Formed in 1968 in London, England, the group was wailing vocalist Robert Plant, John Paul Jones on the bass and keys, John Bonham railing on the drums, and of course, Jimmy Page killing it on the guitar (what aspiring guitarist hasn’t spent hours locked in their rooms trying to copy his riffs from “Stairway to Heaven”?). Often considered the fathers of modern metal, the foursome took heavy influence from blues and even folk. This unique sound landed them a record deal with Atlantic Records, with whom they released their self-titled debut album in 1969, followed quickly by Led Zeppelin II, and then (no big surprise here) Led Zeppelin III in 1970. Plant generally wrote the band’s lyrics, and Jimmy Page wrote most of their music, creating a string of albums that followed that self-titled trio, all helping to cement the band’s popularity and influence in rock music.
Widely considered one of the most successful bands in history, it’s estimated the group’s record sales are somewhere around 300 million albums worldwide. Each of their nine studio albums placed on the Billboard Top 10 and six reached the #1 spot. Rolling Stone has referred to Jimmy Page as “the pontiff of power riffing” and his legendary solo from “Stairway to Heaven” is commonly lauded as the greatest guitar solo of all time.
During their heyday, Led Zeppelin also (supposedly) took the rock-and-roll lifestyle to new heights. Their record-breaking tours came with a reputation for debauchery and excess. Some have since lamented that the stories of hotel room destruction and venue banishment are exaggerated, but the tales have done nothing but reaffirm the mystique of the group as rock gods. Led Zeppelin continued their legacy of rocking and touring until the group ultimately disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer, John Bonham.
Every self-respecting audiophile owns at least one Led Zeppelin record, but so does your next door neighbor and probably a few of your former elementary school teachers as well. That’s the beauty of the group, they’re more than just musicians: They’re legends. Let’s be real, just about any Led Zeppelin song that’s playing on your record player is, at least for that moment, the greatest song you’ve ever heard.
Free Led Zeppelin poster! UO exclusive and available in stores one day only, Saturday, July 26th.