Planet Rock magazine‘s sixth issue hits newsstands (an Americanism, but as I grew up reading Stan Lee’s Bullpen Bulletins I’m sticking with it, thank you) today. Led Zeppelin are on the cover – all four covers, actually (gotta catch ’em all!) – and the magazine contains an in-depth chat with Jimmy Page by Phil Alexander, a classic Zep piece by former Melody Maker writer (and editor of my Sonic Youth and Black Flag biogs) Chris Charlesworth, and an eight page essay by yours truly, tracking how Led Zeppelin conquered America, how it changed the band and how it redrew the landscape of the rock industry (not to mention uninvitedly redecorated a plethora of hotel rooms).
Led Zeppelin have long been one of my favourite bands of all time. As a kid, my dad would play home-made mixtapes in the car, one of which featured Whole Lotta Love (albeit with the psychedelic freakout in the middle excised – my mum hated that bit, and, indeed, most of Zeppelin’s catalogue), which was often the provocation for him to regale me with stories of his 60s misbehaviour. I was 15 when the Remasters compilation came out. My school-friend Adrian, the only one of us with access to a CD-player, borrowed it out of the library and dubbed us all copies on cassette, and we all spent that summer marinating in the Zeppelin discography, a mind-expanding expedition later expedited by my discovery of my dad’s girlfriend’s collection of battered Zeppelin vinyl, which I accordingly dubbed and shared among our friendship circle. A complex band, with a complicated history, but still the lodestone for so much music that followed, and I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t have even a brief Zeppelin obsession in their teens. Indeed, 15-year-old me is very proud of 42-year-old me today.