Regime Change: When Led Zeppelin Bumped The Beatles for the No. 1 Album in 1969

by Jeremy Spirogis
Regime Change: When Led Zeppelin Bumped The Beatles for the No. 1 Album in 1969

If you ever hearken to the outtakes and studio chatter from the Beatles’ Let It Be classes (January 1969), you may catch an fascinating change between George Harrison and another person within the studio. In the dialog, Harrison is requested if he needs to listen to the brand new Jimmy Page album.

“Jimmy Page,” Harrison replies. “Is he the one that was in The Yardbirds?” After he learns that, sure, it’s that Jimmy Page, Harrison asks if lunch is prepared but. Clearly, this album by Page, who’d not too long ago performed on a chart-topping Beatles cowl, sparked little curiosity in Harrison.

But Harrison and different members of the Fab Four would quickly take discover of Page’s group, which he’d named Led Zeppelin (with an help from Keith Moon). In reality, by the tip of ’69, The Beatles would watch because the Zeppelin knocked their band out of the highest spot on the Billboard album charts.

Led Zeppelin shortly gained steam with its debut ’69 album

Led Zeppelin | Chris Walter/WireImage

While it might take a couple of extra years earlier than Led Zeppelin started eclipsing Beatles box-office milestones, Atlantic Records knew the hard-rocking act had immense industrial enchantment proper from the beginning. That turned clear within the Zep’s first report deal, signed in 1968.

The pact, which gave Page and his bandmates full inventive management over their recordings, additionally gave Zep the largest advance an unproven band had ever received. (It was the equal of $1.63 million in today’s cash.) And the deal instantly began paying dividends for Atlantic.

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Led Zeppelin, the band’s explosive debut, hit report shops in January ’69, proper when Harrison and his bandmates had been moping round Twickenham studios filming rehearsals for his or her subsequent album. Eventually, the eponymous Zep report hit No. 10 on the Billboard charts.

By the summer season of ’69, it had achieved gold standing. While on tour supporting the report, Zep recorded its second album, which took issues to a different stage through “Whole Lotta Love,” “What Is and What Should Never Be,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Ramble On.” That report would pressure the difficulty on the charts with the Fab Four.

‘Led Zeppelin II’ nudged ‘Abbey Road’ from No. 1 in December ’69

Led Zeppelin, 1969 Bath Festival (L-R): John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, John Bonham, Jimmy Page | Chris Walter/WireImage

As rock followers digested Led Zeppelin and received a load of the band’s knockout dwell performances, demand for the group’s second album was intense. Hundreds of hundreds of advance copies of Led Zeppelin II had been offered by the point of its October 22, 1969 launch.

Coincidentally, the ultimate Beatles studio album (Abbey Road) hit report shops a month earlier, and by November it took No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts and stayed there till the third week of December. But by Christmas week of ’69 Led Zeppelin II took that high spot from Abbey Road.

The Zep reign didn’t final lengthy, although. For the primary two weeks of 1970, Abbey Road retook No. 1 earlier than alternating with Led Zeppelin II for the final three weeks of January. Then Zep had all of February to itself, making it a complete of seven weeks at No. 1 since its launch.

Beatles releases weren’t formally achieved, although. Let It Be arrived in May ’70 and spent 4 weeks at No. 1 early that summer season. But Led Zeppelin III landed later in ’70 and took the Zep to No. 1 for one more month, making it 10 weeks atop America’s pop charts (three greater than the Fab Four).

Once the blockbuster Led Zeppelin IV arrived in 1971, nobody needed to marvel concerning the top-selling band on the scene. In retrospect, that late ’69 chart battle seems like regime change. At that second, the largest band of the ’70s shoved the reigning pressure of the ’60s apart. Zep by no means appeared again.

Also see: The Groundbreaking Eric Clapton Recordings Jimmy Page Produced in 1965

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