5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin made the difficult decision to break up on December 4, 1980, approximately two months after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham. Here are five interesting facts you probably didn’t know about this legendary band...

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John Bonham Died After Drinking The Equivalent Of 40 Shots Of Vodka The band was rehearsing for a tour on September 4, 1980, and John Bonham was drinking at Jimmy Page’s home and passed out. He was put in a bedroom to sleep it off but was discovered dead the next afternoon by an assistant of Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. He died via asphyxiation from his own vomit. The report by the coroner said Bonham showed about 40 vodka shots in his system at the time of his death.

The Band First Performed As The New Yardbirds On September 7th, 1968, Led Zeppelin played their first live show ever in a converted gym in Gladsaxe, Denmark. They weren’t yet billed under their soon-to-be world-famous name but were instead performing under the name of the New Yardbirds. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham had only practiced together for 15 hours. The set list included “You Shook Me,” “Dazed and Confused,” and “Train Kept-A-Rollin.”

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Keith Moon Of The Who Gave Led Zeppelin Their Name The name Led Zeppelin came from the mouth of a legendary drummer, but not John Bonham. It actually came from The Who’s Keith Moon. The story goes that Page was keen on creating a new supergroup with Moon, Jeff Beck, and Moon’s bandmate in The Who John Entwistle. Moon remarked that the project would go down “like a lead balloon”. Not happy with the power of a balloon, Page and the group went bigger and added "like a lead Zeppelin!" Accounts differ; for decades Entwistle claimed it was he, not Moon, who made the "lead balloon" crack, however history seems to favor Moon's version.

For One Night, They Were Known As "The Nobs" Frau Eva von Zeppelin, a direct descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was upset over what she believed to be a dishonoring of the family name by the band. She demanded that the group change their name.  The band complied, and on February 28, 1970, the group performed one show in Copenhagen as "The Nobs" but decided to retain their original name afterwards due to popular and critical opinions that favored their original name.

They Have Been Sued For Plagiarism A Few Times Over the years, Led Zeppelin has been caught lifting parts of songs without giving credit to those who performed the original tunes. Multiple accusations dogged the band for years. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were accused of stealing the opening guitar riff from its signature 1971 song, “Stairway to Heaven.”  In a 2019 lawsuit, the band was accused of lifting music from the song "Taurus" by the Los Angeles band Spirit for their mega-hit. This wasn't the first time Led Zeppelin was accused of plagiarism. They were also accused of "borrowing" the song “Dazed and Confused” from folk singer Jake Holmes in a 2010 lawsuit. The case was eventually settled out of court.