Led Zeppelin (circa 1969)

In early 1968 and the year that followed a well-known but young guitarist named Jimmy Page recruited the talent of of three British musicians (John Bonham, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones) to play in his band. Page, who’s most recent commitment, The Yardbirds, had disbanded was set on having this group be known as The New Yardbirds. However, while looking for musicians he decided upon taking the name Led Zeppelin due to a comment made by his friend Keith Moon (the drummer of The Who) who happened to say that any collaboration between Page, Moon, and John Entwhistle (the bassist of The Who) would fly as well as a lead zeppelin. Page’s manager, Peter Grant, who was responsible for much of Led Zeppelin’s success, decided that Americans would only pronounce the word “lead” like “leader” unless they spelled it without the “a” in the word. But in 1969 the band was still touring around Britain with the name The New Yardbirds and gained critical success there with that name. Once the group headed to the States later that same year they were doing so under their new name and their debut album on sale. The group was surprised to see that after a few crowded shows in the U.S. they gained almost overnight popularity and started playing to larger and larger audiences. By the time the group had reached New York that year the band’s chemistry on stage was so immensely powerful that the band they were to open for, Iron Butterfly, flatly refused to play after their set despite the fact that Iron Butterfly was supposed to headline that particular show. Instead Led Zeppelin came out, much to the joy of the crowd, and played another short set. This was only Led Zeppelin’s first year together. True outliers.


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