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18 Rock and Rolling Facts About Led Zeppelin

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Jimmy Page initially rounded up Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham (Bonham off of Plant’s suggestion) in part to fulfill a contractual obligation to play The Yardbirds tour dates in Scandinavia. Page had also wanted to form a supergroup for years, and he got it with the band that would become Led Zeppelin. Their first album, Led Zeppelin, was released on January 12, 1969, and marked the beginning of the band that would come to dominate the 1970s. Combining precision riffage and drumming with whimsical, sexually-charged vocals and the occasional literary allusion earned Led Zeppelin many, many fans. Here are some facts about the band you’ll find interesting whether you give them a whole lotta love or not.

1. TERRY REID PASSED ON JOINING THE GROUP.

The then-19-year-old singer of Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers had just been signed by a producer who was looking to make Reid a solo artist. So he told Jimmy Page no, and suggested that he offer the gig to Robert Plant, who he said looked "like a Greek god."

2. THEY FIRST PERFORMED AS THE NEW YARDBIRDS.

Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham’s first show together took place after just 15 hours of practicing together at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark, at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, September 7, 1968. The set list included “You Shook Me,” “Dazed and Confused,” and “Train Kept-A-Rollin.”

3. THEY GOT THE BAND'S NAME FROM THE WHO'S KEITH MOON AND JOHN ENTWISTLE. (MAYBE.)

Page, then fellow Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, John Paul Jones, Entwistle and Moon joined forces in May of 1966 to record the instrumental tune “Beck’s Bolero” and enjoyed the results so much that there was chatter about forming a supergroup. Moon, allegedly, said the band would go over like a lead balloon. Entwistle followed, supposedly, with, “a lead zeppelin!”

4. FOR ONE NIGHT, THEY WERE KNOWN AS "THE NOBS."

Frau Eva von Zeppelin, a direct descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, was upset over what she believed to be a dishonoring of the family name by the band. She demanded the group change their name, and got her wish on February 28, 1970, when the band performed as The Nobs in Copenhagen. Both popular and critical opinion favored the band's preferred name, and they were Led Zeppelin once more for their next show—and every show thereafter.

5. JOHN PAUL JONES’ REAL NAME IS JOHN BALDWIN.

Yes, another Baldwin. The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham hired session musician Baldwin to work on a single by another group he was managing at the time. He liked Baldwin’s playing, btu wanted a more artistic surname. Not knowing what it was about, Oldham was intrigued by the name of a Robert Stack movie titled John Paul Jones (1959). Oldham called Baldwin and informed him of his new name.

6. JIMMY PAGE PAID FOR THE RECORDING OF THEIR FIRST ALBUM.

He wanted artistic control “in a vise grip.” Recording and mixing lasted 30 hours and cost Page £1782 (or about $4300). The debut album ended up making over £3.5 million. While it only took 30 hours the first time, Led Zeppelin II was recorded over eight months, thanks to a lot of touring.

7. THEY HAVE BEEN SUED FOR PLAGIARISM A COUPLE OF TIMES.

Folk singer Jake Holmes claimed he wrote “Dazed and Confused” in a 2010 lawsuit. Holmes opened for The Yardbirds in August 1967. The next day, Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty and bassist Chris Dreja both bought Holmes’ debut album with his song “Dazed and Confused” on it for the band—which included Page—to practice and play their own version of it. Page was credited as the sole writer of the song when Zeppelin recorded it for their first record.

“Whole Lotta Love” was accused of being based off of Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” (performed by Muddy Waters) and the Small Faces’ “You Need Loving” only because, as Page once explained, Plant referenced the “You Need Love” lyrics in “Whole Lotta Love.” Dixon was given a co-songwriter credit after a 1985 lawsuit. Plant admitted in a 1990 interview that his lyrics weren’t original. “I just thought, 'Well, what am I going to sing?' That was it, a nick. Now happily paid for.”

The iconic “Stairway to Heaven” is also a part of an ongoing lawsuit. The band Spirit has claimed the arpeggio opening is too similar to their 1968 instrumental “Taurus.”

8. INNOVATIVE TACTICS WERE USED FOR "WHOLE LOTTA LOVE."

Plant’s ghostly vocals of "Way down inside… wo-man… you need… love” was a making lemonade out of lemons situation: Page and engineer Eddie Kramer heard Plant’s voice singing the lyric on one track before Plant did on the master vocal track. When Kramer tried to turn the volume all the way down on that track, Plant’s voice could still be heard bleeding through to the master. Realizing they couldn’t get rid of the non-master, Page and Kramer added a ton of reverb so that it sounded like it wasn’t an accident.

9. YOU CAN HEAR A PHONE RINGING DURING "THE OCEAN."

At 1:37-1:38 and again at 1:41. When asked if it was a real phone, Kramer pleaded ignorance, admitting it was possible because the song was recorded in a house, but that he did not hear it at the time of the recording.

10. THE FOURTH ALBUM IS TECHNICALLY UNTITLED.

Tired of negative reviews on their music, Page convinced the band to try to make the album cover of their fourth record as anonymous looking as possible. They agreed just on four symbols, one representing each band member. Fans believed Page’s spelled out “Zoso,” which is what some fans call the album. Page has insisted the symbols aren’t letters. Jones’ symbol of a circle with three interlocking ovals was found in a book of runes and is supposed to represent a confident and competent person. Bonham’s symbol of three interlocking circles was also from that book of runes, which later, the band claims, they realized resembled the Ballantine beer logo. Plant’s symbol of a circle around a feather includes the feather of Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. The origin or meaning of Page’s symbol remains unknown.

11. PAGE LIVED IN ALEISTER CROWLEY’S FORMER HOME.

In 1971, Page bought the former Loch Ness, Scotland home of the British philosopher and occultist Crowley. Page claimed it was haunted, not necessarily because of Crowley, but because of its previous owners. "t was also a church that was burned to the ground with the congregation in it,” Page told Rolling Stone in 1975. “Strange things have happened in that house that had nothing to do with Crowley. The bad vibes were already there. A man was beheaded there, and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down." The guitarist was a fan of Crowley’s, having Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt” inscribed in the run-off groove of the original Led Zeppelin III vinyl records. Page was believed by some to worship Satan because of these connections; Page never confirmed.

12. THEIR MANAGER WAS AGAINST RELEASING SINGLES.

In the case of “Whole Lotta Love,” the original 5:33 running time was cut to a 3:12 single for radio play by Atlantic Records. Page listened to the single version once and hated it so much that he never listened to that version again. In the United Kingdom, where the band and their manager Peter Grant had the most authority over their releases, their first single was in fact “Whole Lotta Love.” In 1997. The run time on the 1997 UK single was 4:50.

13. THEY WERE J.R.R. TOLKIEN FANS.

“Ramble On” paraphrased a Tolkien poem in its opening lines, and of course referenced Mordor and Gollum in its second verse. “Misty Mountain Hop” was named after a place in The Hobbit, and most fans agree that “The Battle of Evermore” is filled with references to The Lord of the Rings and The Return of the King.

14. PLANT WROTE "GOING TO CALIFORNIA" ABOUT JONI MITCHELL.

Plant was “in love” with the Canadian songwriter. He also wrote of his worry about working in the state that goes through earthquakes. There was a minor earthquake while mixing the untitled fourth Zeppelin album, which featured the song in question.

15. THEY HAD THEIR OWN AIRPLANE.

The band purchased “The Starship” for $30,000 for a portion of their 1973 U.S. Tour. It was the first Boeing 720-022 ever built. It included a main cabin with seats and tables, revolving arm chairs, a 30-foot long couch, a bar with an electronic organ built into it, a TV set, a video cassette player, a den with a low couch and floor pillows, and a bedroom with a white fur bedspread and a shower room. The band also used “The Starship” for their entire 1975 tour across America, which cost them $2500 per hour, or $5 per mile. Bonham once flew the plane from New York to Los Angeles, according to Peter Grant. Bonham did not have a license to do such a thing.

16. PAGE HAD TROUBLE NAILING THE "STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN" GUITAR SOLO.

Just like every aspiring guitarist when they first learn the song, Page had some trouble. John Paul Jones tried to help Page when he noticed that his bandmate began to look concerned when he kept not getting it right at the studio by telling him, “You’re making me paranoid!” “You’re making *me* paranoid!,” Page retorted. The two then laughed, and the solo was nailed a few takes later.

The song became legendary, and Plant wasn’t comfortable with that. In 1988 the singer said, “I'd break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show. I wrote those lyrics and found that song to be of some importance and consequence in 1971, but 17 years later, I don't know. It's just not for me.”

17. PLANT RECORDED AN ALBUM IN A WHEELCHAIR.

Presence was recorded in 18 days in Munich, Germany. Plant had been in a car crash in Greece previously. Page explained to The Guardian, “Robert was really keen to do the recording, and we all were, because there wasn’t anything else that we could do.” Plant recalled a failed attempt to move on crutches at the studio where he took a fall. Page ran from the control room to pick him up. “He was like an Olympic athlete!,” Plant exclaimed. “ I’d never seen him move so fast in my life!”

18. JOHN BONHAM DIED AFTER DRINKING THE EQUIVALENT OF 40 VODKA SHOTS.

On September 24, 1980, the band rehearsed for their upcoming tour. Bonham drank there before drinking double vodkas at Page’s house (not Crowley’s former home) then passing out. He was placed in a spare bedroom. The next afternoon, Jones and Robert Plant’s assistant Benji LeFevre found Bonham dead. The coroner's report stated that he had the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka in his system.

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10 Surprising Facts About The Babadook
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In 2014, The Babadook came out of nowhere and scared audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Aussie Jennifer Kent, and based on her short film Monster, The Babadook is about a widow named Amelia (played by Kent’s drama schoolmate Essie Davis) who has trouble controlling her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who thinks there’s a monster living in their house. Amelia reads Samuel a pop-up book, Mister Babadook, and Samuel manifests the creature into a real-life monster. The Babadook may be the villain, but the film explores the pitfalls of parenting and grief in an emotional way. 

“I never approached this as a straight horror film,” Kent told Complex. “I always was drawn to the idea of grief, and the suppression of that grief, and the question of, how would that affect a person? ... But at the core of it, it’s about the mother and child, and their relationship.”

Shot on a $2 million budget, the film grossed more than $10.3 million worldwide and gained an even wider audience via streaming networks. Instead of creating Babadook out of CGI, a team generated the images in-camera, inspired by the silent films of Georges Méliès and Lon Chaney. Here are 10 things you might not have known about The Babadook (dook, dook).

1. THE NAME “BABADOOK” WAS EASY FOR A CHILD TO INVENT.

Jennifer Kent told Complex that some people thought the creature’s name sounded “silly,” which she agreed with. “I wanted it to be like something a child could make up, like ‘jabberwocky’ or some other nonsensical name,” she explained. “I wanted to create a new myth that was just solely of this film and didn’t exist anywhere else.”

2. JENNIFER KENT WAS WORRIED PEOPLE WOULD JUDGE THE MOTHER.

Amelia isn’t the best mother in the world—but that’s the point. “I’m not a parent,” Kent told Rolling Stone, “but I’m surrounded by friends and family who are, and I see it from the outside … how parenting seems hard and never-ending.” She thought Amelia would receive “a lot of flak” for her flawed parenting, but the opposite happened. “I think it’s given a lot of women a sense of reassurance to see a real human being up there,” Kent said. “We don’t get to see characters like her that often.”

3. KENT AND ESSIE DAVIS TONED DOWN THE CONTENT FOR THE KID.

Noah Wiseman was six years old when he played Samuel. Kent and Davis made sure he wasn’t present for the more horrific scenes, like when Amelia tells Samuel she wishes he was the one who died, not her husband. “During the reverse shots, where Amelia was abusing Sam verbally, we had Essie yell at an adult stand-in on his knees,” Kent told Film Journal. “I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film—that wouldn’t be fair.”

Kent explained a “kiddie version” of the plot to Wiseman. “I said, ‘Basically, Sam is trying to save his mother and it’s a film about the power of love.’”

4. THE FILM IS ALSO ABOUT “FACING OUR SHADOW SIDE.”

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Kent told Film Journal that “The Babadook is a film about a woman waking up from a long, metaphorical sleep and finding that she has the power to protect herself and her son.” She noted that everybody has darkness to face. “Beyond genre and beyond being scary, that’s the most important thing in the film—facing our shadow side.”

5. THE FILM SCARED THE HELL OUT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXORCIST.

In an interview with Uproxx, William Friedkin—director of The Exorcist—said The Babadook was one of the best and scariest horror films he’d ever seen. He especially liked the emotional aspect of the film. “It’s not only the simplicity of the filmmaking and the excellence of the acting not only by the two leads, but it’s the way the film works slowly but inevitably on your emotions,” he said.

6. AN ART DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT SCORED THE ROLE AS THE BABADOOK.

Tim Purcell worked in the film’s art department but then got talked into playing the titular character after he acted as the creature for some camera tests. “They realized they could save some money, and have me just be the Babadook, and hence I became the Babadook,” Purcell told New York Magazine. “In terms of direction, it was ‘be still a lot,’” he said.

7. THE MOVIE BOMBED IN ITS NATIVE AUSTRALIA.

Even though Kent shot the film in Adelaide, Australians didn’t flock to the theaters; it grossed just $258,000 in its native country. “Australians have this [built-in] aversion to seeing Australian films,” Kent told The Cut. “They hardly ever get excited about their own stuff. We only tend to love things once everyone else confirms they’re good … Australian creatives have always had to go overseas to get recognition. I hope one day we can make a film or work of art and Australians can think it’s good regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.”

8. YOU CAN OWN A MISTER BABADOOK BOOK (BUT IT WILL COST YOU). 

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In 2015, Insight Editions published 6200 pop-up books of Mister Babadook. Kent worked with the film’s illustrator, Alexander Juhasz, who created the book for the movie. He and paper engineer Simon Arizpe brought the pages to life for the published version. All copies sold out but you can find some Kent-signed ones on eBay, going for as much as $500.

9. THE BABADOOK IS A GAY ICON.

It started at the end of 2016, when a Tumblr user started a jokey thread about how he thought the Babadook was gay. “It started picking up steam within a few weeks,” Ian, the Tumblr user, told New York Magazine, “because individuals who I presume are heterosexual kind of freaked out over the assertion that a horror movie villain would identify as queer—which I think was the actual humor of the post, as opposed to just the outright statement that the Babadook is gay.” In June, the Babadook became a symbol for Gay Pride month. Images of the character appeared everywhere at this year's Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles.

10. DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH FOR A SEQUEL.

Kent, who owns the rights to The Babadook, told IGN that, despite the original film's popularity, she's not planning on making any sequels. “The reason for that is I will never allow any sequel to be made, because it’s not that kind of film,” she said. “I don’t care how much I’m offered, it’s just not going to happen.”

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15 Fascinating Facts About Amelia Earhart
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Amelia Earhart was a pioneer, a legend, and a mystery. To celebrate what would be her 120th birthday, we've uncovered 15 things you might not know about the groundbreaking aviator.

1. THE FIRST TIME SHE SAW AN AIRPLANE, SHE WASN'T IMPRESSED.

In Last Flight, a collection of diary entries published posthumously, Earhart recalled feeling unmoved by "a thing of rusty wire and wood" at the Iowa State Fair in 1908. It wasn't until years later that she discovered her passion for aviation, when she worked as a nurse's aide at Toronto's Spadina Military Hospital. She and some friends would spend time at hangars and flying fields, talking to pilots and watching aerial shows. Earhart didn't actually get on a plane herself until 1920, and even then she was just a passenger.

2. SHE WAS A GOOD STUDENT WITH NO PATIENCE FOR SCHOOL.

After working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in Toronto, Earhart took pre-med classes at Columbia University in 1919. She made good grades, but dropped out after just a year. Earhart re-enrolled at Columbia in 1925 and left school again. She took summer classes at Harvard, but gave up on higher education for good after she didn't get a scholarship to MIT.

3. ANOTHER PIONEERING FEMALE AVIATOR TAUGHT EARHART HOW TO FLY.

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Neta Snook was the first woman to run her own aviation business and commercial airfield. She gave Earhart flying lessons at Kinner Field near Long Beach, California in 1921, reportedly charging $1 in Liberty Bonds for every minute they spent in the air.

4. EARHART BOUGHT HER FIRST PLANE WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF HER FIRST FLYING LESSON.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

She named it The Canary. The used yellow Kinner Airster biplane was the second one ever built. Earhart paid $2000 for it, despite Snook's opinion that it was underpowered, overpriced, and too difficult for a beginner to land.

5. AMY EARHART ENCOURAGED HER DAUGHTER'S PASSION. HER FATHER, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS AFRAID OF FLYING.

Earhart's mom used some of her inheritance to pay for The Canary. She was a bit of an adventurer herself: the first woman to ever climb Pikes Peak in Colorado.

6. EARHART HAD A LOT OF ODD JOBS.

In addition to volunteering as a nurse's aide, Earhart also worked early jobs as a telephone operator and tutor. Earhart was a social worker at Denison House in Boston when she was invited to fly across the Atlantic for the first time (as a passenger) in 1928. At the height of her career, Earhart spent time making speeches, writing articles, and providing career counseling at Purdue University's Department of Aeronautics. Oh, and flying around the world.

7. SHE WASN'T SURE ABOUT MARRIAGE, BUT SHE DEFINITELY BELIEVED IN PRE-NUPS.

When promoter George Putnam contacted Earhart about flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, it was her first big break ... and the beginning of their love story. The two began a working relationship, which soon turned into attraction. When Putnam's marriage to Dorothy Binney fell apart, he eventually proposed to Earhart. She said yes, albeit reluctantly.

Earhart wasn't worried about safeguarding financial assets so much as she wanted the two of them to maintain separate identities. Earhart asked Putnam to agree to a trial marriage. If they weren't happy after a year, they'd be free to go their separate ways, no hard feelings. He agreed. They lived happily until her disappearance.

8. SHE WROTE ABOUT FLYING FOR COSMOPOLITAN.

In 1928, Earhart was appointed Cosmopolitan's Aviation Editor. Her 16 published articles—among them "Shall You Let Your Daughter Fly?" and "Why Are Women Afraid to Fly?"—recounted her adventures and encouraged other women to fly, even if they just did so commercially. (Commercial flights date back to 1914, but they wouldn't really take off until after World War II.)

9. FIRST LADY ELEANOR ROOSEVELT WAS SO INSPIRED BY EARHART THAT SHE SIGNED UP FOR FLYING LESSONS.

The two became friends in 1932. Roosevelt got a student permit and a physical examination, but never followed through with her plan.

10. EARHART WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO GET A PILOT'S LICENSE FROM THE NATIONAL AERONAUTIC ASSOCIATION (NAA).

That was in 1923, when pilots and aircrafts weren't legally required to be licensed. Earhart was the sixteenth woman to get licensed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which was required to set flight records. Still, the FAI didn't maintain women's records until 1928.

11. SHE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF "FIRSTS."

Earhart eventually became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger (1928) and then solo (1932) and nonstop from coast to coast (1932) as a pilot. She also set records, period: Earhart was the first person to ever fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and Mexico City to Newark, all in 1935.

What do John Glenn, George H.W. Bush, and Amelia Earhart have in common? They all earned an Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross. But only Earhart was the first woman—and one of few civilians—to do so.

12. SHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CELEBRITIES TO LAUNCH A CLOTHING LINE.

Amelia Earhart Fashions were affordable separates sold exclusively at Macy's and Marshall Field's. The line's dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats were made of cotton and parachute silk and featured aviation-inspired details, like propeller-shaped buttons. Earhart studied sewing as a girl and actually made her own samples.

13. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SPENT $4 MILLION SEARCH FOR EARHART.

At the time, it was the most expensive air and sea search in history. Earhart's plane disappeared July 2, 1937. The official search ended a little over two weeks later on July 19. Putnam then financed a private search, chartering boats to the Phoenix Islands, Christmas Island, Fanning Island, the Gilbert Islands, and the Marshall Islands.

14. THE SEARCH ISN'T OVER.

There are several theories about what happened to Earhart's plane during her last flight. Most people believe she ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Others believe she landed on an island and died of thirst, starvation, injury, or at the hands of Japanese soldiers in Saipan. In 1970, one man even claimed that Earhart was alive and well and living a secret life in New Jersey.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has explored the theory that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan lived as castaways before dying on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, in the western Pacific. Over the years, they've found a few potential artifacts, including evidence of campfire sites, pieces of Plexiglas, and an empty jar of the brand of freckle cream that Earhart used.

In early July 2017, a photo surfaced that seemed to confirm the theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed and were captured by Japanese soldiers, but that photo was quickly debunked.

15. TODAY, ANOTHER AMELIA EARHART IS MAKING HISTORY.

In 2014, another pilot named Amelia Earhart took to the skies to set a world record. The then-31-year-old California native became the youngest woman to fly 24,300 miles around the world in a single-engine plane. Her namesake never completed the journey, but the younger Earhart landed safely in Oakland on July 11, 2014. We think "Lady Lindy" would be proud.

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