Personalities | Led Zeppelin | The Middle Years (1975) | Key Events
Canadian And US Tour
Come the end of the previous year, Led Zeppelin realized that the tax man would soon be taking home more of their money than they would. They had no choice but to enter into tax exile in 1975, beginning with a tour across the US and Canada that would, they planned, see them continue out on the road worldwide for the entire year. Page injured a finger on his left hand before even leaving England, though: a bad start to a tour that wasn’t their best. The group brought laser light effects on the road with them for the first time, which helped to cover up some of the lesser moments on stage. Starting under the cloud of tax exile, the tour would really be the beginning of the end for the band, with some gruelling four-hour shows and a near plane crash that added to the quick drop in morale when homesickness set in.
For a band so often accused of being self-indulgent, it took them seven years to release their first double album, and Physical Graffiti’s (No. 1 UK, No. 1 US) diversity recalls the initial forays into new territory that Houses Of The Holy saw. While some of it can pass by unnoticed, the overbearing presence of synthesizers demanded the listeners’ attention, as did the obvious Eastern influence of ‘Kashmir’, this album’s anthem, the beast-let-loose blues-metal of ‘Trampled Underfoot’ and Led Zeppelin’s longest studio-recorded song, the 11-minute-plus intense blues rock of ‘In My Time Of Dying’. There were a few throwaway scraps and odds-and-ends included (going as far as back as ‘Bron-Yr-Aur’, a Led Zeppelin III outtake), but the fans didn’t notice, sending the album (the band’s first own release on Swan Song) to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. February 1975 would see nine Led Zeppelin-related albums in the US charts: six of their own, with three more coming from their Swan Song artists.
Bonzo’s Mental State
Perhaps reflecting his state of unhappiness at the time, John Bonham had taken to wearing the white boiler suit and black bowler-hat uniform made famous by Stanley Kubrick’s notorious A Clockwork Orange film. The ‘ultraviolence’ perpetrated by the film’s anti-hero, Alex de Large, seemed to resonate with Bonzo, who was getting more and more out of hand when he drank, attempting to numb the pain of not being able to see his family because he was in tax exile. One particular incident saw Bonzo attack a journalist from Sounds magazine – after he had told Bonham that he was the greatest drummer in the world. Bonzo’s rationale was that he’d taken enough hostility from the press in the past, but this was sadly just one event in a string of physical attacks that took place as Bonham’s condition deteriorated more and more on the road.
Rumour has it that only 5,000 copies of the ‘Trampled Underfoot’/‘Black Country Woman’ single...
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