10: The Mighty Led Zeppelin

Has any band inspired rock n roll as much as Led Zeppelin? Probably not. Well, we’ve got 10 rather interesting facts about one of the greatest bands in rock history.

SINGER TERRY REID PASSED ON JOINING THE GROUP.

Terry Reid was a then-19-year-old singer of the band Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers. Reid had just been signed by a producer who was looking to make him a solo artist. With that in mind, he told Jimmy Page no, and suggested that he offer the gig to another singer called Robert Plant, who Reid told Page looked “like a Greek god.” How many sleepless nights has Terry Reid had since then?

ZEPPELIN FIRST PERFORMED AS THE NEW YARDBIRDS.

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham’s first show together took place at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark. The band took to the stage at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, September 7th, 1968, after just 15 hours of rehearsals together. The Bands set list that night included “You Shook Me,” “Dazed and Confused.”

LED ZEPPELIN’S NAME CAME FROM THE WHO’S KEITH MOON AND (PERHAPS) JOHN ENTWISTLE.

In May of 1966, Jimmy Page and fellow Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, got together with John Paul Jones, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon to record an instrumental tune called “Beck’s Bolero” and word had it that the results were so good they thought about forming a supergroup. Moon, allegedly, said the band would go over like a lead balloon. Entwistle was then said to have added “a lead zeppelin!”

FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY, ZEPPELIN WAS KNOWN AS “THE NOBS.”

The name change happened when Frau Eva von Zeppelin, who was a direct descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was apparently very upset over what she believed to be a dishonoring of the family name by the band. So much so that she demanded they change their name, and got her wish. On February 28th, 1970, the band did their one and only performance as The Nobs in Copenhagen. Because the band was so popular and the critical opinion of the band was so high, the band got to keep their preferred name and were Led Zeppelin for their next show—and ever since.

LED ZEPPELIN 1 WAS PRODUCED AND PAID FOR BY JIMMY PAGE.

Page knew exactly how he wanted the first album to sound and more importantly, wanted complete artistic control. With Page at the helm, the recording and mixing of the album took around 30 hours and cost Page  £1,782 (about $2,324 USD) Not a bad investment as their debut album ended up making over £3.5 million and still makes money to this day.

IN THE TRACK: “THE OCEAN” YOU CAN HEAR A PHONE RINGING.

During the track, you can apparently hear a phone ringing at 1:37 and it appears again at 1:41. When asked if it was a real phone, the albums engineer Eddie Kramer basically pleaded ignorance. Kramer admitted it was possible that it was indeed a phone ringing as the song was recorded in a house, but also admitted that he did not hear it at the time of the recording.

SATANIC MESSAGES HIDEN IN “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”?

Televangelist Paul Crouch claimed in 1982, that when you played a section of Stairway to Heaven backward, the lyrics: “bustle in your hedgerow,” from Zeppelin’s signature tune says this: “Here’s to my sweet Satan/ The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan/ He will give those with him 666/ There was a little toolshed where he made us su­ffer, sad Satan.” The truth of the matter is that certain parts of “Stairway” do sound similar to Crouch’s interpretation when played backward, but it is in fact just a very bizarre coincidence. Robert Plant addressed the backward-Satanism charges, and said: “Who on Earth would have ever thought of doing that?” “You’ve got to have a lot of time on your hands to even consider that people would do that.”

ROBERT PLANT WROTE “GOING TO CALIFORNIA” ABOUT JONI MITCHELL.

Apparently, Plant was “in love” with the Canadian singer-songwriter. The song also tells of his worry about working in California because of the state’s history of earthquakes. As if to justify Plant’s concerns, there was a minor earthquake while the band was mixing the untitled fourth Zeppelin album, which also featured by the way, “Going to California.”

ROBERT PLANT RECORDED THE ALBUM PRESENCE IN A WHEELCHAIR.

The album Presence was recorded in seriously fast fashion over a period of 18 days in Munich, Germany. Prior to recording Plant had been in a car crash in Greece and had shattered his right ankle and elbow and snapped several bones in his right leg. Jimmy Page has explained since that: “Robert was really keen to do the recording.” So, Plant started the album on crutches but took a fall in the studio. Undeterred Plant carried on recording the album from a wheelchair.

ZEPPELIN ONLY DID ONE TV APPEARANCE.

This was all about quality control. Zeppelin made only one TV appearance which was recorded in June 1969 for a French TV station. The reason for this is because, following the taping of the show, the band realized that the audio-video quality of TV at the time was low and no matter how well they performed they would be at the mercy of the TV studio’s engineers.

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