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People Magazine, Feb. 10, 1975

by Jim Jerome

It's not a bird. It's not a plane. Instead it's Led Zeppelin, the super group of rock history. It sells more LPs than such countrymen as the Rolling Stones and has even outgrossed the Beatles on tour.

The figures do not yet include proceeds from the Zeppelin's new double album, Physical Graffiti (sure to be come the sixth and seventh out of seven albums to go platinum), nor earnings from the 26-city U.S. tour now in progress. The 500,000 available seats were sold out virtually overnight, even with the rescheduling necessary when the group was banned in Boston after over-zealous ticket buyers trashed the auditorium. That success and its heavy metal, brain wasting image aside, the group Is uniquely unexploitative and respectful of the audiences that have made It so immeasurably rich. With no Immodesty intended, Jimmy Page, the Zeppelin's guitarist (he and Eric Clapton are generally rated the best rock guitarists in the world), states: "We know it's a bit of a pilgrimage for many people to come see Led Zeppelln and we like to give them all we've got that's the spirit of the group."

Actually, Page began the tour having to give a little less than all, and quickly proved he is the world's nim blest nine-fingered virtuoso. Shortly before leaving Britain, a train compartment door closed on his left finger, crushing the top joint. Concerts can be canceled; pilgrimages never.

The rest of the group Includes lead vocalist Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, bassist-key boardist John Paul Jones and manager Peter Grant, a sumo-sized ex-pro-wrestler who must be thought of as the fifth member. Without his mastery of a planetary Pavlovian tease, which carefully times the group's tours and LP releases and shields it from TV and other media potshots, the Zeppelin might be just another Jefferson Airbag. It is the extraordinary Page who dominates the group's gargantuan sound system and enables it to generate a colossally kinetic musical release narrated by Plant's poetic strivings. "The actual chemistry or is it alchemy of the group," says Page, "is that everything just always fits together. I can go roaring off on a solo, then suddenly break off into staccato. I look up at Robert and somehow we're all there. It's like ESP."

Page is an explorer on guitar, creating many of the group's pieces, as he says, by returning an acoustic guitar in some unfathomable way, listening as I sit in my garden, and building from there. Despite the Zeppelin reputation for relentlessly heavy rock, he weaves delicate phrasings on both six and twelve string guitars into many of the group's tracks. The effect is Zeppelin's unique capacity to lull and soothe Its fans, then pulverize them, as on its classic, Stairway to Heaven.

Page, the son of a corporate personnel officer, was born near London, totally isolated from kids my own age in the neighborhood. In school, Page boasts that he had a really tine education from 11 to 17 on how to be a rebel ‹and I learned all the tricks in the game. His best trick was teaching him self the guitar in his early teens. When I first heard Elvis sing Baby, Let's Play House, I said to myself, That's it, I'm off. He soon became England's most sought-after player, adding his licks in sessions with the Kinks, the Stones, Donovan and Burt Bacharach. Page's exhausting, roaring live performance belies his gentle manner. There is a lot of aggression in my music, he admits. It's a marvelous thing to have a way to take it all out. A frail-framed, 31 year-old gypsy, he wistfully ponders a different sort of itinerary from the pun ishing rock tours: I've always wanted to get a caravan, one of those horse drawn medicine shows with drop-down sides, and do concerts with dancing la dies and acoustic instruments. It would sure beat sitting in a hotel room.

Page, the only single member of Zeppelin, has a home in London, a moated mansion over a lake in Sussex and a 15th century Loch Ness retreat. As for his love life, Page smiles: Let's just say I'm like a ship passing through storms, resting in ports now and then until it's time to continue the journey. I once told a friend, I'm just looking for an angel with a broken wing - one that couldn't fly away.
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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