It’s a simple fact of life: when you think classic rock, you think Led Zeppelin. Which is why I am absolutely THRILLED to be able to honor the legends themselves in this edition of Throwback Thursday! Led Zeppelin was Robert Plant (vocals,) Jimmy Page (guitar,) John Paul Jones (bass/keyboard,) and John Bonham (drums.) Formed in 1968, Zeppelin started off with the name “New Yardbirds” before signing with Atlantic Records in 1969 and releasing their self-titled debut album that same year. Heavy touring throughout the United States and Europe saw the band quickly gaining popularity for their diverse range of sounds that combined made a chill-inducing rock sound that was described as “heavy and hard, brutal and direct.” The group made a point to shun television appearances to encourage fans to come see them live, with many of their shows going over four hours long.
In between touring, the band released their sophomore album, aptly named “Led Zeppelin II,” and began gaining a reputation for wild behavior offstage. Rumors ran rampant with tales of motorcycles being driven down hotel hallways, furniture being superglued to ceilings, and, perhaps the most notorious story, sharks (yes, actual SHARKS) being brought into the bedroom with groupies, with the group eventually earning the title of “the biggest band in the world.” After the release of three more albums, Zeppelin took a much-needed break from touring to form “Swan Song Records,” before returning to the road to sell out countless stadiums and once again having the full attention of the music world.
Unfortunately, like many of the greats, tragedy struck on September 25th, 1980, with drummer John Bonham being found dead of accidental asphyxiation in his hotel room. The North American tour that Zeppelin has planned at the time was promptly cancelled, and saw the immediate disbanding of the group, with a statement being released saying:
“We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”
Since the groups breakup, Zeppelin has received countless honors and tributes, and still stands as one of the sole creators of a heavily-blues-influenced hard rock style. Rock on, Zeppelin, we’ll never be able to “quit you!”