50 years ago today, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time, in a room below a record store in London’s West End. The first songs they played were old blues tunes, ‘The Train Kept A-Rollin,’ and a version of ‘I’m Confused’ (soon to become ‘Dazed And Confused’). Jones recalled, “As soon as I heard John Bonham play, I knew this was going to be great… We locked together as a team immediately.” It was not until the following month that they started using the name Led Zeppelin and soon became the hottest and heaviest band of the 70s. WATCH a 5-minute history of the band… (1968)
Their manager, Peter Grant, secured a phenomenal contract with Atlantic Records: $143,000 in advance royalties, one of the biggest deals of its kind for a new band; autonomy in deciding when they would release albums and tour; the final say over the contents and design of each album and how to promote each release, and which tracks to release as singles; their own company to handle all publishing rights.
One of the most innovative, influential, and successful rock groups in history (200–300 million LPs sold worldwide), the band’s fourth album, which features the song “Stairway to Heaven“, is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to secure the group’s popularity. Each of their 9 studio albums reached Billboard’s top 10, and 6 scored a number one.
(Photo by Jim Summaria, CC license)
MORE Good News on This Day:
- The Peace protocol to end the Spanish-American War was signed (1898)
- The Wizard of Oz film starring Judy Garland was first previewed in two test markets – Kenosha, Wisconsin and Cape Cod, Massachusetts (1939)
- Elvis Presley released his singles Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog, a 45rpm record that went to No.1 on the US chart, where it stayed for 11 weeks—a record that would not be broken for 36 years (1956)
- The first communications satellite, Echo I, was launched, and the following day the first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with microwave signals bouncing from one point on Earth to another (1960)
- Japan and China signed Treaty of Peace and Friendship (1978)
- Space Shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating and then landing in California’s Mojave Desert (1977)
- Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion as restitution to Holocaust survivors to settle claims for their assets (1998)
And on this day in 1990, the most complete and best preserved skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex was found in South Dakota, and named ‘Sue’, for the paleontologist, Sue Hendrickson, who made the discovery.
The fossil was in 1997 for $7.6 million, the highest amount ever paid for a dinosaur fossil, and is now a permanent feature at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.