From the author of the definitive New York Times bestselling history of the Beatles comes the authoritative account of the group many call the greatest rock band of all time, arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most notorious
Rock star. Whatever that term means to you, chances are it owes a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Bob Spitz takes their full measure, separating the myth from the reality with his trademark connoisseurship and storytelling flair.
From the opening notes of their first album, the band announced itself as something different, a collision of grand artistic ambition and brute primal force, of English folk music and African American blues. That record sold over 10 million copies, and it was just the beginning; Led Zeppelin's albums have sold over 300 million certified copies worldwide, and the dust has never settled.
The band is notoriously guarded, and previous books provided more heat than light. But Spitz's authority is undeniable and irresistible. His feel for the atmosphere, the context--the music, the business, the recording studios, the touring life, the whole ecosystem of popular music--is unparalleled. His account of the melding of Page and Jones, the virtuosic London sophisticates, with Plant and Bonham, the wild men from the Midlands, in a scene dominated by the Beatles and the Stones but changing fast, is in itself a revelation. Spitz takes the music seriously and brings the band's artistic journey to full and vivid life.
The music, however, is only part of the legend: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the sixties became the seventies, of how playing clubs became playing stadiums, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin wasn't the first rock band to let loose on the road, but as with everything else, they took it to an entirely new level. Not all the legends are true, but in Spitz's careful accounting, what is true is astonishing and sometimes disturbing.
Led Zeppelin gave no quarter, and neither has Bob Spitz. Led Zeppelin is the full and honest reckoning the band has long awaited, and richly deserves.
Music biographer Spitz (The Beatles) calls on his supreme research and analytical skills to deliver the definitive story of one of the greatest rock groups of the 1970s. While this isn't the first (or second) telling of the Zeppelin saga, it reigns superior to its predecessors with an exhaustive history that never flags in momentum or spirit. To start, Spitz provides a fascinating look at each band member's evolution and their common love of American blues, detailing how the British electric blues boom of the late '60s "laid the groundwork for a musical upheaval" and how guitarist Jimmy Page used the form and the power of vocalist Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones "as a springboard to something bigger and more dynamic." He gives new insights into each of Zeppelin's eight main recordings, as well as their dynamic live performances, which, he writes, were "comparable with how jazz combos performed, with loose arrangements that depended on synchronicity and intuition." At the same time, he takes an unsparing look at how the band's massive success snowballed into a "heedless hedonism" that led to their decline and disbanding after the alcohol-fueled death of drummer John Bonham. For all the excess and cruelty Spitz recounts, his passion for the band's musical genius will captivate rock enthusiasts. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM.