10 Stories Die-Hard Led Zeppelin Fans Might Not Know About
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Led Zeppelin Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Even sans social media and the internet, Led Zeppelin’s history during their heyday was pretty well-documented. Of course, some of them remain myths which the band members neither confirmed nor denied, but the stories only added to their notoriety as hard party-goers. For this list, we are looking at interesting stuff about them which you may or may not know about:
1. They almost had another frontman.
Can you imagine Led Zeppelin with a different singer and frontman? It’s hard, right? Especially because Robert Plant with his trademark howls and wails was a huge part of their music. However, Jimmy Page actually had someone else in mind at first – Terry Reid. Fortunately for us, Reid already signed a contract so he had no choice but to turn down Page’s offer. He then recommended someone else – that someone else was Plant.
2. They once played under the moniker The Nobs.
It was only for one show, by the way. In early 1970, Led Zeppelin had a booked gig in Copenhagen. Eva von Zeppelin, granddaughter of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, founder of the Zeppelin airship company, was furious that they used her family name. She threatened to sue them, so the band had to improvise.
“Then we shall call ourselves the Nobs when we go to Copenhagen,” Page recalled. “The whole thing is absurd.”
3. Page produced their debut album himself.
When Page founded Led Zeppelin, he was already an established session musician and was known for his stint with the Yardbirds. For their self-titled LP, Page thought it necessary to fund their record himself and keep costs to a minimum.
“I wanted artistic control in a vise grip, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the band,” he told Brad Tolinski in Conversations With Jimmy Page. “In fact, I financed and completely recorded the first album before going to Atlantic. The other advantage to having such a clear vision of what I wanted the band to be was that it kept recording costs to a minimum. We recorded the whole first album in a matter of 30 hours. That’s the truth. I know, because I paid the bill.”
4. Page dated a 14-year old named Lori Maddox.
In the ’60s and ’70s, groupies were nothing new and they weren’t big deals. But dating a minor was, and Page could’ve landed in jail.
Maddox was a groupie in Los Angeles and according to her, Page asked a roadie to bring her to his suite at the L.A. Hyatt House. They ended up having a torrid affair that lasted for years.
5. They had their own private jet.
Led Zeppelin lived the ultimate rockstar life. They were the first to lease the infamous party plane of the ’70s. The Starship was the first Boeing 720-022 ever manufactured. It wasn’t just for the flash though. At the time, they were getting bad press and they thought the private jet would earn them some respect.
“It was an extremely useful tool because inviting a journalist onto the plane, the story kind of wrote itself,” Led Zeppelin publicist Danny Goldberg said. “The novelty value was significant.”
6. Plant recorded his vocals for “Presence” while in a wheelchair.
He was vacationing with his family in Greece when the car he was driving crashed. He and his wife suffered injuries while their kids got a few bruises. He broke an ankle and elbow, and it fully healed only after two years. He was on wheelchair and crutches even during the recording sessions for “Presence.”
7. Page wanted to be a researcher.
Before he became a legend on guitar, Page actually considered a different career. He appeared on BBC’s television show All Your Own when he was just 14 years old. In a short interview, he said he wanted “to do biological research to find a cure for cancer, if it isn’t discovered by then.”
8. It was Keith Moon who came up with their name.
Page, Moon, Jeff Beck, and John Entwistle were hanging out and throwing around the idea of forming their own supergroup. It was Moon who joked that it all “would probably go over like a lead balloon.”
9. Plant isn’t a fan of “Stairway to Heaven”.
It may be their most popular song but it doesn’t mean Plant isn’t sick of it. He told Los Angeles Times in 1988, “I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show.” He even went so far as to donate $10,000 to a radio station so they would stop playing the track.
10. Joni Mitchell inspired “Going to California”.
Plant and Page drew inspiration from Mitchell’s 1966 song “California”. They were in awe of her songwriting. They also referred to her in the lyrics, “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.”
“The main thing with Joni is that she’s able to look at something that’s happened to her, draw back and crystallise the whole situation, then write about it,” Page explained. “She brings tears to my eyes, what more can I say?”