Led Zeppelin formed almost overnight and changed the music scene almost as fast. Guitarist Jimmy Page assembled John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and John Bonham around him as he went from the Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin in a flash. Their first two albums went a long way toward showing how heavy guitar-based music could be. Led Zeppelin’s first records were so groundbreaking that they inspired Ozzy Osbourne and his Black Sabbath bandmates to change their approach.
Led Zeppelin’s early albums changed the musical landscape
The Beatles and The Rolling Stones dominated the English music scene before Led Zeppelin emerged at the end of the 1960s. Just as the Fab Four started splintering, Zep dropped their first two albums in 1969.
Tracks such as “Dazed and Confused,” “You Shook Me,” and “How Many More Times” from Led Zeppelin I brought moodiness and Page’s incendiary solos to the music scene. The album came together in an astonishing amount of time. It changed the music landscape almost as quickly after it landed in record stores early in 1969. Led Zeppelin II dropped later that year and upped the ante with tunes such as “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” and the Bonham drum solo “Moby Dick.”
Those two albums were the first of a string of hits for Led Zeppelin, and they were so revolutionary they made Black Sabbath completely change their sound, according to Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne.
Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath did a hard turn when they heard Led Zeppelin
Black Sabbath might be one of the first heavy metal bands. Yet we might never have heard of them if not for Led Zeppelin.
When Osbourne, guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, and bassist Geezer Butler started, they modeled themselves after bands such as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Ten Years After, and the original version of Fleetwood Mac founded by Peter Green.
Things changed when they heard the first two Led Zeppelin albums, as Ozzy told Rolling Stone:
“When I heard the first two Zeppelin albums, I thought they were f****** unbelievably good. I told Tony, ‘They’re f****** heavy,” Osbourne said. “He said, ‘We’ll be heavier,’ and he f****** was right.”
According to Osbourne, Page’s legendary guitar solos and Bonham’s thunderous drums weren’t what made the band heavy. It was Jones’ bass that did the trick.
“Bass is the loudest thing. That’s what makes it so heavy,” Osbourne told Rolling Stone. “And if you listen to ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘Heartbreaker,’ or ‘Dazed and Confused,’ the bass is allowed to sing, and that’s what makes it so heavy.”
Zep guitarist Jimmy Page turned down a chance to work with Osbourne
Page hasn’t been shy about collaborating with other musicians since Led Zeppelin broke up. He formed another group, The Firm, that released two records in the mid-1980s. Page and English folk-rock singer Roy Harper released an album in 1984, and he later teamed up with David Coverdale for the Coverdale-Page album in 1993.
In more recent years, Page joined the Black Crowes on some tour dates. He also performed with Foo Fighters when they played in London. But the legendary guitarist turned down a chance to work with Osbourne on his latest album.
Ozzy’s Patient Number 9 includes former Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins and Page’s fellow guitar maestro Eric Clapton, among other collaborators. Still, Page said no to working with the man who was inspired by his music.
According to NME, Page preferred to focus on his own projects rather than getting sidetracked with a collaborative album. We might never see Ozzy and Page on the same project, but fans of heavy music can thank Led Zeppelin for changing how Black Sabbath played their music.
For more on the entertainment world and exclusive interviews, subscribe to Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s YouTube channel.