Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Middle Years (1971–75) | An Overview
If the 1960s had The Beatles versus The Stones, the 1970s had Led Zeppelin versus the world, and Led Zeppelin won. Frequently playing three-hour sets, their live shows became endurance tests for the band, and visitations from the gods for their audiences.
The first half of the decade would see the group outsell their label-mates The Rolling Stones; outrage America; become the most feared rock’n’roll group in the world; bring to rock music a sensibility that hadn’t been seen in the genre before or since, and all of this without one iota of help from a press that would rather ridicule the band to failure than see them succeed.
In the ‘me’ decade, the 1970s, Led Zeppelin fitted the Zeitgeist perfectly, trashing everything in their way to further their cause and get what they wanted. It wasn’t for nothing that they would frequently be viewed as a group with connections to the gangster underworld, but it worked in their favour. Led Zeppelin’s manager, Peter Grant, rewrote the rulebook for bands on tour and made sure that Led Zeppelin earned and kept more money than those that had gone before them. And if anyone didn’t like it, they were wise to keep their mouths shut. At their artistic and commercial peak, Led Zeppelin were untouchable in the first half of the 1970s, laying the foundations for a legacy that refuses to fade over a quarter of a century later.
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