5 Facts You May Not Know About Led Zeppelin.


 1)      The name – Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page, the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, started a band in 1968 called ‘The New Yardbirds’. The band received heavy criticism and was slated for their early work. Keith Moon, the drummer from The Who, had little faith in the band – saying their work would ‘go down like a lead zeppelin’. However, this is only from recollection, and other theorists suggest that this was said by John Entwistle, the original bass guitarist from the Who. Atlantic Records took light in the insults, and thus the birth of Led Zeppelin occurred.

 

2)      The fourth album

The first three albums produced by Led Zeppelin had easy and generic names: Led Zeppelin I, II and III. The fourth album, released in 1971 didn’t appear to have any title. In fact, the band kept ALL information off the album, there wasn’t a single word. The group admitted the purpose behind this was to avoid tabloid criticism. Therefore, the fourth album despite being unnamed became known as: ‘Four Symbols’, ‘Led Zeppelin IV’, ‘Untitled’, ‘Ruins’ and ‘ZoSo’. ‘ZoSo’, was derived from the symbols on the side of the album and became a popular reference point to the album. The fourth album is one of the bestselling albums of all time and has some of the bands most popular songs on it, including: ‘Black Dog’, ‘Going to California’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

 

3)      Satanist Theories

Led Zeppelin experienced a lot of scrutiny after their third album, as they believed that Jimmy Page was a Satanist. This stemmed from Page admitting he was obsessed with Aleister Crowley, who formed the ‘Thelema’ religion. Due to Crowley’s extreme beliefs in occult magic, one whisper leads to another and the rumours began. In interviews, Page didn’t admit or deny anything. In an interview with the Rolling Stone, he said: “I don’t really want to go on about my personal beliefs or my involvement in magic”. Page bought and moved into the late home of Aleister Crowley in 1971, which was allegedly haunted.

In 1988, televangelist Paul Crouch came into the spotlight when he discovered that Stairway to Heaven, released 17 years prior, was a Satanic ritual! This, of course, is entirely a theory, and no solid evidence has been proven. This theory was based on the interpretation of the song once played in reverse. When played in reverse, people admit to hearing the following:

“So here’s to my Sweet Satan // He’ll give you 666 // There was a little tool-shed where he made us suffer // Sad Satan”

Some people say this is purely a coincidence, but other people believe that this is a clever way in which Jimmy Page wanted to portray his Satanic views. I suppose we will never know!

Here's a short clip explaining the song:

4)      Plagiarism Accusations

However again this can be coincidental, Led Zeppelin has had many accusations for plagiarised songs. Examples included “Stairway to Heaven”, which is very similar to “Taurus” by Spirit; “Whole Lotta Love” which is very similar to “You Need Love” by Willie Dixon; and “The Lemon Song” and its similarity to “Killing Floor”, by Howlin’ Wolf.

Despite the negative press, the drummer from the band, John Bonham, did explain that he did “adrenalize” some other songs drum beats. He said they could be sneaky, as beats were not covered by copyright, but lyrics and melodies are. Therefore, this explains why so many lawsuits were made against the band – however very few were successful.

Alongside this, the band were heavily criticised by tabloids and would find any excuse to give them bad reviews. This could explain the heavy accusations of plagiarism, even though these could be false.

 

5)      The death of John Bonham

During the day prior to his death, Bonham was heavily drinking. It is alleged that during breakfast he drunk four quadruple vodka screwdrivers, and then continued to heavily drink throughout the day and night. That evening Bonham went to sleep, and sadly never woke up. Autopsies found that there were approximately 1-1.4 litres of vodka in his system.

It was later found that Bonham was so intoxicated that he couldn’t wake himself up – and it was him vomiting in his sleep and not waking up which sadly killed him. His death was listed as accidental, as opposed to alcohol influenced.

The tabloids tried to emphasise Bonham’s historic use of recreational drugs as the cause of his death, however, there were no illegal substances found during his autopsy.

 

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Blog by Kate Woodbridge