Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Later Years (1976) | Key Events
It had to happen sometime. Perhaps it was a combination of the stress and tension following Plant’s car crash and his wife’s near-death; the fact that the band knew they should have been on the road; the depression of remaining in a tax exile that prevented them from going home; or that it was recorded and mixed in just 17 days, but Presence (No. 1 UK, No. 1 US) was the first below-par Led Zeppelin album. The band themselves seemed to acknowledge this, as they only played two of the album’s tracks live, ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’. While previous albums had had their ‘throwaway’ tracks, at least they were good throwaways. Presence’s problem was that, despite epic pieces of good quality and a tangible menacing feel, the shorter tracks didn’t have much to offer, seeming like half-baked ideas. Again the album’s artwork attracted great attention, thanks to the use of a black obelisk-like image referred to only as ‘The Object’. Pictured in places as diverse as a family dinner table, a golf course and a school, ‘The Object’ took on more significance in fans’ minds than the band intended, and it has given way to much rumour and theorizing over what its ominous presence could mean.
Bonzo Lashes Out
While Led Zeppelin the group was struggling to remain on top in 1976, John Bonham the man was battling to retain control of the beast. Ever since his daughter Zoe had been born in June 1975, Bonham was becoming increasingly more despondent when he was away from his family. Having recently spent the summer with them in the south of France, when they returned to England Bonzo moved on to Monte Carlo with Richard Cole and friend Mick Hinton. It was probably no surprise that Bonzo would lose it before long and on one night out he went mad at Hinton for a long-forgotten reason, hitting him with a gas gun that he carried with him. Unfortunately the club was full of gangster types and Cole had to break Bonham’s nose for the second time in five years to stop him from getting anyone into some even more serious trouble.
The Song Remains The Same
If, perhaps, The Song Remains The Same film and accompanying soundtrack were intended to remind Led Zeppelin fans of the group’s incredible stage show after the disappointment of their studio LP Presence, the soundtrack album brought to mind something different. There are a few songs from the film not on the soundtrack, and some versions of songs on the soundtrack differ to the ones in the film. Regardless, though, The Song Remains The Same (No. 1 UK, No. 2 US) is one of the most boring live albums any band could have released. Recorded at the same July 1973 Madison Square Garden shows that were filmed for the tour movie, it seems that the group may have been more concerned with looking good than sounding...
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