Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Led Zeppelin"

Charles R. Cross is the author of seven books, including Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell and the New York Times bestseller Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, which won the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding biography. A veteran rock critic, Cross's writing has appeared in hundreds of publications, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Q, and Spin.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new book, Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls, and reported the following:
Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls is a non-fiction book that focuses tells the story of one of the rock’s most influential bands through the behind-the-scene tales of how they crafted their music. Page 69 falls at a seminal, and critical point in their career, right as the wheels were starting to fall off. Zeppelin had been the single biggest band of the seventies, but as the eighties approached they were threatened by the rise of punk rock, and the widely held theory — at least by rock critics — that they were dinosaurs. By 1978, the year discussed on Page 69, the band itself was also falling apart, with John Bonham and Jimmy Page caught up in drug addiction, and Robert Plant and John Paul Jones both threatening to leave.

Page 69 tells the story of the making of In Through The Out Door, Zeppelin’s final studio album. They recorded it, ironically, in a studio built by Sweden pop band ABBA, but the fancy surroundings did little to solidify the band. Plant and Jones would record their takes during the day; Page and Bonham would come in later to add their contributions when their bandmates were long gone. Nonetheless, the album still had many memorable moments, particularly “In the Evening,” in which the band found a fresh approach that modernized their sound without being too jolting.

My Page 69 also includes a rare photo of Robert Plant. In the few years before 1978, his five-year-old son Karac had died of a rare infection, and Plant himself had come near death after a horrible car accident. In this photo of Plant leaning against a tree, he looks mortal for one of the first times, his youthful Adonis looks now marred by tragedy that seems apparent in his mournful expression. Plant would never be the same again, and Led Zeppelin would end just two years after the photo, with the death of John Bonham.
Learn more about the book at the publisher's website; visit Charles R. Cross' website.

--Marshal Zeringue