Savoy Books 
Led Zeppelin
—In the Light


Howard Mylett
and Richard Bunton


b/w and colour illustrated

272mm x 206mm

Soft covers

First publication

Packaged for Proteus Books


ISBN 0906071 65 8

Led Zeppelin - In the Light

  Peter Grant, Zeppelin's famously belligerent manager, threatened to sue, but we went ahead anyway and produced the first fully comprehensive large-format book to document Led Zeppelin. "If Elvis Presley and Little Richard dominated the '50s, and The Beatles and The Rolling Stones the '60s, then Led Zeppelin dominated the '70s." That's the premise on which this book was produced. Covers their meteoric rise and their years at the top, by Zep fans Howard Mylett and (Savoy bookshop manager) Richard Bunton.



"A piece of fine work!"



"Arguably Led Zeppelin took the tired old whore of Rock'n'Roll further, bigger, and grosser than anyone else. After Zep it could only change direction, or descend into parody. By processing the Heavy Metal blueprints laid down by Clapton and Hendrix in the late sixties through the business suss of the early seventies they got so gargantuan that it was impossible to top them; and thus they made punk inevitable.

But behind the platinum albums, the leviathan mega-tours and the dinosaurian demi-god status Plant, Page, Bonham and Jones remain near invisible—or as Mylett prefers, "pure and uncoloured by personalities". They never represented anything like the Stones or Clash. Even Bonham's death, which put the final full stop to their gradual drift into inactivity, was a non-event engendering none of the culture shock of an Ian Curtis, a Sid Vicious, or a Jim Morrison. In fact—once you get past the pre-Zep scuffing period from early session work and failed group projects (Page's first chart role coming as early as the Jet Harris & Tony Meehan No. 1 hit Diamonds in '63) to the extinction of the Page-led Yardbirds in '67—it all comes boringly easy. The album Led Zeppelin I established a pattern of global gross-outs and mass tour schedules that merely got repeated for each subsequent album.

There's probably a lot you could read into the music itself; unlike the real lumpen drones, the Purples and the Sabbaths, Zep never devolved into turgid cliché; they could move better and slicker than any Heavy Metal brand on the market—vis Whole Lotta Love or Rock'n'Roll—but by incorporating acoustic elements (Sandy Denny, Roy Harper) and electronics (In The Light) they were still capable of springing surprises. But Mylett doesn't delve into such esoteric areas as actual critical analysis. He fails to construct any kind of coherent thesis about their development just as he draws no conclusions on their ultimate significance or musical worth. His prose-style is strictly ground-level—vocals are "trance-inducing", drum solos "skull-crushing", gigs are performed "to their fans' delight"—although it must be admitted that he's well-genned on dates, detailed trivia, fax 'n' info, relevant quotes and playing orders.

This lavish large-format coffee table book is essentially hagiographical, a fan's work. The band are always referred to by their first names which is always a dead give-away with its inference of imagined intimacies, and their motivations are never called into question. Evaluation is substituted for sales figures and superlatives. To be a Rock and not to Roll.

But the pictures are regulation flights of streaming matted hair, bare chests, double and triple necked guitars—the stuff of every Rock Tsar legend—reproduced in faithfully clean and glossy print, and the market's staked out in advance. I must confess I never actually liked Led Zeppelin, although the Beck/Page sequence in Blow Up is one of my favourite movie moments, and the vintage ads in here for New Yardbirds/early Zep playing the Marquee, Klooks Kleek, and Birmingham's Mothers, are vastly collectable. There's probably a good book to be written in here somewhere, but until they get around to writing it this one's not without its moments."



"Best known for his informed biographies about Zeppelin, Howard Mylett has turned his hands to a picture book of the band's activities from 1968, to their tragic demise in 1980.

Helped by fellow Zep fanatic Richard Bunton, there's 96 pages of well printed colour and black and white pics of the band together with an authoritative text. I reckon that you won't have seen at least 65 per cent of the material before and they've even managed to beg borrow or steal a rare picture of Plant (love the haircut dear) when he was an unknown singer signed to CBS in 1967.

It's good to see that so far the Zeppelin legend hasn't been exploited by flea bitten hacks, instead it's being written about by people who care."


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