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Led Zeppelin

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Here's some stuff on Zeppelin I got from other sites, the pics will be on another page because i have so many.

Led Zeppelin

Left with The Yardbirds name, the support and counsel of Peter Grant, and a head full of ideas, Jimmy Page retreated to his converted Victorian boathouse by the Thames, in Pangbourne, in Berkshire, to think things over.

The news that he was planning to form a new group spread quickly on the musicians' grapevine, and before long he got a call from John Paul Jones. Jones, like Page himself two years earlier, was eager to get away from the session scene. And Page, well acquainted with Jones' talents as an instrumentalist and arranger, was just as eager to have him.

First choices for the positions of vocalist and drummer were Terry Reid, whom Page had admired with Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers, and B.J. Wilson, Procol Harum's drummer.

Both were unavailable, but Reid was able to recommend another young vocalist called Robert Plant, who had recently been down in London looking for a break.

Page and Grant traveled up to Birmingham to see him play at a teacher training college with his band, Hobbstweedle. They were suitably impressed and, after a few days at Pangbourne, Plant was in too.

He in his turn recommended John Bonham, but as Bonham was on tour with Tim Rose, getting hold of this last piece of the jigsaw proved rather difficult. Finally, Plant caught up with him in Oxford and discovered he wasn't the only one after the drummer's services.

John Bonham: Joe Cocker was interested and so was Chris Farlowe, along with Robert and Jimmy. It was baffling. I had so much to consider... When I first got offered the job, I thought The Yardbirds were finished because in England they had been forgotten. Still, I thought "Well, I've got nothing anyway, so anything is really better than nothing". I knew that Jimmy was a good guitarist and Robert was a good vocalist, so even if we didn't have any success it would at least be a pleasure to play in a good group. I already knew what Robert liked and Jimmy told me what he was into, and I decided I liked their music better than either Farlowe's or Cocker's.

Even with Bonham's agreement, however, the problem's weren't over. His home didn't have a telephone, and no fewer than 40 telegrams had to be dispatched from Grant's office before he could be summoned to begin work.

Rehearsals began at Page's London flat, with the group working on a repertoire of new tunes, old blues and R&B numbers, and a couple of songs from The Yardbirds days. "The Train' Kept A 'Rollin'", which has never appeared on a Zeppelin album though often played on stage, was apparently the first song they ever played together.

Things went sensationally right from the word go. Plant recalls: "You just couldn't walk away and forget it. The sound was so great". Which was just as well, because within three weeks of meeting, the group was en route to its first date in Copenhagen, at the start of a 10-day Scandinavian tour.

This tour, and a few early gigs in England, were done as The New Yardbirds to fulfill old contractual obligations. But the group's real name had already been decided.

The precise origin of the Led Zeppelin name has become a cause of slight controversy.

John Entwistle: There were several occasions with The Who when both Keith Moon and myself were going to leave the band. Once when we were in New York, I sat down with Keith and our chauffeur, a guy called Richard Cole, and tried to come up with possible new names for the band we were going to form. That's when I flashed on Led Zeppelin, and I also came up with an idea for a first album jacket with a Zeppelin going down in flames.

Not long afterwards Richard Cole, the chauffer, went to work for Jimmy Page and Peter Grant and he must have told them the idea. But I was definitely the one who thought of it. Later on Keith Moon claimed that he came up with it, which made me very angry. When I heard Jimmy was going to use it, I was a bit pissed off about it, but later on I didn't care that much.

Jimmy Page: Well, I don't know about that at all... to start with, the thing about the cover is completely wrong. We did that quite separately. The other - well, Keith Moon gave us the name. We've always credited him with that. Maybe John Entwistle did think of the name and told it to Keith Moon, in which case I suppose he might have cause to be a bit angry.

Whoever had the original idea, though, it began as Lead Zeppelin, and only got shortened when Peter Grant realized that punters across the Atlantic, might mispronounce it.

Back from Scandinavia, the band went into Olympic Studios at Barnes, South London, to record their debut album. Recorded in 30 hours, it cost a mere 1,782 pounds (including the cover) and by 1975 would gross 3,500,000 pounds.

Jimmy Page: It was easy because we had a repertoire of numbers all worked out and we just went into the studio and did it. I suppose it was the fact that we were confident and prepared which made things flow smoothly in the studio, and - as it happened - we recorded the songs almost exactly as we'd been doing them live. Only "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" was altered, as far as I can remember... it was partly an attitude of "let's get the job done and not mess about having a party in there", but it certainly wasn't a first take effort. We went on until we were happy with each number.

Page was a producer, a task for which he was well prepared by his years of watching Britain's top producers at work. And seven if the nine songs were credited to various members of the group, although Robert Plant's name doesn't appear as a writer because he had a publishing contract elsewhere.

(October 15, 1968 - The world debut of Led Zeppelin at Surrey University.)

While this was going on, Page was still doing occasional sessions, including Al Stewart's "Love Chronicles" and Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends". It was quite important that he did, as he was having to subsidize the others in the early days, but before long the spare time for such extra-mural activities would become very limited indeed.

Between gigs, Peter Grant set off for New York, carrying live tapes, album tapes and the sleeve artwork, with the aim of securing a worldwide deal. He got one. Not with Epic, the subsidiary of Columbia who had rights to The Yardbirds in the States, but with Atlantic.

Dick Asher (Columbia executive): We at Columbia felt that Epic had done a really good job in promoting The Yardbirds... We thought we'd done very well on Jimmy Page. When we heard that The Yardbirds had split up and Jimmy Page had formed Led Zeppelin, we naturally assumed that the rights to Page would go automatically to Columbia, the other three being subject to mutual agreement...

So Grant and Weiss (Zeppelin's attorney) duly arrived in Clive's office (Clive Davis, President of Columbia) and we all sat down. It was Clive's first meeting with Peter Grant and we talked and talked and talked about all sorts of things. It just went on and on but there was no mention of Led Zeppelin. Finally Clive said: "Well, aren't we going to talk about Jimmy Page?" Grant replied "Oh no, we've already signed the Zeppelin to Atlantic". Grant explained that Jimmy Page had never been signed as an individual, only as part of The Yardbirds group.

Clive just went berserk... and I think with some justification. The Yardbirds had been one of his pet projects. We were all stunned - especially after all we had done for the group.

The five year contract which Grant had negotiated with Atlantic included a rumored advance of $200,000. This was the highest ever paid to a new group, and a quite astonishing sum, considering the record company had never seen them.

Perhaps more important, however, was the unprecedented degree of independence that Grant won for his charges. Having set up production and publishing companies a few weeks previously, they were now responsible for every creative aspect of their career, from record production right through to publicity pictures.

When the rest of the music business found out about it, it started a small revolution in company/artist relations.

Jimmy Page: You can develop a tremendous insecurity if your management isn't totally reliable. I know that money is a dirty word is this business, but the fact remains that if you have success, you're going to have royalties coming in. Many groups who have been working for years and years end up with nothing because they've been screwed all the way down the line. That sort of thing is heartbreaking. We're very lucky in that respect because we've got Peter Grant, who is like a fifth member of the group.

Peter Grant: Before we got the LP, we couldn't get work here in Britain. It seemed to be a laugh to people that we were getting the group together and working the way we were. I don't want to name the people who put us down and thought we were wasting our time, but there were plenty of them.

Jimmy Page: It was just a joke in England. We really had a bad time. They just wouldn't accept anything new. It had to be The New Yardbirds, not Led Zeppelin. We were given a chance in America.

(December 26, 1968 - Led Zeppelin's US debut in Denver, Colorado.)

John Paul Jones: We played for hours (at the Boston Tea Party), and we only had an hour and a half act, so if anyone knew more than four bars of any tune, we would go into it. We did old Beatles numbers and Chuck Berry numbers. It was the greatest night. We knew that we had definitely done it by then.

Zeppelin's first American tour, arranged by Premier Talent, the top rock agency in the States at that time, was carefully planned to make maximum impact.

From touring with The Yardbirds, The Animals and others, Peter Grant knew which cities and which gigs would be most helpful in breaking the band. Special emphasis was given to dates on the West Coast, where The Yardbirds had enjoyed a particularly strong following.

Jimmy Page: I can tell you when I knew we'd broken though... San Francisco. There were other gigs, like the Boston Tea Party and the Kinetic Circus in Chicago, which have unfortunately disappeared as venues, where the response was so incredible we knew we'd made our impression. But after the San Francisco gig it was just - bang!

Paul Kendall - 'A Visual Documentary'

© 1994-2002 All Rights Reserved.

Jimmy Page

Born James Patrick Page on January 9th, 1944, at Heston, Middlesex. The only son of an industrial personnel officer and a doctor's secretary.

After living for some time on an uncle's farm in Northamtonshire, the family moved to Miles Road in Epsom, Surrey, when Jimmy was about eight. At school he sang in the choir, became school hurdles champion and was a keen artist. But when his parents gave him a Spanish guitar in 1957, that became his overriding passion.

Apart from a few basic lessons with a teacher in nearby Kingston-on-Thames, he was self-taught. He recalls having his guitar confiscated on numerous occasions when he took it to school to practice between, and even during, classes.

He didn't really turn on to rock'n'roll, however, till he heard "Baby, Let's Play House" from the album "A Date With Elvis", which came out around mid 1959.

Shortly after that he left school and having tried unsuccessfully to get a job as a laboratory assistant, accepted an invitation to join Neil Christian and The Crusaders, who had spotted him playing in a local dance hall.

These gentlemen were anticipating the British Blues Boom by several years, playing Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley numbers and other stuff picked up from imported records. The great music-loving public weren't quite ready for it, but among other musicians the 15-year-old Jimmy Page soon began to build a considerable reputation.

Jeff Beck remembers: "Page was raving with this big Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar, and it looked huge on him because he was such a shrimp. He was even smaller than he is now. So all you saw was this huge guitar being wielded around by a man who was as thin as a pipe cleaner. But I must say I was most impressed by his ability. He used to play fiery sort of fast stuff. The trouble was that no one was listening to it."

Another problem was that the endless routine of bashing round the country in a van took its toll on Page's health. A bout of glandular fever was the final straw and his two-year stint with the group came to an end.

At this point he went back to his other great love, painting, attending art college for 18 months between 1961 and early 1963. Music was never ignored, though. Jam sessions at the Page household with various friends, including Jeff Beck, were commonplace. And as R&B fever took a grip on the London music scene, he became a frequent visitor to clubs like Richmond's Crawdaddy, the Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, and the Marquee. At the latter he became involved with Cyril Davies' Rhythm & Blues All Stars, one of several groups of the era that were great breeding grounds for future stars. Long John Baldry and Nicky Hopkins were just two of the musicians that went on to greater things after working with Davies.

Page played with them only occasionally, but that was enough to get him noticed by producer Mike Leander, who invited him to play on a recording session in late 1962.

The outcome of the session was "Diamonds" by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. It took them to No. 1, and launched our young hero on a new career. The only session guitarist of note at the time was Big Jim Sullivan, and the arrival of a new talent was welcomed like rain in the desert.

Pausing only to take a crash course in reading and writing music, Jimmy promptly became a super-sessioner, playing on literally hundreds of recordings during the next three and a half years.

These varied from rock and pop groups, to big bands like the Burt Bacharach and Johnny Dankworth, to sessions for jingles and soundtracks. And, not surprisingly, they also varied from the epic to the totally naff. The former included The Who, The Kinks and Them. The latter are too numerous to mention.

In between all this he found time to do a spot of songwriting with Jackie de Shannon, to form his own publishing company, and to record his own single for Fontana in 1965. This was a little thing called "She Just Satisfies", backed by "Keep Moving". Page played all the instruments on it, apart from the drums. He even sang. In retrospect he probably wishes he hadn't bothered.

Also during 1965 came an invitation to be A&R man for ex-Stones manager Andrew Oldham's new label, Immediate. Part of this job was to be producing a special British blues series, and that included Eric Clapton, who had become a close friend.

The tracks Page recorded with Clapton - "Telephone Blues", "I'm Your Witch Doctor", "Sittin' On Top Of The World" and "Double Crossin' Time" - have cropped up in various places since, and are pretty good.

But, unfortunately, some other tracks recorded informally at the Page home were also put out on an Immediate anthology, despite opposition from Jimmy, and the ensuing confusion and dispute put and end to the friendship.

By 1966, Jimmy had just about had enough of the session routine. Opportunities to do something interesting in that field were getting increasingly rare, and when his mates The Yardbirds needed helping out, when their bass player left in the summer of that year, he was perfectly willing to step in.

The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds had been a prominent part of the British R&B scene ever since their formation in late 1963. They had taken over the The Rolling Stones residency at the Crawdaddy in Richmond when The Stones moved on to greater things, and their versions of American R&B classics, featuring Eric "Slowhand" Clapton, earned them a fanatical following in and around London.

Before long, however, they moved on to more commercial pastures, drawing on material from publisher's songwriter Graham Gouldman, who would later make his name with 10cc. Clapton resigned in protest at this, and in February 1965 Jimmy Page, who had been friendly with the group for some time, was offered the guitarist's job.

"If I hadn't known Eric, or hadn't liked him, I might have joined. As it was, I didn't want any part of it. I liked Eric quite a bit and I didn't want him to think I'd done something behind his back," said Page, explaining his rejection of the offer.

Instead, he recommended Jeff Beck and for the next year The Yardbirds enjoyed a string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic. Then, in the summer of 1966, the group had reason to call on the guitarist's services once again.

"They were playing in front of all these penguin-suited undergraduates and I think Samwell-Smith (The Yardbirds bass guitarist), whose family were a bit well-to-do, was embarrassed by the band's behavior. Apparently Keith Relf had gotten really drunk and was falling into the drum kit, making farting noises into the mike - being generally anarchistic. I thought he'd done really well, actually, and the band played really well that night. When he came offstage, though, Paul Samwell-Smith said "I'm leaving the band". Things used to be so final then.

Jeff had brought me to the gig in his car and on the way back I told him I'd sit in until they got things sorted out... It was decided we'd definitely have a go at it. I'd take on the bass though I'd never played it before, but only until Dreja (the rhythm guitarist) could learn it - he'd never played it before either. We figured it would be easier for me to pick up quickly, then switch over to a dual guitar thing when Chris (Dreja) had had time to become sufficiently familiar with the bass."

Page played his first date with The Yardbirds at the Marquee, after only about two hours rehearsal, and what had begun as a short-term helping hand for some friends ended up as a two year stint until the group's final demise.

In many ways, Page had joined at a bad time. The Yardbirds were having management problems, having lost their original guiding light, Giorgio Gomelsky, and were going through a few internal ructions, caused mainly by the erratic behavior of Jeff Beck.

Nevertheless, although their days of big hit singles were over, they were still a strong live attraction, especially in the States, where they were regular visitors. Page's first major tour with them was a package tour of the UK with The Rolling Stones, Ike & Tina Turner and Peter Jay & The Jay Walkers, which opened at the Albert Hall on September 23rd, 1966. From there they went to the States, and Page found himself thrust unexpectedly into the limelight.

"The switch (from bass to lead) was necessitated earlier than planned. We were playing a gig at the Carousel Club in San Francisco, and because Jeff couldn't make it I took over lead that night and Chris Dreja played bass. It was really nerve-wracking, because this was at the height of The Yardbirds' concert reputation and I wasn't exactly ready to roar off on lead guitar. But it went all right and after that we stayed that way. When Jeff recovered it was two lead guitars from then on."

This potentially dynamic combination was unfortunately short-lived, and left only the "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago"/"Psycho Daisies" single as a hint of how amazing it could have been. By the end of 1966, the rest of the group had decided they couldn't work with Beck any more, and he was elbowed.

At about the same time, The Yardbirds also parted company with manager Simon Napier-Bell. Despite having toured almost constantly for several months, appearing in Antonioni's film "Blow Up", and doing various jingles for TV commercials, the individual members of the group had ended up with almost nothing to show for it. The man brought in to sort things out was Peter Grant.

"Peter was working for Mickie Most and was offered the management when Most was offered the recording, of which the first session on our behalf was "Little Games" and the first on Beck's behalf was "Love Is Blue". I'd known Peter from way back in the days of Immediate, because our offices were next door to Mickie Most's, and Peter was working for him. The first thing we did with him was a tour of Australia and we found that suddenly there was some money being made after all."

The new management situation seemed to work out well, but the recording arrangement with Mickie Most certainly did not. None of the singles made with him were successful, commercially or artistically, and the one album they managed to assemble, "Little Games", was little short of a mess.

"It was just so bloody rushed", Page recalls. "Everything was done in one take because Mickie Most was basically interested in singles and didn't believe it was worth the time to do the tracks right on the album."

In fact, "Little Games" was released only in America, where The Yardbirds were now spending more and more of their time. They also toured Australia and the Far East in early 1967, and Japan shortly before the group finally called it a day after a gig at Luton Technical College in July 1968.

"Over the months before the split, Relf and McCarty (Keith Relf, the singer, and Jim McCarty, the drummer) had been talking about starting up a new scene. To counteract the sort of stuff I was listening to, they were into very light things like Simon & Garfunkel, The Turtles and people like that, and they wrote some songs in that vein, which they wanted to go off and record.

I was in favor of us keeping the group together and tried to persuade them to stay and record their songs as The Yardbirds, because I knew we had the potential to pull it off - but they just wouldn't have any of it."

Relf and McCarty formed Renaissance and Chris Dreja, who originally intended staying with Jimmy Page to form a New Yardbirds, decided instead to try a new career in photography. One of his first commissions would be the sleeve shots for the first Led Zeppelin album.

© 1994-2002 All Rights Reserved.

John Paul Jones

Born John Baldwin on January 3rd, 1946, at Sidcup, Kent. With a father who was pianist and arranger for big bands like the Ambrose Orchestra, and a mother who was a singer and dancer, it is hard to imagine how John Paul Jones could have avoided getting involved with show business.

As a youngster, he learnt the basics of piano playing at the family's home in Eltham. Then he started taking organ lessons, and was soon playing at his local church.

While attending Christ College boarding school in Blackheath, he turned to the bass. "I couldn't even play a six-string acoustic guitar when I started", he says. "I was just fascinated by bass work generally. I used to turn up the bass on my records and listen to the runs, and in time I just picked it up."

At school he formed a group which played American Air Force bases, and in the holidays he joined his father in a duo that played various social functions, and even did a residency on the Isle of Wight.

When he left school, he continued this sort of work for a few months, until the day he attended an audition for ex-Shadows Jet Harris and Tony Meehan in early 1963.

Tony Meehan remembers: "We had a single called "Diamonds" at Number 1 at the time and we were putting together a band. John Paul heard about it and showed up. He was just about out of school, very young and a bit nervous. Despite the nerves he was a good musician and he knew his shit. He was cocky too in a certain way, and I liked that. So we hired him.

He toured with us for a year or 18 months until the band broke up. I was doing some freelance production work for Decca records at the time, and he played on a lot of sessions. I liked to use the guys from the band - they knew their shit and it supplemented their incomes. They were making about 40 pounds per week in the band, which was good bread in those days. Add that to the session income and TV fees... all told, it was a good gig for them."

Jones continued playing sessions when the Harris/Meehan band split up, and between 1964 and 1968 recorded for just about everyone from Lulu to The Rolling Stones. In April 1964 he released his own single on Pye, comprising two instrumentals called "A Foggy Day In Vietnam" and "Baja", and before long he had graduated from ordinary session man to musical director.

"I discovered that musical arranging and general studio direction were much better than just sitting there and being told what to do. I'd been doing some sessions with Donovan. The first thing I really did with him was "Sunshine Superman". I happened to be on the session as a bass player and I ended up doing the arrangements. The arranger they'd picked for the session really didn't know about anything. I got the rhythm section together and we went from there."

He became musical director for Mickie Most which, among many another tasks, involved working with The Yardbirds on several songs for the "Little Games" album. This renewed his acquaintance with Jimmy Page, who he had met on numerous sessions in the past.

By the summer of 1968, John Paul Jones was highly respected by fellow musicians though completely unknown to the public, and presumably he was making a good living. But this isn't the be all and end all, even for a married man with two young daughters, and he was on the lookout for a new challenge. He very nearly joined Terry Reid's new band, but then he heard that Jimmy Page was putting a new group together.

Page recalls: "I was working at the sessions for Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and John Paul Jones was looking after the musical arrangements. During a break he asked me if I could use a bass player in the new group I was forming. Now John Paul Jones is unquestionably an incredible arranger and musician - he didn't need me for a job. It was just that he felt the need to express himself and he thought we might be able to do it together. He had a proper musical training and he had quite brilliant ideas. I jumped at the chance of getting him."


© 1994-2002 All Rights Reserved.

John Bonham

Born John Henry Bonham on May 31st, 1948, at Redditch, Worcestershire. It seems John Bonham was destined to be a drummer almost from birth. In his very early youth, he used to beat on his mum's pots and pans. Then he adapted bath salt containers and coffee tins with wire attachments before being given a proper snare drum when he was 10. By the time he was given his first full drum kit, when he was 15 1/2, he had already decided where his future lay.

"When I left school I went into the trade with my Dad. He had a building business and I used to like it. But drumming was the only thing I was any good at, and I stuck at that for three or four years. If things got bad I could always go back to building.

I was so keen to play when I left school, I'd have played for nothing. In fact I did for a long time, but my parents stuck by me."

Someone else who stuck by him in his ambitions was his wife Pat, whom he met at a dance and married at the tender age of 17. The couple lived in a small caravan, and at one point things were so bad that Bonham had to give up smoking to pay the rent.

On the bright side, his work with local bands around the Birmingham area, like Terry and The Spiders and A Way Of Life, was getting him something of a reputation. It also got him banned by several club managers, who felt his playing was too violent for the delicate ears of their customers.

For a short while Bonham played with The Crawling King Snakes who had a singer by the name of Robert Plant, and after spells with The Nicky James Movement and Steve Brett & The Mavericks, the two met up again in The Band Of Joy.

This venture lasted about a couple of years until 1968, during which time the group released three singles, went through several changes of musical direction, and toured the country supporting American singer-songwriter Tim Rose. Robert Plant recalls: "Eventually we were getting between 60 and 75 quid a night. But it didn't keep improving. In the end I just had to give it up. I thought "Bollocks; nobody at all wants to know about us"."

When The Band Of Joy broke up, Bonham accepted an offer to join Tim Rose's backing group for another British tour, and for the first time in his career he was earning regular money... albeit only 40 pounds a week.

By now his fame in musicians circles was such that he was being sought by Chris Farlowe and Joe Cocker, both fairly tempting positions at the time, when Robert Plant crossed his path yet again, with a proposition that was to increase his standard of living even more dramatically.


© 1994-2002 All Rights Reserved.

Robert Plant

Born Robert Anthony Plant on August 20th, 1948, at West Bromwich, Staffordshire. Alone among the members of Led Zeppelin, the young Robert Plant was denied parental encouragement in his musical aspirations. Admittedly, his father did give him lifts to the local blues club in Sturbridge, but as his obsession with the music got stronger and his hair got longer, relations became increasingly strained.

The situation reached a climax when Plant left school in the summer of 1964, having acquired 6 'O'-Levels, started a chartered accountancy course and then packed it up within two weeks.

"The decision was the only thing I've ever looked at in my life with a long-term viewpoint. You've just got to have a go at what you really want to do first. I decided that if I didn't get anywhere by the time I was 20, I would pack it in. Of course it didn't really matter what happened because I wouldn't have packed it in anyway. You can't give up something you really believe in for financial reasons.

Fortunately my parents saw it too, but only after I'd proved it. Not before. I'm a little sorry about that, actually. They just could not relate to it at all, not even on a musical level. I just wasn't toeing any normal line."

So, at the tender age of 16, Plant left home and went to live in Walsall. He played in numerous Midlands bands, including The Crawling King Snakes (with John Bonham), Black Snake Moan and The Delta Blues Band. As the names suggest, most of these outfits were blues bands, but his influences and style expanded considerably as he started listening to the groups coming out of America's West Coast from 1966 onwards.

Like John Bonham, Plant established a local reputation and virtually starved. For much of the time, he was kept by his girlfriend Maureen, whom he had met at a Georgie Fame concert in 1966, and at one point he even turned his hand to road-making to keep the wolf from the door.

He did manage to get a solo contract with CBS and released (one single in October 1966, credited to the group "Listen" featuring "You Better Run"/"Everybody's Gonna Say" and) two singles during 1967, "Our Song"/"Laughing, Crying, Laughing" (March 1967)) and "Long Time Coming"/"I've Got A Secret" (September 1967). Neither set the world alight, however, so it was back to the Midlands and The Band Of Joy.

The Band Of Joy are now the group which everyone associates with Plant and Bonham in their pre-Zeppelin days, but no one was terribly interested in them at the time.

Nevertheless, they did enable Robert to travel down to London, where Alexis Korner, one of the grand old men of British R&B spotted him at a Speakeasy gig. "I rather liked Robert", he relates, "and since The Band Of Joy disintegrated a couple of gigs later, we worked out a loose arrangement and did some gigs around the Birmingham area. We started an album that was never finished. One of the tracks, "Operator", came out on an album called "Bootleg Him"... We worked on and off for a year but it was all very loose - I just didn't want to re-form a band at that time. Robert needed a regular sum of money. It wasn't a lot, but it was more than I could afford. So he was looking around."

Plant's search took him to Tony Secunda, the manager of The Move, another Birmingham area band. Secunda tried to get him signed by Regal Zonophone, who were enjoying a lot of success with Procol Harum and Joe Cocker, but although label boss Denny Cordell liked him, he was too busy to sign any more acts.

So Plant went back to the Midlands yet again and played odd dates with local bands, little suspecting that fate was about to lend a very large hand.

© 1994-2002 All Rights Reserved.

Another Sources Zeppelin Info:

Born: January 9th, 1944 in Heston, Middlesex U.K.

Jimmy Page 's incredible career spans four decades, appearing on an innumerable list of recordings. Best known for his trademark Les Pauls, double-neck guitar and riff-master deluxe, his contributions to rock history are nearly unmatched. He first picked up a guitar as a child, curiously plucking away on a Spanish acoustic given to the family. Soon after, Page became entranced with rock and roll, inspired by Elvis Presley's "Baby, Let's Play House". The rest is history... In the early sixties, he performed and recorded with several bands including Carter Lewis & the Southerners and Neil Christian & the Crusaders. His first taste of success came with an early session (in 1963) that reached #1, "Diamonds" by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan, featuring Page on guitar.

In a rare hand-written letter in 1963, sent just after this single peaked, Page expressed his excitement: "I was lucky enough to play backing guitar (on "Diamonds"), the ex-Shadows Jet Harris & Tony Meehan. You can understand how knocked out I was when it made #1 position", writes Page. Incredibly, a 19-year-old Jimmy Page writes to his American friend, Ron Kellerman, asking "Do you think there would be interest in America

for a guitarist like me?" This is by far one of the biggest understatements in music history!

Soon after, Page became one of the hottest session guitarists in the U.K., turning down an offer to join the Yardbirds after Clapton left. Of course, he later joined the Yardbirds in 1966 in a brief guitar super-group with Jeff Beck and taking over the lead guitar spot until the group's demise in 1968. The formation of Led Zeppelin in the summer of 1968 would bring

unparalleled success. Through Zep, Page could unleash his playing and songwriting in a variety of styles: blues, folk, Indian etc., but the magic of Led Zeppelin created an unimaginable chemistry of its own.

It would take volumes to properly delve into Page's extraordinary career. Suffice to say, he's inspired countless others around the world and has helped create some of the greatest music of all time.


Born John Henry Bonham (named after his father and grandfather) on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, Worcestershire UK. After 26 hours of labor, baby John's heartbeat had stopped and the drunken doctor on duty had left. Thankfully, the nurse had quickly called another doctor who managed to revive him. The nurse said, "it was a miracle."

 The Power Behind the Magic -

Describing the style of John Bonham's drumming instantly conjures up visions of the thunderous power he created. His contributions to rock music were revolutionary, and his talent unmatched and irreplaceable. You can only imagine Jimmy Page's reaction to first seeing him in 1968, ending his search for a new drummer to form a new band, the New Yardbirds (later renamed Led Zeppelin.)

A childhood friend of Robert Plant, they played together in the 'Band of Joy', resulting in local gigs and a few studio demos. At first, Bonham was reluctant to join the well-known guitarist because of a steady gig with Tim Rose. But... the rest of history...

As John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have all stated many times, Led Zeppelin wouldn't have been half as good without him. Along with JPJ, they provided the solid foundation and backbone of the band, which made it all possible. Live performances truly showcased his abilities during the numerous improvised jams throughout every concert and of course his famous "Moby Dick" drum solo; reaching a half-hour in length at times! Imitators are usually left frustrated, since Bonham made it look so easy - not only in his playing but also in the incredible drum sound he achieved. His legendary right foot (on his bass pedal)

and lightning-fast triplets were his instant trademark. He later refined his style from the hard skin-bashing approach to a more delicate wrist controlled one - which produced an even more powerful & louder sound with less effort.

His tragic passing on September 25th, 1980 immortalized his legacy forever. His only son, Jason proudly continues the tradition. Daughter ZoŽ also has a strong interest in music and is experimenting with her own original material. John's sister Deborah is a highly acclaimed & talented singer.

Born: August 20, 1948 - W. Bromwich, Staffordshire, U.K.

Robert Plant's interest in music began at an early age, entering the club scene at age fifteen. American blues artists such as Robert Johnson, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and many more fascinated Plant as he studied their music incessantly. Rock & Roll pioneers such as Elvis and Gene Vincent were also great influences.

He played with various groups in the 1960s such as The Crawling King Snakes, Listen, Hobbstweedle, The Band of Joy (with John Bonham), which concentrated mainly on the blues. In 1967, he released several solo singles on CBS, but it was a far cry from his true capabilities.

Rare demos from the Band of Joy era reveal a glimpse of what the future held. After a session with Alexis Korner in 1968, Plant would soon be asked to join Led Zeppelin, and recommended Bonham as well.

His style varies through the years as does his influences. Through Led Zeppelin, Plant was able to explore a variety of styles including heavy rock, folk, blues, Indian and Celtic. The quintessential rock vocalist and front man, often imitated but never duplicated.