As much as they were a band about the music, Led Zeppelin always understood the importance of the visual experience. From the beginning the band was highly photogenic, and highly photographed. So it’s entirely appropriate that the fiftieth anniversary of Led Zeppelin began with the publication of a pictorial autobiography of the band, Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin.
The book, similar in style and size to the earlier book Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page,
offers a history of the band through pictures and, to a very minor degree, the bands own words.
The book is laid out chronologically by years (1968-69, 1970-73 &tc.) and sub-categorically by album. From the first show in Denmark in 1968, to the last at the O2 arena in London in 2007, Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin delivers a visual treat for fans. Promotional shots, pictures of the band backstage, on the plane and mostly onstage, including some great action shots, the 400 page coffee table book doesn’t miss much.
Many of the pictures have been seen before, but the size and clarity brought out here make them seem like new. Conversely, there are shots I had never seen before that were fabulous. That’s not to say every picture is a gem . There’s a few that are out of focus, or from an angle that makes you wonder why the photographer bothered to hit the shutter. But in the context of this book, even those pictures add to the tale.
The book is by no means perfect, The section marked 1979-82 is really 1979-80, plus a one page picture of the Coda album cover from 1982. The book then skips right to 2007, missing Live Aid, The Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show and Jason Bonham’s wedding (wouldn’t you love to have seen some snap shots from the wedding jam?). But overall, it’s hard to complain with so much good material, so many pictures of the band in their prime.
If the music that Led Zeppelin puts out for the fiftieth anniversary matches the quality of this book, the next year promises to be a good one for Led Zeppelin fans. And even if not, Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin
is a first rate addition to any Zeppelin fans library.
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