Wednesday, November 3, 2010

LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour / by Stephen Davis

"LZ-'75 is a personal portrait of the greatest rock band in history, at the apogee of its flight. For Led Zeppelin, everything they had done until then led up to the epic music they would create in 1975: a year of travel, incredible artistic success, personal exaltation, near-death traumas and creative rebirth under painful hardship and dislocation. It was the top year for the band. After 1975, Led Zeppelin would never be the same again." (p. 5)
From the 1960's onward The Beatles and Rollings Stones among others may have paved the way for the rock era's golden age, but only one band would claim the title as greatest rock band in history according to music journalist Stephen Davis. It wasn't just Led Zeppelin's deafening volume, clangorous beats or songs bordering on pandemonium which set them at a level above the rest. It was their variety. Their ability to assimilate blues and soul with more traditional rock stylings, folk rythms and varied instrumental arrangements helped sustain their creative edge and spur their popularity as a global phenomenon. Moreover it was the way they combined hard driving heavy metal with distinct elements of myth and mysticism which helped establish them as unquestionably one of the most influential and successful rock bands ever (if not the most).
Davis, author of numerous other Rock bios and memoirs, recounts the year when he was only 22 and the most popular band in the world allowed him to accompany them on their 1975 North American tour. Doing almost 40 shows in 29 different locations, the tour marked the pinnacle of the band's success as a live act. And though their legacy would continue, their legend growing as the years progressed with their fanbase expanding through each new generation, nothing would or could compare to the in-concert atmosphere the group created.
From Bonham's frenetic percussion to Paul Jones' sledgehammer bass to the genius of Plant and Page, the tour highlighted the band's most prolific album to date, Physical Graffiti, in addition to promoting their already portentious body of work. The regularly sold out shows became legendary as the band's polished performances helped promote Zeppelin's signature, no-doubt-about-it sound and enthrall its already rabid fans. Davis lets the reader in on the group everyone wants to know about but few have had the privelege to get close to. Led Zeppelin was (and remains) notorious for their privacy and restrictive policies. They granted virtually no interviews and had by that time made enemies of most prominent members of the press including the editors at Rolling Stone magazine. Davis was the exception, recalling all he heard and witnessed inside this intricately detailed reflective journal based on the author's own thought-to-have-been lost notebooks he'd originally toured with. (782.4216 DAVIS)

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