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Led Zeppelin (lɛd zɛplɪn) were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

After changing their name from the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin signed a deal with Atlantic Records that afforded them considerable artistic freedom. Although the group was initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). Their fourth album, which features the song "Stairway to Heaven", is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to secure the group's popularity.

Page wrote most of Led Zeppelin's music, particularly early in their career, while Plant generally supplied the lyrics. Jones' keyboard-based compositions later became central to the group's catalogue, which featured increasing experimentation. The latter half of their career saw a series of record-breaking tours that earned the group a reputation for excess and debauchery. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, their output and touring schedule were limited during the late 1970s, and the group disbanded following Bonham's death from alcohol-related asphyxia in 1980. In the decades that followed, the surviving members sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off Led Zeppelin reunions. The most successful of these was the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London, with Jason Bonham taking his late father's place behind the drums.

Led Zeppelin are widely considered one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history. They are one of the best-selling music artists in the history of audio recording; various sources estimate the group's record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide. With RIAA-certified sales of 111.5 million units, they are the second-best-selling band in the US. Each of their nine studio albums placed in the top 10 of the Billboard album chart and six reached the number-one spot. They achieved eight consecutive UK number-one albums. Rolling Stone magazine described them as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the Seventies", and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history". They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995; the museum's biography of the band states that they were "as influential" during the 1970s as the Beatles were during the 1960s.

History Edit

Formation Edit

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In 1966, London-based session guitarist Jimmy Page joined the blues-influenced rock band the Yardbirds to replace bassist Paul Samwell-Smith. Page soon switched from bass to lead guitar, creating a dual lead guitar line-up with Jeff Beck. Following Beck's departure in October 1966, the Yardbirds, tired from constant touring and recording, began to wind down.Template:Sfn Page wanted to form a supergroup with him and Beck on guitars, and the Who's Keith Moon and John Entwistle on drums and bass, respectively.Template:Sfn Vocalists Steve Winwood and Steve Marriott were also considered for the project.Template:Sfn The group never formed, although Page, Beck, and Moon did record a song together in 1966, "Beck's Bolero", in a session that also included bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones.Template:Sfn

The Yardbirds played their final gig in July 1968 at Luton College of Technology in Bedfordshire.Template:Sfn They were still committed to several concerts in Scandinavia, so drummer Jim McCarty and vocalist Keith Relf authorised Page and bassist Chris Dreja to use "the Yardbirds" name to fulfill the band's obligations. Page and Dreja began putting a new line-up together. Page's first choice for the lead singer was Terry Reid, but Reid declined the offer and suggested Robert Plant, a singer for the Band of Joy and Hobbstweedle.Template:Sfn Plant eventually accepted the position, recommending former Band of Joy drummer John Bonham.Template:Sfn Jones inquired about the vacant position at the suggestion of his wife after Dreja dropped out of the project to become a photographer.Template:SfnTemplate:Refn Page had known Jones since they were both session musicians and agreed to let him join as the final member.Template:Sfn

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The four played together for the first time in a room below a record store on Gerrard Street in London.Template:Sfn Page suggested that they attempt "Train Kept A-Rollin'", originally a jump blues song popularised in a rockabilly version by Johnny Burnette, which had been covered by the Yardbirds. "As soon as I heard John Bonham play", Jones recalled, "I knew this was going to be great ... We locked together as a team immediately".Template:Sfn Before leaving for Scandinavia, the group took part in a recording session for the P. J. Proby album, Three Week Hero. The album's track "Jim's Blues", with Plant on harmonica, was the first studio track to feature all four future members of Led Zeppelin.Template:Sfn

The band completed the Scandinavian tour as the New Yardbirds, playing together for the first time in front of a live audience at Gladsaxe Teen Clubs in Gladsaxe, Denmark, on 7 September 1968.Template:Sfn Later that month, they began recording their first album, which was based on their live set. The album was recorded and mixed in nine days, and Page covered the costs.Template:Sfn After the album's completion, the band were forced to change their name after Dreja issued a cease and desist letter, stating that Page was allowed to use the New Yardbirds moniker for the Scandinavian dates only.Template:Sfn One account of how the new band's name was chosen held that Moon and Entwistle had suggested that a supergroup with Page and Beck would go down like a "lead balloon", an idiom for disastrous results.Template:Sfn The group dropped the 'a' in lead at the suggestion of their manager, Peter Grant, so that those unfamiliar with the term would not pronounce it "leed".Template:Sfn The word "balloon" was replaced by "zeppelin", a word which, according to music journalist Keith Shadwick, brought "the perfect combination of heavy and light, combustibility and grace" to Page's mind.Template:Sfn

In November 1968, Grant secured a $143,000 advance contract from Atlantic Records, which was then the biggest deal of its kind for a new band.Template:Sfn Atlantic were a label with a catalogue of mainly blues, soul, and jazz artists, but in the late 1960s they began to take an interest in British progressive rock acts. Record executives signed Led Zeppelin without having ever seen them.Template:Sfn Under the terms of their contract, the band had autonomy in deciding when they would release albums and tour, and had the final say over the contents and design of each album. They would also decide how to promote each release and which tracks to release as singles. They formed their own company, Superhype, to handle all publishing rights.Template:Sfn

Early years: 1968–1970 Edit

The band began their first tour of the UK on 4 October 1968, still billed as the New Yardbirds; they played their first show as Led Zeppelin at the University of Surrey in Guildford on 25 October.Template:Sfn Tour manager Richard Cole, who would become a major figure in the touring life of the group, organised their first North American tour at the end of the year.Template:SfnTemplate:Refn Their debut album, Led Zeppelin, was released in the US during the tour on 12 January 1969, and peaked at number 10 on the Billboard chart;Template:Sfn it was released in the UK, where it peaked at number 6, on 31 March.Template:Sfn According to Steve Erlewine, the album's memorable guitar riffs, lumbering rhythms, psychedelic blues, groovy, bluesy shuffles and hints of English folk, made it "a significant turning point in the evolution of hard rock and heavy metal".Template:Sfn

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In their first year, Led Zeppelin completed four US and four UK concert tours, and also released their second album, Led Zeppelin II. Recorded mostly on the road at various North American studios, it was an even greater commercial success than their first album, and reached the number one chart position in the US and the UK.Template:Sfn The album further developed the mostly blues-rock musical style established on their debut release, creating a sound that was "heavy and hard, brutal and direct", and which would be highly influential and frequently imitated.Template:Sfn Steve Waksman has suggested that Led Zeppelin II was "the musical starting point for heavy metal".Template:Sfn

The band saw their albums as indivisible, complete listening experiences, disliking the re-editing of existing tracks for release as singles. Grant maintained an aggressive pro-album stance, particularly in the UK, where there were few radio and TV outlets for rock music. Without the band's consent, however, some songs were released as singles, particularly in the US.Template:Sfn In 1969 an edited version of "Whole Lotta Love", a track from their second album, was released as a single in the US. It reached number four in the Billboard chart in January 1970, selling over one million copies and helping to cement the band's popularity.Template:Sfn The group also increasingly shunned television appearances, citing their preference that their fans hear and see them in live concerts.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn

Following the release of their second album, Led Zeppelin completed several more US tours. They played initially in clubs and ballrooms, and then in larger auditoriums as their popularity grew.Template:Sfn Some early Led Zeppelin concerts lasted more than four hours, with expanded and improvised live versions of their repertoire. Many of these shows have been preserved as bootleg recordings. It was during this period of intensive concert touring that the band developed a reputation for off-stage excess.Template:SfnTemplate:Refn

In 1970, Page and Plant retired to Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, to commence work on their third album, Led Zeppelin III.Template:Sfn The result was a more acoustic style that was strongly influenced by folk and Celtic music, and showcased the band's versatility. The album's rich acoustic sound initially received mixed reactions, with critics and fans surprised at the turn from the primarily electric arrangements of the first two albums, further fuelling the band's hostility to the musical press.Template:Sfn It reached number one in the UK and US charts, but its stay would be the shortest of their first five albums.Template:Sfn The album's opening track, "Immigrant Song", was released as a US single in November 1970 against the band's wishes, reaching the top twenty on the Billboard chart.Template:SfnTemplate:Clear

"The Biggest Band in the World": 1971–1975 Edit

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During the 1970s, Led Zeppelin reached new heights of commercial and critical success that made them one of the most influential groups of the era, eclipsing their earlier achievements.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn The band's image also changed as the members began to wear elaborate, flamboyant clothing, with Page taking the lead on the flamboyant appearance by wearing a glittering moon-and-stars outfit. Led Zeppelin changed their show by utilising things such as lasers, professional light shows and mirror balls.Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin began travelling in a private jet airliner, a Boeing 720 (nicknamed the Starship), rented out entire sections of hotels (including the Continental Hyatt House in Los Angeles, known colloquially as the "Riot House"), and became the subject of frequently repeated stories of debauchery. One involved John Bonham riding a motorcycle through a rented floor of the Riot House,Template:Sfn while another involved the destruction of a room in the Tokyo Hilton, leading to the group being banned from that establishment for life.Template:Sfn Although Led Zeppelin developed a reputation for trashing their hotel suites and throwing television sets out of the windows, some suggest that these tales have been exaggerated. According to music journalist Chris Welch, "[Led Zeppelin's] travels spawned many stories, but it was a myth that [they] were constantly engaged in acts of wanton destruction and lewd behaviour".Template:Sfn

Led Zeppelin released their fourth album on 8 November 1971. In response to the treatment they had received from critics, particularly after Led Zeppelin III, the band decided to release the fourth album with no title, though it is variously referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, Untitled, IV, or, due to the four symbols appearing on the record label, as Four Symbols, Zoso or Runes.Template:Sfn In addition to lacking a title, the original cover featured no band name, as the group wished to be anonymous and to avoid easy pigeonholing by the press.Template:Sfn With 37 million copies sold, Led Zeppelin IV is one of the best-selling albums in history, and its massive popularity cemented Led Zeppelin's status as superstars in the 1970s.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn By 2006, it had sold 23 million copies in the United States alone.Template:Sfn The track "Stairway to Heaven", never released as a single, is sometimes quoted as being the most requestedTemplate:Sfn and most playedTemplate:Sfn album-oriented rock (AOR) FM radio song. The group followed up the album's release with tours of the UK, Australasia, North America, Japan, and the UK again from late 1971 through early 1973.

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Led Zeppelin's next album, Houses of the Holy, was released in March 1973. It featured further experimentation by the band, who expanded their use of synthesisers and mellotron orchestration. The predominantly orange album cover, designed by the London-based design group Hipgnosis, depicts images of nude children climbing the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Although the children are not shown from the front, the cover was controversial at the time of the album's release. As with the band's fourth album, neither their name nor the album title was printed on the sleeve.Template:Sfn

Houses of the Holy topped charts worldwide,Template:Sfn and the band's subsequent concert tour of North America in 1973 broke records for attendance, as they consistently filled large auditoriums and stadiums. At Tampa Stadium in Florida, they played to 56,800 fans, breaking the record set by the Beatles' 1965 Shea Stadium concert and grossing $309,000.Template:Sfn Three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City were filmed for a motion picture, but the theatrical release of this project (The Song Remains the Same) was delayed until 1976. Before the final night's performance, $180,000 of the band's money from gate receipts was stolen from a safe deposit box at the Drake Hotel.Template:Sfn

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In 1974, Led Zeppelin took a break from touring and launched their own record label, Swan Song, named after an unreleased song. The record label's logo, based on a drawing called Evening: Fall of Day (1869) by William Rimmer, features a picture of Apollo.Template:Sfn The logo can be found on Led Zeppelin memorabilia, especially T-shirts. In addition to using Swan Song as a vehicle to promote their own albums, the band expanded the label's roster, signing artists such as Bad Company, the Pretty Things and Maggie Bell.Template:Sfn The label was successful while Led Zeppelin existed, but folded less than three years after they disbanded.Template:Sfn

In 1975, Led Zeppelin's double album Physical Graffiti was their first release on the Swan Song label. It consisted of fifteen songs, of which eight had been recorded at Headley Grange in 1974 and seven had been recorded earlier. A review in Rolling Stone magazine referred to Physical Graffiti as Led Zeppelin's "bid for artistic respectability", adding that the only bands Led Zeppelin had to compete with for the title "The World's Best Rock Band" were the Rolling Stones and the Who.Template:Sfn The album was a massive commercial and critical success. Shortly after the release of Physical Graffiti, all previous Led Zeppelin albums simultaneously re-entered the top-200 album chart,Template:Sfn and the band embarked on another North American tour,Template:Sfn now employing sophisticated sound and lighting systems.Template:Sfn In May 1975, Led Zeppelin played five sold-out nights at the Earls Court Arena in London, at the time the largest arena in Britain.Template:Sfn

Hiatus from touring and return: 1975–1977 Edit

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Following their triumphant Earls Court appearances, Led Zeppelin took a holiday and planned an autumn tour in America, scheduled to open with two outdoor dates in San Francisco.Template:Sfn In August 1975, however, Plant and his wife Maureen were involved in a serious car crash while on holiday in Rhodes, Greece. Plant suffered a broken ankle and Maureen was badly injured; a blood transfusion saved her life.Template:Sfn Unable to tour, he headed to the Channel Island of Jersey to spend August and September recuperating, with Bonham and Page in tow. The band then reconvened in Malibu, California. During this forced hiatus much of the material for their next album, Presence, was written.Template:Sfn

By this time, Led Zeppelin were the world's number one rock attraction,Template:Sfn having outsold most bands of the time, including the Rolling Stones.Template:Sfn Presence, released in March 1976, marked a change in the Led Zeppelin sound towards more straightforward, guitar-based jams, departing from the acoustic ballads and intricate arrangements featured on their previous albums. Though it was a platinum seller, Presence received a mixed reaction among fans and the music press, with some critics suggesting that the band's excesses may have caught up with them.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Page had begun using heroin during recording sessions for the album, a habit which may have affected the band's later live shows and studio recordings, although this has been denied by Page.Template:Sfn

Because of Plant's injuries, Led Zeppelin did not tour in 1976. Instead, the band completed the concert film The Song Remains the Same and the accompanying soundtrack album. The film premiered in New York City on 20 October 1976, but was given a lukewarm reception by critics and fans.Template:Sfn The film was particularly unsuccessful in the UK, where, unwilling to tour since 1975 because of their tax exile status, Led Zeppelin faced an uphill battle to recapture the public's affection.Template:Sfn

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In 1977, Led Zeppelin embarked on another major concert tour of North America. The band set another attendance record, with an audience of 76,229 at their Silverdome concert on 30 April.Template:Sfn It was, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest attendance to that date for a single act show.Template:Sfn Although the tour was financially profitable, it was beset by off-stage problems. On 19 April, over 70 people were arrested as about 1,000 fans tried to gatecrash Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum for two sold-out concerts, while others tried to gain entry by throwing rocks and bottles through glass doors.Template:Sfn On 3 June, a concert at Tampa Stadium was cut short because of a severe thunderstorm, despite tickets indicating "Rain or Shine". A riot broke out, resulting in arrests and injuries.Template:Sfn

After the 23 July show at the Day on the Green festival at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, Bonham and members of Led Zeppelin's support staff were arrested after a member of promoter Bill Graham's staff was badly beaten during the band's performance.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn The following day's second Oakland concert was the group's final live appearance in the United States. Two days later, as they checked in at a French Quarter hotel for their 30 July performance at the Louisiana Superdome, Plant received news that his five-year-old son, Karac, had died from a stomach virus. The rest of the tour was immediately cancelled, prompting widespread speculation about Led Zeppelin's future.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Template:Clear

Bonham's death and break-up: 1978–1980 Edit

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In November 1978, the group recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. The resulting album, In Through the Out Door, featured sonic experimentation that again drew mixed reactions from critics.Template:Sfn Nevertheless, the album reached number one in the UK and the US in just its second week of release. With this album's release, Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue returned to the Billboard Top 200 in the weeks of 27 October and 3 November 1979.Template:Sfn

In August 1979, after two warm-up shows in Copenhagen, Led Zeppelin headlined two concerts at the Knebworth Music Festival, playing to a crowd of approximately 104,000 on the first night.Template:Sfn A brief, low-key European tour was undertaken in June and July 1980, featuring a stripped-down set without the usual lengthy jams and solos. On 27 June, at a show in Nuremberg, Germany, the concert came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the third song, when Bonham collapsed onstage and was rushed to hospital.Template:Sfn Speculation in the press suggested that his collapse had been the result of excessive alcohol and drug use, but the band claimed that he had simply overeaten.Template:Sfn

A North American tour, the band's first since 1977, was scheduled to commence on 17 October 1980. On 24 September, Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios.Template:Sfn During the journey, Bonham asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (between 16 and 24 oz.), with a ham roll. After taking a bite of the ham roll he said to his assistant, "breakfast". He continued to drink heavily after arriving at the studio. The rehearsals were halted late that evening and the band retired to Page's house—the Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. After midnight, Bonham, who had fallen asleep, was taken to bed and placed on his side. At 1:45 pm the next day, Benji LeFevre (Led Zeppelin's new tour manager) and John Paul Jones found Bonham dead. The cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit; the finding was accidental death.[1] An autopsy found no other recreational drugs in Bonham's body. Although he had recently begun to take Motival (a cocktail of the antipsychotic fluphenazine and the tricyclic antidepressant nortriptyline) to combat his anxiety, it is unclear if these substances interacted with the alcohol in his system.[2][3] Bonham's remains were cremated and his ashes interred on 12 October 1980, at Rushock parish church, Worcestershire.

The planned North American tour was cancelled, and despite rumours that Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke, or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband. A 4 December 1980 press statement stated that, "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". The statement was signed simply "Led Zeppelin".Template:Sfn

Post-breakup Edit

1980s Edit

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Following Zeppelin's dissolution, the first significant project for the members was the Honeydrippers, which Plant initially formed in 1981, and which released its only album in 1984. The group featured Page on lead guitar, along with studio musicians and friends of the pair, including Jeff Beck, Paul Shaffer, and Nile Rodgers. Plant focused on a different direction from Zeppelin, playing standards and in a more R&B style, highlighted by a cover of "Sea of Love" that peaked at number three on the Billboard chart in early 1985.Template:Sfn

Coda – a collection of Zeppelin outtakes and unused tracks – was issued in November 1982. It included two tracks from the Royal Albert Hall in 1970, one each from the Led Zeppelin III and Houses of the Holy sessions, and three from the In Through the Out Door sessions. It also featured a 1976 Bonham drum instrumental with electronic effects added by Page, called "Bonzo's Montreux".Template:Sfn

On 13 July 1985, Page, Plant, and Jones reunited for the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, playing a short set featuring drummers Tony Thompson and Phil Collins, and bassist Paul Martinez. Collins had contributed to Plant's first two solo albums while Martinez was a member of Plant's solo band. The performance was marred by a lack of rehearsal with the two drummers, Page's struggles with an out-of-tune guitar, poorly functioning monitors, and Plant's hoarse voice.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Page described the performance as "pretty shambolic",Template:Sfn while Plant characterised it as an "atrocity".Template:Sfn

The three members reunited again on 14 May 1988, for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, with Bonham's son Jason on drums. The result was again disjointed: Plant and Page had argued immediately prior to taking the stage about whether to play "Stairway to Heaven", and Jones' keyboards were absent from the live television feed.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Page described the performance as "one big disappointment" and Plant said "the gig was foul".Template:Sfn

1990s Edit

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The first Led Zeppelin box set, featuring tracks remastered under Page's supervision, was released in 1990 and bolstered the band's reputation, leading to abortive discussions among members about a reunion.Template:Sfn This set included four previously unreleased tracks, including a version of Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues".Template:Sfn The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.Template:Sfn 1992 saw the release of the "Immigrant Song"/"Hey, Hey, What Can I Do" (the original B-side) as a CD single in the US.Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 was released in 1993; the two box sets together contained all known studio recordings, as well as some rare live tracks.Template:Sfn

In 1994, Page and Plant reunited for a 90-minute "UnLedded" MTV project. They later released an album called No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, which featured some reworked Led Zeppelin songs, and embarked on a world tour the following year. This is said to be the beginning of a rift between the band members, as Jones was not even told of the reunion.Template:Sfn

In 1995, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the United States Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Jason and Zoë Bonham also attended, representing their late father.Template:Sfn At the induction ceremony, the band's inner rift became apparent when Jones joked upon accepting his award, "Thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number", causing consternation and awkward looks from Page and Plant.Template:Sfn Afterwards, they played one brief set with Tyler and Perry, with Jason Bonham on drums, and then a second with Neil Young, this time with Michael Lee playing the drums.Template:Sfn

In 1997, Atlantic released a single edit of "Whole Lotta Love" in the US and the UK, the only single the band released in their homeland, where it peaked at number 21.Template:Sfn November 1997 saw the release of Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions, a two-disc set largely recorded in 1969 and 1971.Template:Sfn Page and Plant released another album called Walking into Clarksdale in 1998, featuring all new material, but after disappointing sales the partnership dissolved before a planned Australian tour.Template:Sfn

2000s Edit

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2003 saw the release of the triple live album How the West Was Won, and Led Zeppelin DVD, a six-hour chronological set of live footage that became the best-selling music DVD in history.Template:Sfn In July 2007 Atlantic/Rhino and Warner Home Video announced three new Led Zeppelin titles to be released that November. First was Mothership, a 24-track best-of spanning the band's career, followed by a reissue of the soundtrack The Song Remains the Same, which included previously unreleased material, and a new DVD.Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin also made their catalogue legally available for digital download,Template:Sfn becoming one of the last major rock bands to do so.Template:Sfn

On 10 December 2007, Led Zeppelin reunited for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena in London, with Jason Bonham again taking his late father's place on drums. According to Guinness World Records 2009, Led Zeppelin set the world record for the "Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert" as 20 million requests for the reunion show were rendered online.Template:Sfn Music critics praised the band's performanceTemplate:Sfn and there was widespread speculation about a full reunion.Template:Sfn Page, Jones and Jason Bonham were reported to be willing to tour, and to be working on material for a new Led Zeppelin project.Template:Sfn Plant continued his touring commitments with Alison Krauss,Template:Sfn stating in September 2008 that he would not be recording or touring with the band.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Jones and Page reportedly looked for a replacement for Plant, considering singers including Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, and Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge,Template:Sfn but in January 2009 it was confirmed that the project had been abandoned.Template:Sfn

2010s and beyond Edit

A film of the O2 performance, Celebration Day, premiered on 17 October 2012 and was released on home video on 19 November.Template:Sfn The film grossed $2 million in one night, and the live album peaked at number 4 and 9 in the UK and US, respectively.Template:SfnTemplate:SfnTemplate:Sfn Following the film's premiere, Page revealed that he had been remastering the band's discography.[4] The first wave of albums, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III, were released on 2 June 2014.[5] The second wave of albums, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, were released on 27 October 2014.[6] Physical Graffiti was released on 23 February 2015, almost exactly forty years to the day after the original release.[7] The fourth and final wave of albums, Presence, In Through the Out Door, and Coda, were released on 31 July 2015.[8]

Through this remastering project, each studio album was reissued on CD and vinyl and was also available in a Deluxe Edition, which contained a bonus disc of previously unheard material (Coda's Deluxe Edition would include two bonus discs). Each album was also available in a Super Deluxe Edition Box Set, which included the remastered album and bonus disc on both CD and 180-gram vinyl, a high-definition audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit, a hard bound book filled with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia, and a high quality print of the original album cover.[9]

On 6 November 2015, the Mothership compilation was reissued using the band's newly remastered audio tracks.[10] The reissuing campaign concluded with the re-release of BBC Sessions on 16 September 2016. The reissue contained a bonus disc with nine unreleased BBC recordings, including the heavily bootlegged but never officially released "Sunshine Woman."[11]

Musical style Edit

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Led Zeppelin's music was rooted in the blues.Template:Sfn The influence of American blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Skip James was particularly apparent on their first two albums, as was the distinct country blues style of Howlin' Wolf.Template:Sfn Tracks were structured around the twelve-bar blues on every studio album except for one, and the blues directly and indirectly influenced other songs both musically and lyrically.Template:Sfn The band were also strongly influenced by the music of the British, Celtic, and American folk revivals.Template:Sfn Scottish folk guitarist Bert Jansch helped inspire Page, and from him he adapted open tunings and aggressive strokes into his playing.Template:Sfn The band also drew on a wide variety of genres, including world music,Template:Sfn and elements of early rock and roll, jazz, country, funk, soul, and reggae, particularly on Houses of the Holy and the albums that followed.Template:Sfn

The material on the first two albums was largely constructed out of extended jams of blues standardsTemplate:Sfn and folk songs.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn This method led to the mixing of musical and lyrical elements of different songs and versions, as well as improvised passages, to create new material, but would lead to later accusations of plagiarism and legal disputes over copyright.Template:Sfn Usually the music was developed first, sometimes with improvised lyrics that might then be rewritten for the final version of the song.Template:Sfn From the visit to Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970, the songwriting partnership between Page and Plant became predominant, with Page supplying the music, largely via his acoustic guitar, and Plant emerging as the band's chief lyricist. Jones and Bonham then added to the material, in rehearsal or in the studio, as a song was developed.Template:Sfn In the later stages of the band's career, Page took a back seat in composition and Jones became increasingly important in producing music, often composed on the keyboard. Plant would then add lyrics before Page and Bonham developed their parts.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn

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Early lyrics drew on the band's blues and folk roots, often mixing lyrical fragments from different songs.Template:Sfn Many of the band's songs dealt with themes of romance, unrequited love and sexual conquest, which were common in rock, pop and blues music.Template:Sfn Some of their lyrics, especially those derived from the blues, have been interpreted as misogynistic.Template:Sfn Particularly on Led Zeppelin III, they incorporated elements of mythology and mysticism into their music,Template:Sfn which largely grew out of Plant's interest in legends and history.Template:Sfn These elements were often taken to reflect Page's interest in the occult, which resulted in accusations that the recordings contained subliminal satanic messages, some of which were said to be contained in backmasking; these claims were generally dismissed by the band and music critics.Template:Sfn Susan Fast argues that as Plant emerged as the band's main lyricist, the songs more obviously reflected his alignment with the West Coast counterculture of the 1960s.Template:Sfn In the later part of the band's career Plant's lyrics became more autobiographical, and less optimistic, drawing on his own experiences and circumstances.Template:Sfn

According to musicologist Robert Walser, "Led Zeppelin's sound was marked by speed and power, unusual rhythmic patterns, contrasting terraced dynamics, singer Robert Plant's wailing vocals, and guitarist Jimmy Page's heavily distorted crunch".Template:Sfn These elements mean that they are often cited as one of the progenitors of hard rockTemplate:Sfn and heavy metalTemplate:SfnTemplate:Sfn and they have been described as the "definitive heavy metal band",Template:Sfn although the band members have often eschewed the label.Template:Sfn Part of this reputation depends on the band's use of distorted guitar riffs on songs like "Whole Lotta Love" and "The Wanton Song".Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Often riffs were not doubled by guitar, bass and drums exactly, but instead there were melodic or rhythmic variations;Template:Sfn as in "Black Dog", where three different time signatures are used.Template:Sfn Page's guitar playing incorporated elements of the blues scale with those of eastern music.Template:Sfn Plant's use of high-pitched shrieks has been compared to Janis Joplin's vocal technique.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Bonham's drumming was noted for its power, his rapid rolls and his fast beats on a single bass drum.Template:Sfn Jones' basslines have been described as melodic and his keyboard playing added a classical touch to the band's sound.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn

Page stated that he wanted Led Zeppelin to produce music that had "light and shade". This began to be more clearly realised beginning with Led Zeppelin III, which made greater use of acoustic instruments.Template:Sfn This approach has been seen as exemplified in the fourth album, particularly on "Stairway to Heaven", which begins with acoustic guitar and recorder and ends with drums and heavy electric sounds.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Towards the end of their recording career, they moved to a more mellow and progressive sound, dominated by Jones' keyboard motifs.Template:Sfn They also increasingly made use of various layering and production techniques, including multi-tracking and overdubbed guitar parts.Template:Sfn Their emphasis on the sense of dynamics and ensemble arrangementTemplate:Sfn has been seen as producing an individualistic style that transcends any single music genre.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Ian Peddie argues that they were "... loud, powerful and often heavy, but their music was also humorous, self-reflective and extremely subtle".Template:Sfn

Legacy Edit

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Led Zeppelin are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative, and influential bands in the history of rock music.Template:Sfn Rock critic Mikal Gilmore said, "Led Zeppelin—talented, complex, grasping, beautiful and dangerous—made one of the most enduring bodies of composition and performance in twentieth-century music, despite everything they had to overpower, including themselves".Template:Sfn

Led Zeppelin have influenced hard rock and heavy metal bands such as Deep Purple,Template:Sfn Black Sabbath,Template:Sfn Rush,Template:Sfn Queen,Template:Sfn Aerosmith,[12] the Black Crowes,[13] and MegadethTemplate:Sfn as well as progressive metal bands like ToolTemplate:Sfn and Dream Theater.Template:Sfn They influenced some early punk and post-punk bands, among them the RamonesTemplate:Sfn, Joy Division[14][15] and the Cult.Template:Sfn They were also an important influence on the development of alternative rock, as bands adapted elements from the "Zeppelin sound" of the mid-1970s,Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn including the Smashing Pumpkins,Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn Nirvana,Template:Sfn Pearl Jam,Template:Sfn and Soundgarden.Template:Sfn Bands and artists from diverse genres have acknowledged the influence of Led Zeppelin, such as Madonna,Template:Sfn Shakira,Template:Sfn Lady Gaga,Template:Sfn Kesha,[16] and Katie Melua.Template:Sfn

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Led Zeppelin have been credited with a major impact on the nature of the music business, particularly in the development of album-orientated rock (AOR) and stadium rock.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn In 1988 John Kalodner, then-A&R executive of Geffen Records, remarked that "In my opinion, next to the Beatles they're the most influential band in history. They influence the way music is on records, AOR radio, concerts. They set the standards for the AOR-radio format with 'Stairway to Heaven,' having AOR hits without necessarily having Top 40 hits. They're the ones who did the first real big arena concert shows, consistently selling out and playing stadiums without support. People can do as well as them, but nobody surpasses them".Template:Sfn Andrew Loog Oldham, the former producer and manager of the Rolling Stones, commented on how Led Zeppelin had a major influence on the record business, and the way rock concerts were managed and presented to huge audiences.Template:Sfn

The band have sold over 200 million albums worldwide according to some sources,Template:Sfn while others state that they have sold in excess of 300 million records,Template:Sfn including 111.5 million certified units in the United States. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Led Zeppelin are the second-highest-selling band, the fourth highest selling music act in the US, and one of only three acts to earn five or more Diamond albums.Template:Sfn They achieved eight consecutive number-ones on the UK Albums Chart, a record for most consecutive UK number-one albums shared with ABBA.[17] Led Zeppelin remain one of the most bootlegged artists in the history of rock music.Template:Sfn

Led Zeppelin also made a significant cultural impact. Jim Miller, editor of Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, argues that "on one level, Led Zeppelin represents the final flowering of the sixties' psychedelic ethic, which casts rock as passive sensory involvement".Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin have also been described as "the quintessential purveyors"Template:Sfn of masculine and aggressive "cock rock", although this assertion has been challenged.Template:Sfn The band's fashion-sense has been seminal; Simeon Lipman, head of pop culture at Christie's auction house, has commented that "Led Zeppelin have had a big influence on fashion because the whole aura surrounding them is so cool, and people want a piece of that".Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin laid the foundation for the big hair of 1980s glam metal bands such as Mötley Crüe and Skid Row.Template:Sfn Other musicians have also adapted elements from Led Zeppelin's attitude to clothes, jewellery and hair, such as the hipster flares and tight band T-shirts of Kings of Leon, shaggy hair, clingy T-shirts and bluesman hair of Jack White of the White Stripes, and Kasabian guitarist Sergio Pizzorno's silk scarves, trilbies and side-laced tight jeans.Template:Sfn

Achievements Edit

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Led Zeppelin have collected many honours and awards throughout the course of their career. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995,Template:Sfn and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006.Template:Sfn Among the band's awards are an American Music Award in 2005, and the Polar Music Prize in 2006.Template:Sfn Led Zeppelin were the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005,Template:Sfn and four of their recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.Template:Sfn They have been awarded five Diamond albums, as well as fourteen Multi-Platinum, four Platinum and one Gold album in the United States,Template:Sfn while in the UK they have five Multi-Platinum, six Platinum, one Gold and four Silver albums.Template:Sfn In addition to listing five of their albums among "the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", Rolling Stone named Led Zeppelin the 14th-greatest artist of all time in 2004.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn

In 2005, Page was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his charity work, and in 2009 Plant was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to popular music.Template:Sfn The band are ranked number one on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard RockTemplate:Sfn and Classic RockTemplate:'s "50 best live acts of all time".Template:Sfn They were named as the best Rock band in a poll by BBC Radio 2.[18] They were awarded an Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Contribution to British Music" in 1977,Template:Sfn as well as a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the 42nd Annual Ivor Novello awards ceremony in 1997.Template:Sfn The band were honoured at the 2008 MOJO Awards with the "Best Live Act" prize for their one-off reunion, and were described as the "greatest rock and roll band of all time".Template:Sfn The three surviving members (Page, Plant, and Jones) were named as 2012 recipients of Kennedy Center Honors.Template:Sfn

Discography Edit

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Members Edit

Band members
Live performance guests

See alsoEdit

Notes Edit

  1. Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. Template:ISBN, pp. 92–94.
  2. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-long-shadow-of-led-zeppelin-20060810
  3. John Bonham Biography Template:Webarchive
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References Edit

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Further reading Edit

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External links Edit

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