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Led Zeppelin Biography


Home > Music > L > Led Zeppelin > Biography


Birth Place: London, England
Years Active: 1968–1980, (Reunions: 1985, 1988, 1995, 2007)
Genres: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues-rock, Folk Rock


Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in 1968, consisting of Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, mandolin), and John Bonham (drums). With their heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock sound, Led Zeppelin is regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock. However, the band's individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one music genre. Led Zeppelin did not release songs from their albums as singles in the U.K., as they preferred to develop the concept of album-oriented rock.

Their debut album, 1969’s “Led Zeppelin,” released on Atlantic Records, charted at #6 on the U.K. Albums chart and at #10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums chart. It received several sales certifications, including 8 × platinum from the RIAA. It featured the songs “Communication Breakdown,” “I Can't Quit You Baby,” “You Shook Me,” “Babe I'm Gonna Leave You” and “How Many More Times.”

Led Zeppelin's second studio album, “Led Zeppelin II,” recorded when the band was on tour, was released a few months after the first. It reached #1 in several countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., where it was certified 12× platinum. Songs on the album included, “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” “Thank You,” “The Lemon Song” and “Moby Dick.”

1970’s “Led Zeppelin III” was a softer, more folk-based effort compared to the hard rock of the band's previous releases. It also peaked at #1 in the U.K. and in the U.S. The album features “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” “Tangerine,” “That's the Way,” “Immigrant Song” and “Since I've Been Loving You.”

Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, often called “Led Zeppelin IV” is their most commercially successful album. It received a 23× platinum certification from the RIAA, the third-highest of all albums. Also known as ZoSo, the album contains well known songs like, “Black Dog,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Rock and Roll” and the epic opus “Stairway to Heaven.”

Featuring titles like “The Rain Song,” “No Quarter” “The Ocean” and “The Song Remains the Same,” the band's fifth album, “Houses of the Holy,” was released in 1973. Again a transatlantic chart-topper, it received an 11× platinum certification from RIAA.

In 1974, the band set up their own label, Swan Song Records, which would release the rest of Led Zeppelin's studio albums. The first was the 1975 double album “Physical Graffiti,” which received a 16× platinum certification from the RIAA. “Kashmir,” “The Rover,” “In the Light” and “Ten Years Gone” appeared on the album.

However, Zeppelin's seventh album, 1976’s “Presence,” did not perform as well as their previous releases, receiving a triple platinum certification from the RIAA.

Also in 1976, Led Zeppelin released their first concert film “The Song Remains the Same.” The recording of the film took place during three nights of concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City, during the band's 1973 concert tour of the U.S.

The band's eighth album, “In Through the Out Door,” received a 6× platinum certification and featured the songs, “Fool in the Rain,” and “All of My Love.” This was the last album released by the band before Bonham died of alcohol intoxication in 1980. Led Zeppelin disbanded immediately afterwards.

In 1982 Led Zeppelin released the album “Coda,” a compilation of outtakes from the band's previous recordings.

Since their break-up, the band have released numerous compilation albums and live albums from older concerts. Such as the live album “How the West Was Won,” which peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200, and the compilation album “Mothership,” which produces seven digital downloads.

The band has sold over 300 million albums worldwide, including over 111.5 million certified units in the United States alone. They received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the Polar Music Prize in 2006. Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame in 2004.