Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Later Years (1979) | Key Events


Down Time

After a quiet 1978, the first half of 1979 didn’t see much action for the group. Maureen Plant had borne Robert another son, Logan Romero, in January and, perhaps as a way of indulging in his love for singing without the stress of the band, Plant had begun sitting in and singing with a West Midlands band known as Melvin’s Marauders. Page, meanwhile, was up in Scotland at Boleskine House, supporting environmental campaigns to stop damage to Loch Ness. Since 1978, the most action that Swan Song had seen came from Dave Edmunds and Maggie Bell.


Comeback Rehearsals

With a few songs from their forthcoming live album included, most notably ‘In The Evening’, Led Zeppelin played two nights in Copenhagen’s Falkoner Theatre, on 23 and 24 July – their first live shows in two years. Other than the new songs, the set remained much the same as it had been in 1977, as the band took the chance to flex their live muscles on a much lower scale than their upcoming Knebworth homecoming shows would provide.


Headline At Knebworth

For their first UK shows in four years, Led Zeppelin were understandably nervous. The two nights combined, 4 and 11 August, would see roughly 200,000 people gather to watch the band, supported by the likes of Chas & Dave, Fairport Convention and Todd Rundgren. On the first show, they needn’t have worried. The crowd were rabid for their rock gods to return home, and the band provided them with a rock show to judge all other shows by. On the 11th, however, the familiar bad luck struck again when it rained on the outdoor stage and Page’s theremin broke down. Never looking to let the band enjoy a good thing for too long, the press slated the show for being the sort of dated, progressive-rock experience that should have gone out two years ago.

In Through The Out Door

Named, some say, after the troubles the band found trying to get taken seriously while punk, disco and the UK’s burgeoning new-wave scene were rising in popularity (the joke was that it was easier to get popular, or ‘In’, through the door marked ‘Exit’), In Through The Out Door (No. 1 UK, No. 1 US) would be Led Zeppelin’s final studio album. Slightly delayed upon its release, the wait was worth it for those disappointed by Presence. It sounded as though the band had regained a sense of purpose, though this could be because the sessions were mostly led by John Paul Jones and Robert Plant, while Bonham and Page were out chasing their demons. The bassist and singer recorded the bones of the songs during the day, with the other half waiting until the night time to add their parts. Though there’s the usual Led Zeppelin rock of ‘In The Evening’, the group added a synthy groove to the album that gave it more of an unifying feel than Presence...

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