led zeppelin




BIOGRAPHY

BIOG. (1968-1982) >> LED ZEPPELIN I >> LED ZEPPELIN II >> LED ZEPPELIN III >> LED ZEPPELIN UNTITLED >> HOUSES OF THE HOLY >> PHYSICAL GRAFITTI >> PRESENCE >> THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME >> IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR >> CODA >> BIOG. (1982-PRESENT)

BIOG. >> DISCOGRAPHY >> GALLERY >> JOHN BONHAM >> PETER GRANT >> JOHN PAUL JONES >> JIMMY PAGE >> ROBERT PLANT >> MAILING ADDRESSES >> OTHER GALLERIES >> PRICE GUIDE >> SHOP >> SITE MAP


C O N T E N T S


Led Zeppelin (1968-1982)


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In 1972, the band undertook a series of successful dates in Australia and New Zealand - their one and only tour of that region. In the summer of 1972, the group set off on their eighth tour of North America. When they returned to England from the Far East, the band finished off the fifth album and sold out in only four hours a 24-date UK concert tour.


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H O U S E S  O F  T H E  H O L Y


Released: March 28, 1973


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Houses of the Holy came out on 28 March. It hit number one in the US on 12 May, once their US tour had started. For the tour, Grant had chartered a converted Boeing 720B jet called the Starship. Revamped into a 40-seat luxury liner, the Starship boasted a bar, video screens, bedrooms with fake fireplaces, showers, lounge chairs, and an organ. It enabled the camp to set up base at a preferred hotel in one city while commuting daily to concerts in nearby cities. The tour broke records for attendance: 49,236 at the Atlanta Braves stadium (total gate gross of $246,180); 56,800 in Tampa ($309,000); 49,034 at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco ($325,000); in Los Angeles some 36,000 tickets for two gigs at the Forum were snapped up within two hours.

In May 1974, Led Zeppelin launched their own record label called Swan Song. In addition to using it as a vehicle to promote their own albums, the band expanded the label's roster, signing artists such as Bad Company, Pretty Things, Maggie Bell, Detective, Dave Edmunds, Midnight Flyer, Sad Café and Wildlife. At christmas, the label was launched in the UK.


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P H Y S I C A L  G R A F I T T I


Released: February 24, 1975


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The band's first release on the label was Physical Grafitti, with a total of fifteen tracks. It included the epic track originally entitled Driving to Kashmir. Hassles with complicated jacket artwork meeting the group's satisfaction forced the album to be delayed from its originally scheduled July 1974 release until 24 February 1975.

Despite being a double album with a suggested list price of $11.98, Physical Grafitti thundered on to the Billboard LP chart at number three, steamrolling to number one the following week. On 24 March, Swan Song issued a press statement which summed up the current action quite conclusively:

'Led Zeppelin's new album Physical Graffiti is number one in all three music trades, Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World, as well as in England, Australia and several other countries around the world. In an even more extraordinary development, all five previous Led Zeppelin albums all went back on the Billboard charts this week ... No other artist in rock history has ever had six albums on the charts at the same time.

'Furthermore, two weeks is the fastest that any album has ever gone to number one.'

Atlantic revealed that advance shipments of the album were in excess of two million units, making it double platinum prior to release, with a total retail gross sale of more than $ 10 million. Within two months, Physical Graffiti became the biggest album in the group's career to date, aided by another North American tour breaking yet more crowd records. For example, in New York, 120,000 tickets for six shows were all gone in 36 hours.

Early in March, the band announced that it would bring its spectacular American stadium show to Britain (the first Led Zeppelin concerts on home soil in more than two years) for three major shows at London's Earl's Court Arena on 23 to 25 May. There were 100,000 write-in requests for tickets, and a further two concerts were added to satisy the unprecedented demand.

As it turned out, the London homecoming dates were an absolutely stunning success and over the five dates the band played to 85,000 fans. Even the UK press who had hitherto been, at best, lukewarm, raved about the band; and the Observer pondered: 'Led Zeppelin - Bigger than the Beatles?"

In the aftermath of the tide-turning London concerts, the band members took a well-deserved break. While Robert and his wife Maureen and two children along with Jimmy's daughter, Scarlet, were on a mid-summer holiday on the Greek island of Rhodes they had a car crash in which Maureen was driving. Maureen suffered a fractured skull, and a broken leg and pelvis while Plant himself had a fractured elbow and a severely damaged ankle. His two children were also hurt but Scarlet was unharmed.

The injuries resulted in the announcement of the postponement of the North American tour. Despite this absence, the band's popularity zoomed on unabated; a fact best summed up by the band sweeping up seven first prizes and being placed in nine other categories in the annual Melody Maker music poll.


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P R E S E N C E


Released: March 31, 1976


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Their next album, Presence, was recorded in November in Munich, Germany, at the Musicland Studios. Plant was forced to record his vocals from a wheelchair. The band had hoped to have the album in the stores by March, but the usual jacket hassles delayed the release by a month and it finally hit the streets on 6 April. Presence racked up the largest advance orders in British recording history, and thundered onto the UK LP charts at number one. In America, the album was number one in the Billboard charts by its second week. Ultimately, the album didn't sell in the vast quantities of it mega-platinum predecessors.


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T H E  S O N G  R E M A I N S  T H E  S A M E


Released: October 22, 1976


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There would be no live appearances by Zeppelin in 1976 but a full-length concert movie, The Song Remains the Same, was released late in the year, with a 19 October New York world premiere. The concert footage was actually from 1973. It would remain the only official live document of the band until the eventual release of the BBC Sessions in 1997.

A double album of the soundtrack was simultaneously released on Swan Song. It shipped platinum in America and also topped the UK charts by mid-way through November. The film reached number thirteen spot on the Variety top-gross film charts when it was only running in seven theatres in seven cities.

It gathered national momentum when The Song Remains the Same was screened in a further 57 cities and turned out to be a reasonable box office success.

Plant had now recovered from the ankle injury and on 1st April 1977 they embarked on their eleventh North American tour with a show in Dallas. Despite excessive drug use, an over-abundance of heroin in the entourage, and despite the fact that the band hadn't toured for two years, the tour was a great success. It was sold out within days of its announcement. One record breaker was set at the Pontiac, Michigan, where Led Zeppelin set a new world record for the largest paid attendance at a single-artist performance in history, 76,229. Their gross for the evening, $792,361.50, was also a record breaker.

The tour, however, was marred by Peter Grant and members of his security team beating the shit out of a security guard who had shoved Grant's young son, Warren. They were arrested, charged with assault and bailed.

Whilst in New Orleans getting ready for the 80,000 New Orleans Superdome performance which would break their own recently set Pontiac one-act attendance record, Plant took a call from his wife with horrifying news that his five-year-old son Karac, was dead after a violent respiratory virus. Plant flew back to Birmingham with John Bonham, to be with his wife.


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I N  T H R O U G H  T H E  O U T D O O R


Released: August 15, 1979


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Following the death, things naturally ground to a halt for the band. It took until December 1978 for the music tabloids to report the band had been ensconced at the Polar Studios in Stockholm, a facility owned by the Swedish Europop group, Abba. It would be the first time that John Paul Jones would be the primary composer of all but one track (Hot Dog), and his keyboard skills can be heard throughout the album. He also played a much larger production role in the ninth album, In Through the Out Door.

To coincide with the album's August 1979 release date, and to prove that the band were not old superfarts made irrelevant in the face of punk, the band played two dates at Knebworth. 264,000 tickets sold within two days! And the fans were left ecstatic by what they saw. They were the band's final live performances of the 1970s.

Advance promo copies of In Through the Out Door were delivered to radio stations across America on 20 August, and one million were in the nation's record stores a couple of days later. The first five million units were sold in two days, and retail re-orders within five days surged to an additional 700,000 copies. Within seven days In Through the Out Door had become Led Zeppelin's sixth number one album, and its fifth to debut on US charts in the top ten. It held down the number one spot for seven weeks. And their entire back catalogue resurfaced on the Billboard Top 200.

Packaging wise, the album was unusual. It had six slightly different sleeves, variations of a theme within a paper bag.

The band kicked off their first European tour since 1973 (and Zeppelin's first tour since the death of Karac Plant) on 17 June 1980. At the Nuremberg show on 27 June, John Bonham fell off his drum stool and collapsed after the third song, perhaps a warning of what was to come. It was a back to basics tour. The shows up to then had catapulted into a huge extravaganza of lights, mazes, explosions etc.. This was different. It was just four guys delivering incredibly fantastic and entertaining music.

On 5 September 1980, Swan Song announced a US tour for October. Tickets sold like wildfire and expectations were high. But it was not to be. Ten days after the announcement of the North American tour dates, the band members gathered at Jimmy Page's new mansion on the banks of the River Thames near Windsor for rehearsals. On 24 September, Bonham (or Bonzo as the band members called him) was chauffered to Page's. He had reportedly quit doing heroin, but was taking an anti-anxiety medication called Motival. En route, he stopped at a pub and downed four quadruple vodkas.

During the rehearsal, his drinking continued though this was not unusual for Bonham. Around midnight, he passed out on a sofa and was helped to a bedroom by Page's assistant, Rick Hobbs.

Hobbs left Bonham lying on his side, propped up with pillows, and turned out the lights. When Bonzo hadn't appeared by the next afternoon, Robert Plant's assistent, Benji LeFevre, went in to wake him and found him apparently dead. The ambulance was called but John Bonham, aged 32, had died several hours earlier and was far beyond resuscitation.

Weeks later at the coroner's inquest, it emerged that in the 24 hours before he died, John Bonham had drunk forty measures of vodka which resulted in pulmonary edema - waterlogging of the lungs caused by inhalation of vomit. The death was ruled accidental.

The band never really contemplated finding a replacement but it took until 4th December 1980 for the band to announce: 'The loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.'

The band were no more.


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C O D A


Released: November 19, 1982


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The tenth Led Zeppelin album, Coda, a collection of out-takes from previous recording sessions, was released 19 November 1982. It entered the American charts at number four the first week. The platinum-plus project enjoyed a year-long run on the charts.


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Source

Led Zeppelin: From Early Days to Page and Plant - Ritchie Yorke


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LED ZEPPELIN

BIOG. (1968-1982) >> LED ZEPPELIN I >> LED ZEPPELIN II >> LED ZEPPELIN III >> LED ZEPPELIN UNTITLED >> HOUSES OF THE HOLY >> PHYSICAL GRAFITTI >> PRESENCE >> THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME >> IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR >> CODA >> BIOG. (1982-PRESENT)

BIOG. >> DISCOGRAPHY >> GALLERY >> JOHN BONHAM >> PETER GRANT >> JOHN PAUL JONES >> JIMMY PAGE >> ROBERT PLANT >> MAILING ADDRESSES >> OTHER GALLERIES >> PRICE GUIDE >> SHOP >> SITE MAP >> TOP OF PAGE





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