Wall also recounts, in a series of flashbacks, the life stories of the five individuals that made the dream a reality: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and their infamous manager, Peter Grant.
Finally, the full, shocking story is told from the inside.
©2009 Mick Wall; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"So this is the big one: a fat, juicy biography of the biggest band ever....Mick Wall, the veteran rock journalist, lays it all bare in a book that can only be described as definitive." (Daily Telegraph)
"That Wall can add so much fresh detail to the Led Zep story is in itself an extraordinary achievement. That he manages to humanize these planet-striding giants while doing so puts this book into the 'definitive' category." (Classic Rock magazine)
"Wall painstakingly traces Zeppelin's development and musical pedigree. His access and attention to detail make this a definitive work….an essential source for anyone eager to learn about the era when rock stars ruled the world." (Publishers Weekly)
This was a very enjoyable listen. There are lots of details. I now feel like I know who Led Zepplin and its members truly are. I've long been a fan of their music but knew little of the people who made the magic.
Zep begins and ends with Page.
Vance perfectly captures the working class Northern British attitude in his voice, which is essential for telling this story.
AND he pronounced "Bron-Y-Aur" correctly!
"Giants" is a wonderfully researched book, on a topic that is pretty well tread and Wall manages to unearth enough information and insights into the Zep story to make this book a must read for Zeppelin fans.
It's a compelling read that captures the essential elements of the bands rise and subsequent troubles when coping with their own fame. But Walls decision to add second person narratives throughout this Bio not only damages the credibility of the author, but also pulls the reader from his nicely paced and constructed narrative.
Yes, I get that bios are often stylistically lazy in their execution, but this dramatic second person device came close to ruining this book for me. I found it totally unnecessary and rather irritating. Wall even warns the reader at the start of the book, basically saying, "While I tried hard to research and take educated guesses as to what the band might say in these instances, I MADE IT UP!"
And while I appreciate an author trying to add color to a story, I would argue that a well executed biography ( Mark Lewisohn's "Tune In: The Beatles, All These Years", a fine example of a rock Bio at the top of its form) really should be about nothing more than comprehensive research and artistic/editorial flare.
Having said that, it is a testament to Walls research and writing that I held on. Without these irritants, the rating would have been 5.
Once was enough. It was a mostly satisfying listen and I would recommend the book to anyone with more than a passing appreciation of Led Zeppelin's mystique.
No. The longish bits about the Crowley stuff, while perhaps important with regards particularly to Page, didn't always make for a fascinating listen. There were also the uncomfortable passages where the author wrote as though 'speaking' directly to individual subjects as if present for various historical events in their lives from childhood on. Made for jarring transitions in narrative style, at times. Yet, it sometimes DID help to dramatise events that could only be speculated upon. Perhaps this book is best described as a dramatisation, rather than as a biography.
Very much enjoyed Simon Vance's narration. Despite criticisms, this was a fun and mostly engrossing listen. Certainly, I feel as though I now have a better appreciation for the sequence of events and the times in which they occurred. I cannot ascertain how accurate this telling of Zeppelin's history is, but it has a certain ring of authenticity - at least in the broad strokes. Given that no authorised story is likely to emerge, this might be as good as it gets. Even if we were to one day have the definitive word from the living sources, who's to say what details might be suppressed or altered?
Only listened to the audio version. I'd like to see the book to review and make some notes.
If the topic interested me.
You bet. Some good behind the scenes information, recording info etc... I don't really care about the behavior that much. I want to know about the gear and inspiration for the songs, well the ones they did compose.
Mick Wall made dumb comments about Alice Cooper and got the Moby Grape release completely wrong.
I have been a fan of Led Zeppelin for over thirty years and I thought I knew the whole story there was so much insight into the lives of each member of the band.
Iron Man by Toni Iomi these two storys were happing together during the 70s both groups are mentioned in each book
All that glitters is not gold
I hope all fans of Led Zeppelin take the time to enjoy this great book.
I would remove all the 2nd person stuff. It's off-putting and presumptuous; a lot of unnecessary conjecture and supposition about the inner feelings of the band and those connected to it. It also pulls the reader out of time since these are often flashbacks. I was always pleased when the narrator returned to the main thread.
I haven't read many of these types of rock bios in recent years, but I listened to Clapton's autobiography and found it similar, in that there were interesting parts when the music being made was great and popular, and then a long epilogue where the author has to gloss over a few boring and repetitive decades subsequent to the peak era.
Thought he did a great job, and I appreciated his shifting accents, even though I did not like the book's choice to use 2nd person perspective in those parts.
To re-listen to the later Led Zeppelin albums, and Robert Plant's later work.
I did not think the occult emphasis in the book was out of place, as other reviewers might. Jimmy Page and his ideas/beliefs are the heart of Led Zeppelin's music, so all of that was entirely relevant, as those ideas seemed to shape his life in the 1970s. It was educational and of interest.
Most of these long bios tend to drag at the end, and while I was looking forward to hearing about the post-breakup period, it did seem to get bogged down and repetitive. The author gets brutally critical of the band members after LZ's peak around 1975, not totally without reason, but it's a bit jarring considering the praise he lavishes on each member before that.
There's also a tendency in these bios, and this is no exception, to neatly summarize people and their histories as if they are fictional characters instead of complex real people, in a desire to make a book's ending more satisfying. Jimmy Page comes off at the end as someone desperately clinging to the legacy of his band, as if he is "haunted by demons." It's a spooky way to characterize and close out the author's themes, but the real man seems more complex than that. The biographer paints a selfish and controlling picture of Plant by the end, and never seems quite sure how to talk about John Paul Jones, as a great musician who was key to the band, or someone more deluded and inconsequential.
But regardless, I'm glad I listened, I learned a few things, and the book has a good amount of detail, only regrettably interrupted in terms of chronology by the aforementioned second person accounts.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” (George R. R. Martin)
I thought Mick Wall’s bio of Led Zeppelin was quite good and I burned through the 18 hours very quickly. I have been a Zeppelin fan since junior high and have always been looking for a decent biography of the band but could just never find one. Finally, (many) years later here it is. I’m no Zeppelin aficionado. There are definitely fans out there who know much more about the band than I do but neither am I a casual fan. I was always intrigued by the occult mystique that surrounded the band and Mick Wall goes into great detail trying to shed light on this aspect. I learned a lot of new information about the band and the listen was highly entertaining.
I definitely recommend this audio book for readers/listeners who are interested in the band or in tales of rock and roll history. Much of the book is fascinating and brings a lot of detail about the creative process and the experience of rock and roll. It is also satisfying in the way it follows up into the present day.
However the book also has it's silly side, especially in the constant harping on satanism, and the repetition--especially in the arty 2nd person flashback scenes to the musicians early lives. These flash backs grow old very very quickly.
The narrator is brilliant; making this an extremely good audio book experience; making it easy to get past the sillier parts of the book!
Pros: A decent history of the band full of all the necessary highlights. Cons: The flashback sequences are painfully awkward and all over the place chronologically really messing up the whole flow of the book. I don't feel they added anything, and they all have the same tone as if the 4(+Grant) members were the same person. Also, this is essentially a Jimmy bio through the first 2/3 of the book, the other members are virtually ignored and their contributions feel lessened. Lastly, the book is rather objective until it hits the epilogue where it is full of scathing comments and some very harsh words. The change in style is jarring.
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