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lalunexviii

What are some of the best unofficial Led Zeppelin Biographies?

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On 6/12/2018 at 5:14 AM, IpMan said:

Barney Hoskyn's The Oral History is a great read comprised of tons of interviews from dozens of people closest to the band. However beware, these people do not pull any punches especially where Bonham & Grant are concerned.

I thought Page came out of "Trampled..." far worse than Bonzo or Grant (Oakland excepted). Specifically the stuff on the '77 tour.

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On 6/16/2018 at 12:41 PM, NealR2000 said:

It all comes down to your personal preferences as to what particularly interests you with Led Zeppelin.  All of the books, and even the salacious Stairway to Heaven and Hammer of the Gods, are good.  However, if you want to focus on the ugly side of the band and the tales from the road, then those two aforementioned books are your best bet.  I don't think for one minute that they are dishonest.  Yes, there are some relatively minor inaccuracies, but they paint a fairly accurate picture of the Zeppelin on tour life that would have been Richard Cole's experience.  It's all hotel rooms and backstage.  Now if you want to get a different perspective, focusing a lot more on the music and creative process, then you are better off reading something like Dave Lewis' accounts.  

This is excellent advice. Thank you! 

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I have read them all and all have some good, some bad parts but for my money, Trampled Underfoot by Barney Hoskyns is the best for first-hand anecdotes from people who were actually there and experienced the band. There is no opinion from the author, just a well-assembled series of thoughts from people around the band in a chronological order. There is plenty of new information in there and I think it's the best book I've read about Zep.

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Has anyone read "Led Zeppelin Day by Day" by Marc Roberty?  It looks interesting but I did not get it yet. 

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12 hours ago, John M said:

Has anyone read "Led Zeppelin Day by Day" by Marc Roberty?  It looks interesting but I did not get it yet. 

Yes - I have it and I recommended it last page.

It's great! It traces the history of the band like it says day-by-day, i.e., if there was band activity on any given day, whether in the studio or live, it spells out in detail what they did that day. It includes setlists, little tidbits about what recording studios they used on what days for each album and what was recorded during each session. (I even learned how the "forward echo" at the end of WLL happened - finding out that blew my mind!) It even has small interviews with the people that worked with the band at the time.

I like it a lot. :)

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I wish there was an "official" autobiography as it would put an end to all these unauthorized jobs, but from what everything I can tell, the 50th anniversary book is just going to be like Page's photography book. Maybe they will have some more commentary related to the pics. But it's not going to be like "Walk This Way" from Aerosmith of "One Way Out" on the Allman Bros. Band where you get the real low down. The mystique that LZ has is something that is powerful and I can understand the band wishing to protect it. But the unfortunate side effect of it is that it leads to unauthorized bios and a lot of rumors. Then again, the band has a right to a certain amount of privacy, and as long as they don't speak, no can officially say, with definitive proof, that this or that happened. Unless it's captured on film or whatever.

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I agree with everyone who suggested Barney Hoskyn's book. It is the best "biography" I've read.

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Incidentally, "Hammer" has just been re-released in a not-at-all-a-cash-in-on-the-50th-anniversary way. With a new chapter which apparently covers the o2 reunion show in one paragraph.

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I just got The Oral History and am enjoying it very much so far. Is there much overlap between that one and Trampled Underfoot?

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On 6/26/2018 at 7:05 AM, ThreeSticks said:

I wish there was an "official" autobiography as it would put an end to all these unauthorized jobs, but from what everything I can tell, the 50th anniversary book is just going to be like Page's photography book. Maybe they will have some more commentary related to the pics. But it's not going to be like "Walk This Way" from Aerosmith of "One Way Out" on the Allman Bros. Band where you get the real low down. The mystique that LZ has is something that is powerful and I can understand the band wishing to protect it. But the unfortunate side effect of it is that it leads to unauthorized bios and a lot of rumors. Then again, the band has a right to a certain amount of privacy, and as long as they don't speak, no can officially say, with definitive proof, that this or that happened. Unless it's captured on film or whatever.

I don’t think there has ever been an official bio of any band or artist that has put an end to the unauthorized books. I wouldn’t suggest they’d be any more trustworthy with the truth either.

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On ‎6‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 7:05 AM, ThreeSticks said:

I wish there was an "official" autobiography as it would put an end to all these unauthorized jobs, but from what everything I can tell, the 50th anniversary book is just going to be like Page's photography book. Maybe they will have some more commentary related to the pics. But it's not going to be like "Walk This Way" from Aerosmith of "One Way Out" on the Allman Bros. Band where you get the real low down. The mystique that LZ has is something that is powerful and I can understand the band wishing to protect it. But the unfortunate side effect of it is that it leads to unauthorized bios and a lot of rumors. Then again, the band has a right to a certain amount of privacy, and as long as they don't speak, no can officially say, with definitive proof, that this or that happened. Unless it's captured on film or whatever.

Ritchie York's The Led Zeppelin Biography is pretty close to an official biography.

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14 hours ago, Mook said:

Ritchie York's The Led Zeppelin Biography is pretty close to an official biography.

I second that - Ritchie's book is very good.

 

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Robert Plant reportedly told a mutual of friend of himself and Barney Hoskyns that the latter's Trampled Under Foot oral bio was the most accurate account of all of them.

Make of that what you will...

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On 6/22/2018 at 7:11 AM, morningson said:

I have read them all and all have some good, some bad parts but for my money, Trampled Underfoot by Barney Hoskyns is the best for first-hand anecdotes from people who were actually there and experienced the band. There is no opinion from the author, just a well-assembled series of thoughts from people around the band in a chronological order. There is plenty of new information in there and I think it's the best book I've read about Zep.

 

On 6/26/2018 at 3:24 PM, Balthazor said:

I agree with everyone who suggested Barney Hoskyn's book. It is the best "biography" I've read.

 

On 11/22/2018 at 9:07 AM, The Old Hermit said:

Robert Plant reportedly told a mutual of friend of himself and Barney Hoskyns that the latter's Trampled Under Foot oral bio was the most accurate account of all of them.

Make of that what you will...

I just read that book as a result of this thread and I have to agree - it is an outstanding book. I very highly recommend it!

 

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On 6/11/2018 at 11:55 AM, lalunexviii said:

Just getting deeper into my love for the band and am an avid reader. I'm curious to see what y'all think are some of the best books/biographies about Led Zeppelin and/or its members. 

...and a belated thanks to lalunexviii for starting this thread in the first place. B)

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I'm with Strider....Heaven and Hell is an AMAZING book! The photos are incredible and it pretty much focuses on the music. I'd hate to think what it would cost to get a copy of it these days. Glad I still have it.

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15 hours ago, 3DayBender said:

I'm with Strider....Heaven and Hell is an AMAZING book! The photos are incredible and it pretty much focuses on the music. I'd hate to think what it would cost to get a copy of it these days. Glad I still have it.

I agree that that book is very good too - if you don't need a new copy, it's not difficult at all to get inexpensively though:

https://www.amazon.com/Led-Zeppelin-Heaven-Charles-Cross/dp/0517583089/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543729529&sr=1-1&keywords=heaven+and+hell+led+zeppelin

 

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Another cool book though perhaps not as in depth is "Shadows Taller Than Our Souls" also by Charles R. Cross...contains many gatefold photos  and replicas of concert tickets, press kits etc....and a CD of Jimmy's 1977 interview with Trouser Press....

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On 6/11/2018 at 12:47 PM, lalunexviii said:

I'm currently reading Hammer of the Gods and have to agree that Davis focuses too much on the tabloid side of things. I also am noticing the heavy influence of Cole on the work. Next on my reading list is When Giants Walked the Earth by Mick Wall. I know he is releasing an updated version for the 50th anniversary in October, but I want to give theoirignal a read through first. I will definitely give the Yorke piece a try. Thank you for your suggestions! Much appreciated! 

I'm reading the original right now, about on page 400 or so. I think it's a fantastic book. I read Hammer of the Gods 30 years ago and loved it, when I was a kid. I've read a lot of stuff like that over the years and eventually stopped reading newer bio books when they came out. I had read it all before. Having said that, I don't know what caused me to pick up this book, (When Giants Walked the Earth), but I'm glad I did! It's a great read. Love it.

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