Led Zeppelin announces that it has given the green light to the very first documentary sanctioned by the group, entitled “Becoming Led Zeppelin”.
The film will cover Led Zeppelin’s entire career and feature interviews with three of the band’s surviving members: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, as well as archival interviews with the late John Bonham. Never-before-seen photos and video footage will also be used to summarize the band’s legacy.
Originally announced in 2019 to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary, but postponed due to Covid, the film does not yet have a release date. However, it will be directed by Bernard MacMahon, who was responsible for the production of the documentary series “American Epic”, in 2017, exploring the first recordings of American folk, blues, gospel and country music.
On the occasion of the making of the film, MacMahon confessed, “’Becoming Led Zeppelin’ is a film that no one thought they could make. The group’s meteoric rise to stardom has been swift and virtually undocumented. Thanks to intense research across the world and years of restoring the visual and audio records found, this story can finally be told. “
“When I saw everything Bernard had done both visually and sonically on the remarkable achievement that is ‘American Epic’, I knew he would be qualified to tell our story,” Page explains during the interview. announcement of films.
“Seeing ‘Will Shade’ and so many other important American musicians come to life on the big screen in ‘American Epic’,” continues frontman Robert Plant, “inspired me to contribute to a very interesting and exciting story.”
After 50 years of historic career and having defined the sound of rock n ‘roll itself, Led Zeppelin continues to document his legacy in the 21st century and beyond.
“Becoming Led Zeppelin” will have its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, which will take place in Italy from September 1-11.
1968: Career beginnings
When Jimmy Page’s band The Yardbirds decided to go their separate ways in 1968, the guitarist began looking for a new band. Soon after, he teamed up with singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones to become The New Yardbirds and embarked on a tour of Scandinavia.
In October 1968, they changed their name to Led Zeppelin, inspired by comments from several musicians about their chances of falling like a lead balloon. They performed their first show as Led Zeppelin later this month at the University of Surrey. Atlantic Records signed the young band in November 1968 without even seeing them, thanks to the growing hype for British bands in the United States.
1969: First and second album in a year
Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut album in early 1969, which was an overnight commercial success in the UK and US, reaching the Top 10 on both charts. To build on the momentum of their debut album, the band impressively released their second album “Led Zeppelin II” later that same year.
Although primarily recorded during the band’s tour, “Led Zeppelin II” was an even bigger hit than their debut record and reached No. 1 in the UK and US. Their popularity only increased with the release of the single “Whole Lotta Love”, which sold over a million copies and reached number 4 on the US Billboard charts.
1970-1972: A new folk-inspired sound
“Led Zeppelin III”, the group’s third and more folk-inspired album, was released in October 1970 and included the single “Immigrant Song”. Even with a brand new sound, the album reached number 1 in the US and UK. The following year, the group released their fourth album which, although untitled, was often called “Led Zeppelin IV”, “IV” or “Four Symbols”. The four symbols on the album cover represent each member of the band, in addition to being a nod to their fourth studio album.
With around 37 million copies sold, “Led Zeppelin IV” is one of the best-selling albums in rock history and has raised the band’s profile. Although never released as a single, the track from the album “Stairway to Heaven” is arguably one of the band’s most popular songs.
1973: North American tour
Led Zeppelin’s next album, “Houses Of The Holy”, was released in March 1973 and topped the charts around the world. Later that year, the band embarked on a North American tour that included three sold-out concerts at Madison Square Gardens in New York City. They traveled in style, roaming town to town in The Starship (pictured), a Boeing 720 bought by singer Bobby Sherman and his manager Ward Sylvester, and rented to touring musicians.
1974: Launch of the Swan Song label
When their contract with Atlantic Records ended in 1974, Led Zeppelin took a break from touring and launched Swan Song, their own label. In addition to using the label to promote Led Zeppelin albums, the group also began signing artists such as Bad Company and Maggie Bell.
1975-1976: “Physical Graffiti” and interruption of the tour
Led Zeppelin released the double album ‘Physical Graffiti’ in February 1975, the first release on their new label Swan Song. The album was a huge commercial and critical success, debuting at number 1 in the UK and at number 3 in the US. Shortly after the release of ‘Physical Graffiti, the group embarked on a new North American tour.
The group were forced to take a short break after the tour after frontman Robert Plant and his wife Maureen were both injured in a serious car crash in Greece while on vacation. In March 1976, the band released their seventh album, ‘Presence’, which reached the top of the charts in the US and UK. Still unable to shoot due to Plant’s injuries, Led Zeppelin completed his concert film ‘The Song Remains The Same’, released in October 1976.
1977-1979: Guinness World Record victory
Once Plant made a full recovery, Led Zeppelin returned on tour in 1977 and entered the Guinness Book of Records for performing to an audience of over 76,000; the largest turnout for a one-act show at that time. At the end of 1978, the group released ‘In Through The Out Door’, which, like the majority of their previous albums, reached number 1 in the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand. The following year, Led Zeppelin presented two shows at the Knebworth Music Festival.
1980: the death of John Bonham
On September 25, 1980, John Bonham sadly died of asphyxiation in his sleep after drinking heavily the day before. He was only 32 years old. He has since been hailed as one of the greatest drummers of all time. Led Zeppelin has canceled their upcoming North American tour and in December the remaining members of the group released a statement saying they would be going their separate ways.
1982-1988: Reunion with Live Aid
In November 1982, a collection of Led Zeppelin snippets and unused tracks known as “Coda” came out. It included tracks from the band’s performances at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 and sessions from “Led Zeppelin III”, “Houses Of The Holy” and “In Through the Out Door”.
Plant, Page and Jones have come together to perform two unique shows. The first was at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia in 1985 and the second was for the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988, where they performed with Bonham’s son Jason on drums.
90s: Plant and Page
After reuniting again for a 90-minute MTV “UnLedded” project in 1994, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page formed the Plant and Page duo, releasing an album called “Walking into Clarksdale” in 1998. Led Zeppelin was inducted at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith. The event brought together Plant, Page and Jones as well as Bonham’s children Jason and Zoë Bonham, who were there to represent their late father.
2000s: Another Guinness World Record
In 2003, the triple live album ‘How the West Was Won’ and Led Zeppelin DVD were released. The DVD, which contained six hours of live footage, became the best-selling music DVD in history. Led Zeppelin, along with Jason Bonham, came together again to headline the Tribute to Ahmet Ertegun concert at London’s O2 Arena in December 2007. It was the group’s first show in 27 years, setting a Guinness World Record in 2009 for the highest demand for music concert tickets, after 20 million ticket requests were submitted online.
2010s: anniversaries, commemorations and distinctions
‘Celebration Day’, a concert film by Led Zeppelin, was released in October 2012. The film featured the group’s 2007 performance at the O2 Arena in London and grossed $ 2 million overnight. The accompanying live album has sold around 1.8 million copies.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin – Plant, Page and Jones – all received Kennedy Center Honors from President Barack Obama in December 2012. This is the United States’ highest honor for “contributions of a lifetime. to American culture through the performing arts ”. In 2015, Led Zeppelin re-released their 2007 compilation album “Mothership”, which featured remastered versions of the band’s songs. The album was a commercial success and went double platinum. The group also released a book titled ‘Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin in 2018 to commemorate the group’s 50th anniversary.
Although fans are keeping their fingers crossed for another Led Zeppelin reunion, Jimmy Page said in an interview in 2020: “It really seems unlikely that there will be a tour in the future. Unlike the Rolling Stones, they know kinda fans love it – i know that with led zeppelin fans too, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything in the future, unfortunately.
After being delayed due to the pandemic, it is hoped that Led Zeppelin’s first official feature documentary will be released in 2021. The documentary features all-new interviews with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones, as well as previously unreleased interviews. with the late John Bonham. The group’s website describes the documentary as “the definitive story of Led Zeppelin’s birth.”