it was claimed, were now obsolete in the new era. Bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols dubbed mega bands like Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull “dinosaurs”.

[Note: Over 10 years after the Sex Pistols’ demise, their leader, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), debuted his new live ensemble group, called Public Image Limited (aka PIL). They opened their shows with a stunner: a grand, precise, and sweeping version of “Kashmir”. But that’s a story for another time…]

Nonetheless, In Through The Out Door sold over 2 million copies in the first 10 days of its release and generated massive store traffic in the US, as it was heralded as a savior to the then-lagging record industry here. The sales were so good that it resulted in Zep’s entire catalog (9 albums) climbing back into the Billboard top 200 during the weeks of Oct 27 and Nov 3. This beat the previous record for most albums on the chart, which was set in 1975 by…  Led Zeppelin.

Sleeve Notes:
The jacket was designed by Hipgnosis (best known for their work on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon LP cover), and was originally issued in six different cover variations; each side of each cover variation was a view perspective of each of the six people in the bar scene. The actual bar was in New Orleans, but was rebuilt from photographs on a sound stage at Shepperton film studios in London for the cover shoot. The six cover variations are labeled A through F, and the letter for each is printed in white on the spine, at the far left. Additionally, there is a “wiped” spot of color on the sepia-toned cover photo. This is a reference to the little-known fact that if you wiped the black & white inner sleeve (original issues only) with a damp cloth, it would turn to color.

The original album (and some early reissues) came inserted in a brown paper bag. This was manager Peter Grant’s idea, so that no buyer would know which cover variation he was getting. The printing on the original issue bags is dark purple (almost black), and the printing on the reissue bags is light purple (almost pastel). It also proved that you could stuff a Zeppelin album into a brown paper sack and it would STILL sell…


Album Notes:
By 1979 the music climate was changing, and Zeppelin wanted to be seen as paving new ground and not relying on past achievements. So Page encouraged the band to experiment. This resulted in an unexpected samba rhythm being employed on “Fool in the Rain” and various keyboard tones being used in an extended arrangement on “Carouselambra”. This was a new Led Zeppelin taking shape before the eyes of a fan base blinded by over-familiarity.

Unissued Material:
The recording sessions proved highly productive, with more than one album’s worth of material being generated. It was originally planned to issue two of the outtakes (“Wearing and Tearing” and “Darlene”) as a special single to be sold as a souvenir at the Knebworth shows. But time ran out on that idea and both tracks, plus another outtake titled “Ozone Baby”, later surfaced on the 1982 collection album Coda.

Certified Gold January 7, 1980
Certified Platinum January 7, 1980
Certified Platinum (x6) November 25, 1997

Led Zeppelin History – Aug 14

Today in 1969 Zeppelin played the Austin Municipal Auditorium in Texas. They were supported by a local cover band called Flash, which featured a young guitarist named Chris Geppart (who in 1979 changed his name to Christopher Cross and won five Grammys). According to D. Hankins, a member of Flash at the time, John Paul Jones borrowed their Hammond B3 organ for a rare performance of “Your Time is Gonna Come”, a song Zeppelin only played live a few times, and only on this tour.