Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Early Years (1970) | Key Events
Lasting only a month, the most defining factor of Led Zeppelin’s January 1970 UK tour would be the lack of support act. Only the biggest bands in the world could go on stage without a warm-up act preceding them, but Led Zeppelin had to drop something in order to stop the curfew problems their two-hour-plus shows were giving them. Without a support, Led Zeppelin were free to stretch out as they liked. John Bonham’s solo drum spot, ‘Moby Dick’ (a mere four minutes long on Led Zeppelin II), would regularly stretch out to half an hour, while the group tore through blues standards and tracks from across their first two albums. (The entire Royal Albert Hall performance from 9 January, Jimmy Page’s 26th birthday, is on the Led Zeppelin DVD of 2003.)
Meeting Charlotte Martin backstage at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 January, Page embarked upon a tempestuous relationship with the French model (and former girlfriend of Eric Clapton) that would see Martin mother Page’s only child, Scarlet. After the January UK tour had ended, Page and Martin retreated to Page’s Pangbourne Boathouse, where Page would withdraw from the rock’n’roll touring lifestyle. Never as outwardly excessive as his bandmates, Page became increasingly reclusive in his village home.
Von Zeppelin Family
While rehearsing in Copenhagen for their European tour, Led Zeppelin were visited by Eva von Zeppelin, a descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, inventor of the erstwhile zeppelin airship. Disgraced at the way in which she perceived the band was sullying her family’s good name, she threatened them with a lawsuit if they appeared under the Led Zeppelin banner. Duly, the band’s Dutch dates saw them play under the pseudonym ‘The Nobs’.
Scandinavian And European Tours
On their first full-blown European tour, Led Zeppelin were confident enough in their stage show to begin introducing new material from the forthcoming Led Zeppelin III album to their sets. Everything continued apace, with the usual misbehaviour. At one press reception with an expensive modern art installation, Bonzo (as, Jekyll & Hyde-style, he was being increasingly known when he was drunk) took to redesigning some of the artworks that still had wet paint, and Peter Grant had to buy the pieces in question in order to appease the management.
The Financial Times
A band is more than just a band when media coverage isn’t restricted to the usual music press, tabloids or broadsheets; in the mid-1990s it would seem that David Bowie had more presence in The Financial Times than in the music press. Back in March 1970, Led Zeppelin would be the subjects of a feature in the world’s leading financial paper, noting that the group stood to make $800,000 from 21 shows in a month-long US tour. For Plant this was an emotional godsend. Despite his achievements over the past year, his family scorned the rock’n’roll lifestyle their son had chosen for himself. With the FT feature,...
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