Led Zeppelin is a band – and a brand – whose influence is wide and deep. The group introduced a new sound in rock’n’roll that combined the blues, heavy riffs, and Celtic mysticism. The result, as evidenced by their huge success stories, was irresistable to many.
How did this band come to be, and where are they now?
In 1968, after Jimmy Page left The Yardbirds, he began forming a new band by recruiting bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, a well-known session musician in London. Page then added (one might say “discovered”) a relatively unknown singer named Robert Plant. Plant in turn suggested drummer John Bonham, and the lineup of the band was solidified.
The first Led Zeppelin album, which was self-titled, appeared in 1969. It took The Yardbird’s use of blues to another level, making it louder and more overdriven. Robert Plant’s soaring vocals and John Bonhams’ tight, powerful drumming added a tenor that would later be deemed as Heavy Metal, and it is these qualities that later qualified the group as one of the forefathers of that genre. The album also included “Dazed and Confused,” a decidedly demonic sounding song that borrowed from the darkest part of Blues music and took it a step further with distorted, bowed guitar sounds.
The group toured for some time, gaining notoriety as their increasing radio play was steadily backed up by excellent live shows. They began writing Led Zeppelin II, their sophomore album, while still on the road. While it maintained its bluesy rots, the album was more aggressive, filled with power riffs and featuring Bonham’s beefy drum style.
This album was followed by Led Zeppelin III, which turned towards more Celtic, acoustic tones, though cuts like the “Immigrant Song” maintained their more aggressive vein. These three albums were accompanied by aggressive touring, and by the third album, the group was huge around the globe.