11 Jan 47th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s Groundbreaking Debut
Today marks a massive day in rock history, and a huge day for great friends and musicians Led Zeppelin.
On this day in 1969, Zeppelin released their self-titled debut after changing their name from “The New Yardbirds” after “The Who” drummer Keith Moon predicted their music was likely to “go over like a lead zeppelin”. Produced by Jimmy Page, the album was initially poorly received by critics and only reached number 10 at the Billboard charts despite it’s reputation now as one of the main influences of the hard rock genre. The publications that initially reviewed the album poorly later changed their tune and Led Zeppelin I now sits in numerous “Greatest Albums of All Time” lists compiled by the same media organisations and has gone eight times platinum in the United States alone.
Three journalists immediately saw the bands enormous potential, two British writers for Oz and Punch magazines, as well as emerging Canadian journalist Ritchie Yorke. Ritchie was awestruck by the advance copy he had been sent and published an article titled “Led Zeppelin Climbs Before It’s First LP” in the Toronto Globe and Mail in which he glowingly reviewed the new group and declared the album “the best debut album by a group since the 1967 release of Are You Experienced? by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.”
According to Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, this review marked the first press prediction of the band’s enormous international success, and it is a common belief that the review assisted greatly in changing the critical reviews of the US press.
A notable coincidence is that the albums release coincides with Ritchie’s birthday, the 12th of January. A pretty decent birthday present by anyones regard. Happy birthday Ritchie!
Click here to read Ritchie’s original article, originally published on the 11th January, 1969.