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Led Zeppelin, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 919

Research Paper

Led Zeppelin were a British rock band that was formed in 1968. They were described as being a heavy metal rock band.  They managed to blend a fusion of folk and rock in order to create their own unique heavy guitar rock sound.  The band managed to sell some 200 million albums throughout the world. They became one of the great icons of the 1970’s and achieve 6 No1 spots at the top of the pop charts.

The band history can be traced back to another group called ‘The Yardbirds’ and it was Jimmy Page who joined the Yardbirds in 1966. It was P J Proby who picked up the remnants of the band after they split up and it was these players that were later to form the rock group Led Zeppelin. They made their first debut in Newcastle, England on 4th October 1968.

Between 1971 and 1977 Led Zeppelin were considered to be one of the most influential and successful rock bands of that era. The band gained a reputation of living the high life and being the bad boys of rock. They did tours throughout the world and the image deteriorated as they trashed hotel rooms and threw televisions onto the street (Tokyo), they rented whole blocks of hotels for wild extravagant party’s (Las Angeles) and gained a fierce some reputation for acts of debauchery. During this period they produced album No 4 called Led Zeppelin IV and it sold 23 million copies in the USA. “The 4th album further refined the band’s unique formula of combining earthy, acoustic elements with heavy metal and blues emphases. The album included examples of hard rock, such as “Black Dog” (the title supposedly a tribute to a dog which loitered around the recording studio during the sessions) and an acoustic track, “Going to California” (a tribute to Joni Mitchell).” (NJK)

Led Zeppelin released the album ‘Houses of the Holy’ in 1973 and this became a highly controversial album because of the pictures of nude children climbing the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. Despite this the album topped the charts and provided the backdrop for the group’s tour of the USA. In 1974 they started to release records under their own music label entitled ‘Swan Song’; the label continued to sell well until the group disbanded. The group went on to make a number of successful albums until the tragic death of the drummer John Bonham. Bonham died from choking on his own vomit after consuming a large amount of Vodka. The verdict was accidental death. He was cremated in 1980 in Droitwich, England and the band split up after jointly agreeing that they could not continue without Bonham. The bands surviving members had a re-union in 2007 and went on the reunion tour between 2008-10.

Cultural Significance

The band was considered to be the re-incarnation of the 1960’s psychedelic culture and brought rock into a new version that influenced the fashion industry, lifestyle, jewellery and celebrities. They sold such items as Led Zeppelin T shirts, flared jeans and these became new style items for people like Kate Moss, Jessica Simpson and Marrissa Mitter. The group continued to raise controversy even after disbanding. There were allegations that most of the material they used was not original but copies of pre-existing materials from other multiple sources. Critics stated that they lacked originality and authenticity. Page refuted many of these claims stating that they were referring to the lyrics and not the actual guitar music but he did admit that the group took some liberties. “It’s all very well celebrating other people’s song writing, and I know there are artists who actually have an entire career doing that, whether it be Elvis or Sinatra or…a lot of country artists who never write. But we’re gonna be heading that way soon. – Robert Plant “ (Graff)

In the 1970’s one critic stated “Zeppelin’s 1975 tour launched less than six years after the band formed, but Davis says it was already the beginning of their decline. “Plant had a secret vocal chord operation after the 1973 tour and afterwards he wasn’t quite the same,” he says. “The 1977 tour was a disaster with a lot of violence and drugs. After that John Paul Jones took over and the 1979 and 1980 tours were like a senior citizen’s Led Zeppelin” (Greene)

Influences

The rock group consisted of Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals/harmonica), John Bonham (drums/percussion) and John Paul Jones ( bass guitar / keyboards). The band is said to have influenced many other rock bands. The new Rolling Stone Magazine said that a track called ‘a whole lotta love’ became the starting point  for such groups as Guns n Roses and Van Halen. The song ‘a stairway to heaven’ was reported to have influenced the Eagles with their block buster hit ‘Hotel California’. Other groups that were reported as being highly influenced by their music included the groups Black Sabbath, Queen, Megadeth and individual artists included that of Madonna, Shakira and Katie Melua. “the band’s individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one genre. Their rock-infused interpretation of the blues and folk genres also incorporated rockabilly, reggae, soul, funk, classical, Celtic, Indian, Arabic, pop, Latin and country.” (Lyricsfreak)

Works Cited

Graff, Garry. Robert Plant ‘Felt Young’ Working on ‘Band of Joy’ Album. 13 9 2010. 30 11 2010 <http://www.billboard.com/artist/led-zeppelin/5047#/news/robert-plant-felt-young-working-on-band-1004114205.story>.

Greene, Andy. Led Zeppelin’s Chaotic ’75 Tour Chronicled in New Book. 5 11 2010. 30 11 2010 <http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/51942/231457>.

Lyricsfreak. Lyrics to Led Zeppelin. 2010. 30 11 2010 <http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/led+zeppelin/>.

NJK. Led Zeppelin . 2007. 30 11 2010 <http://www.solarnavigator.net/music/led_zeppelin.htm>.

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