The Sunday Funnies and Factoids: The Led Zeppelin Edition

Front_page_bobThis week I decided to go off the beaten path and go with a musical theme.  Rock genius, Jimmy Page celebrated his 70th birthday this week which gave me the idea to do this subject matter.  I was listening to some Zeppelin last night and decided to check out when their first album was released…….to my surprise, it was Jan. 12, 1969……..45 years ago today.  That clinched it for me.  It was an omen if you will…a message to do it.  That being said, off we go on some Zeppelin facts that may not be well-known to many. 

1) Jimmy Page has said that the first self-titled Led Zeppelin album only took 35 hours to produce and mix, and cost £1,750 to produce, including the artwork. That’s roughly $2,800 at today’s exchange rate. 

2) The idea for the band’s name came from Keith Moon. Before Page joined the Yardbirds, he got together with Moon (who was upset with his role in The Who at the time), John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Jeff Beck, and they discussed forming a band. Moon stated that this band would go down like a “Lead Balloon,” and soon thereafter he worked out his problems with The Who and the project fell apart. 

3) When Jimmy came to a Hobstweedle gig looking for Robert, he waved his hand at him & said “Are you the roadie?” Robert replied “We can’t afford roadies.” Jimmy said, “I’m looking for Robert Plant.” Robert said “So am I.” 

4) Their first three albums had simple, sensible titles: Led Zeppelin, II, III. When it came time for number four, in November 1971, they stripped things down even further, refusing to print a single word anywhere on the record sleeve, not even their own names, apparently in hopes of causing confusion among the hated rock press. “After all we had accomplished, the press was still calling us a hype,” Page said. “So that is why the fourth album was untitled.” Naturally, this created some confusion – and it infuriated Atlantic Records. The band did include four symbols on the cover, one that represented each group member. Page’s symbol seemed to spell out “Zoso.”

Page insists the symbols aren’t even letters, although that hasn’t stopped people from referring to the album as Zoso (or Zeppelin IV). Technically the album is untitled.*

5) Bonham was found dead on the morning of September 25th, 1980, at Page’s house in Windsor Berkshire, after a day of drinking and rehearsing. According to the coroner’s report, the drummer had the equivalent of 40 vodka shots in his system. Bonham had been drinking quadruple vodkas earlier in the day and was so inebriated he failed to wake up when his body began ejecting the alcohol.* 

6)The symbols on Led Zeppelin IV don’t mean a whole lot.

“They were put together pretty hastily, people have read so much into them over the years. When you get down to it, it sounds like John Paul Jones and John Bonham just said, ‘Oh, we’ll pick these, you know, sure, whatever,’ they weren’t that interested. Robert Plant picked the feather in the circle from some mystical account of some lost civilization that probably never existed. It was one of those hippie things that they thought was out there.Page’s ‘ “Zoso,” goes way back to the renaissance, really, but basically it’s a representation of Capricorn from a document dating back the 1500s. In those days, the way people drew astrological symbols was a lot more elaborate than just scales or fish, but it does derive from a symbol for Saturn, or for Capricorn. It’s nothing satanic or anything like that.”


The quintessential Led Zeppelin song with Jimmy Page as cool as he has ever been.

Happy birthday Jimmy.