Led Zeppelin – 22 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The band members were Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitar), John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards) and John Bonham (drums).
They are said to have been one of the founders of the heavy metal and hard rock genres. Even though they drew their influences from a wide range of styles including blues and folk music.
They were also highly influential in the development of both album oriented rock and stadium rock.
They broke up in 1980 after the death of John Bonham a month before they were scheduled to tour North America.
Above are facts you probably already knew about the band, keep reading to find out 22 impressive facts you didn’t know about Led Zeppelin.
They Weren’t Always Called Led Zeppelin
When they first started out, the band were called the New Yardbirds as any older Led Zeppelin fan will tell you. A lesser known fact is that Frau Eva von Zeppelin who is a direct descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Wasn’t happy with the band using her family name. She felt they were dishonouring her family’s name by using it and demanded that they changed their name.
So they did, for one night only, when they performed in Copenhagen, on February 28th 1970. On that one show only, they called themselves “The Nobs”. They reverted back to Led Zeppelin for all subsequent shows.
They Got Their Name From Members Of The Who
In May 1966, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, John Paul Jones, John Entwistle and Keith Moon joined forces to record the instrumental tune “Beck’s Bolero”. They were so pleased with the outcome that they started talking about forming a Supergroup.
Keith Moon is alleged to have said it would go down like a lead balloon, then John Entwistle allegedly said “a lead zeppelin”.
They Were Fans Of J.R.R. Tolkien
The Led Zeppelin track “Ramble On” took its inspiration in its opening lines from a Tolkien poem as well as referencing Mordor and Gollum in the second verse. The track “Misty Mountain Hop” was named after a place featured in “The Hobbit” and the track “The Battle Of Evermore” references “The Lord Of the Rings” and “The Return Of The King”.
They Hired Their Own Aeroplane
Led Zeppelin hired the first Boeing 720-022 ever built from Bobby Sherman and his manager Ward Sylvester, it was named “The Starship” . It featured a main cabin with tables, chairs, revolving armchairs, a 30 foot sofa, a bar with a built-in electric organ, a TV, Video player, as well as a bedroom and shower room.
They used “The Starship” for the entirety of their 1975 American tour. Other bands and artists that have used the plane include; Deep Purple, The Allman Brothers Band, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper and Peter Frampton.
Robert Plant Dreaded Performing One Of Their Classics
Robert Plant said he got to the point where he didn’t want to sing “Stairway To Heaven” anymore. We’ll let him tell you in his own words,
I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show. I wrote those lyrics and found that song to be of some importance and consequence in 1971, but 17 years later, I don’t know. It’s just not for me.Robert Plant
They Recorded Their Debut Album In Less Than 30 Hours
According to Jimmy Page, who paid for the recording of their debut album out of his own pocket for the princely sum of £1782, they were in and out of the studio in less than 30 hours. He said he paid for the recording and mixing because he wanted full control over the album.
It went on to make a profit of more than £3.5 million, not a bad investment.
They Never Had A Number One Single
It might seem hard to believe, but Led Zeppelin never had a number one hit single. Their highest chart entry for a single was the edited version of “Whole Lotta Love” which peaked at number 4 in 1969.
There are several reasons why they never achieved a number one hit single. Firstly they wanted their fans to enjoy the full album experience and they saw themselves as a predominantly live band. They also only ever made one TV appearance which put them off due to the poor quality of using TV sound engineers.
Plus their songs were just too long for radio and they didn’t want to edit them just to get radio airtime.
They Destroyed Hotels And Received Lifetime Bans
While on tour Led Zeppelin would hire whole hotels or large sections of a hotel for their own private use. In many of these hotels they would smash the buildings so badly that they would receive lifetime bans.
In one famous or should we say infamous incident, John Bonham rode a motorcycle inside a rented hotel.
Their Singer Wasn’t Their First Choice
When Jimmy Page was looking for a singer for his new band, his first choice was Terry Reid who turned him down. Jimmy then asked Steve Marriot but he turned him down as well. Finally he asked Robert Plant, who although not first or second choice, he was a great choice as things turned out.
They Invented Some Effects
Led Zeppelin were music pioneers and were always on the lookout for a new sound. Jimmy Page invented the reverse echo that can be heard on “Whole Lotta Love”. At the time it was a pretty revolutionary invention, but Jimmy is reported to have said “I was just in the studio twisting knobs”.
SEE ALSO: The Best Led Zeppelin Songs (list with chords & lyrics)
One Of Their T-Shirts Sold For $10,000
At an auction in 2011, one of Led Zeppelin’s T-shirts sold for $10,000 because it was one of a rare few that originally doubled up as a backstage pass during their massive outdoor shows at Knebworth Park in August 1979.
Robert Plant Recorded One Of Their Albums in A Wheelchair
Led Zeppelin’s 1976 album “Presence” was recorded with Robert Plant in a wheelchair after receiving serious injuries in a car crash in Greece. Robert and his family were holidaying in Greece when the car crash occurred leaving all of the family with some injuries. He flew to Munich to record the album even though he was still in great pain.
They Released An Album With No Name
After some music critics had not been 100% enthusiastic about some of their earlier albums, Led Zeppelin refused to name their 4th album. Released in 1971, the album depicted 4 symbols which led many fans to call the album “ZOSO”. It’s officially known as “Led Zeppelin IV”.
They Changed Their Name From Lead To Led
The story goes that Jimmy Page said something about the Americans will call us Lead (Leed) Zeppelin instead of Led Zeppelin so they changed the spelling to avoid any confusion.
They Were The First Band To Have Six Albums Chart At The Same Time
When Led Zeppelin’s album “Physical Graffiti” was released, all of their previous 5 albums re-entered the charts. This made them the first band to have 6 albums chart at the same time.
They Have A Connection With ABBA
On the face of it, there can be little connection between the outrageous rockers and the Swedish songsters. But Led Zeppelin’s last studio album “In Through The Out Door” was recorded in1978 and ‘79 at a recording studio in Sweden owned by ABBA.
One Of Their Albums Contains Quotes By Aleister Crowley
The vinyl copies of Led Zeppelin III were recorded with two quotes by the black magic practitioner Aleister Crowley inscribed on the inner groove. The quotes were “Do What Thou Wilt” and “So Mote It Be”.
Jimmy Page was greatly influenced by Crowley and even bought Crowley’s house in Scotland in 1970.
SEE ALSO: Led Zeppelin Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)
One Of Their Tracks Features A Dustbin
The Led Zeppelin song “Ramble On” features a unique bongo drum sound. This was created by John Bonham drumming on a dustbin instead of a drum.
John Bonham Drank 40 Shots Of Vodka
On the night that John Bonham died, he had drunk the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka. He was found dead in Jimmy Page’s home in Windsor, Berkshire after a day of drinking quadruple vodkas while rehearsing.
They Have Been Sued For Plagiarism
Led Zeppelin have been sued for plagiarism on several occasions. The folk singer Jake Holmes claimed that he wrote “Dazed And Confused”. He opened for The Yardbirds in August 1967 and Jimmy Page was part of the Yardbirds at that time. In Led Zeppelin’s version Page is credited as sole writer.
Their track “Whole Lotta Love” was accused of being based on “You Need Love” by Willie Dixon. But this was apparently because Page had said that Plant referenced Dixon’s “You Need Love” lyrics in “Whole Lotta Love”, this meant that Dixon was given co-songwriting credits after a lawsuit in 1981.
Their classic song “Stairway To Heaven” has also been involved in a lawsuit by the band Spirit. They claim that the arpeggio opening to the Zeppelin song is too similar to their 1968 instrumental track “Taurus”.
One Of Their Songs Was Written About Joni Mitchell
It is claimed that Robert Plant wrote”Going To California” about Joni Mitchell. He was apparently infatuated with her and part of the song is about her. The rest of the song deals with the minor earthquake that the band experienced while the band was mixing “Led Zeppelin IV”.
They Were Signed To Atlantic Records Without Having Been Seen By The Company
Dusty Springfield the British singer and a friend of John Paul Jones was just completing her first album “Dusty In Memphis” for Atlantic Records. She recommended the band to recording executives and they signed Led Zeppelin just on her say so.
SEE ALSO: Bands Like Led Zeppelin (similar music you’re guaranteed to love!)
Have You Heard Any More?
That’s our 22 impressive facts about Led Zeppelin you didn’t know, have you heard any more? We’d love to hear them too. Please share them in the comments section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
After many years of performing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”, Robert Plant said he used to dread performing it because it no longer had any relevance.
The Led Zeppelin song that contains the lines “And not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear” is “Kashmir” which was taken from the album “Physical Graffiti”.
It is true that Led Zeppelin performed one show in Copenhagen as “The Nobs” because Frau Eva von Zeppelin who is a direct descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin wasn’t happy with the band using her family name. She felt they were dishonouring her family’s name by using it and demanded that they changed their name. Which they did just for that one show.
The original name of the band Led Zeppelin was The New Yardbirds.
The Led Zeppelin album that first featured the Immigrant Song was “Led Zeppelin III”.
The title of Led Zeppelin’s first compilation album was “Coda” which was released on November 19th 1982.
The Led Zeppelin song that contains the lines “And so, today my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles” is “Thank You” which was taken from the album “Led Zeppelin II”.
The band first performed as Led Zeppelin at the University of Surrey in Battersea, London on October 25th 1968.
The British singer who recommended Led Zeppelin to Atlantic Records is Dusty Springfield. She recommended the band to executives of Atlantic Records who signed the band without ever seeing them.
The name of the cottage in Wales where Led Zeppelin went to work on their 3rd album “Led Zeppelin III” was Bron-Yr-Aur. It was a cottage that Robert Plant had been to before on family holidays.
The Led Zeppelin song that contains the lines “How soft your fields, so green, can whisper tales of gore, of how we calmed the tides of war” is “Immigrant Song” which was taken from the album “Led Zeppelin III”.
It is true that Led Zeppelin were the first band to have 6 albums chart at the same time. When they released “Physical Graffiti”, all of their previous 5 albums re-entered the charts. This made them the first band to have 6 albums chart at the same time.
The Led Zeppelin II track which features a John Bonham drum solo is “Moby Dick”.
The Led Zeppelin song that contains the lines “It’s been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time” is “Rock And Roll” which was taken from the album “Led Zeppelin IV”
Led Zeppelin II was recorded in stages in various recording studios in the US and the UK whilst the band were on tour.