Sunday, February 8, 2015

Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin by Hank Bordowitz

Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin: Interviews and Encounters (Musicians in Their Own Words) is a compilation of interviews with the members of Led Zeppelin through the years in chronological order.

Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin reads like a biography of the media's response to Led Zeppelin, from the books first interview from 1968 - a Jimmy Page interview about his new band, by none other than Robin Leach, in Leach’s magazine Go! - or a series from Toronto Globe and Mail's Ritchie York, where the band is treated as new and interesting. Through the mid 70's where the band is granted star status and on to the late 70's where, in a horrifically bad piece of writing/complete hatchet job, NME's Chris Salewicz does a pre-Knebworth interview with Jimmy Page.

Through the latter 80's, the band starts being given legendary status, a status which grows right through to the final interview in 2013. Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin is, if nothing else, a comprehensive look at Led Zeppelin's career.

Due to the type of book, a compilation of other writers works, the voices throughout change, some, like Yorke or NME's Nick Kent in 1972, are excellent. Other's like Salewicz or an Australian radio interview that's a mess on paper, are tougher to read. The narrative isn't always consistent, and that can be problematic. On the other hand, with it's breakdown of each interview being a chapter, it is easy enough for the non-reviewer to skip an interview that they find cumbersome or difficult to read.

Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin: Interviews and Encounters (Musicians in Their Own Words) is an interesting look at the career of Led Zeppelin, not through the eyes of a specific biographer with an agenda, but from the perspective of the people who were there at the time and charged with the task of writing about it.

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