10 Sep Led Zeppelin Biography
From humble beginnings in suburban London late in 1968, the four-man explosive rock band led Zeppelin have stormed on to become, without question, the world’s most popular group in the 70s. Furthermore, the fiery fusion of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer
Robert Plant, bass and keyboards player John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham represents the most financially successful combination in the annals of show business.
The likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis had to work hard to gross a million dollars in a year – the Financial Post (U. K.) reported that Led Zeppelin grossed more than $30-million in 1973.
According to People magazine, Led Zeppelin is “the super group of rock history – selling more LP’s than such countrymen as the Rolling Stones and even outgrossing the Beatles on tour.” Time magazine noted in May 1974: “the British rock supergroup has sold more albums than the Rolling Stones, played to bigger audiences than the Beatles in their heyday, and brought Atlantic Records more than $50-million in business. 1975 brought two further historic feats by the most popular group in rock history; in March, they became the first artists in history to have six albums listed on the Billboard best-selling charts simultaneously. Later in the year, Led Zep zoomed through the Melody Maker popularity poll, slamming home in Britain an unprecedented
seven first-place awards.
Yet Led Zep represent probably the prime pop paradox of our times. Their stupendous success came about against all the conventional rules of rock – they made it without hit singles, without TV exposure, and with virtually no critical praise or approval.
Their success has baffled music industry executives and observers alike. But it certainly has not baffled the vast record-buying and concert-going audience around the world. To this day, Led Zep hold the all-time one act attendance record in the United States (Tampa in 1973 when they drew 56, 800 paying fans). As if to imply absurdity (the Zeppelin airship was described as one of the worst mistakes in the history of aviation), Led Zep have smashed box office records around the globe.
At the same time, Zep have maintained a unique mystique which is unrivalled among their contemporaries, Unlike most rock groups who clamour for media attention and adulation, Zep flourished without it and have traditionally maintained a low profile.
The only member of the media to whom they regularly granted interviews during the first five years of their career was Ritchie Yorke, the author of the just published book, “The Led Zeppelin Biography.” As Phil Carson, European director of Atlantic Records,
observed: “It’s only natural that Ritchie would write this book – he’s the only journalist Zeppelin has continued to talk with through the years.”
Accordingly, “The Led Zeppelin Biography” is a fascinating and personalized account of Zepws flight to the top, written by the only journalist who has been along on most of the rideo It tells the inside story of a rock band which has zealously protected its privacy, and has avoided most of the media glory in which so many rock stars are all too delighted to bask. The book is likely to answer all of the questions which conceivably could be raised by a typical Led Zep fan.
“The Led Zeppelin Biography” does not back away from the steaming controversy surrounding Zep’s successo , Did the band and their manager somehow “conspire” to become the ultimate format hard rock group, as some detractors have alleged? Was their stunning international acceptance the result of a carefully-conceived grand slam plan to fill the vacuum arising from the demise of Cream and Hendrix? Or was their success simply the natural reaction to the outstanding musical creations of four extremely talented young British musicians?
This book traces the evolution of each Zep member from early musical influences up until the present time. Comprehensive coverage is accorded the Yardbirds, a Britishblues band which has been described as the forerummers of Led Zeppelin. Many exclusive pictures serve to focus on the dynamic energy of Zep on the concert stage.
The striking jacket for “The Led Zeppelin Biography” was created by the noted international designer, John Kosh. Now based in Hollywood, London-born Kosh’s album jacket credits include current releases by Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt and Barry White, and earlier titles by such luminaries as the Beatles, Stone, T. Rex and Humble Pie.
“The Led Zeppelin Biography” is being published simultaneously in Canada and the United states, and a Japanese language edition is already in print. The book will undoubtedly serve to underline the phenomenal success of Led Zeppelin in what is one of the most revealing stories in rock ‘n’ roll’s first 20 years. It is bound to be the
most talked-about rock book of the year.