‘They had the poser frontman – the ultra-cool lead guitarist – the heavy nutcase drummer – all the cliches’ Slade’s Noddy Holder once said.
The thing is, the band he was talking about – Led Zeppelin- created the cliches themselves.
Trashed hotel rooms – orgies – booze binges – drugs – a reputation for violence – underage inamoratas – groupies – heavy metal – headbanging – stadium rock – Tolkien references – godlike status – dabbling with the occult… oh – and how to go from rock to staggering riches.
Led Zeppelin did it all and then some.
Half a century ago.
The formation of the band in summer 1968 is well documented.
Jimmy Page was the last of the triumvirate of blues virtuosos to have played lead guitar for the Yardbirds after Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck but as the band fell apart he was the one left trying to put together a New Yardbirds for an already booked tour of Denmark and Sweden.
Their star was waning.
Clapton had long since left to form the supergroup Cream – Beck was having solo success but Page – who had been raking in the cash since 1963 as an ace session guitarist – adding licks to records by artists from Val Doonican to Lulu to Screaming Lord Sutch – wasn’t going to give up his chance of fame.
He was 24 years old and had joined his longtime pal Beck in the Yardbirds as bassist – before taking over from the temperamental guitar hero.