Led Zeppelin North American Tour 1977
May 14, 2011 7:35 PM   Subscribe

I’m sitting aboard Caesar’s Chariot, Led Zeppelin’s customized Boeing 707 jet. Appropriately named after the conquering emperor who was ultimately doomed by an addiction to his own glory, this flying fortress now carries onboard an invading modern-day musical force. Steven Rosen's account of the 1977 North American tour.
posted by Trurl (22 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The classic bootleg recordings are Cleveland (April 27) and Los Angeles (June 21).
posted by Trurl at 7:36 PM on May 14, 2011

A Hammond organ built into the bar on the airplane?

Not a grand piano, or a pipe organ?

Poser lightweights.
posted by box at 7:56 PM on May 14, 2011

My uncle was a pilot flying some Saudi oil people around in, iirc, a 727. He said the cockpit was gold plated. Literally and actually gold plated. All the controls, dials, etc. Gold plated. He flew two people in it from LA to Dubai (or some similar route) and the fuel bill was around $60000. There are people in this world so rich that they drop $60000 like you and I fill up a tank of gas in our car.
posted by smcameron at 8:03 PM on May 14, 2011

A Hammond organ built into the bar on the airplane?

Their designer really pulled out all the stops.
posted by hal9k at 8:05 PM on May 14, 2011 [22 favorites]

There are people in this world so rich that they drop $60000 like you and I fill up a tank of gas in our car.

I truly think that you are understating how rich they are. I can't afford to fill up my tank anymore.
posted by NoMich at 8:13 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The 1977 version of Led Zeppelin is the reason that punk rock was so needed.
posted by NoMich at 8:14 PM on May 14, 2011 [16 favorites]

The Starship was used on Alice Cooper, Allman Brothers Band, Deep Purple, Elton John, Olivia Newton-John and Peter Frampton tours.

Yeah, Olivia Newton-John, she was something else...
posted by ovvl at 8:29 PM on May 14, 2011

The 2007 version of punk is the reason that Led Zeppelin was so needed.
posted by swift at 8:39 PM on May 14, 2011 [9 favorites]

John Paul Jones, on Steven Rosen, per Rosen: "He told me he thought I was a lowlife piece of shit and the worst writer he’d ever read. . ."

Worst, I can't say, but Rosen sure does ramble on.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:54 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Only one bed?
posted by zippy at 8:57 PM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd heard the same thing about the 1979 version of Pink Floyd.
posted by stbalbach at 9:17 PM on May 14, 2011

Rosen comes across as a kinda weasel. If I was a bored and jaded rock-star, I would instinctively distrust him.
posted by ovvl at 9:42 PM on May 14, 2011

There is a fascinating story about Zeppelin on tour in '77, but alas it is not the story Steven Rosen has chosen to tell us. Were I his (somewhat sardonic) editor, I might advise Mr. Rosen that the facts of Led Fucking Zeppelin on tour at the absolute apex of their fame and excess are compelling even at their most myopic level of detail. What were the ashtrays like? What kind of background music was playing during the orgy? That sort of thing.

Whereas the exact reason why John Paul Jones had a bone to pick with Guitar Player magazine in 1977? Yeah, sorry, Steve-O - that's really not the meat of your story here.
posted by gompa at 10:41 PM on May 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Zeppelin comes off like Spinal Tap, but meaner and with more money.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:32 AM on May 15, 2011

They were Led !)(!#% Zeppelin, for !#)(*!%#'s sake!
posted by cavalier at 3:19 AM on May 15, 2011

The thing I love about that plane is the fact that it had a fireplace installed. There's a photo here.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:17 AM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Note upholstery pattern.
posted by sammyo at 7:01 AM on May 15, 2011

Oh, Jimmy in his SS hat.
posted by clavdivs at 9:46 AM on May 15, 2011

They lived the motherfucking dream and you guys are just jealous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm so so sad the music industry has collapsed and we can't have stories like this any more.

So sad.

ps I'm not actually
posted by Sebmojo at 2:40 PM on May 15, 2011

There certainly was a reason that Zeppelin had a hatred of the press. Rolling Stone and Crawdaddy were notorious for only liking acts with a strong emphasis on lyrics (Dylan, The Band, etc.) and were huge in the 60s. And then you got bonus points if you came out of San Francisco or let Jann Wenner hang around backstage. Most early music critics had zero background in music, they were all journalism majors. So all they could write about was lyrics. Hell, they didn't even understand Pink Floyd back then. So the crop of extremely loud bands exploded right at the end of the decade were very declasse. And Zeppelin, the biggest of those bands, thought it was pretty unfair. So other than Cameron Crowe and Lisa Robinson, they trusted absolutely no one in the rock press. Add to that an insular bubble the band was living in and it was a recipe for utter paranoia.

And for those looking for a good boot, try the Madison Square Garden show from '75, especially the matrix mix. With the right stereo you could use it to ground planes at your local airport.
posted by Ber at 8:16 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed "LZ-'75" by Stephen Davis, which came out last year. It's the story of the 1975 tour.

Given Plant's persisting health problems, even back then, and his already strained and injured vocal cords, it's probably a blessing that they never got together recently apart from the one London concert.
posted by notmtwain at 2:14 AM on May 16, 2011

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