Led Zeppelin's debut album was released on January 12,1969, during their first US tour. The album's blend of blues,
folk and eastern influences with distorted amplification made it one of the pivotal records in the creation of heavy
metal music. However, Plant has commented that it is unfair for people to typecast the band as heavy metal, since about a
third of their music was acoustic.By 1975, the album had grossed $7,000,000.
In their first year, Led Zeppelin managed to complete four US and four UK concert tours, and also released their second
album, entitled Led Zeppelin II. Recorded almost entirely on the road at various North American recording studios, the second
album was an even greater success than the first and reached the number one chart position in the US and the UK. Here the band further
developed ideas established on their debut album, creating a work which became even more widely acclaimed and arguably more
influential. It has been suggested that Led Zeppelin II largely wrote the blueprint for heavy metal bands that followed it.
For the composition of their third album, Led Zeppelin III, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant retired to Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote
cottage in Wales, in 1970. The result was a more acoustic sound (and a song, "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp", misspelt as "Bron-Y-Aur
Stomp" on the album cover), which was strongly influenced by folk and Celtic music, and revealed the band's versatility. The album's
rich acoustic sound initially received mixed reactions, with many critics and fans surprised at the turn taken away from the primarily
electric compositions of the first two albums. Over time, however, its reputation has improved and Led Zeppelin III is now generally
Led Zeppelin's fourth album was released on November 8, 1971. There was no indication of a title or a band name on the
original cover, but on the LP label four symbols were printed. The band took this decision because of their disdain for the music
press, which tended to label them as hyped and overrated. In response, they released the album with no indication of who they were in
order to prove that the music could sell itself.The album is variously referred to as Four Symbols and The Fourth Album (both titles
were used in the Atlantic Records catalogue), and also IV, Untitled, Zoso, Runes, Sticks, Man With Sticks, and Four. It is still officially
untitled and most commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2005, Plant said that it is
simply called The Fourth Album.
Led Zeppelin IV further refined the band's unique formula of combining earthy, acoustic elements with heavy metal and blues emphases.
The album included examples of hard rock, such as "Black Dog" and an acoustic track, "Going to California" (a tribute to Joni Mitchell).
"Rock and Roll" is a tribute to the early rock music of the 1950s. The album is one of the best-selling albums in history and its
massive popularity cemented Led Zeppelin as super stars in the 1970s. To date it has sold 23 million copies in the United States. The
track "Stairway to Heaven", although never released as a single, is sometimes quoted as being the most requested, and most played
album-oriented rock FM radio song. In 2005, the magazine Guitar World held a poll of readers in which "Stairway to Heaven" was voted
as having the greatest guitar solo of all time.
Led Zeppelin's next album, Houses of the Holy, was released in 1973. It featured further experimentation, with longer tracks and
expanded use of synthesisers and mellotron orchestration.</ span> The album topped the charts, and Led Zeppelin's subsequent concert
tour of the United States in 1973 broke records for attendance, as they consistently filled large auditoriums and stadiums.Three sold-out
shows at Madison Square Garden in New York were filmed for a motion picture,
February 24,1975 saw the release of Led Zeppelin's first double album, Physical Graffiti, which was their first release on the Swan Song
Records label. It consisted of fifteen songs, eight of which were recorded at Headley Grange in 1974, and the remainder being tracks
previously recorded but not released on earlier alb ums. A review in Rolling Stone magazine referred to Physical Graffiti as Led
Zeppelin's "bid for artistic respectability," adding that the only competition the band had for the title of 'World's Best Rock Band' were
The Rolling Stones and The Who. The album was a massive fiscal and critical success. By this time, Led Zeppelin were the world's
number one rock band.
September 24,1980, Bonham attended rehearsals at Bray Studios for the upcoming tour of the United States, scheduled to start in
October 1980. Bonham was drinking heavily before and during rehearsals. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the
band went to Page's house — The Old Mill House in Windsor After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed
on his side. At 1:45 pm the next day Benji LeFevre (who had replaced Richard Cole as Led Zeppelin's tour manager) and John Paul Jones
found him dead. Bonham was 32 years old. The cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit, and a verdict of accidental death was
returned at an inquest held October 27,1980.
July 13,1985, Page, Plant and Jones reunited for the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, playing a short set featuring
drummers Tony Thompson and Phil Collins and bassist Paul Martinez.The three members reunited again in May 1988, for the Atlantic
Records 40th Anniversary concert, with Bonham's son, Jason Bonham, on drums.
In 1994, Page and Plant reunited in the form of a 90 minute "UnLedded" MTV project. They later released an album called No Quarter:
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, which featured some reworked Led Zeppelin songs, and embarked on a world tour the
following year. December 10,2007 the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for a one-time benefit concert held in memory of
music executive Ahmet Ertegün, with Jason Bonham playing in place of his late father.
November 29,1999 the RIAA announced that the band were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums.
2003 saw the release of a triple live album, How the West Was Won, and a video collection, Led Zeppelin DVD, both featuring material
from the band's heyday. By the end of the year, the DVD had sold more than 520,000 copies.
January 12,1995, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the U.S. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame In November 2006, Led Zeppelin were inducted
into the UK Music Hall of Fame.Led Zeppelin were ranked #14 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and
the following year the band received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Close to 30 years after disbanding following Bonham's
death in 1980, the band continues to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The
band has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 112 million certified units in the United States and they have had all of their
original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the U.S., with six reachi ng the number one spot. Led Zeppelin are
ranked #1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as "the heaviest
band of all time", "the biggest band of the '70s" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history".
•Led Zeppelin (1969)
•Led Zeppelin II (1969)
•Led Zeppelin III (1970)
•Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
•Houses of the Holy (1973)
•Physical Graffiti (1975)
•In Through the Out Door (1979)
By Robert Harmon