What didn't you know about Led Zeppelin? Infamous rock band heyday stories
Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest rock bands of all time! Their legacy and influence is visible throughout the music world. That being said, the band's influence cannot be overestimated: massive albums, legendary live performances and nearly 300 million records sold worldwide... However, in addition to musical achievements, Zeppelin also has a reputation as a group that has taken the rock and roll lifestyle to never-before-seen levels! From vandalized hotel rooms to mind-bogglingly monstrous acts... Below are some of the craziest stories from Led Zeppelin's heyday - backstage wild behavior, crazy touring antics and more!
Kenneth Anger cursed Jimmy Page
In 1973, iconoclastic filmmaker and supposed magician Kenneth Anger met Jimmy Page at a Sotheby's auction. They both relied on Aleister Crowley's manuscript and were immediately bound by their love for the writer's work. At the time of their meeting, Anger was working on a short film, Lucifer Rising, and needed music. He asked Page to compose some tracks and he agreed. Anger then moved to Page's Boleskin House in Scotland (previously owned by Crowley). Page wrote about 20 minutes of (very distant, mind-blowing) music for the film, but Anger wanted 40 minutes. Before Page could write more, they had a huge fight: according to Anger, Page's girlfriend, Charlotte Martin, kicked him out of Page's basement after an argument. Years later, the filmmaker recalled:
“Jimmy is a curmudgeon, which is terrible. He didn't even pay for lunch. So I said, "Isn't it absurd that you're so cheap?" And this, of course, offended him. He was on drugs all the time, which I hate! The eyes of such people grow dim, and what they say is meaningless! And they don't finish anything. I said, "Okay, Jimmy, I need exactly 40 minutes." But he only gave me 20. I said, “What should I do, play twice? I need 40 minutes! I need a climax!"
After an argument, Kenneth Anger publicly cursed Page and Martin. Some attribute to this curse a series of bad luck that befell Robert Plant in the mid-1970s... As for Charlotte Martin, Kenneth said:
“This is a terrible vampire girl… They had so many servants, but they never offered me a cup of tea or a sandwich. This is such a mistake on their part because I put the Midas curse on them. If you are greedy and just hoard gold, you will get sick…”
Page was so obsessed with Aleister Crowley that he bought his house in Scotland and then got scared and moved
Jimmy Page's fascination with British mystic and occult legend Aleister Crowley, once called "the most evil man in the world", is evident in the symbols used on the Zeppelin album covers and is evident in Page's spending habits. He collected countless books and manuscripts from Crowley, including unpublished works and those signed by Crowley himself. In 1970 Page bought Boleskine House, a remote estate in the Scottish Highlands once owned by Crowley, which was once called "the most infamous house in the Highlands". It is said that Crowley performed all kinds of black magic and occult rituals in a house he bought specifically for this purpose. One of these rites was disrupted, allegedly causing major unrest in the area... The spirits he summoned went out of control, causing one maid to leave and the worker to go insane. He also hints that he is indirectly responsible for the local butcher accidentally cutting an artery and bleeding to death: Crowley wrote the names of some demons on the bill from the butcher shop.
After several trips to Boleskine in the early 70s, Page stopped going to the house. He spoke of "bad vibes" and claimed to have heard the severed head of a ghost - possibly Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat - rolling on the floor at night. Page asked childhood friend Malcolm Dent to look after the house: Dent lived there with his wife, raising their children in the house until Page sold it in the 1990s. At the same time, Dent claimed that he also observed strange things:
“The doors were slamming all night, you go into the room, and the carpets and rugs were lying in a heap. We were just saying that Alistair was doing his job…”
In 2015, most of the estate was destroyed by a massive fire.
Jimmy Page Dated 14-Year-Old Girl, David Bowie's Lover
In Los Angeles in the early 1970s, Jimmy Page fell in love with a young fan named Laurie Maddox. While staying at the famed Hyatt House (nicknamed the "Riot House" for the legendary rock star parties) in Hollywood, Page sent one of the band's roadies to escort Maddox to his room. She was only 14 years old. On that fateful evening, an affair began that lasted for several years, and - since he was a huge celebrity and it was the 70s - Page really did not face any legal consequences ... Moreover, Maddox was allegedly dating at the time and with David Bowie, which also got him involved in the scandal.
1977 U.S. tour turned into a series of setbacks and turmoil
Led Zeppelin's 1977 tour marked a watershed in incredible stadium tours: a massive financial success, a statement of Zeppelin's overwhelming commercial power and the dominance of rock music, and a brutal and turbulent nightmare... The tour was the band's first since vocalist Robert Plant broke several bones in a car accident while vacationing after the release of Physical Graffiti. Everything went wrong from the very beginning: the band had already sent their instruments to the USA, having been left without equipment for more than a month! Jimmy Page didn't play guitar at all at the time. In April 1977, violence erupted at the Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum, where distraught fans without tickets rushed to the gate and nearly crashed the show. In June, at a show in Tampa, Florida, a thunderstorm cut short the concert, leading to massive fan riots: 19 arrests and more than 50 injuries. During a show in Chicago, Jimmy Page became very ill.
But the main case of insanity occurred in Oakland, California, and was exacerbated by Zeppelin manager Peter Grant's decision to hire security guards. The story goes like this: A guy named Jim Macorkis, who worked as a bodyguard for concert promoter Bill Graham, hit Peter Grant's 11-year-old son. Grant and another guard, John Bindon, then went to the security trailer, found Matzorgis, and beat everything they could out of him...
Robert Plant's son died suddenly while the band was in the US
In July 1977, immediately after a violent incident involving the band's manager and security in Oakland, Led Zeppelin headed to New Orleans. There, vocalist Robert Plant received two phone calls about his 5-year-old son Karak, who was suddenly ill with a severe stomach infection... As tour manager Richard Cole recalled:
“In the first phone call, they said that his son was sick. And during the second phone call, unfortunately, it became known that Karak had died…”
The band immediately canceled the remainder of the tour and Plant returned to England to be with his wife Maureen and their daughter Carmen. As Plant's father said in an interview in 1977, "Karak was Robert's apple. They idolized each other…”
Plant abandoned the group to deal with the tragedy. He later said: "After my son's death in 1977, I got a lot of support from Bonham and I went through a terrible mill because the media made it even worse..."
After the death of his son, Plant said goodbye to addictions and decided to leave music to focus on a career in education. He eventually returned to the Zeppelin.
They ripped off the journalist's clothes
In their heyday, the members of Led Zeppelin were huge rock stars! With that in mind, it's not hard to imagine how many fans were around them. And yet, in terms of talking to women, the band has a really bad reputation... One infamous story of this abusive behavior involves a Life magazine reporter who was sent to talk about the band. The musicians began to molest the woman and allegedly tore off her clothes. The reporter began to sob, understandably fearful for her safety. Luckily, the band's manager, Peter Grant, reportedly came to her rescue!
John Bonham drank 40 shots of vodka the night he died
Like legendary drummer Keith Moon, John Bonham really liked to drink. Like Keith Moon, Bonham died early due to heavy drinking, passing away on September 25, 1980 at the age of 32. On the day of his death, Bonham was rehearsing with the band at guitarist Jimmy Page's home in Windsor-Berkshire, England. He drank a lot and ... at some point, Bonham lost consciousness and could not wake up: he died from suffocation with his own bile. An autopsy later showed that, although there was nothing forbidden in his body, he drank approximately 40 glasses of vodka.
Bonham on a motorcycle rode through the halls of the castle of Marmont
In one of the most memorable scenes in Cameron Crowe's 2000 film Almost Famous (a film based on the exploits of '70s rock hedonists including Led Zeppelin), a rowdy rock 'n' roller rides a motorbike down the hallway of a hotel. Although the scene evokes an exaggerated representation of the excess of a rock star, it was based on a real event! Drummer John Bonham is responsible for one of the most famous events in the history of the legendary Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont! As the story goes, Bonham rode his motorcycle right through the hotel lobby in an insanely daring stunt! Most likely, bail was not a problem…
Jimmy Page had to be chained to the toilet to keep him from destroying the hotel room
Led Zeppelin basically invented the whole "rock stars destroy hotel rooms" cliché! Not only did they make great music, but they were also very good at vandalism! Like any vice or misbehavior, you can constantly commit such transgressions, and obviously Jimmy Page really had a penchant for breaking things ... Page's virtuoso vandalism got to the point that the band's management supposedly had to intervene (imagine how far had to come in to get it), and, as the story goes, in one hotel he was chained to the toilet so that he could not destroy anything ...
Led Zeppelin threw 5 TVs out of hotel window in one night
Eight years after the infamous shark incident at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle, the group returned to the hotel, somehow getting around their lifetime ban. The hotel manager, James Blum, greeted the rockers hesitantly, but demanded (naively) that they behave as best as they could. Obviously, this did not happen.
Legend has it that the band threw not one television into Puget Sound that night, but five, causing obscene damage to the premises! Mr. Bloom was justifiably furious and charged the band $2,500 for televisions, which tour manager Richard Cole happily paid. Upon checking out, a young hotel clerk asked Cole, “I heard that Led Zeppelin has a reputation for throwing TVs. But I thought it was nonsense. Could you tell me what it's like to just throw away the TV? From your window? Cole coldly replied, "Baby, there's something in life you have to experience," and after giving the clerk $500, he added, "Here, buddy. Throw away the TV courtesy of Led Zeppelin."