• When Giants Walked the Earth

  • A Biography of Led Zeppelin
  • By: Mick Wall
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 18 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (992 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Led Zeppelin rose to become one of the biggest-selling rock bands of all time. Mick Wall, respected rock writer and former confidant of band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, unflinchingly tells the story of the band that wrote the rulebook for on-the-road excess and eventually paid the price for it, with disaster, drug addiction, and death.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about When Giants Walked the Earth

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very annoying but tolerable for serious fans.

You listen to an annoying style writing style and are confused by it. You begin to wonder if the whole book will be in this style. You then realize with horror that it will be. You then glance at your phone and realize there's another 18 hours of sentences that start with, "you..." and stop the audiobook and listen to a good book until you're desperate.

You many months later out of extreme boredom on long drives eventually manage to make it through the book. You tell yourself it was ok but annoying as hell and wish you hadn't wasted a credit.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Must read for Led Zeppelin Fans

I love Led Zeppelin, so when I saw this book on Audible, I had to get it. The stories in this book at just delicious--these guys were the quintessential out of control British rock stars, and they relished their roles to the hilt. The stories of their sexual escapades, while not for the faint of heart, are really funny and crazy.
I wasn't wild about the fake first person flashback sequences, and I wish the author had just written the information in a more conventional fashion, but the book has so much interesting material that I would highly recommend it. Be sure to have you Led Zeppelin library available on iTunes so you can listen to the tracks as they are discussed.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Second Person Narrative Is "Almost" A Deal Breaker

Who was your favorite character and why?

Zep begins and ends with Page.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

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!

Any additional comments?

"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!"

Yuck.

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Led Zeppelin Bio

I have always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan and this is the most in-depth biography of the band. Gives details of all the key-players who influenced Page, Bonham, Jones and Plant as well as in-depth insight into the lives of all who contributed to their success, mystery, and to their demise. A real behind-the-scenes story. A must-listen for any Zeppelin fan!!

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • B
  • 08-07-15

Depressing

The story was written well, it will be hard to enjoy the music like I once did. They were dreadful people. Now Robert is an artist, he was once a Rock Star. The old saying "you reap what you sow" is proved out in these folks lives.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One great book, great naration.

I had had this book in my wish list for about a year before I decided that it was time to listen to it. I grew up in the era of Led Zeppelin, and one of my life's biggest regrets is that I never saw them live, but that being said, I was never a hug fan. I recognized that they were the biggest band of that era, and that they had something that no other band had, that certain mystique, that certain quality that held them up as rock gods, thus the title of the book is appropriate. My rock god was Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio, but that is nether here nor there.

This was one of my favorite audio books, and I listen to a lot of them, I knew a little of the story, but this gave a very in depth portrait of the players in the story, the band and back players. By the end of the book I was feeling a bit sorry for Jimmy Page, who seemed to never be able to let Led Zeppelin go, and Page who was just sick of it. They had climbed the mountain, unlike anyone else, they had reached the very top, and then, for several of them, life was no longer fun. Life at the top is not all that it is cracked up to be. Drugs, booze, death all took their tole.

Simon Vances narration is perfect for this book. I do agree that if you do not like off color language, as one reviewer said, this is not the book for you, but in the context used her, it is just as I would think the players would talk, and the use of first person narration, Vance changes his voice, ever so slightly and for me it was brilliantly used to brake up the normal flow of the book. all in all, a great read,. I was sorry to come to the end of it and will listen to it again sometime.

14 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Worst book ever!

The author changes point of view so many times it's impossible to know who is supposed to be speaking. He changes from first person, to 3rd person limited, to 3rd person omniscient, to some weird made up form where he is talking from the point of view of one of the people in the book (first person) but uses "you" when speaking of himself - some crazy form of 4th person?? I had to stop listening because it became so frustrating, I was missing important parts of who did what because I didn't know who was speaking. Then the author tries to get "creative" by hiding little hints of who is talking by saying things like, 'you were raised in a small town outside of London but your father, also named Robert, wanted to move, and that frustrated you.' Maybe in the book there were pictures that allowed the reader to follow a little easier but it does not help at all in an audio book. This was the worst book I ever listened to.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Non stop flowery prose about you - the fan

Worst book I've ever bought. I only made through about 4 chapters which were filled with nothing about Led Zep. Only over-the-top flowery prose in regards to the fans. The writing style is absolutely inane. I assume at some point the author gets around to the band but if it's the same level of ridiculous adjectives then I wouldn't have finished it anyway. Better to bail out early.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

There was alot I didn't know about Led Zep

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. They are truly one of the greatest rock and roll bands onstage and off. Crazy stories, check. Early life of each artist, check. Rise to power and back down again, check.

Highly recommend.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen

I'm listening for the second time. I liked it that much. Informative rock and roll stuff. Zeppelin fans can really appreciate this one.

6 people found this helpful