“I knew exactly what I wanted to do in every respect”: How Jimmy Page built Led Zeppelin from the ashes of the Yardbirds

Jimmy Page (left) and John Bonham perform onstage with Led Zeppelin at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark on September 7, 1968
(Image credit: Jorgen Angel/Redferns)

This feature on the launch and ascent of Led Zeppelin was originally published in the March 2009 issue of Guitar World.

It's been over 40 years since the U.S. release of the first Led Zeppelin album on January 12, 1969, but the record’s influence continues to be felt profoundly. Titled simply Led Zeppelin, the disc marked a pivotal moment in rock and roll culture, where the pop-oriented rock and roll of the Sixties started to give way to what would become the heavier-sounding, artist-driven orchestrations of early Seventies rock. 

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Alan di Perna

In a career that spans five decades, Alan di Perna has written for pretty much every magazine in the world with the word “guitar” in its title, as well as other prestigious outlets such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Creem, Player, Classic Rock, Musician, Future Music, Keyboard, grammy.com and reverb.com. He is author of Guitar Masters: Intimate Portraits, Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History and co-author of Play It Loud: An Epic History of the Sound Style and Revolution of the Electric Guitar. The latter became the inspiration for the Metropolitan Museum of Art/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll.” As a professional guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, Alan has worked with recording artists Brianna Lea Pruett, Fawn Wood, Brenda McMorrow, Sat Kartar and Shox Lumania.