In 1977, during Led Zeppelin American tour, while the band was in New Orleans waiting to perform at the Superdrome in front of eighty thousand people, Robert Plant was called on the phone by his wife Maureen, seriously worried because of a sudden illness of their little kid Karac. Two hours later, Plant was informed of his son’s death. The tour is inevitably interrupted and Led Zeppelin fall in a very difficult period: Jimmy Page is completely addicted to the heroine, John Bonham has serious problems with alcoholism and Robert Plant has recently lost his son. It’s up to John Paul Jones to take on the role of the leader. Plant began to consider leaving rock and music, perhaps guilty for being so far from his family in such a dramatic moment, but several months later he decided to not ignore the pain, to keep fresh the memory of his son. He returned to play with Led Zeppelin, to commemorate him, and at the same time to overcome the pain, aware that love and life would be the best cure. For himself and for the band.
In October 1978 Led Zeppelin moved to Stockholm, due to their tax exile from UK, to record the new songs at Abba’s Polar Studios. In Through the Out Door is recorded in three weeks, J.P. Jones tests all the possibilities of the new Yamaha synth. It was released on August 15th, 1979, totally different from what the Zeppelins previously did. In the same year Maureen and Robert Plant will have another baby. The sixth track, All My Love, is a moving, beautiful dedication from Plant to his missing son. It was recorded in a single session, because it was impossible for him to emotionally repeat those words in another recording. A legendary song; a love song, but not a romantic one; an act of love that Robert Plant wanted to dedicate to his son. In the lyrics of this song there is the fascinating figure of the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod, who led the souls of dead in her castle located in the Aurora Borealis, in the middle of the sea, off the Welsh coast.
A year later, the story of Led Zeppelin will end with John “Bonzo” Bonham’s death, followed by some short reunions with his son Jason Bonham at drums. In 2008, following the incredible request for the “Celebration Day” at London’s O2 arena (over 20 million bookings in about 24 hours), the band was awarded by the Guinness Book of Records for the Biggest Demand of tickets for a single live performance.
Plant stated in several interviews:
“We tried [to reunite] a few times. It always seemed to be done in a hurry and it never worked. That’s why the O2 show was done with such intent. We rehearsed loads so that Jason —John’s son — felt like he was part of the band and not just some novelty. We all needed it to be that way. But I can’t foresee doing it again, because we all have to agree and agree for the right reasons. LED ZEPPELIN was a creative force that you can’t just snap your fingers and create. It was a blend of these four master musicians, and each of us were important to the sum total of what the band was.”
President Obama, on December 2nd, 2012, gave to Led Zeppelin the prize for their contribution “to the cultural life of the American nation and the world”.
This is part of All My Love’s lyrics:
All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you
Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?