The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets
The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets
The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I

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Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin I, the band’s debut album, was released in the US, on 12 January 1969, coinciding with the band’s first headlining US concert tour. It was to peak at No.10 on the US chart, and at No.6 in the UK. The RIAA in the US has now certified it as having sold over 10 million copies in the US alone.

Recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London, the album was released via Atlantic Records on 12 January 1969. In a 1990 interview, Jimmy Page said that the album took only about 36 hours of studio time to create, including mixing, spread over some weeks. The song list was based on the band’s live set, which itself included some numbers that Page had featured in The Yardbirds, reworked with the new entity. The album was produced by Jimmy Page, as would be all future Zeppelin albums, and engineered by Glyn Johns, who worked at Olympic a great deal and was to be associated with many of the biggest artists of all time, including The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Faces, Eric Clapton, and Eagles.

To help publicise the band in America before their debut tour, the band’s manager Peter Grant sent white label advance copies of the album to key FM radio stations. Zeppelin initially played as the support act for bands such as Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge (both of which were also signed to Atlantic Records) and Country Joe & the Fish. However, as the tour progressed, it became apparent that Led Zeppelin was easily outshining the headline acts, continually blowing them off stage!

This 35-date tour saw Zeppelin play in key areas, including four nights at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, another four nights at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, and a four-night run at the Boston Tea Party in Boston as well as shows in Detroit, Denver, Miami, and New York City.

Everything anyone needs to know about Led Zeppelin is apparent in the opening track, “Good Times, Bad Times” — thunderous drums, tight riffing, a wild vocal, and a bluesy guitar solo. The album also featured “Dazed and Confused”, which became a centrepiece for the group during live performances, and was included in the set until 1975. “Dazed and Confused” featured Jimmy Page playing guitar with a violin bow, an idea that supposedly came from leading classical violinist David McCallum, who Page had met playing music sessions.

The album features another classic, “Communication Breakdown”. Led Zeppelin make “Communication Breakdown” sound so easy that it makes the subsequent tsunami of lesser bands specialising in hard rock riffing more understandable. But it’s not just the 2:30 concentrated sonic barrage that makes the recording so classic — it’s the interplay between the group members, the trademark Zeppelin light and shade, the openness of the sound, and Robert Plant’s banshee wail. Page launches an assault with his manic guitar solo, and the whole thing fades out with massed backing vocals chanting the chorus. It simply couldn’t be any better.

The album closes with “How Many More Times”; at eight and a half minutes, it’s the longest song on the album, and comprises various different sections, which Jimmy Page had developed in his time with the Yardbirds.

If you consider that the UK number one singles in the autumn of 1968 included Mary Hopkin and Hugo Montenegro, it gives some idea of the alternative that Zeppelin offered, one that was gratefully received by concert goers. They wouldn’t be hearing much of Zeppelin on UK radio, but the band were to travel the breadth of the country, offering their phenomenally powerful show to anyone prepared to put them on, conquering Britain and the US in short order with drive, excitement, and most of all, musicianship.

Led Zeppelin I initially received negative reviews from the critics, which helped fuel an ongoing distrust of the press and various journalists within the Zeppelin camp. But they needn’t have worried; the fans voted with their hard earned cash. Zeppelin expert Dave Lewis noted that with the possible exception of the 12 hours that The Beatles took to record their first album at Abbey Road, rarely has studio time been used so economically. Led Zeppelin’s debut album went on to gross more than £3.5 million, just short of 2,000 times more than they invested!

We have a new book Led Zeppelin – The Day I Was There available for pre order. This hardback edition is limited to 500 copies, each numbered 1-500 and signed by the author Richard Houghton.

Led Zeppelin – The Day I Was There is a collection of over 500 eyewitness accounts of seeing the band live, with fans recalling memories of the earliest Yardbirds and Zeppelin shows at UK and European clubs right through the record breaking US tours and the O2 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in 2007. With personal photographs, memorabilia, fascinating anecdotes, and fan stories that have never been published before. Published June 16 2019.

Led Zeppelin The Day I Was There



  1. B. B.

    May 11, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Maybe expert Dave Lewis could give an accounting of the number of times every Led Zeppelin song was ever played live? (Please, Thanks!)

  2. Del Breingan

    January 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    My future wife and I saw Zep on Mountford Hall Liverpool Uni. Ticket price was 10 shillings. We were stood about 10ft from Jimmy Page. As a learning guitarist I was in awe. His playing mesmerised me and influenced my playing style immensely. That was back in 1973 and we still love and listen to Zep. The music never ages. If I ever had the chance to meet Pagey or Percy Plant or JPJ I’d shake their hands and just say “Thanks for the music”

  3. Tom Andersen

    January 14, 2021 at 5:48 am

    I Saw them 5×. 1st time in Seattle in June, 72′.
    They played Their FIRST 4 albums. A 4-hour show! INCREDIBLE Concert for $8 too!
    In Seattle those 1st 3 times & then In San Diego
    In 79′,
    Then They played their Their Physical Graffiti Graffiti Double Album

  4. Stephen Ross

    May 11, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    I saw Led in 1969 at Carnegie Hall, NYC. I sat in the first booth one the right looking down at Jimmy P one of the greatest shows I have ever witnesses. That was a mesmerizing experience to say the least.

  5. NIK Mason ESQ

    January 13, 2022 at 12:05 am


  6. Cooneytunes

    January 13, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    Saw Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden the day after Jimmi Hendrix died….it was by far the best of the best concerts I ever attended…pure electronic and mind blowing.

  7. Cynthia Turgel

    September 21, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    It happened on September 25th!!!

    From Jimmy’s web site
    25 Sep 1968

    The inception of the epic Led Zeppelin I

    So we’re in the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin, and on this day on 25th September 1968 heralds the inception of the epic Led Zeppelin I album: the moment whereby I would be able to manifest the sounds and layers I had heard in my head and also prove my status as a producer.

    The group went to Studio No.1, Olympic Studios, 117 Church Road, Barnes, London, SW13, having extensively rehearsed the material for Led Zeppelin I at my house in Pangbourne and we had had the opportunity to perform a good percentage of that material during a few concerts in Scandinavia and the UK to experience our music in a live situation under the clandestine cloak of the Yardbirds. In those days, the studio time was scattered and limited over a few days in September and October, dictated by Olympic’s availability.

    Thus, with the aid of my old friend Glyn John’s masterful engineering, at 11pm on Wednesday 25th September 1968, we began our recordings and embarked upon committing this eclectic powerhouse to tape.

    Much has been speculated about the initial recordings, so I thought it would be useful to show the worksheet from RAK that gives the dates and times that we were scheduled initially to go in. It makes fascinating reading.

  8. Bernie Ritters

    September 22, 2023 at 12:54 am

    I saw Led Zeppelin in 1975, Physical Graffiti tour at Nassau Collesium, LONG ISLAND,NY. 4 friends and I experienced the finest rock concert ever. First Song Rock n Roll, just explosive music. All I needed to hear when the lights came on was John Bonham’s intro to that song then Jimmy joining in with that classic guitar riff and we were on our way to the best ROCK CONCERT I EVER HEARD.

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The Beatles Red and Blue Boxsets
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