Led Zeppelin is the most popular band in the world.
“There was just wall-to-wall amplifiers, and a space for the door—and that was it,” recalled John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin’s bass guitarist, many decades later.
“The whole room just exploded.” No tape has survived of that first rehearsal on August 12, 1968, which brought together a quartet who would sell more albums over the next 50 years than any other rock band apart from The Beatles.
But listening to live bootlegs of “Train Kept A-Rollin’”, the blues tune that they practiced that day, it is easy to understand how that first jam laid the ground-work for heavy metal.
The band’s name was pinched from Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, who had suggested in 1966 that a potential group involving him and Page, without a singer of the requisite quality, would go down like a lead balloon. Page noted down the words “Led Zeppelin” and thought it would be a perfect for a new band that combined shades of both light and heavy music.
Though the phrase “head-banging” was reportedly coined to describe their concerts, it was far from the only style of music that the group produced. Equally as beloved were Page’s tinkling acoustic guitar and Jones’s keyboards and woodwind, which combined to produce the iconic opening of the Zeppelin classic, “Stairway to Heaven.”