If you've ever wondered; A) Who is the greatest rock and roll band of all time? or B) What music was playing in your dad's Camaro the night you were conceived? The answer is Led Fucking Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin is a legendary British rock band, founded in 1968, that rocked the fuck out.
The band was originally founded as a reincarnation of another band, the Yardbirds. Lead guitarist Jimmy Page, ended up as the leader after former members Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck left in 1965 and 1966 respectively. After 2 years of arguing with his band mates about "musical direction," two of the members quit. The remaining member, Chris Dreja, was invited to join what would later be known as Led Zeppelin. In a decision reminiscent of David Caruso bolting NYPD Blue for films, Chris declined and became a photographer.
With tour obligations to fill, Jimmy Page set out to assemble the band. Page eventually clicked with the blonde-haired, effeminate, banshee wailing Robert Plant. Plant brought along with him drummer John "I like alcohol" Bonham along with bassist and former US naval hero John Paul Jones. The band billed as "The New Yardbirds" performed on its first tour in Scandinavia. After the tour, they realized that "The New Yardbirds" sounded like a gay prison gang and sought a new moniker.
So Who would help them in their quest for a name? Yes, the Who would help them in their quest for a name. Specifically, John Entwistle and Keith Moon of The Who. Legend has it that Jimmy Page suggested a side project featuring himself, Entwistle, Jeff Beck and Keith Moon. Moon and Entwistle suggested that the project would go over like a "lead zeppelin" (massive fail). Page stole the term, dropped the "a" from "lead" to prevent "stupid Americans" from rhyming it with need. A name was in place, a country thoroughly insulted and the stage was set for history to be made.
Led Zeppelin (L-R): lead guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones, drummer John Bonham, lead singer Robert Plant and lots of platinum albums
With their name in place, Zeppelin released their first album in January of 1969. In a fit of wild, artistic creativity the album was titled Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin I: Homage to the Hindenburg or giant floating dong? You decide.
The album was a top 10 hit in both the UK and the US and the song "Dazed and Confused" became a smash hit. This may also be attributed to the fact in 1969 almost everyone who didn't have a crew cut was probably "Dazed and Confused."
Zeppelin quickly became well known and followed up in October of 1969 with the cleverly named Led Zeppelin II. This album was also a huge success and again reached the top of the charts in both the US and UK. The band spent a year working on their next album, presumably spending most of the time thinking of an amazing album title.
Led Zeppelin III was released in October of 1970. It was also very successful, though not as much as the previous two albums due to Page's acoustic guitar work instead of ear shattering rock. Over time critics got over their idiotic rejection of this album and it is now universally acclaimed. Still, the initial negative reaction motivated the band to blow it out with their next offering.
In 1970, having your picture taken in an empty field meant you were down with nature or that your roadie had forgotten to fill the tank after the Omaha show.
Zeppelin got cracking (see what we did there?) on their 4th album towards the end of 1970. With the creative juices flowing, Zeppelin decided on a title that would blow all others out of the water. This title was so mind-blowing that to this day no one is quite sure what it actually is. Luckily, we here at Cracked have a highly trained cryptographic expert on staff and have deciphered its meaning for you, our loyal readers:
More commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, the album sold over 37 million copies and appears on numerous lists regarding the greatest of all time. The album also proved that when Jimmy Page wants to spite someone, their opinion is as good as dead (See #1 in www.cracked.com/blog/the-10-best-comebacks-of-all-time/).
Much of Led Zeppelin IV's success was due to it containing one of the most important and overplayed songs in the history of music, the legendary "Stairway to Heaven." Douchebags everywhere for decades to come would pick up a guitar and strum the opening bars in a desperate attempt to get laid. Despite this negative connotation, "Stairway to Heaven" truly is just about the most badass 8 minutes and 2 seconds of rock you'll ever hear. The song was so badass in fact, that Jimmy Page required a double guitar in order to play it live.
Of course since the song had the word "heaven" in the title, the folks with crew cuts protested and claimed that the band had hidden satanic messages that could only be heard when playing it backwards. We tried it and only heard distorted gibberish. When Dan O'Brien heard it he stripped naked, poured ketchup on his head and went running through the offices chasing the interns with a broom. We would have thought the two things related, except that it was a Friday and this was Dan's normal routine.
Sending Dan to open the new Tokyo office did not go as planned.
Led Zeppelin 4 may not have had subliminal satanic messages, but during the 70's it did seem to have the supernatural ability to help in the removal of women's clothing and became an essential component in most guy's dating arsenals.
With critical acclaim and enough money to buy Rhode Island, the band was on top of the world following Led Zeppelin IV. They soon became known for their rock star lifestyle, which made sense since they were rock stars. They began to dress in a simultaneously awesome and yet pretty gay manner, and the usual shenanigans ensued.
John Bonham rode a motorcycle through a hotel hallway. John Paul Jones allegedly and unknowingly took a transvestite up to his room, fell asleep while smoking pot, and lit the room on fire. Jimmy Page dated a 14-year old girl - Luckily for Jimmy, this was several decades before the internet, so unlike R.Kelly there was no viral video and he never went to court for child pornography or statutory rape.Of course there were also band gang bangs, various arrests and a mudshark used as a sex toy on a red-haired groupie.
Zeppelin's next album, Houses of the Holy, was released in 1973. It was also a success reaching the top 10 in both the US and the UK. Zep then waited two years before releasing their next album. During this time they toured a bit and created their own record label, Swan Song.
The logo for Swan Song features the god Apollo but is often mistaken for a falling angel. This logo can be seen worldwide on hipsters' t-shirts or being worn by douchebags who've never heard Zeppelin's music and bought their shirt at Hot Topic:
" I really love that song about black dogs."
In 1975, the group released their first double album, Physical Graffiti. True to form, it was also a monster hit achieving diamond status in the US. It showcased the band's versatility and featured another of their signature songs, Kashmir.
Later that year, Plant was involved in a serious car accident, putting a temporary halt to all Zeppelin-related activities and severely weakening his mutant powers. After he had sufficiently healed, the band began recording their next album. Plant recorded most of his vocals from a wheelchair, transforming from Banshee into Professor X. These recordings resulted in the 1976 platinum-selling album Presence.
Additionally, the band released a concert film, The Song Remains The Same and a simultaneous live album. The film has long since become a cult classic because of some bizarre sequences featuring the fantasies of the band members.
It also includes a very large number of close-ups of Robert Plant's bulge. (Trust us, lots of research went into figuring that out.) This led to Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, to later comment that the film's sole purpose was to "make Robert Plant's dick look big." If we here at Cracked ever make a film, this will be an important component to all of the writers scenes.
Robert Plant's ability to hit high notes was in direct proportion to the tightness of his jeans.
In 1976, Jimmy Page began to experiment with Heroin. He soon joined the likes of Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain, Joe Perry, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and John Frusciante as an addict. Obviously this had a negative impact on his guitar work. Many of Zeppelin's performances from 1976-1977 were criticized because of Page's performance. Drummer John Bonham was also struggling with his own problems, as being on tour all the time caused him to sink into a deep depression, which he dealt with by constantly getting tanked.
In 1978 Led Zeppelin began to record what would be their last album together, In Through the Out Door. At this point, Zeppelin was split into two halves, with John Paul Jones and Robert Plant working in the day while sober, and John Bonham and Jimmy Page working at night, while pounding brewskis and dancin' with Mr. Brownstone, respectively. In Through the Out Door again shot up to number 1 in both the US and the UK. Based on the album's performance, the band geared up for a 1980 fall tour.
On September 24, 1980, rehearsals were set to commence at Jimmy Page's house. On the way there, Bonham stopped for breakfast; 16 shots of vodka and a ham roll. Somehow, Bonham rehearsed that night, slamming vodka throughout practice. Later he finally passed out and was carried to bed. About 12 hours later, John Paul Jones and Zeppelin's tour manager found him dead. The coroner's report stated that Bonham had drank over 40 shots of vodka and asphyxiated on his own vomit in his sleep.
Not such a good breakfast afterall.
Following his death, rumors swirled that he was going to be replaced in the band by several high profile drummers, but in the end, Led Zeppelin felt they could not continue on.
In 1982, Jimmy Page released the appropriately titled Coda, an album of previously unreleased Led Zeppelin songs. It was the last official Zeppelin studio album and true to form, it reached the top 10 in both the US and UK.
The band members went their separate ways after Bonham's death. John Paul Jones began a solo career. Jimmy Page composed movie soundtracks, kicked his Heroin habit, and formed a group with former Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers called "The Firm." Robert Plant also went solo was the most successful, feathering his hair like everyone else and having a few hits during the 1980s.
Page, Plant and Jones did reunite in 1985 to perform at Live Aid with Phil Collins on drums, but performed terribly as Jimmy Page showed up drunk off his ass and Phil Collins sucks. They reunited again 3 years later for the 40th anniversary concert for their record label, Atlantic Records. This by all accounts was also a terrible show and was their last public performance for quite some time.
In 1994, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant began to tour together as Page and Plant and appeared on MTV's Unplugged, drawing the highest ratings in the history of the network. A tour and an album followed this appearance, with bassist John Paul Jones notably absent. When asked by reporters, where Jones was, Plant remarked, "He's outside parking the car," thereby solidifying his position as kind of an asshole.
In 1995, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with Jones sarcastically thanking his former band mates for "finally remembering his phone number."
In December of 2007, the band reunited and performed with John Bonham's son, Jason on the drums at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London. The show was declared fucking awesome by critics and instantly sparked rumors of a badass reunion tour. Unfortunately, these rumors were false and Led Zeppelin remain semi-retired.
Led Zeppelin's impact on music was monumental. They set the standard for hard rock and were an incredibly tight band instrumentally. Jimmy Page was a bonafide guitar god, inspiring later guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, while John Paul Jones was an impressive multi-instrumentalist who proved that bass and keyboards are an essential part of hard rock. Robert Plant pioneered the heavy metal vocal style that later singers such as Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and Rob Halford of Judas Priest would perfect, while John Bonham's thunderous drumming is still being heard today, along with the rest of Zeppelin, sampled in many terrible songs.
Along with fellow bands Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, Zeppelin pioneered the genre of heavy metal. The band is fiercely protective of its catalogue, only recently allowing its music to be sold on Itunes. They have licensed their music on very few occasions, notably a recent Cadillac commercial. They have repeatedly turned down invitations to have their music featured in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, movies and television shows.
Zeppelin's sudden retirement in the early 1980s appears to have been first step on the journey to the shitty excuse we currently have for music. Some bands like Van Halen and Queen tried their damndest to keep awesome music alive, but true hard rock would never recover. With Zeppelin gone, the 80s mostly consisted of every assclown with long hair and a heart tattoo prancing around in spandex and wearing enough makeup to make KISS blush, while banging out crappy power chords, lightly tapping electronic drums, and singing in poorly thought out sex metaphors.
"I wanna put my thing in, uh, your thing. Oh yeah!"
As the 80s drew to a close and hair metal began to decline, many a monster ballad was recorded to show just how sensitive rockers could be. This eventually led to rock becoming a full-blown pansy fest in the early 90s, when bands like Nirvana and Weezer spent most of their time singing about teenage angst and how mommy never paid enough attention to them, instead of singing about fucking like Zeppelin used to.
Since Kurt Cobain's hot date with a shotgun in the mid 90s, popular music has been split pretty evenly between rap and rock. In recent years, neither genre has produced anything extraordinary due to sampling (complete lack of originality) in rap and the extreme faggotry of the current emo rock scene.
So as you can see, the demise of Led Zeppelin, directly contributed to the demise of badass music. Though Led Zeppelin disbanded nearly 30 years ago, the band still remains an indelible part of popular culture. They are arguably the greatest hard rock band of all time and are an essential listening experience for any rock and roll fan. In conclusion, Zeppelin rules.
We fucking rock, but seriously, touch our music and you're a dead man.
Led Zeppelin I: Good Times, Bad Times, Dazed and Confused, Communication Breakdown, How Many More Times, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.
Led Zeppelin II: Whole Lotta Love, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, What Is and What Should Never Be, The Lemon Song.
Led Zeppelin III: The Immigrant Song, Since I've Been Loving You, Out On The Tiles, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.
Led Zeppelin IV: Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Black Dog, When the Levee Breaks, Misty Mountain Hop, Going To California.
Houses of the Holy: The Song Remains The Same, The Ocean, The Crunge, Dancing Days, Over The Hills and Far Away, The Rain Song, D'yer Mak'er.
Physical Graffiti: Kashmir, The Rover, Houses of the Holy, Trampled Under Foot, Ten Years Gone, The Wanton Song, In My Time of Dying.
Presence: Achilles' Last Stand, Nobody's Fault But Mine.
In Through the Out Door: Fool In The Rain, All My Love.
Coda: Wearing and Tearing, Ozone Baby, Travelling Riverside Blues.