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LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour

LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour

"Hey, man, how are you? Do you have a minute? Do you want to come on the road with Led Zeppelin? You do? That's great! Can you get a magazine assignment? You think you can? Terrific. I only need a letter from your editor. Let me know. I'll save you a seat on the Starship. Gotta go. God bless you - good-bye." Led Zeppelin's publicist Danny Goldberg had called up journalist Stephen Davis to cover the upcoming 1975 American tour of Led Zeppelin to "change the image" of Led Zeppelin in America from the wild barbarians that the media made them to be.

Davis had recorded his notes into three notebooks which eventually got filed away into a box. When he went to recall information from the notes from his 1985 book Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, the notebooks had gone missing, having been misplaced in moving. He ended up using the transcript for his original article. Ten years later Aerosmith guitarist enlisted Davis to write his speech inducting Led Zeppelin into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and, once again, his search for his LZ-'75 notebooks came up short, although the final speech from Perry and from Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler was nothing short of brilliant. Davis finally found the notebooks in 2005, along with some cassette tape interview recordings and some other items from the tour. This book is the journey that journalist Stephen Davis had taken on tour with Led Zeppelin from January to March 1975.

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After a warmup meeting with Goldberg at Zeppelin's New York City, Davis joined up with Zeppelin on the first Chicago date on the 1975 tour. He was set to write an article, not for Creem or Rolling Stone, but for The Atlantic Review, a monthly political magazine.

The tour was already doomed with Jimmy Page spraining his left ring finger in a train door before leaving England and Robert Plant catching influenza upon arrival to the United States. The band had a few warmups in a London Theatre and a few warmup gigs in front of the public, but were extremely rusty in the month of January. The band were messing up songs that should have been easy to perform. Combining the disappointment of that with the fast paced life of going from concerts to limousines to the Starship and on to the next concert made for low band morale and having each of the band members to slowly separate from each other into their own worlds offstage.

Slowly, throughout the month of February, Robert's voice improved and Jimmy's hand was healing and Led Zeppelin's performance level was coming back. Offstage, Led Zeppelin hadn't skipped a beat. John Bonham was overindulging in alcohol as a way to self medicate his pain from being homesick from his family in England, although his attempted to call home every day before he passed out went to bed. Since he was drinking as much as he was, Bonham both earned the new nickname "The Beast" who would act out violently against anyone who would even breathe incorrectly in his direction (journalists, roadies, groupies) and also would have gastrointestinal issues that would force the convoy of limousines to have to stop multiple times on the way to the airport for Bonham.

In early March 1975, Stephen Davis had called his photographer friend Peter Simon had come up to Los Angeles to photograph Robert Plant while Davis interviewed him. Mid-interview, Plant walked out onto the balcony, stretched out his arms to the world and proclaimed "I AM A GOLDEN GOD!"

After that, Led Zeppelin flew up the west coast and performed shows in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. By the time that Led Zeppelin had reached their last few gigs at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California, they were a well-oiled machine. Record executives, the fans and the groupies were all there, driving them to a higher level. Led Zeppelin had finished their tour on the top.

Davis had said goodbye and went home to transcribe his notes into an article for The Atlantic Review. The article was rejected by the editors, calling Led Zeppelin screaming monkies. Davis didn't care because he still got paid. He had secured a seat on the Starship and got to experience the best band in the world on their best tour ever.

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I _love_ this book. It isn't told with any particular angle or promotion. It's told from the first-hand perspective who was there to witness from the beginning to the end of the 1975 US Tour. If you enjoyed the stories that were told in Hammer Of The Gods then LZ-'75 will be a delicious slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream on top for you. The 224 pages of stories contained within this book certainly make you a fly on the wall for every second. Go out and get this book!

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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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