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Led Zeppelin: The Definitive Biography Paperback – March, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Music journalist Yorke's distinction as one of the first critics to recognize the prodigious groundbreaking talent and imminent popular success of 1970s megagroup Led Zeppelin has yielded an ongoing 24-year access to the group's inner sanctum, the culmination of which is this sanctioned biography. As presumptuous and troublesome as the "definitive" tag is, Yorke excells at removing himself from the narrative, relying instead on the insightful perspectives, interviews, and comments of the late John Bonham; surviving members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones; and manager Peter Grant. Focusing on the group's musical diversity and inventiveness, experimentation, and desire to constantly push beyond their limits, Yorke alludes to but does not dwell on the surfeit of chemical and sexual indulgence for which the band is legendary. Diggers for these Led nuggets should mine Richard Cole's recent Stairway to Heaven ( LJ 8/92) and Stephen Davis's Hammer of the Gods ( LJ 6/15/85). From their pre-Led Age beginnings through their post-Zeppelin solo projects, Yorke offers the best account of this band to date. For all music collections.
- Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., Tex.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Underwood Books; Rev Sub edition (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887331777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887331770
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dimos on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a definitely a definite biography of led zeppelin. It begins with a short biography of each of the bands members before forming the band and ends with the solo work of the remaining members up to 1998 I think. The author doesn;t go into details about drugs and sex but tells the tale using interviews from the members and from his personal experience with them. At the end of the book there is a list of the groups discography and each members solo carrier discography and a list of bootlegs. I didn't see any photos inside but there were a few papers with some B&W photos. I bought this book from a supermarket. It is recommended if you are not interested tales about excesses and orgies etc etc
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Surferofromantica on June 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
I've read Hammer Of The Gods, which has been attacked by Led Zeppelin camp insiders, while Yorke's is considered more informed, given Robert Plant's praise that "Ritchie's alright... he's been one of us from the bloody beginning." Nice plug, worth putting on the cover. Which Yorke has done, of course - something like that is a gift from heaven for an author, man!!

It doesn't make it an exciting book, though, and like most books about Led Zeppelin there's only one short mention of backstage debauchery (for that, you're better off to read the Pamela Des Barres books), with a lot of praise for things that the band did well. It also conveys the sense of denial coming from parts of the rock world that Led Zeppelin was any good at all, when it was clear that they were a smashing success with the fans (hard to believe that they were once looked down upon, but yes... it seems to be true). It took a while for people to catch on, and by the fourth album it was undeniable. Of course, by that time, it was nearly over, and what Yorke remains vague about is the last few albums... weren't very good. Led Zeppelin had run out of steam somewhere after Physical Graffiti, but that's sort of glossed over here. Lots of great quotes with people who are long-dead, like Glyn Johns or Peter Grant (who died only two years after the book was published, but who seems very much alive here, and ready to undertake grand new plans - a bit more on that later).

The book starts out, as all good bios and auto-biographies do, with a personal recollection, and this is a good one - it is about Yorke getting to introduce the band to 18,000 fans at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens one night in 1970. "Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest rock and roll band in the world... Led Zeppelin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Aeolian Kid on November 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
A BOOK REVIEW OF: The Led Zeppelin Biography by Ritchie Yorke

My friend, Yoshi, gave me this book on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. I finished reading this book on January 21, 2011.

This book first came out in 1976. It may be one of the first books written about Led Zeppelin - and it is still one of the best as well as the one referred to by many subsequent books on the band by other writers. Mr. Yorke certainly did his homework even though this was a labor of love.

He quotes Jimmy Page on pages 107 and 108 as saying this:

"We started off doing some of the tracks at the new Island Studios in London in December '70," says Page, "but after that we went to our house, Headley Grange in Hampshire, a place where we frequently rehearse. For some reason, we decided to take the Stones' mobile audio truck there... because we were used to the place. It was familiar territory. We had even lived there during long rehearsal sessions. It seemed ideal - as soon as we thought of an idea, we put it down on tape right away. In a way, it was a good method. The only thing wrong was that we'd get so excited about an idea that we'd really rush to finish its format to get it onto tape. It was like a quick productivity thing. It was just so exciting to have all the facilities there.

"I suppose what we really needed was at least two weeks solid with the truck. But as it turned out, we actually only had about six days. We need a full week to get everything out of our system and get used to the facilities. Then we could be really getting together in the second week.... You really do need the sort of facilities where you can take a break for a cup of tea and a wander around the garden, and then go back in and do whatever you have to do.
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