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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

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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