#50GreatestConcerts: Led Zeppelin, 1969
Before the private planes, mountains of cocaine and allegations of black magic, Led Zeppelin were four blokes tearing a path through America for the first time
Before the private planes, mountains of cocaine and allegations of black magic, Led Zeppelin were four blokes tearing a path through America for the first time. They hit the U.S. in late December 1968, just before their debut LP hit shelves. “I remember pulling up to a theater and the marquee said, ‘Vanilla Fudge, Taj Mahal and support,’ ” Robert Plant said in 2005. “I thought, ‘Wow, here we are: support!’ ”
Everyone knew their name soon enough. A month in, they unleashed a four-hour set at the Boston Tea Party. “We’d played our usual onehour set, using all the material from the first album,” John Paul Jones said. “The audience just wouldn’t let us offstage.” Over 168 shows that year, as they unveiled new songs like “Whole Lotta Love,” Zep’s live fury and future promise came into view. “This group could become one of the biggest bands in history,” Jones said. “I hope we don’t blow it.”
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Watch Led Zeppelin perform “How Many More Times” in 1969: