DID YOU KNOW

Ξ April 15th, 2009 | → | ∇ comments |

    
10 things you didn’t know about… Led Zeppelin  
Pioneers of all things prog, Led Zeppelin celebrate 40 years since their debut album was released this year. If that wasn’t enough Jimmy Page also turns 60 this month and Robert Plant has been given a CBE by the Queen.
Think you know it all? Well, here’s 10 facts that no discerning fan should be without…
#1: What’s in a name?
They took their name from a comment by The Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle that the band would “go down like a lead balloon - or a lead zeppelin!” Manager Peter Grant insisted they spelt the first word “Led” so that “thick Americans” would not pronounce it “lead” as in “lead the way”.
#2: Big band, big sales
Led Zeppelin have sold more than 300 million albums and in one week in 1979 had all eight of their albums to date in America’s Billboard Top 200. They never released singles in Britain but sold hundreds of thousands of them in the US.
Led Zeppelin 
#3: Looking after the pennies
The band’s 1969 debut album, Led Zeppelin I, was recorded in just 36 hours at a cost of £1,782. At the time, the band had been together for just two-and-a-half weeks.
#4: See you in court
Led Zeppelin were once threatened with legal action by Eva von Zeppelin, a descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who designed the airship from which they took their name. Eva said the band were “shrieking monkeys” who were not entitled to “use a privileged family name without permission”.
Top Of The Pops
#5: Tired of the pops
Led Zeppelin refused ever to appear on Top Of The Pops, despite all their hits and pleas from the BBC. This was hugely ironic as from 1968 to 1981 and 1998 to 2003 a souped-up version of the band’s song, Whole Lotta Love, by CCS was the show’s theme tune, so the Beeb kind of got their way in the end.
#6: Occult status
Guitarist Jimmy Page was so obsessed by occultist Aleister Crowley that he scratched his aphorism “Do what thou wilt” into the run-out groove of Led Zeppelin III. He also bought Crowley’s former home, Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness.
#7: Cathedrals of sound
Exhausted by years on the road, Led Zeppelin bassist John-Paul Jones once had to be talked out of quitting the band to take up the position of choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral.
Houses Of The Holy
#8: Holy unacceptable
Led Zeppelin’s 1973 album Houses Of The Holy was banned in Spain and in parts of America because its cover depicted naked children crawling up the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Northern Ireland.
#9: Live and dangerous
Zeppelin hated their performance at Live Aid in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985, with guest drummer Phil Collins. They have never allowed the footage to be commercially released, preferring to make private donations to the relevant charities.
#10: Heaven’s above!
Zep’s signature tune, Stairway To Heaven, has been covered by more than 100 artists, including Tiny Tim, Frank Zappa, Dolly Parton, Elkie Brooks, Pat Boone and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 1993, Rolf Harris and his wobble-board took the epic anthem to No. 7 in the Top 40.