The definitive account of rock band Led Zeppelin, and the story of how the sixties became the seventies, of how playing clubs became playing stadiums, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin wasn't the first rock band to let loose on the road, but as with everything else, they took it to an entirely new level.
The whole story, the glory and the mayhem, the train wreck and the true bliss ... [A] sprawling account ... The good, the bad and the ugly coexist in the Led Zeppelin story, and Spitz knows well enough to report and tell it all ... Spitz...gives nobody a pass. Hovering above all the parties and all the jams and the richly detailed accounts of creating each album is an abundance of abominable behavior that only grew worse as Zeppelin’s fame exploded ... This is one group portrait that doesn’t flatter.
It was with the spirit of that much younger self that I looked forward to Led Zeppelin: The Biography by noted music biographer Bob Spitz ... What resulted — through no fault of Spitz’s, who does an exacting job on both the broad narrative and fine details — is one my saddest reading experiences in recent memory. The story of Led Zeppelin is not just one of a legendary rock band, but one of a colossal waste of talent ... Spitz covers it all ... In Spitz’s telling, for much of their time together, even Led Zeppelin could not be Led Zeppelin ... While the story is laced with tragedy — the death of Plant’s son, Bonham’s death — I can’t say the book reads like a cautionary tale ... No, it’s more like the story of a relic that you once treasured, but may now find hard to separate from the destruction that surrounded it. The music of Led Zeppelin is worth still celebrating, but the culture surrounding it damaged many, including on the band itself.
Revelatory ... Exhaustively researched ... The author smartly builds his narrative around Page, a wunderkind London session guitarist who reinvented himself as a blues-rock star in the legendary Yardbirds ... Led Zeppelin is an excellent book. Spitz tells his story masterfully. He seems not to have scored fresh interviews with surviving band members, but he tapped dozens of friends, roadies, fellow musicians, and groupies and amassed a busload of archival clips ... Still, many of his revelations sadden the soul ... Led Zeppelin is a compelling work, but one that may dim the Led Zeppelin legend. Gauzy Rolling Stone retrospectives and nostalgia-hued books and films would have us remember the arena-rock era as a pot-scented Eden, an unending singalong on a boozy tour bus. Bob Spitz gives us the facts, and they tell a darker story.