NIGEL WILLIAMSON    Book Number: 89026    Product format: Paperback

In 1968 Robert Plant made his way down to Jimmy Page's houseboat with a view to becoming the lead singer of the New Yardbirds, soon to be rebranded as Led Zeppelin. They bonded over favourite records, including Elvis, Joan Baez, Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry. Interviewed in 2005, Plant recalled how aged 13 he used to sing "Hound Dog" in front of the mirror with all Elvis's gyrations, later discovering the Blues in the sub-bohemian culture of the local art school. In their debut album, Zep featured Baez's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You", shifting dramatically from the folksy verses to Bonham's cymbal-crashing accompaniment. After a lukewarm reception in the UK, Zep went to America at Christmas 1968, in spite of the fact that Plant had a month-old daughter back at home. The gamble paid off: "To get off the plane in Los Angeles and go with Bonzo to Sunset Strip was amazing". Page recalled that the group's confidence grew with each gig and they got standing ovations in Fillmore. "It felt like a vacuum and we'd come to fill it." British recognition was slower, but it came steadily. John Lennon: "From what little I've heard, they sound all right." When they finally got to meet Elvis, all he wanted to know was whether all the outrageous stories were true. By the end of the seventies, Page's drug habit and preoccupation with the occult were causing huge problems, the entourage was so big that there were rival cliques, and the death of Plant's son changed the emotional temperature. The final section of the book, Zeppology, includes an analysis of 50 great tracks, 10 tales of excess and 10 key locations. 270pp, softback, numerous black and white photos.
Published price: £14.99
Bibliophile price: £6.50

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ISBN 9781905959525
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