The rock band Led Zeppelin was formed by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. Led Zeppelin was officially formed in 1968. In 1969, the band released two albums, Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II. Page, the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, paid for the creation of the band’s first album in order to keep creative control.
How Led Zeppelin was formed
For a few years in the 1960s, Page played in another group called the Yardbirds. After other members left the Yardbirds, Page found himself without any bandmates.
He recruited Plant as a vocalist, Bonham as a drummer, and Jones as a bassist and keyboardist. Bonham was a longtime friend of Page at the time, and Plant was recommended by another singer named Terry Reid.
While Jones did not know Page before joining Led Zeppelin, Jones asked to join after being persuaded by his wife.
“I answered a classified ad in Melody Maker,” Jones told Cameron Crowe in a 1975 Rolling Stone piece. “My wife made me.”
When the four first began performing together, they performed under the name the New Yardbirds to finish up the Yardbird’s unfinished tour. However, the band then became known as Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page paid to make Led Zeppelin’s first album
The album Led Zeppelin was released in 1969. While it was distributed by Atlantic Records, the band primarily recorded the album independently.
In a 1969 interview with Guitar World, Page explained that he “wanted” complete “artistic control” of the album.
“That’s true. I wanted artistic control in a vise grip, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these fellows. In fact, I financed and completely recorded the first album before going to Atlantic. It wasn’t your typical story where you get an advance to make an album — we arrived at Atlantic with tapes in hand,” Page explained.
The band recorded the album within ’30 hours’
While speaking with Guitar World, Page also revealed that Led Zeppelin recorded their first album in just “30 hours.”
“The other advantage to having such a clear vision of what I wanted the band to be was that it kept recording costs to a minimum. We recorded the whole first album in a matter of 30 hours. That’s the truth. I know because I paid the bill [laughs],” Page said.
While this might seem like a short amount of time, Page thinks that recording Led Zeppelin was actually a breeze because of the band’s formation and background.
“But it wasn’t all that difficult because we were well-rehearsed, having just finished a tour of Scandinavia, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in every respect. I knew where all the guitars were going to go and how it was going to sound — everything,” Page told Guitar World.
Just months later, the band released a second studio album called Led Zeppelin II.