On January 9, 1944 James Patrick Page was born. It was on that day the amazing story of the greatest rock and roll band ever was begun. Jimmy Page began playing the guitar not long after he was old enough to take his first few steps. He learned at a fierce pace, and was to the guitar as Beethoven was to the piano. The first piece of the Led Zeppelin puzzle was in place. In a small England village, not far away, Robert Anthony Plant was brought into the world. The most recognized voice in rock would have to wait 17 years to meet the likes of his then unknown guitarist, who would further seal their journey to greatness. The puzzle was half-complete. Now there was only time and fate to wait on to take it's course.
Guitarist Jimmy Page enjoyed moderate success with his first group, Neil Christian and the Crusaders, a Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley-styled British group. It was this first break onto the scene that sent word of Page's unbelievable guitarist's abilities to English producers everywhere. (Zep 1) It was not long until young Page was the most requested session's guitarist around. Playing with the likes of the Who, and the Kinks. Meanwhile, the manager of the Yardbirds was looking for a replacement at lead guitar. Page was the perfect fit. While Page was on the rise, the rest of the Yardbirds were on the fall. And in the spring of 1968 all the remaining members, except Page, decided to call it quits.
Page knew what type of band he wanted to form. While Eric Clapton was blazing a trail for the new blues rock genre, Page was nabbing the most underrated musician on the planet. (JPJ 2) Bassist John Paul Jones was the third piece of the puzzle, and Led Zeppelin was now nearly ready to tear into the music world. Next in order was a vocalist and finally a drummer. It was said that their was a kid singing for a blues band with a one of a kind voice. Just one listen convinced Page that he had his man. "I just couldn't understand why, after he told me he'd been singing for years already, he hadn't become a big name yet," he said. (Zep 1)
Plant was soon to inform the other members of a drummer he had worked with previously in two other bands who would be a perfect fit for them. John Bonham was a ham-fisted pounder who was heavily influenced by Keith Moon of the Who. The puzzle was complete and they only had mega-stardom to look forward to. The New Yardbirds were formed. However, when members of other bands heard of the new group they remarked that they would go over like a lead zeppelin, or balloon. So in an obvious stab back at their critics the New Yardbirds changed their name to Led Zeppelin.
The first time they performed together the room just exploded. They recorded soon after. Manager Peter Grant took the tapes to Atlantic Records where the reaction was so enthusiastic that the group was given a $200,000. Unable to secure proper gigs in England, Led Zeppelin set out on their first American tour. Two months after the release of the first album, entitled Led Zeppelin I, it had already climbed into the U.S. top ten. Throughout 1969, the band toured relentlessly. While they were on the road, their second album was recorded. It was fittingly titled Led Zeppelin II. Like its predecessor it was an immediate hit, including a seven weeks hold on the number one spot. (Zep 1)
Their sound began to deepen with Led Zeppelin III. The group's infatuation with folk and mythology would reach a fruition with the release of their fourth album. It was the band's most musically diverse effort to date to date, featuring everything from the crunching sound of "Black Dog" to the folk of "The Battle of Evermore," as well as "Stairway to Heaven". "Stairway to Heaven" was an immediate hit, eventually becoming the most played song in the history of radio; the song was never released as a single. Despite the fact that the album never reached number one in America, Led Zeppelin IV was their biggest album ever, selling will over