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Led Zeppelin: How, Why and Where it all Began

By Alan Clayson

Led Zeppelin almost single-handedly invented the concept of the rock band. Their innovative recordings, incendiary live performances and vast record deals are the stuff of legend, as is the off-stage debauchery and excess that surrounded them. Driven by the creativity and vision of guitarist and producer Jimmy Page, and employing some judicious plundering and reworking of American blues and British folk, they became arguably the most important rock act of all time.

But before the huge success of Zeppelin, the future band members were already making enormous contributions to 60s British pop. Page had been playing professionally since his early teens and had become a sought-after London session musician, often working in the same studio as future bandmate John Paul Jones, while singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham were stalwarts of the vibrant music scene in the British Midlands.

In Led Zeppelin: the Origin of the Species, music historian and author Alan Clayson has documented every session, live appearance and recording made by the future members of Led Zeppelin and has woven the results into a complex, insightful and revelatory narrative.

Noted rock critic and author Alan Clayson has written many books on music – including the best-sellers Backbeat, subject of a major film, an authorised biography of The Yardbirds and the only English-language life of Jacques Brel. He has written for journals as diverse as The Guardian, Record Collector, Folk Roots,!, The Times, The Independent, and, as a teenager, the notorious Schoolkids Oz. He is also an acclaimed songwriter and performance artist, both solo and fronting the legendary Clayson and the Argonouts.

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