Led Zeppelin were an English rock band originally formed in 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page under the name "The New Yardbirds", based on Page's previous band, The Yardbirds. The band formed when Jimmy Page (guitar) recruited Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, mandolin), and John Bonham (drums). With their heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock music. However, the band's individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one genre. Led Zeppelin did not release songs from their albums as singles in the UK, as they preferred to develop the concept of "album-oriented rock".
Thirty years after disbanding following Bonham's death in 1980, the band continues to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band have sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 111.5 million certified units in the United States, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. They have had all of their original studio albums reach the top ten of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number one spot.
Shortly after their first tour, the group's eponymous first album was released on 12th January 1969. Its blend of blues and rock influences with distorted amplification made it one of the pivotal records in the evolution of heavy metal music. Although several of Led Zeppelin's earliest songs were based on or were cover versions of blues standards, others such as "Communication Breakdown" had a unique and distinctively heavy sound. Led Zeppelin also featured delicate acoustic guitar on "Black Mountain Side" in which the influence of Davy Graham can be heard, and a combination of acoustic and electric approaches on the reworked folk song "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You". The immediate success of the first album kick-started the band's career, especially in the United States, where they would frequently tour.
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