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I am 45 years of age, 32 of which the Songs Remains the Same. Yes, I have been a Led Zeppelin fan since I was thirteen years. I remember very vividly the first time I heard “Black Dog”… the brief guitar intro sounded to me like a flying saucer above my head; and then came Robert Plant’s voice. It sounded metallic to my ears, not from planet earth; it was so powerful, like nothing I heard before… I was hook. This was mid-June, 1980. I wanted to learn more about Led Zeppelin… Immediately I started my research. They had a new album; I still remember hearing “All My Love” while it was still considered a new song. It sounded so different from Black Dog but I still liked it. I stared writing “Black Dog” and “Led Zeppelin” on my notebooks, on my text books, everywhere. Then came the end of Led Zeppelin… There was a magazine from Mexico City called “Discoteque Rock Pop” that I bought in an office/school store in the “Las Palmas” section of Tijuana. That magazine gave me the news that Bonzo was dead and that Led Zeppelin was no more.
Since then I bought the whole Led Zeppelin discography several times, first the LPs, then the CDs, then the Japanese mini LP edition of the CDs that carry the original art of the albums, like the rotating wheel in Led Zeppelin III, the die-cut windows sleeve art of the Physical Graffiti album, the brown paper bag covered “In Through the Out Door” album, etc. Over the years since Led Zeppelin disbanded the surviving members have released DVDs, Box Sets, Live Albums and Best-Of compilations. It has been 32 years since Bonham died, exactly the same amount of years he lived. During these 32 years Led Zeppelin has enjoyed a “Presence” that have kept their music and legacy alive. It still amazes me to see 11 year old kids wearing a Led Zeppelin T-Shirt.
Cameron Crowe wrote it perfectly on the liner notes of the Led Zeppelin 1990 boxset: “Led Zeppelin broke up ten years ago, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to the radio. Not since Elvis joined the Army has an audience so completely refused to acknowledge an artist’s inactivity.”
This is still valid today… This November Led Zeppelin will release their 2007 London concert on Blue Ray/DVD and CD/LP. First they released the concert on Movie theaters world wide very successfully. The Mira Mesa play was packed with fans wearing Led Zeppelin t-shirts, people were very joyful and applauding after every performance, there was even one fan that acted as if he was in the concert. John Bonham’s son Jason played drums during that concert, which is great… In Bonzo’s absence this is as close as you can get to the original lineup. In my mind they should have dropped the “Led” from the name as Bonham was the heaviest of them all… and without John Bonham they’re not Led Zeppelin... But they could be Zeppelin. :)
So why has the audience refused to acknowledge Led Zeppelin’s inactivity? Besides a great legacy in music there has been a great marketing effort, primarily from the mind of Jimmy Page. Here’s the chronogram:
• 1980. Led Zeppelin disbands after Bonham’s death.
• 1982. Led Zeppelin releases “Coda” their 10th album. The album is a collection of outtakes from various sessions during Led Zeppelin's twelve-year career. John Bonham is the drummer.
• 1985. Jones, Page and Plant performed Led Zeppelin songs together on the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson sharing the drummer duty.
• 1988. Robert Plant samples Led Zeppelin songs on his solo hit “Tall Cool One”.
• 1990. The three surviving members reunited again for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, with Jason Bonham on drums.
• 1990. The Led Zeppelin Box Set is released. It includes two previously unreleased tracks: “White Summer” and “Travelling Riverside Blues”. Plus “Moby Dick” and “Bonzo’s Montreux” are mixed together. And "Hey Hey What Can I Do” is finally included in an album.
• 1990. Led Zeppelin “Remasters” is released. Is a scaled down version of the Box Set. But it includes a bonus disc with the Led Zeppelin profile and interviews to Jones, Page and Plant.
• 1993. Led Zeppelin Box Set 2 (the rest of the best) is released. It included an out take: “Baby Come On Home”, the last out take from the Led Zeppelin studio recordings.
• 1994. Page and Plant team up for a duo collaboration for the MTV unplugged series called No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded. I call it Un-Jonesy, as John Paul Jones was deliberately uninvited so the project would not be labeled as Led Zeppelin. The duo rearranged all the Led Zeppelin songs in the album and wrote four new songs.
• 1995. Led Zeppelin were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They jam with Aerosmith and Neil Young.
• 1997. The Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions album is released. It includes the recording of the first time Stairway to Heaven was played to a live audience, prior to the official release. The sessions are from 1969 and 1971.
• 1999. The Best of Led Zeppelin Vol 1. Is released.
• 2000. The Best of Led Zeppelin Vol 2. Is released. If you already own the Box Sets or the remasters CDs you don’t need these two albums.
• 2001. Jimmy Page jams with the Black Crowes and releases a live CD that covers mostly Zep Material.
• 2003. The Led Zeppelin DVD, a six-hour set of live footage, and the triple live album “How the West Was Won” are released. The DVD became the best-selling music DVD in history. Led Zeppelin finally has a proper Live CD.
• 2007. Led Zeppelin reunites for a one-off concert in London for a tribute to Ahmet Ertegün, the founder of Atlantic Records. Millions registered on line for the privilege to buy two of the 18,000 seats for the concert. I was one of the un-lucky ones who couldn’t secure a ticket.
• 2007. Zep releases another “best-of” material called Mothership.
• 2007. The Song Remains The Same soundtrack is re-released with bonus tracks. “The Ocean” is awesome.
• 2008. Jimmy Page plays “Whole Lotta Love” during the closing ceremony of the Olympics in China.
• 2009. It Might Get Loud, a documentary on Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White is released. In this documentary Page reference lots of Zep material.
• 2012. The 2007 concert will be released.
Yes, Led Zeppelin has been very active in terms of releasing material from their period when they were active but they don’t exist as a band anymore. Unfortunately for us, fans that did not see Zep live, Robert Plant refuses to fake the rebel yell, he prefers to search for a higher ground.
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