When we hear the world rock and roll, we usually think of a few key things. Think about it for a moment, it’s most likely that you’ll think of such rock staples as the electric guitar, leather jackets and tight jeans and four guys with attitude performing their songs on a stage before a huge crowd of people. When we associate such an image with a band, we might think of groups such as Nirvana or Black Sabbath, but the group that might come the closest to this definition is the legendary four piece known as Led Zeppelin. By far one of the most influential rock acts of all time, Led Zeppelin combined exceptional musicianship with a flair and attitude missing from most other popular rock acts in the late 1960s. This style and musical prowess not only garnered the band millions of fans and total album sales of over one hundred million, but also influenced a whole generation that would come after them.

The legend that is Led Zeppelin all started in the late 1960s in London, England. Around this time, Jimmy Page was a guitar player making his living as a session player for other bands. In 1968, Page finally caught a break when the Yardbirds, a popular British band at the time, offered him the guitarist’s role in the group which was recently vacated by Eric Clapton. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for Page, the Yardbirds fell apart on an American tour soon after he joined the band and he was suddenly left as the sole member of the group. Not about to let the band disintegrate, Page swore to carry on and rebuild the band with new members. Thanks to an advertisement placed in Disc Magazine, Page got in touch with a fellow session player and bassist/keyboardist named John Paul Jones. Shortly after discovering Jones, Page heard about a young blues/rock vocalist from nearby Birmingham, England named Robert Plant. Upon hearing him perform, Page was instantly impressed with Plant’s vocal range and after some discussions; the two realized that they had a good chemistry together which lead to Plant being added to the new Yardbirds. Page rounded out his new lineup with drummer John Bonham whom Plant suggested since the two had previously been friends as well as bandmates.

At first, Page and his new bandmates called themselves The New Yardbirds until Keith Moon, the drummer of another British band The Who accidentally came up with Page’s band’s new name. Upon hearing about Page’s new lineup, Moon famously stated that the new group would “go over like a led zeppelin.” A zeppelin is a term used for a blimp type aircraft and one made out of led would obviously crash and burn. Quite evidently, Moon was way off with his estimation of Page’s new band as verified by the legend that now surrounds Led Zeppelin. The band went onto release eight proper studio records between 1969 and 1980. Zeppelin showed an amazing talent to constantly keep their music fresh, new and original. Their first two records were a mixture of hard rock and blues at their finest, but the band later branched off into new genres by adding folk, reggae and pop influences to their sound. Unfortunately, the group’s legendary run came to an end on September 25th, 1980 when after a day of rehearsals at Page’s home, John Paul Jones discovered drummer John Bonham dead in his bedroom after choking on his vomit from a long night of drinking. The decision to end the band was unanimous among the other three members since they had always agreed that the band could never carry on with one of the members missing.

The influence of Led Zeppelin on today’s hard rock and alternative music is unparalleled. No other band, at least in the mainstream music scene was playing as hard and as fast as Led Zeppelin and some even credit the group with creating hard rock and heavy metal music. Many of today’s biggest rock artists such as Dave Grohl, Tom Morello and Scott Weiland credit Led Zeppelin as being a huge influence on their music and their decisions to start playing music in the first place. If you’ve never picked up a Zeppelin record I suggest you do as it might very well change your life.  [ END ]