Been A Long Time
In a chronicle of a fateful Led Zeppelin tour, the song doesn't remain the same
The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour
by Stephen Davis
$22.50 List Price
The first Led Zeppelin song I ever loved was "D'yer Mak'er," one of the cheesiest tunes the band ever recorded. To make things worse, I used to pronounce the title "Die-er Make-er" instead of "Jamaica." Obviously, I wasn't a Led Zeppelin fanatic. I grew up a metalhead in Queens, New York, in the 1980s and worshipped bands like Anthrax and Slayer. The only time I really noticed Zeppelin was when 92.3 (K-Rock!) would run some ridiculous commercial where a dude with a deep voice would shout, "Get the Led Out Weekend!" I'd quickly turn that oldies bullshit off.
Stephen Davis, the author of LZ-'75, doesn't seem to feel the same way. This is actually his second book about the band. His first, Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, was released in 1985 and became a big best seller. It's a chatty, awestruck book that's clearly interested in both history and legend. Here, for example, are the first two sentences: "The maledicta, infamous libels, and annoying rumors concerning Led Zeppelin began to circulate like poisoned blood during the British rock quartet's third tour of America in 1969. Awful tales were whispered from one groupie clique to another, as Led Zeppelin raided their cities and moved quietly on." Despite my less than fervid attachment to the band, I read Hammer of the Gods two decades ago and remember it fondly. Tales of young men who strike it rich and have sex with boatloads of women? Yes, please! But the publication of another book about Led Zeppelin, this one a chronicle of the band's American tour in 1975, does raise the question, What else is there to say?