RockStory - Hard Rock: Led Zeppelin - I
Led Zeppelin: The Led Zeppelin story starts in June 1966 and the dawning of a new era began on January 12, 1969.

The dawning of a new era!

By Claes Hassel at

The Hard Rock genre had it's breakthrough in 1969 when Led Zeppelin, on 'their' first record, introduced a more heavier, louder guitar-based blues rock than before, a free-fusion of rock 'n' roll, blues and psychedelica.

You may say that the Cream was the first band to play heavy blues rock and they did, but Led Zeppelin took the music to a higher level, an evolution.

The Band

The Led Zeppelin story began in June 1966 when Jimmy Page(born 9 January 1944 in England) started as a bass player in the Yardbirds, replacing bass player Paul Samwell-Smith.
After a while Chris Dreja took over on bass and Jimmy Page played lead guitar together with Jeff Beck.
In October(?)1966 Jeff Beck left the band after a gig(touring the US) but the band continued as a four-piece band consisting of:
Keith Relf(vocals, harmonica)
Jimmy Page(lead guitar)
Chris Dreja(bass)
Jim McCarty(drums).
The band released the album, 'Little Games', in July 1967 in the US(and some other countries), but it didn’t make any impact on the audience.
In the spring of 1968 the band began to fell apart and in July Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left the band.
Jimmy Page wanted to fulfil the contractual obligations for The Yardbirds and saw a future for the band towards a more heavy oriented rock. He put together a new band in September 1968, under the name the New Yardbirds, with:

Zeppelin in Denmark (Gladsaxe Teen Club) September 7, 1968 John Paul Jones(John Baldwin) born 3 June 1946 in England, bass, keyboardplayer, arranger and session musician.
Robert Plant on vocals, from the band Hobbstweedle, born 20 August 1948 in England. Plant was recommended by singer Terry Reid(Page's first choice). Plant brought with him his friend, from his old group Band of Joy:
John Bonham on drums, born 31 May 1948 in England and died 25 September 1980.
To fulfil old contractual obligations the group was on a 10-day Scandinavian tour with first date in Denmark, September 7, 1968(see Photo by Jørgen Angel). After the tour they changed their name to Led Zeppelin.

It's rumoured that the name, Led Zeppelin, came from John Entwistle(the Who) when thinking of starting a new band(together with Keith Moon in the Who) he also claimed that he came up with the idea of the album cover, a Zeppelin in flames.

Led Zeppelin - I

Led Zeppelin I front cover Led Zeppelin I released by Atlantic on January 12, 1969, must be one of the best debut and one of the most influential albums ever for the Hard Heavy Blues Rock.
Recorded in October 1968 and it was done in approx. 35 hours, basically live. The recording cost, including the cover, of the album was approx 1,800 pounds and you can imagine how much money they earn on it, still.
My first real contact with the Gods of Heavy Music was Jimi Hendrix and the album 'Are You Experienced' and specially the track 'Third Stone from the Sun'.
My second conctact was a day back in 1969 when I came home and heard some wonderful heavy sounds from me and my brothers room, it was 'Dazed and Confused' with Led Zeppelin.
From that day my heart was left in Led Zeppelin and I found my Stairway to the Hard/Heavy Blues Rock, still climbing.
Some years later, 1973, I had the privilige to see them live, you can see some photos from the concert in the Concert part of this page.

The Songs on Led Zeppelin I

'Good Times Bad Times'[2:46]
A 'popnrocknroller' in the mood of the Who, when suddenly a fast and furious guitar solo splits the song into two halfs, then back to the pop song but now backed up with a furious guitar play.
'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You'[6:40]
A bluesy song that shifts between lowtempo and hightempo with a great acoustic play and vocals.
'You Shook Me'[6:28]
Slow rhythmic blues tempo with guitar and vocals interplay, 'singing' the same tune, then a great organ solo by John Paul Jones followed by a superb harmonica play by Robert Plant then a short guitar solo that continues the harmonica sound. The song ends with a duelling part between Plant's vocals and Page's guitar.
'Dazed And Confused'[6:26]
Intro beginning with a slow bassline together with guitar licks bouncing/echoes between the speakers, a short wah-wah lick and Part One begins with Plant start to sing 'Been days that confused for so long it's not true'... the drums and the tempo is raised and the guitar starts to play the basslines together with heavy drumming. Part Two, the psychedelic part starts 2:05 and ends 03:28 and it's now it's starts to rock real heavy and loud..Part Three starts with heavy drums and bass pushing the music forwards together with an amazing guitar solo by Page..then back to Part One of the song.

Notes: I saw(and heard) Led Zeppelin back in 1973 in Stockholm and the amazing 'Dazed and Confused' was the highlight of that incredible great concert!!
'Your Time Is Gonna Come' [04:14]
Slow Bluesy pumping rock with a great beat, the song starts with an cathedral organ play by John Paul Jones then a 'slow/soft' part with ends up in...listen for your self ;=)
'Black Mountain Side' [02:05]
An acoustic guitar 'Eastern feel' instrumental with tablas, build on a traditional folk tune.
'Communication Breakdown'
Like a Rock'n'Roll Hurricane with great vocals by Robert Plant: 'Communication breakdown It's always the same Having a nervous breakdown Drive me insane Oh suck!' a fast and blistering guitarsolo by Jimmy Page, who can ask for more?
'I Can't Quit You Baby' [04:42]
Slow blues with a great dramatic, 1 minute and 35 seconds long catchy bluesy guitarsolo by Jimmy Page.
'How Many More Times'[08:28]
Starts with a bluesy drum and bass beat with echo wah-wah guitar licks then the guitar starts to play the bassline and seconds later Plant starts to sing, 'How Many more times treat me the way you wanna do..'. The beat continues until it breaks up, 2:05, with some great guitar psychedelic licks where the guitar echoes with itself until, 3:35, when it goes into a section of eerie sounds(Page uses a the violin bow on the guitarstrings) and bouncing drums while Plant is shouting out the words until 5:30 into the song when it gets into a great beat driven epic and then back to part one.

To Borrow or Not to Borrow !?

Led Zeppelin I is build around lots of borrowed/'stolen' songs/parts of folk/blues standards!?

'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You'
A folk song originally written by Annie Briggs(Anne Bredon) and the Zep version was based on an Joan Baez version.
'Dazed And Confused'
Borrowed' cover from a song that artist Jake Holmes had on his 1967 album 'The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes'
'Black Mountain Side'
Traditional folk tune build on the Bert Jansch version called 'Black Waterside' also performed earlier by Annie Briggs.
'Communication Breakdown'
Derived from Eddie Cochran's rockabilly classic 'Nervous Breakdown' ?

The Zeppelins seemed to be fan of the blues giant Willie Dixon, they borrowed heavily from him, on this album two songs: 'I Can't Quit You Baby' and 'You Shook Me'.
Willie Dixon 1915-1992 Jeff Beck's album Truth(1968) also contained a version of 'You Shook Me' and it's funny that the two 'ol bandmates had the same song at 'almost' the same time, but Beck was first.
Zeppelin continue to borrow from Dixon's blues treasure, on the track 'Whole Lotta Love'(Led Zeppelin II) Robert Plant used the entire lyrics of the song 'You Need Love' and it also contained another Willie Dixon song, 'Bring It On Home', the Sonny Boy Williamson version.
Willie Dixon sued Led Zeppelin for royalties to 'Whole Lotta Love' 1985, two years later Willie Dixon got a big sum of money.
Oh! I almost forgot another song from the first Zeppelin album, 'How Many More Times' it's said that it's based on Howlin' Wolf's 'How Many More Years?' and part two is based on an Albert King tune called 'The Hunter'...but I'm not to sure about that..

?Is there any originals left?

What was the Question?
Is there any originals left?
..I don't care!.. despite all borrowings or´s the evolution of music but it's sad when the owner of a song don't get a credit/paid for it.

The album turned them into the Gods of Hard Rock and as Plant once said "I am a Golden God!" and I will say "It´s a Classic Album!"


Willie Dixon 1935-1995 Led Zeppelin had a sort of a fifth 'member', the manager Peter Grant.
Peter Grant (April 5, 1935 – November 21, 1995) was manager for the Yardbirds in 1967 and responsible that the band got money from the concerts for the first time(?!) during the Yardbirds last US tour.
It was during that time he and Jimmy Page got to knew each other and after the Yardbirds fell apart he went on to manage Led Zeppelin.
Peter Grant got Led Zeppelin a five-year deal with Atlantic Records in late-1968, that gave the band 'full control' on the recordings and he got ' maximum' royalties for the band, the highest ever to a new group, then.
He managed to conquered the US market without marketing the band instead the band toured the States for two years and with that they broke through in the United States.
The rest is history, Led Zeppelin has sold millions of albums in the States, on the 'Best Selling Albums of All Time'(April 2003) list, Led Zeppelin IV, released 1971 is number 4 with 21 million albums sold, Physical Graffiti, released 1975 is number 22(15 million sold), number 44 is Led Zeppelin II, released 1969 with 12 millions sold, Houses of the Holy released 1973 11 millions sold and Zeppelin's first, released 1969, has sold 10 millions records.

What album has sold the most?
The Eagles
with Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 with over 28 millions sold but that is another story.

Concert Photos

      Led Zeppelin at the Royal Tennis Court, Stockholm Sweden 1973

Led Zeppelin at Royal Tennis Court, Stockholm Sweden 1973

Led Zeppelin at Royal Tennis Court, Stockholm Sweden 1973

   ©Photos by Claes Hassel -