Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Middle Years (1973) | Key Events
Houses Of The Holy
Fittingly for an album that didn’t continue in the tradition of Roman-numeral-titled albums (overlooking the variously titled ZoSo, Led Zeppelin IV and Fourth Album, of course), Houses Of The Holy (No. 1 UK, No. 1 US) saw probably the biggest stylistic shift in Led Zeppelin’s recording career. Though the blues and heavy rock were present, they were no longer such overt forces. Songs such as ‘The Crunge’ and ‘D’yer Mak’er’ would see Led Zeppelin try on funk and reggae respectively, while John Paul Jones would bring, in the core of ‘No Quarter’, one of the moodier tracks in the Led Zeppelin canon. It might have seemed as though the band’s collective mind was wandering, but the diversity actually led to a Led Zeppelin album which, though it has its serious moments, also sounds as if it could be the one they had the most fun recording.
Scandinavian And European Tour
Led Zeppelin’s tour of Scandinavia and Europe across March and April 1973 was mostly characterized by riots and the band tearing France up as they toured through five of its major cities. On one occasion, a hotel in Nantes saw two of its floors flooded after Robert Plant was unable to get any milk for his tea. Throughout the tour John Bonham’s split-personality like behaviour became more pronounced. The charming John Bonham was not the same creature as Bonzo, who would smash up backstage areas and hotels at the drop of a hat. It was during this tour that he picked up a second nickname: The Beast.
Press Agents Appointed
Though the group (including Peter Grant and Richard Cole) had no small degree of pride in their Neanderthal-like image, even Grant had to concede that it was perhaps beginning to dog them. Other than from afar, the press were largely too scared to approach the band, or uninterested in what they saw as a two-dimensional story of rock’n’roll excess. Led Zeppelin’s early tours in America had given them a reputation that, come 1973, they were beginning to find an albatross. Though Grant had hired a press agent, B.P. Fallon, in June 1972, he would hire Lee Solters and Danny Goldberg to replace him in April 1973, feeling the band needed a bigger push (Solters also represented Frank Sinatra, of all people). With the agents on board even Bonham gave pause for thought, telling them, ‘We’re the biggest and the best and no one knows it. You gotta do something about this.’
Canadian And US Tour
At the same time as hiring their press agents, the group’s US touring kicked into overdrive, suggesting that they were on an all-out campaign to win the attention of the press. Partially to satiate Page’s fear of flying, undoubtedly partially to promote their status, Led Zeppelin began flying in their own privately chartered jet, The Starship. The aircraft was so luxurious for the time that it was practically an...
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