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Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band Hardcover – October 1, 2012
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""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
From the Inside Flap
"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.
Top Customer Reviews
One of the most incredible things about Led Zeppelin that comes through from this
book is how the whole thing lasted as long as it did. While writing and recording the greatest rock albums of all time in mobile trucks and freezing cold rural cottages, Zeppelin re-wrote the rule book on how to rip it up on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The groupies came crawling out of the woodwork. No one was exempt from manager Peter Grants take on how things were to be done, not even the legendary Bill Graham. The 1977 Oakland incident is quite incredible even today. But 1977 was a tragic year for Zeppelin and probably the beginning of the end. Cocaine, booze and worst of all Heroin had crept in. Jimmy became weird, Robert lost his son, Bonzo just wanted to go home.
As if things were not bad enough, other famous characters pop up like Keith Moon and Iggy Pop and with road manager Richard Coles recollections, events take on an almost comical nature, with TVs and pianos flying through the air. Press people assinged to cover the '77 Tour were instructed not to even look at John Bonham or Richard Cole. Paranoia set in, phones were not answered. Swan Song became a mess.
You know whats coming, but Hoskyns delivers the news as if September 25th happened last week. Just before he died, Bonham and Jimmy Page planned a hard rock album for 1981 to counter In Through The Outdoor. An album and an new era we can only speculate about.
With all the hedonism, tragedy and 70's excess, Hoskyns book reaffirms that the final winners are still Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones and the music they made between 1968 and 1980.
The oral history style of the book doesn't allow for a smooth narrative and I can understand other reviewers who were bored into putting it down. If you want a fun, beach-type read that bundles the whole Zep saga into a page-turner, you can't go wrong with the venerable Hammer of the Gods by Stephen Davis. It focuses too heavily on the hoary bluesman fables of souls sold to the devil but if you ignore that as a product of the "backwards masking/Tipper Gore" mid 80s era when it was originally written, it contains a lot of the same information as this book but in an easier format. It has been updated through the 2007 reunion, too.
If, as some reviewers mentioned, you want a book that focuses on the music and not the gossip, Led Zeppelin 1968-80 by Keith Shadwick is my go-to source.
Until one of the surviving members writes an autobiography, I'll keep those mentioned to complete the picture for me.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am very disappointed in this book and it was expensive. The author wrote the book based on interviews with an assortment of people that I am not interested in reading about. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carol S. Mathews
I picked up this book as a new Zeppelin fan (somehow missed out on everything except Stairway till I was 27, what a waste. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Abrielle Krumrie
Excellent read!! Filled with comments and tidbits from people throughout Zeppelin's unique world, even many quotes from people now long gone. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Debra Allen
It is a great book to read on Led Zeppelin as their story is told not through themselves, but through other people who were a part of Their inner circle from the time of their... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Debbie
This is a great book to have if you like the Rock Band Led Zeppelin.
It is not a pictorial history type of book, but a lot of great stories
about the band, 513 pages.
PLEASE READ THIS REVIEW: I have nothing further to add to the reviews already posted here. I am The World's Number One Led Zeppelin Fan so, naturally, I'm glad that I got this... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dave A. Schacht
This is an oral history with comments from many people associated with Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page. I found the format very intriguing, though the focus is more on external... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Katie Sloan