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  • Led Zeppelin

  • The Biography
  • By: Bob Spitz
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 21 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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Led Zeppelin cover art

Led Zeppelin

By: Bob Spitz
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
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Summary

From the author of the definitive New York Times best-selling history of the Beatles comes the authoritative account of the group many call the greatest rock band of all time, arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most notorious.

Rock star. Whatever that term means to you, chances are it owes a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Bob Spitz takes their full measure, separating the myth from the reality with his trademark connoisseurship and storytelling flair.

From the opening notes of their first album, the band announced itself as something different, a collision of grand artistic ambition and brute primal force, of English folk music and African American blues. That record sold more than 10 million copies, and it was just the beginning; Led Zeppelin's albums have sold more than 300 million certified copies worldwide, and the dust has never settled. 

The band is notoriously guarded, and previous books provided more heat than light. But Spitz's authority is undeniable and irresistible. His feel for the atmosphere, the context - the music, the business, the recording studios, the touring life, the whole ecosystem of popular music - is unparalleled. His account of the melding of Page and Jones, the virtuosic London sophisticates, with Plant and Bonham, the wild men from the Midlands, in a scene dominated by the Beatles and the Stones but changing fast, is in itself a revelation. Spitz takes the music seriously and brings the band's artistic journey to full and vivid life.

The music, however, is only part of the legend: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the '60s became the '70s, of how playing clubs became playing stadiums, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin wasn't the first rock band to let loose on the road, but as with everything else, they took it to an entirely new level. Not all the legends are true, but in Spitz's careful accounting, what is true is astonishing and sometimes disturbing.  

Led Zeppelin gave no quarter, and neither has Bob Spitz. Led Zeppelin is the full and honest reckoning the band has long awaited and richly deserves.

©2021 Bob Spitz (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A gossipy, readable account.” - New Yorker

“In this authoritative, unsparing history of the biggest rock group of the 1970s, Spitz delivers inside details and analysis with his well-known gift for storytelling.” - People  

“★★★½ out of four . . . The good, the bad and the ugly coexist in the Led Zeppelin story, and Spitz knows well enough to report and tell it all.” - USA Today  

What listeners say about Led Zeppelin

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

American made!

A deep dive into the legendary band, with some good insight into the urban myths surrounding Led Zeppelin, their management and the dubious and of hangers on that inhabited the dark and dangerous world of rock and roll.

Some of the pronunciation is miles off, particularly the Black Country dialect and place names in the UK, but that aside it was well narrated and especially sympathetic around the various tragedies that LZ endured.

Overall enjoyable and informative, would recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about the mighty Led Zep and their blaze across the world.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best rock biographies

Is this the “authorised “ biography? I shouldn’t think so - this is the ‘warts and all’ account, and let’s face it, with Led Zeppelin there are more warts than most! Which is why this is such a gripping story, whether or not you love the band. Spitz has done his homework and put together the full history in a way that’s involving and completely absorbing. He concentrates on the three aspects essential to any rock biography: the personalities of the musicians, the creation of the music, and - particularly relevant to Zeppelin - the management of the band; Peter Grant gets no less coverage than Page, Plant, and Bonham, and much more than John Paul Jones.

The narration is also good after you forgive the American his pronounciation (‘Stoorbridge’ for Stourbridge, Bert Jansch becomes ‘Jansh’ instead of ‘Yansh’, among many lapses), but overall he told it well and I was never bored, not even for a moment.

PS: You finally get to hear the account of ‘the event with the fish’, and believe me, it’s so utterly degrading you can understand why it’s not normally told.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dreadful pronunciation

Not a bad book but there's only so much dreadful pronunciation a man can put up with. Why not do your research and figure out how Welsh names are voiced or how idiosyncratic some English place names can be? It seems lazy and/or just downright rude. It spoiled what is an otherwise enjoyable tale.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

could've been better

i wish it had been a different reader. somebody English perhaps would've contributed in a more authentic way. i found this reader very monotone. it made it hard to stay involved.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb, Absolute Corker

Excellent in every way, really, really enjoyed this. An excellent history of the band told in a unflinching way exactly as it was.

Even if your not a zeppelin fan you will love this audiobook documenting the bands rise to hedonistic fame and fortune and it’s inevitable end with John Bonham’s untimely death.It shocks you, moves you and leaves you wishing there was more-loved it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

As rock n roll as it gets

Phenomenal. I wouldn’t say I was the biggest led zeppelin fan music wise. But this book and their story is more than I imagined when I started. Just an audacious, outstanding and shocking story. Amazing

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Speechless !!!!!

Wow wow wow !! I’m only 31 and I have been listening to led zeppelin for a while now and the audio book dose not disappoint a point

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful history of Led Zeppelin

In depth history of the band. Revealing saga of a band that appears to be totally unaware of the trail of wreckage they left in the wake of their tours. In my estimation a real loss of respect for a total lack of self awareness.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

No fairytale

A brutal and honest account of one of the greatest bands ever. No holds barred.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Memories

Having been at Earl’s Court , Knebworth and the O2 at the end, it was a joy to get the whole story. Nicely read so it’s unfair to pick on the amusing Pronunciation of English placenames but there was some real howlers away from that! All the Americans I know (who know!) Call the best hotel in Paris the George Cinq , not the George Vee …. And to introduce Paul Rodgers as the guitarist from Free…still it shows I was paying attention. Thanks for some great memories and for filling in the gaps

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