Led Zeppelin: Arguably the biggest name in the history of rock. During 1975 the group embarked on a U.S. tour that got off to a rocky start as they introduced fans to new music from what turned out to be an album that was widely considered a defining release for the group.
Rock writer Stephen Davis, author of Hammer of the Gods, managed to land himself an assignment from Atlantic Monthly to join Led Zeppelin as they jetted from venue to venue on the aptly-named “Starship,” a modified Boeing 720B equipped with all the amenities a 70’s-era rock star might desire.
The circumstances that resulted in the creation of LZ-‘75 are a bit unusual considering that Davis had misplaced his notes, memorabilia, photographs and original fan letters he compiled during his time spent on the road with Led Zeppelin. Thirty years later, he stumbled upon his cache of goodies stashed in a friend’s basement that he probably had never expected to see again.
Inspired by the discovery, Davis set about writing LZ-‘75, The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour. Readers will find lost interviews with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, detailed accounts of the group’s performances, behind-the-scenes accounts of what went on within the confines of the famed “Riot House,” and first-hand revelations of the extravagant and decadent lifestyle the band lived as they crisscrossed the country to entertain legions of enthusiastic (and sometimes not-so-enthusiastic) audiences.
Although Led Zeppelin was renowned for tales of sexual debauchery, substance abuse and generally outrageous behavior, there’s not a lot of content dedicated specifically to those topics in the book. Those kinds of things are not omitted, however, and there is some content dedicated to the confirmation or denial of some well-known rumors regarding the behavior of various members of the group.
What impressed me most about LZ-‘75 was that it was a genuinely easy read. Weighing in at 215 pages, there’s plenty of content, but Davis breaks it down into 39 easily-digestible chapters, which makes it quite easy for readers like myself who don’t have a lot of time for books, since I can easily end a session at the end of a chapter, which helps keep the flow of the story intact from reading to reading.
Obviously, LZ-‘75 is a book that should be in any serious Led Zeppelin fan’s collection. Released on October 28th, the book is available at Amazon.com where there is also video of the author’s comments.