Led Zeppelin Biography Coming From Noted Author

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A new authoritative account of Led Zeppelin is being published this fall. Led Zeppelin: The Biography, from bestselling author Bob Spitz, arrives November 9, 2021, via Penguin Press. The book spans 688 pages.

From the publisher’s announcement: Many call them the greatest rock band of all time, arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most notorious.

Rock stars owe a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Spitz takes their full measure, for good and sometimes for ill, separating the myth from the reality with the connoisseurship and storytelling flair that are his trademarks.

In her cover blurb, Ann Wilson writes, “Bob Spitz shows Led Zeppelin as the iconoclasts they were, grinding the self-consciousness of rock ’n roll in the 70s into submission without a backward glance. Infamous stories from the road, tales of excess, dominance, and ego are balanced by the band’s insatiable desire for heat and beauty. This is the story of poetry and power, rape and pillage, of rock ’n roll incarnate. A valuable recording of rock art history. So well done!”

More from the announcement: From the opening notes of their first album, the band announced itself as something different, a collision of grand artistic ambition and brute primal force, of delicate English folk music and hard-driving African-American blues. That record sold over 10 million copies, and it was just the beginning; Led Zeppelin’s albums have sold over 300 million copies worldwide.

The band is notoriously guarded. But Spitz’s feel for the atmosphere, the context–the music, the business, the recording studios, the touring life, the radio stations, the fans, the whole ecosystem of popular music–is unparalleled. His account of the melding of Page and Jones, the virtuosic London sophisticates, with Plant and Bonham, the wild men from the Midlands, into a band out of the ashes of the Yardbirds, in a scene dominated by the Beatles and the Stones but changing fast, is in itself a revelation. The music is only part of the legend, however: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the 60’s became the 70’s, of how playing in clubs became playing in stadiums and flying your own jet, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin may not have invented the groupie, and they weren’t the first rock band to let loose on the road, but they took it to an entirely new level, as with everything else. Not all the legends are true, but in Spitz’s careful accounting, what is true is astonishing, and sometimes disturbing.

Related: What’s happened to the band’s authorized documentary, announced in 2019?

Spitz is the award-winning author of the biographies Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child and The Beatles, both New York Times bestsellers, as well as seven other nonfiction books. He’s written hundreds of major profiles of figures, including Keith Richards, Jane Fonda, and Paul McCartney.

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