I don’t play them much now but I have to confess that I played Led Zeppelin a lot when I was at school. A lot. They weren’t that fashionable – I was at school in the 1970s for God’s sake – and the Clash and the Pistols were meant to wipe them off the face of the earth but they remained almost every Sixth Former’s guilty secret. Outwardly you would rather ostentatiously carry ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ for all to see, but inside your Our Price carrier bag you had Zep IV – on pink vinyl, safely hidden, never to be lent out and only played on my Dansette.
The only public acknowledgement that any of us kinda dug the Zep came when they announced a show at Knebworth in 1979. When we got that news, we all sent in our postal orders for £7.50 for tickets and all hitchhiked to the arse end of Stevenage together to see them. Fabulous they were too.
Fast forward 25 years and I was chatting to some of the younger folks, you know, those born after I went to University and happened to mention that I had been at Knebworth and all of a sudden I was treated like a living god. It didn’t matter that I had been one of at least 400,000 people who attended over the two weekends (I was there on the second weekend, August 11th) or that we had to sit through Chas & Dave, Utopia or an interminable delay while Keef & Ronnie’s New Barbarians haggled for more money before Zeppelin came on. Led Zeppelin had skipped a generation who couldn’t possibly think they were cool and found a new one who did. And even more amazing: I was cool too.