Otherwise known as Led Zeppelin, the band comprising Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham were introduced at their very first show together as "The New Yardbirds.”
While Jimmy Page initially set out to recruit members for a new Yardbirds line-up, Led Zeppelin would prove to be far more than The Yardbirds version 2.0 as they went on to dominate the hard rock world at the tail end of the late ‘60s and throughout the ‘70s.
Though it was their first gig – on this day in 1968 – the band received rave reviews. “Their performance and their music were absolutely flawless,” wrote one attendee following their debut show at the Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark.
“The music continued to ring nicely in the ears for some time after the curtains were drawn after their show. We can therefore conclude that the new Yardbirds are at least as good as the old ones were.”
By October 1968, the so-called New Yardbirds began appearing under the now legendary Led Zeppelin moniker (rock lore has it the name Led Zeppelin comes from the British phrase ‘going down like a lead balloon’ and was first suggested by The Who’s John Entwistle.)
Recounting the formation of Led Zeppelin in a recent interview, Page told a journalist, “I was looking for new [Yardbirds] members and I found Robert Plant first. I was recommended to go and see this guy up in the Midlands. I went up to see him and I listened to him sing and I thought, ‘Well, let’s give him a try. He’s certainly got an interesting range.’
“Robert recommended John Bonham and so then we got a drummer. And then John Paul Jones calls me up and says, “I hear you might be putting a band together. Can I join?” So we have a rehearsal in London and then I get them to my house to rehearse everything that we’re going to need for a set, and everything that we’re going to need for Led Zeppelin I.”
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival just days ago, the new documentary – Becoming Led Zeppelin – chronicles the story of all four members throughout their formative years as musicians during the ‘60s, leading up to the rehearsal that would effectively change the course of popular music forever as Led Zeppelin begin to snowball into the world-dominating rock titans we know and love.
Produced by Bernard MacMahon and Allison McGourty, Becoming Led Zeppelin features never-seen-before interviews with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and the late, great John Bonham.
Rod Brakes is a music writer with an expertise in all things guitar-related. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a journalist covering artists, industry pros and gear includes writing hundreds of articles and features for the likes of Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar, as well as contributions for specialist books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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