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Led Zeppelin - "LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour" (Book)

Led Zeppelin - "LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour" Book cover image

Reviewed by on October 28, 2010

"...once I cracked open the book it was clear that this was a very sincere attempt to capture the daily life of Led Zeppelin, on the road during the height of their fame."

“LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour” is the new book from Stephen Davis, the author of rock biographies “Hammer of The Gods,” “Walk This Way,” and “Watch You Bleed.” When I initially read the concept: Journalist recovers lost notebooks after thirty years to write rock and roll memoir I immediately thought “Blair Witch” of rock biographies. However, once I cracked open the book it was clear that this was a very sincere attempt to capture the daily life of Led Zeppelin, on the road during the height of their fame.

Stephen Davis starts from the beginning, a brief history of the band and how they formed. During 1975 the band was made up of Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitar), John Bonham (drums), and John Paul Jones (bass). Davis also gives his own story on how he got the opportunity to cover Zeppelin, taking a job with The Atlantic Monthly, not exactly a magazine that screams rock and roll profiles, but sufficient to gain access backstage and to the band he coveted.

Three months (Jan-Mar) in 1975 are covered. Davis captures the alcohol and drug use, but also opens up the reader to the injuries, sickness, and voice issues (specific to Plant). Not one show went off without a hitch; you get the impression that if you saw a great Zeppelin show during this time period it’s because you saw them multiple times or were very lucky. In between shows Bonham was buying cars for cash despite not having a driver’s license, Page was found in NYC Mexican restaurants discussing crowd control with writer William Burroughs (this happened more than once), and Robert Plant was often recovering from his illness of the week.

Almost every show during this time is documented in this book, including the set, how Plant’s voice sounded, and how many knives were confiscated at the door of the venue (twenty in Baton Rouge). The depiction of the band and details are honest; there are the girlfriends and groupies as well as the unread fan mail that is laughed at when suggested the band would read these letters.

It is important to note that this book is not a biography on the band (that would be Stephen Davis’s “Hammer of The Gods”) and stays focused on the three months of touring with the band. Given this brief period, there isn’t too much of a story outside of the night after night of shows. The one exception may be Davis’s plight to get the elusive Jimmy Page for an interview. Unfortunately this never happens, but one of the highlights is Stephen sitting down with Robert Plant for an interview followed by the lead singer’s “I’m a Golden God” moment that occurs.

Highs: The first hand account of the ups and downs of life on the road with Led Zeppelin at the height of their reign.

Lows: Detailed concert and band discussion recaps may be too much for non-serious fans of Led Zeppelin.

Bottom line: "LZ-'75" is a must read for all Led Zeppelin fans as well as anyone interested in the reality of rock stars and the lives they lead.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)