Led Zeppelin – Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performing live on stage at Boston Tea Party. 26th January, 1969.
“As far as I’m concerned, the key Zeppelin gig, the one that put everything into focus, was one that we played on our first American tour at the Boston Tea Party. We’d played our usual one hour set, using all the material for the first album and Page’s White Summer guitar piece and by the end, the audience just wouldn’t let us offstage. It was in such a state that we had to start throwing ideas around, just thinking of songs that we might all know or that some of us knew a part of and work it out from there.
So we’d go back on and play things like “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Please Please Me”, old Beatles favorites. I mean, just anything that would come into our head and the response was quite amazing. There were kids actually bashing their heads against the stage – I’ve never seen that a gig before or since, and when we finally left the stage, we’d played for four plus hours.
Peter (Grant) was absolutely ecstatic. He was crying, if you can imagine that, and hugging us all. You know with this grizzly bear hug. I suppose it was then that we realized just what Led Zeppelin was going to become.”
– John Paul Jones (NME, Feb. 1973)
Writing lyrics is all a melange, it’s a soup. I was really impressed with how American artists and musicians were able to comment on their environment. Especially with Vietnam and it wasn’t that much longer after the riots of ‘68. Everyone that was part of this thing was holding the flame to create awareness, trying to contribute, be part of the movement. That was my whole deal and still is really.
Cut Led Zeppelin’s set in half and you’ve still got twice as much as what anybody else was delivering, not just in length but in terms of undeniable fuck-me power.
It’s the drum intro of the Gods. You could play it anywhere and people would know it’s John Bonham. I never had the chance to tell dad how amazing he was – he was just dad.
I think that Led Zeppelin was bold and brave and chaotic and honest- in a very loose framework, it was honest- and it took risks and chances which are no longer possible if you start a band from scratch today. Musically, it captured all the elements of the kind of wondrous music that we’d all been exposed to. What we did was, we were able to translate and kick on. It’s like we were a filter for all the good things, we filtered it, and begged and borrowed and stole and we made something that was particularly original, by which a lot of other music has been measured.
Robert Plant (to audience): You don’t know how difficult it is to tune a guitar in front of thousands of screaming people.
Jimmy Page (to Plant): You don’t, either.
There will be a Led Zeppelin as long as there’s a Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant. This isn’t a nostalgia band playing the hits forever. If anything ever happened and somebody left – which I really can’t see happening – I don’t think we’d bother to carry on. The magic for me is as it is now.