cover image Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band

Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band

Barney Hoskyns. Wiley, $35 (496p) ISBN 978-0-470-89432-3

This collection of interviews explores Led Zeppelin's music, partying, mysterious aura, and business and interpersonal relationships. Starting with two sessions players (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones) joining forces with two English country rockers (Robert Plant, Bonham) and their meteoric rise to popularity, then their drug-fueled tours and ultimate demise, Hoskyns (Hotel California) leaves no stone unturned. He does an especially great job finding people who knew the band members before they were famous and their voices paint a dynamic picture of what American blues meant to the British rock scene. Through the rest of the work, the balance of quotes comes from the band's management, roadies, and families/groupies, which means that while there are a lot of great anecdotes and stories, the focus often turns to the business and social aspects of the band's world. For those less interested in the rock and roll lifestyle and more into music, there are some nice passages about Zep's recording, production, and songwriting methods that help to bring their songs to life. While Page, Plant, and Jones spoke to Hoskyns, only Plant, who explains why he remains opposed to getting the band back together, truly opens up about his feelings, making this a fitting if just slightly incomplete history of one of rock's most enigmatic bands of all time. (Nov.)