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Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin live at Chicago Stadium, January 1975
Background information
Also known as The New Yardbirds, The Nobs[1]
Origin London, England
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal,
blues rock, folk rock
Years active 1968–1980
(reunions: 1985, 1988, 1995, 2007)
Labels Atlantic, Swan Song
Associated acts Page and Plant, The Honeydrippers, The Yardbirds
Website ledzeppelin.com
Past members
Jimmy Page
John Paul Jones
Robert Plant
John Bonham
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in 1968 that consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul Jones. With their heavy, guitar-driven blues rock sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal[2][3] and hard rock,[4][5] even though the band's individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one music genre.[6][7] Led Zeppelin did not release songs from their albums as singles in the United Kingdom, as they preferred to develop the concept of album-oriented rock.[3]
More than 30 years after disbanding following Bonham's death in 1980, Led Zeppelin continue to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential bands in the history of rock music. Led Zeppelin have sold over 200 million albums worldwide according to some sources,[8] while other sources state sales of more than 300 million records,[9] including 111.5 million certified units in the United States,[10] making them one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, as well as the second best selling band of all time in the US.[10] They have had all of their original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number one spot.[11] Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as "the heaviest band of all time",[12] "the biggest band of the '70s"[13] and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history".[2] Similarly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described the band in the 1970s as being "as influential in that decade as The Beatles were in the prior one".[14]
In 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (along with John Bonham's son, Jason) for the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert at The O2 Arena in London. The band was honoured with the "Best Live Act" prize for their one-off reunion at MOJO Awards 2008,[15] where they were described as the "greatest rock and roll band of all time."[16]




In 1966, Jimmy Page joined the blues-influenced rock band The Yardbirds to replace bassist Paul Samwell-Smith. Shortly after, Page switched from bass to lead guitar, creating a dual lead-guitar line-up with Jeff Beck. Following the departure of Beck in October 1966, The Yardbirds, who were tired from constant touring and recording, began to wind down.[17] Page wanted to form a supergroup with himself and Beck on guitars, and The Who's rhythm section—drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle.[18] Vocalists Steve Winwood and Steve Marriott were also considered for the project.[19][20] The group never formed, although Page, Beck and Moon did record a song together in 1966, "Beck's Bolero", which was released on Beck's 1968 album Truth. The recording session also included bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones, who told Page that he would be interested in collaborating with him on future projects.[21]
The Yardbirds played their final gig in July 1968 at Luton College of Technology in Bedfordshire, England.[22] They were still committed to performing several concerts in Scandinavia, so drummer Jim McCarty and vocalist Keith Relf authorised Page and bassist Chris Dreja to use the Yardbirds name to fulfil the band's obligations. Page and Dreja began putting a new line-up together. Page's first choice for lead singer, Terry Reid, declined the offer, but suggested Robert Plant, a Stourbridge singer for the Band of Joy.[3][23] Plant eventually accepted the position, recommending drummer John Bonham from nearby Redditch.[3] When Dreja dropped out of the project to become a photographer (he would later take the photograph that appeared on the back of Led Zeppelin's debut album), John Paul Jones, at the suggestion of his wife, contacted Page about the vacant position.[24] Being familiar with Jones' credentials, Page agreed to bring in Jones as the final piece.
The group played together for the first time in a room below a record store on Gerrard Street in London.[25][26] Page suggested that they try playing "Train Kept A-Rollin'", a rockabilly song popularised by Johnny Burnette that had been given new life by the Yardbirds. "As soon as I heard John Bonham play," recalled Jones, "I knew this was going to be great... We locked together as a team immediately."[27] Shortly afterwards, the group played together on the final day of sessions for the P.J. Proby album, Three Week Hero. The album's song "Jim's Blues" was the first studio track to feature all four members of the future Led Zeppelin.[19] Proby recalled, "Come the last day we found we had some studio time, so I just asked the band to play while I just came up with the words... They weren't Led Zeppelin at the time, they were the New Yardbirds and they were going to be my band."[28]
The band completed the Scandinavian tour as The New Yardbirds, playing together for the first time in front of a live audience at Gladsaxe Teen Clubs in Gladsaxe, Denmark, on 7 September 1968.[29][30] Later that month, the group began recording their first album, which was based upon their live set at the time. The album was recorded and mixed in nine days, with all costs covered by Page himself.[31] After the album's completion, the band was forced to change their name after Chris Dreja issued a cease and desist letter, stating that Page was only allowed to use the New Yardbirds name for the Scandinavian dates.[32] One account of the band's naming has it that Keith Moon and John Entwistle, drummer and bassist for The Who, respectively, suggested that a possible supergroup containing themselves, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck would go down like a "lead balloon", a traditional joke describing disastrous results.[33] The group deliberately dropped the 'a' in lead at the suggestion of their manager, Peter Grant, to prevent "thick Americans"[21] from pronouncing it "leed".[34] The word "balloon" was transformed into "zeppelin", perhaps an exaggeration of the humour, and to Page the name conjured the perfect combination of heavy and light, combustibility and grace.[33]
Grant also secured for the new band an advance deal of $200,000 from Atlantic Records in November 1968, which was then one of biggest deals of its kind for a new band.[28] Atlantic was a label known for a catalogue of blues, soul and jazz artists, but in the late 1960s it began to take an interest in progressive British rock acts, and signed Led Zeppelin without having ever seen them, largely on the recommendation of singer Dusty Springfield.[26][35] Under the terms of the contract secured by Grant, the band alone would decide when they would release albums and tour, and had final say over the contents and design of each album. They also would decide how to promote each release and which (if any) tracks to release as singles, and formed their own company, Superhype, to handle all publishing rights.[36]

Early years (1968–70)

The band officially declared they were changing their name to Led Zeppelin on 14 October 1968, and played their first show under the new name at the University of Surrey in Guildford on 25 October.[37] This was followed by a US concert debut on 26 December 1968 before moving on to the west coast for dates in cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco.[38] Led Zeppelin was released in the US on 12 January 1969, while the tour was underway. It didn't appear in their native UK until 31 March 1969. The album's blend of blues, folk and eastern influences with distorted amplification made it one of the pivotal records in the creation of heavy metal music.[3] Plant has commented that it is unfair for people to typecast the band as heavy metal, since about a third of their music was acoustic.[39] On their first album Plant receives no credit for his contributions to the songwriting, a result of his previous association with CBS Records.[40] By 1975, the album had grossed $7,000,000.[41]
Plant and Page performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in March 1970. The band would soon retire to the Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in Wales to record Led Zeppelin III.
In their first year, Led Zeppelin managed to complete four US and four UK concert tours, and also released their second album, entitled Led Zeppelin II.[28] Recorded almost entirely on the road at various North American recording studios, the second album was an even greater success and reached the number one chart position in the US and the UK.[42] The band further developed ideas established on their debut album, creating a work which became even more widely acclaimed and arguably more influential.[43] It has been suggested that Led Zeppelin II largely wrote the blueprint for heavy metal bands that followed it.[43][44]
Following the album's release, Led Zeppelin completed several more US tours. They played initially in clubs and ballrooms, then in larger auditoriums as their popularity grew.[3] Some early Led Zeppelin concerts lasted more than four hours, with expanded, improvised live versions of their song repertoire. Many of these shows have been preserved as Led Zeppelin bootleg recordings. It was also during this period of intensive concert touring that the band developed a reputation for off-stage excess.[45] One alleged example of such extravagance was the shark episode, or red snapper incident, which is said to have taken place at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle, Washington, on 28 July 1969.[21][45]
For the composition of their third album, Led Zeppelin III, Page and Plant retired to Bron-Yr-Aur, a remote cottage in Wales, in 1970.[46] The result was a more acoustic sound which was strongly influenced by folk and Celtic music, and revealed the band's versatility.[36] The album's rich acoustic sound initially received mixed reactions, with many critics and fans surprised at the turn taken away from the primarily electric compositions of the first two albums. Over time, its reputation has improved and Led Zeppelin III is now generally praised.[47][48] The album's opening track, "Immigrant Song", was released in November 1970 by Atlantic Records as a single against the band's wishes.[49] It included their only non-album B-side, "Hey Hey What Can I Do". Even though the band saw their albums as indivisible, whole listening experiences, and their manager, Peter Grant, maintained an aggressive pro-album stance, some singles were released without their consent. The group also increasingly resisted television appearances, enforcing their preference that their fans hear and see them in live concerts.[26][50][51]

"The Biggest Band In The World" (1971–75)

The four symbols on the label and inside sleeve of Led Zeppelin IV, representing Page, Jones, Bonham and Plant.
Led Zeppelin were one of the most commercially successful and influential groups of the 1970s.[52] The band's popularity in the early years was dwarfed by their mid-seventies successes and it is this period that continues to define them.[21][45] The band's image also changed as members began to wear elaborate, flamboyant clothing. Led Zeppelin began travelling in a private jet airliner (nicknamed The Starship),[45] rented out entire sections of hotels (including the Continental Hyatt House in Los Angeles, known colloquially as the "Riot House"), and became the subject of many of rock's most repeated stories of debauchery. One escapade involved John Bonham riding a motorcycle through a rented floor of the Riot House,[45] while another involved the destruction of a room in the Tokyo Hilton, leading to the band being banned from that establishment for life.[26][53] Although Led Zeppelin developed a reputation for trashing their hotel suites and throwing television sets out of the windows, some suggest that these tales have been somewhat exaggerated. Music journalist Chris Welch argues that "[Led Zeppelin's] travels spawned many stories, but it was a myth that [they] were constantly engaged in acts of wanton destruction and lewd behaviour."[26]
Led Zeppelin's fourth album was released on 8 November 1971. There was no indication of a title or a band name on the original cover, as the band disdained being labelled as "hyped" and "overrated" by the music press, and in response wanted to prove that the music could sell itself by giving no indication of who they were.[23] The album remained officially untitled and is most commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, though it is variously referred to by the four symbols appearing on the record label, as Four Symbols and The Fourth Album (both titles were used in the Atlantic Records catalogue), Untitled, Zoso, Runes, or IV.[54] Led Zeppelin IV is one of the best-selling albums in history and its massive popularity cemented Led Zeppelin's superstardom in the 1970s. To date it has sold 23 million copies in the United States.[55] The track "Stairway to Heaven", although never released as a single, is sometimes quoted as being the most requested,[56] and most played[57] album-oriented rock FM radio song.
Plant and Page perform acoustically in Hamburg in March 1973, just before the release of Led Zeppelin's fifth album, Houses of the Holy
Led Zeppelin's next album, Houses of the Holy, was released in 1973. It featured further experimentation, with expanded use of synthesisers and mellotron orchestration. The song "Houses of the Holy" does not appear on its namesake album, even though it was recorded at the same time as other songs that do appear; it eventually made its way onto the 1975 album Physical Graffiti.[21] The orange album cover of Houses of the Holy depicts images of nude children[58] climbing up the Giant's Causeway (in County Antrim, Northern Ireland). Although the children are not depicted from the front, this was controversial at the time of the album's release, and in some areas, such as the "Bible Belt" and Spain, the record was banned.[59][60]
The album topped the charts, and Led Zeppelin's subsequent concert tour of North America in 1973 broke records for attendance, as they consistently filled large auditoriums and stadiums. At Tampa Stadium, Florida, they played to 56,800 fans (breaking the record set by The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965), and grossed $309,000.[21] Three sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden in New York were filmed for a motion picture, but the theatrical release of this project (The Song Remains the Same) would be delayed until 1976. Before the final night's performance, $180,000 of the band's money from gate receipts was stolen from a safe deposit box at the Drake Hotel.[61] It was never recovered.[62]
In 1974, Led Zeppelin took a break from touring and launched their own record label, Swan Song, named after one of only five Led Zeppelin songs which the band never released commercially (Page later re-worked the song with his band, The Firm, and it appears as "Midnight Moonlight" on their first album). The record label's logo, based on a drawing called Evening: Fall of Day (1869) by William Rimmer, features a picture of Apollo.[63] The logo can be found on much Led Zeppelin memorabilia, especially t-shirts. In addition to using Swan Song as a vehicle to promote their own albums, the band expanded the label's roster, signing artists such as Bad Company, The Pretty Things, Maggie Bell, Detective, Dave Edmunds, Midnight Flyer, Sad Café and Wildlife.[3] The label was successful while Led Zeppelin existed, but folded less than three years after they disbanded.[21]
Led Zeppelin perform at Chicago Stadium in January 1975, a few weeks before the release of Physical Graffiti
In 1975 Led Zeppelin released the double album, Physical Graffiti, which was their first release on the Swan Song label. It consisted of fifteen songs, eight of which were recorded at Headley Grange in 1974, the remainder being tracks previously recorded but not released on earlier albums. A review in Rolling Stone magazine referred to Physical Graffiti as Led Zeppelin's "bid for artistic respectability", adding that the only competition the band had for the title of 'World's Best Rock Band' were The Rolling Stones and The Who.[64] The album was a massive fiscal and critical success. Shortly after the release of Physical Graffiti, all previous Led Zeppelin albums simultaneously re-entered the top-200 album chart,[21] and the band embarked on another North American tour, again playing to record-breaking crowds. In May 1975, Led Zeppelin played five sold-out nights at the Earls Court Arena in London, at the time the largest arena in Britain.[65]

Hiatus from touring and return (1975–77)

Following these triumphant Earls Court appearances Led Zeppelin took a holiday and planned an autumn tour in America, scheduled to open with two outdoor dates in San Francisco.[50] These plans were thwarted in August 1975 when Robert Plant and his wife Maureen were involved in a serious car crash while on holiday in Rhodes, Greece. Robert suffered a broken ankle and Maureen was badly injured; a blood transfusion saved her life.[21] Unable to tour, Plant headed to the Channel Island of Jersey to spend August and September recuperating, with Bonham and Page in tow. The band then reconvened in Malibu, California. It was during this forced hiatus that much of the material for their next album, Presence, was written.
By this time, Led Zeppelin were the world's number one rock attraction,[50] having outsold most bands of the time, including The Rolling Stones.[21] Presence, released in March 1976, marked a change in the Led Zeppelin sound towards more straightforward, guitar-based jams, departing from the acoustic ballads and intricate arrangements featured on their previous albums. Though it was a platinum seller, Presence received mixed responses from critics and fans and some said the band's excesses may have caught up with them.[3][66] The recording of Presence coincided with the beginning of Page's heroin use, which may have interfered with Led Zeppelin's later live shows and studio recordings, although Page has denied this.[67]
Plant and Page perform in Chicago in April 1977, during Led Zeppelin's last-ever North American tour
Plant's injuries prevented Led Zeppelin from touring in 1976. Instead, the band finally completed the concert film The Song Remains the Same, and the soundtrack album of the film. The recording had taken place during three nights of concerts at Madison Square Garden in July 1973, during the band's concert tour of North America. The film premiered in New York on 20 October 1976, but was given a lukewarm reception by critics and fans.[3] The film was particularly unsuccessful in the UK, where, after being unwilling to tour since 1975 due to a taxation exile, Led Zeppelin were facing an uphill battle to recapture the public spotlight at home.[68]
In 1977, Led Zeppelin embarked on another major concert tour of North America. Here the band set another attendance record, with 76,229 people attending their Pontiac Silverdome concert on 30 April.[69] It was, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest attendance to date for a single act show.[50] Though the tour was financially profitable it was beset with off-stage problems. On 19 April over 70 persons were arrested as about 1,000 ticketless fans tried to gatecrash Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum for two sold out festival seating concerts while some tried to gain entry by throwing rocks and bottles through glass entrance doors. On 3 June a concert at Tampa Stadium was cut short because of a severe thunderstorm, despite tickets printed with "Rain or Shine". A riot broke out amongst the audience, resulting in several arrests and injuries.[70]
After a 23 July show[71] at the Days on the Green festival at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, John Bonham and members of the band's support staff were arrested after a member of promoter Bill Graham's staff was badly beaten during the band's performance.[21][72] The following day's second Oakland concert[73] would prove to be the band's final live appearance in the United States. Two days later, as the band checked in at a French Quarter hotel for their 30 July performance at the Louisiana Superdome, news came that Plant's five year old son, Karac, had died from a stomach virus. The rest of the tour was immediately cancelled, prompting widespread speculation about the band's future.[3][26]

Bonham's death and break-up (1978–80)

After the death of Bonham (pictured in 1975) on 25 September 1980, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin decided to disband the group.
November 1978 saw the group recording again, this time at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden. The resultant album was In Through the Out Door, which exhibited a degree of sonic experimentation that again drew mixed reactions from critics. Nevertheless, the band still commanded legions of loyal fans, and the album easily reached number 1 in the UK and the US in just its second week on the Billboard album chart. As a result of this album's release, Led Zeppelin's entire catalogue made the Billboard Top 200 between the weeks of 27 October and 3 November 1979.[50]
In August 1979, after two warm-up shows in Copenhagen, Led Zeppelin headlined two concerts at the Knebworth Music Festival, where crowds of close to 120,000 witnessed the return of the band. Plant was not eager to tour full-time again, and even considered leaving Led Zeppelin. He was persuaded to stay by Peter Grant. A brief, low-key European tour was undertaken in June and July 1980, featuring a stripped-down set without the usual lengthy jams and solos. At one show on 27 June, in Nuremberg, Germany, the concert came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the third song when John Bonham collapsed on stage and was rushed to a hospital.[74] Press speculation arose that Bonham's problem was caused by an excess of alcohol and drugs, but the band claimed that he had simply overeaten, and they completed the show.[21][75]
On 24 September 1980, John Bonham was picked up by Led Zeppelin assistant Rex King to attend rehearsals at Bray Studios for an upcoming North American tour, the band's first since 1977, scheduled to commence on 17 October.[26] During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he downed four quadruple vodkas (450 ml/15 oz.), with a ham roll. After taking a bite of the ham roll he said to his assistant, "Breakfast". He continued to drink heavily when he arrived at the studio. A halt was called to the rehearsals late in the evening and the band retired to Page's house—The Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. After midnight, Bonham had fallen asleep and was taken to bed and placed on his side. At 1:45 pm the next day Benji LeFevre (who had replaced Richard Cole as Led Zeppelin's tour manager) and John Paul Jones found him dead.[26] The cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit, and a verdict of accidental death was returned at an inquest held on 27 October.[26] An autopsy found no other drugs in Bonham's body. Bonham was cremated on 10 October 1980, and his ashes buried at Rushock parish church in Droitwich, Worcestershire.
The planned North American tour was cancelled, and despite rumours that Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Barriemore Barlow, Simon Kirke or Bev Bevan would join the group as his replacement, the remaining members decided to disband after Bonham's death. They issued a press statement on 4 December 1980 confirming that the band would not continue without Bonham. The statement said, "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were," and was simply signed "Led Zeppelin".[26]

Post-breakup events


The first significant post-Led Zeppelin project was The Honeydrippers, a band formed in 1981 by Robert Plant and featuring Jimmy Page on lead guitar, along with an array of studio musicians and friends of Plant and Page, including Jeff Beck, Paul Shaffer, and Nile Rodgers. Plant intentionally chose to focus the band in a very different direction from Led Zeppelin, playing standards and more R&B style, highlighted by their cover of "Sea of Love", which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard charts in very early 1985.[76]
Jimmy Page performs at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, 1983
In 1982, the surviving members of the group released a collection of out-takes from various sessions during Led Zeppelin's career, entitled Coda. It included two tracks taken from the band's performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970, one each from the Led Zeppelin III and Houses of the Holy sessions, and three from the In Through the Out Door sessions. It also featured a 1976 John Bonham drum instrumental with electronic effects added by Jimmy Page, called "Bonzo's Montreux".
On 13 July 1985, Page, Plant and Jones reunited for the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, playing a short set featuring drummers Tony Thompson and Phil Collins and bassist Paul Martinez. Collins had contributed to Plant's first two solo albums while Martinez was a member of Plant's current solo band. The performance was marred by the lack of rehearsal with the two drummers, Page's struggles with an out-of-tune Les Paul and poorly functioning monitors, and by Plant's hoarse voice.[77][78] Page himself has described the performance as "pretty shambolic"[79] and "clearly wasn't good enough,"[80] while Plant was even harsher, characterising it as an "atrocity".[77]
The three members reunited again on 14 May 1988, for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, with Bonham's son, Jason Bonham, on drums. The reunion was again compromised by a disjointed performance, particularly by Plant and Page (the two having argued immediately prior to coming on stage about whether to play "Stairway to Heaven"), and by the complete loss of Jones' keyboards on the live television feed.[78][81] Page later described the performance as "one big disappointment", and Plant said unambiguously that "the gig was foul".[81]


The first Led Zeppelin box set, featuring tracks remastered under the supervision of Jimmy Page, introduced the band's music to many new fans, stimulating a renaissance for Led Zeppelin. This set included four previously unreleased tracks, including the Robert Johnson tribute "Travelling Riverside Blues". The song peaked at number seven on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart, with the video in heavy rotation on MTV. 1992 saw the release of the "Immigrant Song"/"Hey Hey What Can I Do" (the original B-side) as a CD single in the US. Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 was released in 1993; the two box sets together containing all known studio recordings, as well as some rare live tracks.
In 1994, Page and Plant reunited in the form of a 90 minute "UnLedded" MTV project. They later released an album called No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, which featured some reworked Led Zeppelin songs, and embarked on a world tour the following year. This is said to be the beginning of the inner rift between the band members, as Jones was not even told of the reunion.[24][82] When asked where Jones was, Plant had replied that he was out "parking the car".[83]
In 1995, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the United States Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—their first year of eligibility—by Aerosmith's vocalist, Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry. Jason and Zoe Bonham also attended, representing their late father. At the induction ceremony, the band's inner rift became apparent when Jones joked upon accepting his award, "Thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number", causing consternation and awkward looks from Page and Plant.[84] Afterwards, they played a brief set with Tyler and Perry (featuring Jason Bonham on drums), and with Neil Young and Michael Lee replacing Bonham.
In 1997 Atlantic released a single edit of "Whole Lotta Love" in the US and the UK, making it the only Led Zeppelin UK CD single. Additional tracks on this CD-single are "Baby Come On Home" and "Travelling Riverside Blues". It is the only single the band ever released in the UK. It peaked at number 21.[85] 11 November 1997 saw the release of Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions, the first Led Zeppelin album in fifteen years. The two-disc set included almost all of the band's recordings for the BBC. Page and Plant released another album called Walking into Clarksdale in 1998, featuring all new material. The album was not as successful as No Quarter, and the band slowly dissolved.


In 2003 two live Led Zeppelin documents were released: the double live album How the West Was Won, and Led Zeppelin DVD, a six-hour chronological set of live footage that became the best-selling music DVD in history.[86] That same year the band received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In November 2005, it was announced that Led Zeppelin and Russian conductor Valery Gergiev were the winners of the 2006 Polar Music Prize. The King of Sweden presented the prize to Plant, Page, and Jones, along with John Bonham's daughter, in Stockholm in May 2006.[87] In November 2006, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.[88]
In July 2007 Page gave testimony and observed evidence on behalf of Led Zeppelin at a court case in Glasgow against an alleged bootlegger. Robert Langley was charged with, and denied, 12 counts of producing and selling products without copyright permission.[89] Page was shown hundreds of CDs and DVDs, ranging from his solo material to his time in Led Zeppelin and The Yardbirds, which Langley was allegedly selling in Scotland during 2005. Many contain footage and audio from Page's personal collection, stolen from his home in the early 1980s.[90]
The goods were found on sale as far away as New York, where shop-owners thought they were official. Page later said "If you have something like this that appears legitimate then it is just not right". Page concluded his day in court by greeting waiting fans and signing autographs.[90] Langley subsequently changed his plea to guilty, and was sentenced to a 20-month prison term.[91]
On 27 July 2007, Atlantic/Rhino and Warner Home Video announced three new Led Zeppelin titles to be released in November 2007. First was Mothership on 13 November, a 24-track best-of spanning the band's career, followed by a reissue of the soundtrack to The Song Remains the Same on 20 November which includes previously unreleased material, and a new DVD.[92] On 15 October 2007, it was reported that Led Zeppelin were expected to announce a new series of agreements that make the band's songs available as legal digital downloads, first as ringtones through Verizon Wireless then as digital downloads of the band's eight studio albums and other recordings on 13 November.[93] The offerings were made available through both Verizon Wireless and iTunes. On 8 November 2007, XM Satellite Radio launched XM LED, the network's first artist-exclusive channel dedicated to Led Zeppelin. On 13 November 2007, Led Zeppelin's complete works were published on iTunes.
Led Zeppelin performing at the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert in December 2007
On 10 December 2007, Led Zeppelin reunited for the one-off Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert, with Jason Bonham taking up his late father's place on drums. According to Guinness World Records 2009, Led Zeppelin hold the world record for the "Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert" as 20 million requests for the reunion show were rendered online.[94] The concert was to help raise money for the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund, which pays for university scholarships in the UK, US and Turkey. Music critics praised the band's performance. Hamish MacBain of NME proclaimed, "What they have done here tonight is proof they can still perform to the level that originally earned them their legendary reputation... We can only hope this isn't the last we see of them."[95]
In an interview promoting the release of the Mothership compilation in Tokyo early in 2008, Jimmy Page stated that he was prepared to embark upon a world tour with Led Zeppelin, but due to Robert Plant's tour commitments with Alison Krauss, such plans would not be announced until at least September.[96] Showing enthusiasm for continued performing, in late spring Page and Jones joined Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins onstage at Wembley Stadium to perform Led Zeppelin tracks "Rock and Roll" and "Ramble On".[97]
After the BBC reported in late August that Page, Jones and Bonham were recording material which could become a new Led Zeppelin project,[98] rumours of a reunion began to accumulate through the remaining summer.[99][100][101] On 29 September Plant released a statement in which he called reports of a Led Zeppelin reunion "frustrating and ridiculous". He said he would not be recording or touring with the band, before adding, "I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham nothing but success with any future projects."[102][103]
Following Plant's statement, authoritative but divergent views of the possibility of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour the next year were offered by John Paul Jones and promoter Harvey Goldsmith. In late October, Jones confirmed to BBC Radio Devon in Exeter that he, Page, and Bonham were seeking a replacement for Plant. Goldsmith commented on the prospect of a Led Zeppelin reunion, casting doubt on the possibility or wisdom of such a venture: "I think that there is an opportunity for them to go out and present themselves. I don't think a long rambling tour is the answer as Led Zeppelin." The Ertegün Concert promoter felt the result of the ongoing plans of Jones, Page, and Bonham would not be "called Led Zeppelin".[104] A spokesman for Page later confirmed this, telling Rolling Stone that the name Led Zeppelin would not be used due to the absence of Plant.[105] Singers who auditioned for the project included Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge.[106] In January 2009, Page's manager Robert Mensch stated that the band had "tried out a few singers, but no one worked out, that was it. The whole thing is completely over now. There are absolutely no plans for them to continue."[107]


 Led Zeppelin T-Shirts and Merchandise
A Led Zeppelin T-shirt
Led Zeppelin are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential bands in the history of rock music. Rock critic Mikal Gilmore said, "Led Zeppelin—talented, complex, grasping, beautiful and dangerous—made one of the most enduring bodies of composition and performance in twentieth-century music, despite everything they had to overpower, including themselves."[108] Led Zeppelin are often cited as one of the key progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock.[4][5][109]
Led Zeppelin have influenced bands, from Black Sabbath[110] to Megadeth[111][112] and Queen[113] to Velvet Revolver.[114] The band have influenced various progressive rock and progressive metal acts,[115] including Rush,[116] Tool[117] and Dream Theater,[118] as well as influencing some early punk and post-punk bands, among them the Ramones[119][120] and The Cult.[121][122] They were also an important influence on the development of alternative rock, as bands adapted elements from the "Zeppelin sound" of the mid-1970s,[123][124] including The Smashing Pumpkins,[125][126] Nirvana,[127] Pearl Jam[128] and Soundgarden.[129] Bands and artists from diverse genres have also acknowledged the influence of Led Zeppelin, such as Madonna,[130] Shakira,[131] Lady Gaga,[132] and Katie Melua.[133]
Led Zeppelin have been credited with a major impact on the nature of the music business, particularly in the development of album-oriented rock (AOR) and stadium rock.[134][135] In 1988 John Kalodner, then-A&R executive of Geffen Records, remarked that "In my opinion, next to the Beatles they're the most influential band in history. They influence the way music is on records, AOR radio, concerts. They set the standards for the AOR-radio format with 'Stairway to Heaven,' having AOR hits without necessarily having Top 40 hits. They're the ones who did the first real big arena concert shows, consistently selling out and playing stadiums without support. People can do as well as them, but nobody surpasses them."[136] Andrew Loog Oldham, the former producer and manager of The Rolling Stones, commented on how Led Zeppelin had a major influence on the record business, and the way rock concerts were managed and presented to huge audiences.[137] The band sold over 200 million albums worldwide according to some sources,[8] while other sources state that they have sold in excess of 300 million records,[9] including 111.5 million certified units in the United States.[10] According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Led Zeppelin are the fourth highest selling music act in the US and one of only three acts to earn four or more Diamond albums.[138]
Led Zeppelin also had a significant cultural impact.[139] Jim Miller, editor of Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, argues "On one level, Led Zeppelin represents the final flowering of the sixties' psychedelic ethic, which casts rock as passive sensory involvement."[140] Led Zeppelin were pivotal in the transition of the late sixties rock movement from the central form of mass youth music to its macho, sexual "cock rock" form, as a male form of expression.[52][140][141] The band's fashion-sense has also been seminal; Simeon Lipman, head of pop culture at Christie's auction house, has commented that "Led Zeppelin have had a big influence on fashion because the whole aura surrounding them is so cool, and people want a piece of that."[142] Led Zeppelin laid the foundation for the big hair of 80s bands such as Mötley Crüe and Skid Row. Other musicians have also adapted elements from Led Zeppelin's attitude to apparel, jewellery and hair, such as hipster flares and tight band t-shirts of Kings of Leon, shaggy hair, clingy t-shirts and bluesman hair of Jack White of The White Stripes, and Kasabian guitarist Sergio Pizzorno's silk scarves, trilbies and side-laced tight jeans.[142]

Awards and accolades

 Jimmy Page at Mojo Awards 2008.
Led Zeppelin were voted the "best live act" at 2008 MOJO Awards
A few of the awards the band have received include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005,[143] and the Polar Music Prize in 2006.[144] Led Zeppelin were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995,[145] and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004.[146] The band are ranked number 1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock[147] and Classic Rock's "50 Best Live Acts of All Time".[148] Led Zeppelin remain one of the most bootlegged artists in the history of rock music.[149]