Led Zeppelin formed in 1968, the year I was born, and disbanded in 1980, when I was twelve.
I was therefore too young to become a Led Zeppelin fan while the band was still a going concern. But Led Zeppelin was still enormously popular when I discovered rock music as a teenager in the early to mid-1980s. Lead singer Robert Plant, moreover, was then launching a solo career, and making use of the new medium of MTV.
Most of my musical interests lie in the past. I admittedly lack the patience to sort through the chaotic indie music scene on the Internet, and I shake my head disdainfully at the overhyped mediocrity of Taylor Swift. When I listen to music, I listen to the old stuff: Rush, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, and a handful of others.
Led Zeppelin is very close to the top of my list. I listen to Led Zeppelin differently than I did in the old days, though. The lyrics of “Stairway to Heaven” sound less profound to me at 55 than they did when I was 15. I now appreciate Led Zeppelin when they’re doing what they did best: raucous, bluesy rock-n-roll that had only a hint of deeper meaning: “Black Dog”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Kashmir”, etc.
And of course, reading remains my first passion. I’m still waiting for an in-depth, definitive biography of Canadian rock band Rush. (I suspect that someone, somewhere is working on that, following the 2020 passing of Rush’s chief lyricist and drummer, Neil Peart.) But a well-researched and highly readable biography of Led Zeppelin already exists: Bob Spitz’s Led Zeppelin: The Biography.
At 688 pages and approximately 238,000 words, this is no biography for the casual reader. But if you really want to understand Led Zeppelin, its music, and the band’s cultural impact, you simply can’t beat this volume. I highly recommend it for the serious fan.
View Led Zeppelin: The Biography at Amazon