"An exhaustive and exemplary portrait"—Bernadette McNulty, London Daily Telegraph
"This meticulously compiled oral history… has a wonderful humour and a careful examination of the how and why of the darkness that surrounded the band and its entourage."—Hugh MacDonald, Sunday Herald (Scotland)
"An engrossing trip through the sordid '70s."—Will Hodgkinson, The Times (London)
"Barney Hoskyns's exhaustive history… never forgets that behind the caricature was an extraordinary band, lithe and limber."—Michael Hann, The Guardian (London)
"Hoskyns leaves no stone unturned." —Publishers' Weekly
"Every time I think I know everything about Led Zeppelin, a book like this comes along and reminds me that I know nothing."—Chuck Klosterman
"This is the proper book Zeppelin have always deserved."—Nick Coleman, author of The Train in the Night
"Barney Hoskyns is rock's poet of observation, a journalist with a very valuable gift for separating the nugget from the slag. [This oral history] is a complex tale that makes sense of the senseless, weighing artistic triumph against human tragedy."—Fred Goodman, author of The Mansion on the Hill
"The saga of Led Zeppelin told by those who knew them when, this intimate oral history goes beyond scandal to reveal the all-too-humans behind this most Promethean of rock bands."—Lenny Kaye
"The saga of Led Zeppelin told by those who knew them when, this intimate oral history goes beyond scandal to reveal the all-too-human beings behind this most Promethean of rock bands, illuminating their expansive body of work and the times in which they exemplified the very essence of rock stardom."
—Lenny Kaye, author of You Call It Madness
In Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band, celebrated music writer Barney Hoskyns presents the definitive account of this iconic band, sharing riveting firsthand stories from the people who knew the group best. Based on more than two hundred interviews with insiders including Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and road manager Richard Cole, this comprehensive exposé explores the legends and pares away the myths. Led Zeppelin reveals what actually happened before, during, and after the group's twelve-year run as the biggest band on earth and what life was really like for four young men on top of the world as they enjoyed fame on a scale that not even the Beatles experienced as a touring live act.
Priceless accounts from fellow musicians, including Jeff Beck, members of the Rolling Stones, record company executives, recording engineers, roadies, and more than a few groupies reveal how Jimmy Page originally envisioned the band and how it was assembled, promoted, and primed for success. These insiders tell wild tales about the group's antics as they embarked on four U.S. tours in a single year yet were able to write, record, and release Led Zeppelin II at the same time. You'll discover new insights into the band's writing, arranging, and recording methods, from how they created the stupendous sound and dynamics on "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love" to the creation of the group's folk-suffused acoustic side.
Perhaps the most surprising fact you'll discover about Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham is the loyalty they felt toward each other and the band. Their sense of themselves as four irreplaceable members of an inseparable unit is displayed movingly in the account of their decision to break up the band following John Bonham's untimely death in 1980.
Filled with dozens of never-before-published photos of the band and its members from early childhood through the glory years, this book is essential reading for every Led Zeppelin fan and for anyone interested in rock history.