LISTEN: Revolutions In Music: The Story of Led Zeppelin

Virgin Radio

30 Sep 2018, 14:43

Pete Mitchell tells the story of one the greatest rock n' roll band in the world. 

‘The process of music is from the brain to somebody's ear basically. The less that gets in the way of that little journey the better’


Led Zeppelin have been described as ‘the most popular rock group on the planet’. They have sold over 350 million records worldwide.

‘You had these four renowned musicians really coming together in the vacuum that the Beatles created. Suddenly they became the biggest band in the World. It doesn't always work when you get amazing musicians in a band together, extensible what you might call a kind of supergroup mentality. It doesn't always work when you get such identifiable musicians together. They were all powerhouses and that was the danger with Led Zeppelin, whether they would overpower each other. They never did’ - 

Formed in 1968 by Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin would change the musical landscape.

‘When Led Zeppelin were starting out, we weren't going for the singles market at all, we were going for an album market which was just starting to really take off, certainly in America’

‘If you put old school blues in a modern format with a modern guitar player, as Jimmy Page was, a modern bass player as John Paul Jones was and a modern type blues shouter singer as Robert Plant was. You put that out there with a huge beat behind it, because nobody could touch John Bonham for the volume and the style of playing on the drums, he held the beat back. He wasn't a race for the devil drummer, he pulled the rhythm of the band back, so everything thing sounded bigger. The chords hung on longer because he’d pull the tempo back and they became a huge auditorium band which eventually developed into stadiums. They became because they concentrated on America,  because America loved them’


‘I don't want to deride anyone else but I feel that Led Zeppelin with the vision of Jimmy Page and then John Paul Jones, who had been a session guitarist, then he got Robert Plant in, who was this great Black Country singer, he then brought his mate John Bonham in, who was an incredible drummer and the band just worked’  - 

‘I think that the audience is coming to listen to what you are playing and to not just look at you and see what you are. When I first went to see the Beatles, it was to look at them. You didn't really bother what you were listening to’ -

‘People were coming in their droves to see us. We just kept accumulating more and more people that were coming to see us. It was amazing’

‘The kind of response between us and the kids, the people our own age, we had the most remarkable time. It was a great, great time’

Ten Things You Never Knew About Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham first performed together in 1968 as the New Yardbirds

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones first met when they played on a number 1 single Diamonds by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan in 1963

Robert Plant first recording contract was with CBS in 1966. He signed a three single deal. None of them were hits.

Jimmy Page played guitar on hits for PJ Proby, Shirley Bassey and Benny Hill

John Paul Jones was responsible for the string arrangement on the Rolling Stone seminal track She's Like A Rainbow

Stairway to Heaven is the most played song on American radio. As of 2000, the song has been played over three million times

Noddy Holder of the band Slade was a roadie for Robert Plant’s band Listen in the sixties, before they both became famous

Whole Lotta Love was once the theme music to Top of the Pops. The version used on the TV show was by a British band called C.C.S.( Collective Conscience Society) headed by Alexis Korner

Both John Bonham and Keith Moon of the Who provided percussion for Led Zeppelin during the bands gig in Los Angeles in 1977

Jimmy Page paid for the recording of the bands first album. He forked out £1,782 pounds for the session