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Led Zeppelin in 1969

Led Zeppelin toured around America and it is known as one of the most popular tours by a band outside of their country. It was also the first tour in both US and Canada by a British rock group.

Led Zeppelin started as a continuation of an older band, The Yardbirds. At some point, the name changed to the one we recognize today, but that change was not so smooth. It took a while for this change to be accepted and the band had to take drastic steps.

Concerts outside the UK was one of these steps. The band already committed live performances in Scandinavian countries. After their final performance in Luton in 1968, Jimmy Page and Chris Dreja assembled together a new line up to fulfil this demanding task.

They enlisted the help of vocalist Robert Plant and John Bonham on drums. After Chris Dreja left the project, John Paul Jones came on bass.

The departure of Chris Dreja, was one of the major reasons for the band to change their name. Dreja legally required them to stop using the name “Yardbirds”.

When they started recording their debut album, things didn’t look promising in UK. Jimmy Page said in biography ‘Hammer of the Gods’: “It was a joke. They just wouldn’t accept anything new.”

As a result, the band started eyeing the American audience. They talked to promoters who wanted to bring bands from Europe to US. Mark Blake, who wrote “Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond — The Story of Rock’s Greatest Manager”, told WBR: “Peter took them [Led Zeppelin] to America very very early on, and they were opening for other groups — Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge — and basically blowing them off stage.”

And Blake continues: “It happened remarkably quickly, and they spent most of 1969 touring America. They’d come back for a few weeks and then go back again, playing these kind of opinion-making clubs all across the country. And when the album came out, the first Zeppelin album, it just absolutely blew up for them…But that also helped build the mystique. Suddenly, they’re this British band, this mysterious British band, that had gone to America to find their fame and fortune…”

Zeppelin’s ability to put up a show was the main reason they grew popular on stage. Rock fans knew that to be in a Led Zeppelin gig was a once in a lifetime experience. The energy of the band was mind-blowing. Eventually, their reputation in US, helped the British band gain popularity in their own country and become one of the most iconic rock bands to this day.

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