When The Who’s John Entwistle Reportedly Came Up With the Name Led Zeppelin

by Jeremy Spirogis
Keith Moon and John Entwistle of The Who in 1967

Can a terrific band be stopped by a horrible title? It’s unlikely. On the opposite hand, a superb title may also help increase a band, particularly when a gaggle is getting its begin. There’s no query that Pink Floyd sounded higher than the group’s earlier names (one in all which was The Tea Set).

Prior to turning into The Who, that band went by way of a number of adjustments of its personal. After beginning out as The Detours (cool title), the group shifted to The Who earlier than turning into The High Numbers (dangerous title) and switching again once more.

But not less than one member of The Who additionally had a hand in christening Led Zeppelin, which ranks amongst rock’s biggest names. In Zep’s case, we’ve conflicting tales about how the band ended up with its title.

In a extensively circulated account (backed up by founder Jimmy Page), Led Zeppelin bought its title following a recording session that Page and Jeff Beck performed with Who drummer Keith Moon. However, one other model has Who bassist John Entwistle naming the band.

John Entwistle reportedly joked the band would crash like ‘a lead zeppelin’

Keith Moon and John Entwistle of The Who in 1967
Drummer Keith Moon and bassist John Entwistle of ‘The Who’ wait backstage on March 31, 1967, in New York. | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

If you wished to, you may spend the higher a part of the subsequent few years studying books about The Who. In Pretend You’re in a War, Mark Blake’s tackle the band within the ’60s, we hear each variations. The first entails Moon pitching the title after contemplating beginning a band with Beck and Page.

In the alternate model, Entwistle comes up with the title two years after the ’66 Beck-Page-Moon periods. That would have been across the time Page was forming his new band from the ashes of The Yardbirds.

The Ox, the 2020 Entwistle biography by Paul Rees, additionally broaches the topic. This time round, Rees connects the dots from Entwistle to Page through Richard Cole, the long run swashbuckling Zep tour supervisor who had labored driving round Moon and Entwistle within the mid-’60s.

In Rees’ telling, Cole recalled Entwistle dropping the title casually one evening in dialog. After listening to it, Cole talked about it to Page, who put it to make use of shortly thereafter.

Jimmy Page endorsed the Keith Moon model

Led Zeppelin in 1969Led Zeppelin in 1969
John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin | Chris Walter/WireImage

Though he was not possible to method for a number of years in his Zeppelin days, Jimmy Page finally did begin opening as much as reporters. In a 1977 Trouser Press interview, Page went with the model that had Moon arising along with his band’s title.

“It was Moon, I’m sure, despite anything Entwistle may have said,” Page mentioned on the time. However, his recollection of these occasions additionally included Cole. “I’m quite certain Richard Cole asked Moon for his permission when we decided to use the name.”

Either means, Page thought that the title wanted a minor edit earlier than placing it into service. That meant pulling the “a” of the title so folks wouldn’t pronounce the phrase “lead” as you’ll within the phrase “lead the way.” With that settled, Led Zeppelin was able to take flight for the subsequent 12 years.

Also see: Why Jimmy Page Started Out Playing Bass in The Yardbirds

Leave a Comment