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Ahmet Ertegun on Led Zeppelin

In the '60s, we had started to make records in England as well as here, and one of our legendary producers, Burt Burns (who wrote one of Janis Joplin's songs) was raving about session players Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. In those crazy days of the London madness, Barnaby Street, the angry young men, the nightclubs, the Speak-easy and the Revolution, I had run across and met both Jimmy and John Paul Jones. When Peter Grant, manager, and Steven Weiss, lawyer, came to see us about a new group formed by Jimmy Page, ex-Yardbird, we were very excited about the prospect of this new group, the new Yardbirds. They told us, however, that the group would be called Led Zeppelin. They were Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and from the Birmingham area, Robert Plant and John Bonham. From the first time I heard the first cuts of their first album, I knew we had something that was undeniably great. Robert Plant was a revelation - a singer who had his own style of singing great old blues as well as new songs. John Bonham, a drummer without equal. Peter Grant, their manager, was a mountain of a man, and he kept them hidden in a shroud of mystery. They became the most unapproachable band in rock history. My life with them thereafter was a roller-coaster ride; the music and the recordings got better and better, the hits were bigger and bigger, the stories of their exploits on the road kept getting wilder and wilder. They were not only inventing the most important rock and roll music of their time, but they were also inventing the new rock and roll lifestyle, and the mystique about them was turning into legend. For a dozen years, they created revolutionary music, which defied categorization. Steeped in American blues and R&B, they refused to limit their imagination, drawing on rock, reggae, rockabilly, funk, Celtic, Arabic, and Indian influences, to create unique music of unprecedented power and grace, of exhilarating contrast. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jonesy and Bonzo, they were playing true world music before it became a chart on Billboard. And they toured the world, and they went everywhere, and there were past-midnight dinner parties, groupies, champagne corks popping, and groupies, protection from imaginary devils and foes by Richard Coe, and groupies, TV sets thrown out the window, and groupies, plaster casters, and groupies, wrecked hotel rooms, Phil Carson jokes, and practical jokes, and Tunch Arim [?], and Earl McGrass, shoes thrown out the window, and groupies, and stories that we cannot tell, and groupies - and the great Peter Grant sitting like Buddha, watching it all. Great days I'll never forget, a time in my life I'll treasure, the music they made is the music of today. Their influence today on young musicians is greater than ever. It is through their music that many of the young people are discovering the old blues pioneers. It all came to an end with the tragic death of John Bonham. I am proud to have been associated with this extraordinary band, who are more revered today than ever, whose music is timeless, and whose members are like my brothers. To induct Led Zeppelin into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I would like to present Joe Perry and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith.