Led Zeppelin (or simply Zep as to what their fans liked to call them) was one of the most renowned English rock bands in the world during the 70s. In 1968, the band was formed with John Bonham as the drummer, John Paul James as the bassist and keyboardist, Jimmy Page as the guitarist and Robert Plant as the singer. Aside from making epic hard rock, folk rock and blues rock music, the band was also recognized as one of the greatest originators of the heavy metal genre. And from then on Led Zeppelin had made history and broke world records in the field of music. Here, we listed more facts that would tell you that the band that sings Stairway To Heaven could be the best one that ever walked the face of the Earth.
The band was meant to make history
Even from the beginning, the four members were meant to make history. Jimmy Page, their guitarist, was a former The Yardbirds member. It was another iconic band but some of its members departed for different reasons. Page tried to come up with another band after The Yardbirds while he was planning to set up a project with some legends in the music world, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, Steve Winwood and John Entwiste from the band The Who. Imagine how insanely high he had set the bar.
Did you know the band has a connection with ABBA?
No one would have thought that there would be a connection with a progressive rock band such as Led Zeppelin with the Swedish pop group ABBA. But there is. Zep was the one involved with the recorded tracks of the ABBA’s album In Through The Out Door. Rumor has it that ABBA members even took Robert Plant to a sex club for some night out after they met on the recording facility at Stockholm.
The band was offered with a much more expensive contract
Each member of the band had their own respective reputations in the world of session musicians. And with that, Atlantic Records offered them with a much more expensive contract than any other bands that time and it was worth $20,000. Here’s a crazy fact, they were offered with a contract without even playing live. The band also mandated full control over their releases and its schedules, publishing rights as well as the promotional materials for their craft.
Jimmy Page and his involvement in dark arts
Prior to being the part of the legendary band, Jimmy Page owned his own occult bookshop as well as publishing house as he was very much interested in dark arts. It was even thought of by some people that the logos on the sleeve of their fourth album were Satanic symbols and that the four were worshipper of the devil.
They were the only band that never released a single
Zep steadfastly refused releasing rehearsals the whole time the band was active. They established the concept of an Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), which inspired the following generations of rock bands as well. Their firm stand to their music did not end there as they also refused iTunes to publish their music for so many years. They said iTunes music service had lesser sound quality and therefore, their music would not sound as good. It was also estimated that the band sold over 300 million records up to date.
The band’s debauchery
The band had been continuously rumored with their partying attitudes. It was reported that they took residency of the Andaz West Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. And it was not just for a room or two; they took the whole six floors to them and their friends to party and orgy with drugs involved. John Bonham, their drummer was also seen riding his motorbike all over the hotel corridors.
9-day album recording
Zep finished recording their first album Good Times Bad Times in just a span of nine days. And this was after a month of being together. While writing the song during their first month together, the band spent another 30 hours for the recording. It was reported that the total cost for that recording was $2,800.
very own reverse echo
Not only did Zep pioneer in heavy metal, they also pioneered some sonic breakthroughs that are now considered as “huge” in the field of music. The reverse echo that Jimmy Page created was heard in their song Whole Lotta Love and it was revolutionary. It was a psychedelic effect applied to an echo that was played backwards. Page was even humble enough to say that he was just trying to twist some nobs on studio and accidentally created the reverse echo
Jimmy Page produced every Zep record there is
It was the pride of the band that they only had Jimmy Page producing all of their music albums. Page made sure that he hired new sound engineers for every album just to make sure that no person on the entire universe could claim and take credit for their music and sound.
Flying with style
In 1973, the band acquired its very own custom-made private plane named Starship. It cost $30,000 to lease the airship, which was also used by the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple and Peter Frampton. The plane had a built-in shower room, bar, video library and built-in keyboard organ
The only appeared once in TV
Zep only made one TV appearance and it was on a French program in 1969. After this, they refused playing on the TV again because they found it very unpleasant when their sound is being manipulated by audio engineers. They basically would not trust anyone that could affect their original sound.
Jimmy Page and his double-necked guitar
Apparently, Jimmy Page found it inefficient just playing one guitar and that is why he adopted a double-necked guitar from Gibson. The Gibson EDS-1275 then was named as the coolest guitar meant for rock during a poll in 2012.
Along with a great love from fans, Zep also received hate from critics who believed the band was only famous because of a lot of publicity. And as a form of protest, Zep released their fourth album unnamed with only symbols printed on it representing each of their names. They believe that their music would speak for themselves. Unnamed, their album was considered an all-time bestseller which got a 23x Platinum record award in the US. And that goes without hitting #1 on the charts. Their Fans referred to the album as ZoSo based on those logos.
Hidden message on their song
Zep was so iconic there was even a myth created about them and their song Stairway to Heaven. According to a televangelist named Paul Croch, a segment in the song has subliminal Satanic message when played backwards. The band just shrugged the issue. They were pretty busy for all those, you know? And besides, the song became the most-requested and most played song in a lot of radio stations when it was not even released as a single.
Lord of the Rings
The four were big fans of the Lord of the Rings and with being the biggest Tolkien nuts that they were, several of their songs were odes referring to Lord of the Ring. These were Ramblin On with references to Mordor and Gollum, The Battle of Evermore and Carouselambra.
They made and broke show records
The Beatles had a very iconic show in the Shea Stadium in Tampa Florida in 1973. They played in front of 56,800 fans. But that record was shattered by Zep when they performed on in front of a crowd of 76,229 in a show in Pontiac, Michigan.
Denied President Bill Clinton’s request
You know a band really has a name if they can turn down the president. In fact, they are probably the band that did that. Clinton convinced Zep to get together once again in 2012 for a charity concert and they refused.
Award from Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth awarded Jimmy Page an Order of the British Empire award in 2005. But that was not clearly for his contributions in music but for his charity work for Brazilian children who are poverty-stricken.
Six records top the billboard all at the same time
When the band released Physical Graffiti in 1975, all of their previous records amazingly topped the Billboard Hot 200 once again. They are the only band in the history of the world to have that kind of appreciation from people.
Zep shirt bought for $10,000
In 2011, a very rare and vintage Zep shirt was auctioned and sold for $10,000. The shirt was from 1979 and was used as a backstage pass during the time the band was making outdoor shows the same year at Knebworth, England.
The band’s secret weapon
John Paul Jones was the bands secret weapon. The guy was not only the bassist and keyboardist but he was also a multi-instrumentalist who contributed a lot of the band’s sound. He can play the organ, violin, guitar, continuum, koto, cello, lap steel guitars, sitar, mandolin, ukulele and the autoharp. He was also the sound behind the triple-layered recorder sound in the song Stairway to Heaven.
Recording in wheels
Robert Plant met a car accident in Greece. And although he was physically in pain, no one could stop him from recording their Presence album in 1976. He was indeed unstoppable and passionate with their music.
John Bonham was born to be a beast
A beast in the drums, Bonham started drumming when he was five and only got his complete kit when he was 15. His basic drum kit would involve a gong and timpani and his sticks were trees, a variety of drumsticks that are the heaviest ones available.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Zep never had a Grammy Award for their music but they won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
12 years and all that achievement
The band lasted for 12 years and although considerably short, they made tremendous achievements, world records and breakthroughs in music like no other band did. They are truly legendary.
The death of John Bonham has led to the disbandment of the Led Zappelin. Bonham died due to fluid accumulation in his lungs. Autopsy found out that he had 40 shots of vodka and he tragically died in his sleep while he inhaled his own vomit. And although they were not expected to retire very early, Led Zeppelin has inspired a lot of young musicians to create their original sound.