The iconic photograph of the Hindenburg bursting into flames weighed heavily in The Who’s Keith Moon having suggested to his friend, Jimmy Page, that Led Zeppelin might make a good name for his new band. Page agreed, and immediately asked Moon if he’d mind? Of course he took no offense, but was rather honored that his friend liked the idea. In the Spring of 1937, After a well publicized, and seemingly successful, transatlantic voyage, the first Nazi airship to visit the United States came to its tragic end May 6, 1937, in Manchester Township, New Jersey. THE HINDENBURG, while attempting to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Station, for a still unspecified reason, burst into flames, killing more than 50, and ended the practice of flying passengers in huge balloons (dirigibles) filled with Hydrogen, obviously (photographically), a dangerous flammable gas.
There was never a doubt, after naming the band, that the first Led Zeppelin album cover (1969) would feature the tragic image.
— Danish TV (1969)
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Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant) backstage at a show on their first tour, at home in the United Kingdom.
Queen of Torture
(March 17, 1969)
• Led Zeppelin at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark was to be the band’s first appearance on Danish television, in support of its recent debut album, Led Zeppelin I. Using the Hindenburg Explosion on the album’s cover, Led Zeppelin so enraged a descendant of the von Zeppelin family, and they threatened to sue the offensively title band, if it dared to play any shows outside the United Kingdom.
The album cover enraged Frau Zeppelin all over again and she decided to continue her crusade against the band. In the days before their 1970 Copenhagen show, the band realized that the she was so determined to stop them from playing in Denmark that she had hired several high-profile lawyers who were probably capable of winning a threatened lawsuit against Led Zeppelin.
Although they were planning on canceling the show in order to avoid run-ins with the law, the band ultimately decided to laugh it off, and take it for the joke it was. For the day, February 28, 1970, Led Zeppelin called itself “The Nobs,” a good natured play on the band’s European promoter, Claude Nobs’ name, and then went about the business of preparing for the show.
— Danish TV (1969)
The decision to change their name worked, Eva von Zeppelin’s name wasn’t “Nobs,” and her lawyers told her Led Zeppelin was within its rights to call itself Nobs, and go on to play what remains one of Zeppelin’s earliest, and most entertaining shows.
The television-tight, and intimate performance, combined with the amusement of whiny royalty, attracted the attention of an always hungry, international, music media. Newspapers and magazines made Led Zeppelin the rock n roll hero, and Frau Zeppelin the world-wide joke.
From the time the Wright Brothers first took flight from the tall sand dunes on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Germans, inspired by a need for power and world domination ruled the skies, as a platform from which to deliver their weapons of terror.
Arguably one of the most recognizable rock ‘n’ roll songs of all time, thanks to its use in numerous TV shows and movies. Although named after a region in the Himalayas, Jimmy Page has cited southern Morocco as the lyrical influence for the song.
The first would have to be Kashmir. Just so recognizable and beautiful in simplicity. Everyone knows it without knowing they know it.
As the cliche has it, this is the Led Zeppelin song that every budding guitarist spends hours perfecting. It begins with gentle guitar riff, builds to subtle crescendo, and then into an iconic blaring Page solo, complemented by John Bonham’s masterful drumming and Robert Plant’s soaring vocals.
The obvious answer is the correct one. Stairway to Heaven has everything that sums them up as a band. Unbeatable.
Released in 1969 on the self-titled debut album, it’s another short track from the band’s catalogue. The two 16-note triplets used by Bonham became an inspiration for a generation of rock’n’roll drummers.
Let it be known that Led Zeppelin could be a dangerous rock band, but not afraid to indulge in artfulness when required.
Melodic bass line and gentle vocals begin this track, which was influenced by JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The instrument used for the soft, mysterious background drums was long debated. Eventually, it was confirmed that Bonham improvised, using the case of a guitar.
Ramble On has always been a favorite. Nicely captures their quiet and loud tendencies.
• John Paul Jones: Led Zeppelin’s best-kept secret John Paul Jones’s career since Led Zeppelin has featured some impressive collaborations, none more so than his work with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme in Them Crooked Vultures, writes Roy Wilkinson.