10 Fun Led Zeppelin Facts You May Have Not Known

Led Zeppelin is without a doubt one of the greatest and most influential bands in music history. Many books have been written about them and many stories have been told, and it’s no easy task to pick just 10 facts about the rock juggernaut of the 1970s. But let’s give it a try!

And if you’d like to read a bit more about the group’s background and origins, then stick around for the short biography section of the post.

10 Fun Facts About Led Zeppelin

1. Led Zeppelin wasn’t their original name

Yes, Led Zeppelin wasn’t the band’s original name. This may come as a surprise to some newer fans but is probably well known among older ones.

Before becoming what they are known today, the band was formed under the name New Yardbirds. A name of an already existing band in which Jimmy Page participated as a bassist and guitarist. A band that had Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck in the lineup throughout the years. Three of the very best guitarists of all time.

Watch Eric Clapton’s bluesy cover of ‘White Christmas’

2. Robert Plant wasn’t the first choice

As weird as it may sound now, Robert Plant wasn’t the first choice for the lead vocalist role. In fact, Terry Reid was first considered to be the band’s frontman.

However, he had to refuse the offer from Jimmy Page and as a replacement, Terry recommended Plant – who at the time was part of Band of Joy alongside John Bonham.

3. The Who’s Keith Moon inspired the band’s name

Another interesting Led Zeppelin fact that older fans may already know is that The Who‘s drummer Keith Moon inspired the name Led Zeppelin.

But how did he inspire the name? Well, at first Jimmy Page wanted to form a super-group with his former band-mate Jeff Beck.

This, however, didn’t seem like the brightest idea to Moon who jokingly said that such a group would go down like a “lead balloon”. The “lead balloon” phrase apparently sounded interesting to the band who after some brainstorming and alterations – came up with the name Led Zeppelin.

4. Debut album recorded in 30 hours

Unlike their second album which took over 8 months to record. Led Zeppelin wrapped up their self-titled debut album in less than 30 studio hours according to Jimmy Page who actually paid the bill for the studio usage from his pocket.

5. Never topped the singles charts

Led Zeppelin never had a No.1 single despite their enormous popularity. Their best result is No.4 in 1969 with an edited version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’. However, multiple factors play part in their lack of chart-topping singles.

One of the main reasons for this occurrence is that they wanted fans to buy their albums to enjoy the full experience and viewed themselves as a live band with awesome shows (which they were).

They always encouraged their fans to come and see them live at concerts. The band made only one TV appearance and regretted it because the quality of their music was in the hands of the sound engineers.

Another big reason is that their songs were too long for radio and they didn’t want to cut or edit them just to please the radio stations. The group wanted their work to be heard and enjoyed as they intended. A trait they share with Pink Floyd who also refused to cut and edit their songs.

May interest you: 15 Pink Floyd Facts

6. Traveled with a private Boeing 720

Led Zeppelin had so much success in the 1970s, that they even started traveling in a private Boeing 720 called the Starship. The airplane was owned by fellow musician Bobby Sherman and his manager who rented the Starship to other artists. Most notably – Elton John, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Alice Cooper.

led zeppelin members

7. They Thrashed Hotels

Thrashing hotels is another trait connected to the band’s massive success that allowed them to act like Rockefellers.

While on tour, the band had a habit of renting out entire hotels or sections all to themselves. And these rented-out hotel sections became the biggest dens of various vices. Sometimes they thrashed the places so hard, that they got lifelong bans from the establishment.

One of the most notorious incidents includes John Bonham – Bonzo riding a bike inside a rented hotel.

8. Issues with Plagiarism

While Led Zeppelin is often praised for their influence and unique sound, they do have a big history of plagiarism. Copying someone’s work with their approval is fine in most people’s books. But they failed to do so and that’s why the band still has unresolved court cases with musicians suing them to this day.

The most notable plagiarisms are also some of their biggest hits, for example:

  1. ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ by Joan Baez
  2. ‘Dazed and Confused’ by Jake Holmes
  3. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Willie Dixon
  4. ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by Moby Grape
  5. ‘You Shook Me’ by Muddy Waters

9. Unscheduled hiatus

The band took a break from music in the mid-70s but that wasn’t a voluntary decision. It happened because Robert Plant wasn’t physically able to continue recording or touring.

In 1975, Plant and his family suffered serious injuries in a car accident during their holiday in Greece, but thankfully everyone survived.

Due to the unfortunate event, the band had to cancel their upcoming tour dates and postpone the recording sessions for their fourth studio album. They eventually started touring again two years later in 1977.

10. Inspired by Tolkien and LOTR

In many of their song lyrics, Led Zeppelin make references to one of the most famous fantasy novels – The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Books written by the great J. R. R. Tolkien who was actually alive during Led Zeppelin’s prime years in the early to mid-1970s.

References to LOTR can be heard in many Led Zeppelin songs. The most famous ones are ‘Rumble On’ and ‘Battle of Evermore’ where the band makes allusions to Mordor, Gollum, Frodo’s journey, and the battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Other songs that are believed to be inspired to a degree by Tolkien and his work are ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, ‘Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

Led Zeppelin – Short Biography

In the now distant 1968, four already experienced British musicians decided to form a band and made history – would be a short but accurate description of Led Zeppelin.

The group consisted of Robert Plant on vocals, Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on keyboards/bass, and last but not least John Bonham on drums.

Since they all had previous experience with bands and had many music sessions under their belt, it didn’t take long for the newly formed group to start recording or even touring the world.

In fact, they started touring the UK a few months before even releasing their debut album. They kicked off their first tour in 1968, October, while their debut album came out in January the following year.

They also performed under a different name on that tour as we explained in the section above.

Success

In early 1969, Led Zeppelin released their debut self-titled studio album which became a massive success. The record brought a new and unique sound to the industry and left a significant mark in music history. A sound that paved the way for numerous hard-rock and heavy metal bands in the upcoming decades.

Shortly after the release of their debut record Led Zeppelin, they kicked off a world tour and also released their second studio album Led Zeppelin II which was recorded during their North American tour in multiple studios across the continent.

Barely a year passed since the release of their debut LP before Led Zeppelin began working on their third studio album. Led Zeppelin III showed the band’s versatility as they incorporated more acoustic and folk/Celtic musical styles.

In the early to mid-1970s, Led Zeppelin became one of the – if not the biggest band in the world. Although many believed that Rolling Stones would become the band of the 70s, just as the Beatles were in the 1960s.

After 7 highly successful years and constant touring, the group decided to pull the breaks and rest for a while due to multiple factors. But the hiatus didn’t last for long and the band returned to their old schedule.

Tragic End

Led Zeppelin closed the decade with huge success, but sadly the momentum didn’t carry over into the 1980s.

The reason for this was the sudden passing of the band’s drummer John Bonham – Bonzo in the autumn of 1980, a month before their scheduled North American tour.

Afterwards, the remaining members canceled the group’s upcoming events and decided to disband. Replacing John Bonham wasn’t an option.

Final Thoughts

While four and a half decades have passed since Led Zeppelin’s disbandment, the group still makes headlines to this day and continues to inspire many young musicians and their fanbase continues to grow as the years go by!

If you think I missed some essential or intriguing Led Zeppelin facts, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!