LONDON.- Proud Chelsea
is presenting Led Zeppelin from the Beginning, an exhibition which traces a truly experimental and innovative moment in rock n roll history; from the initial formation of The Yardbirds, through their various reincarnations and music experimentations, to the musical venture led by Jimmy Page which rose out of their ashes. Initially predicted to go down like a lead balloon, Led Zeppelin, the most enduring and prolific rock band of all time, was born.
Often considered the training ground of three of rocks greatest guitarists; Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, The Yardbirds were pioneering in their fusion of R&B, blues, pop, rock and experimental psychedelic music. Chris Dreja, a former Yardbird, turned down the position of bassist in Led Zeppelin to pursue his passion for photography and went on to capture his former bandmates as they gained international critical and commercial success. Drejas portraits of Jimmy Page and Peter Grant during the final leg of the Yardbirds tour viewed alongside Led Zeppelins early promo shoots provide a stunning visual history between the bands and trace burgeoning rock n roll movement of the late 60s and early 70s.
The previously unseen evolution of Led Zeppelin, from their first ever performance as the New Yardbirds at Gladsaxe Teen Club photographed by Jørgen Angel, to the raw, carnal stage presence captured by Lynn Goldsmith, to the histrionic, thunderous performances and the bacchanals offstage photographed by Michael Brennan, is laid bare in this truly retrospective exhibition.
Sitting on a speaker on stage in Denver Coliseum in March, 1970, Dan Fong, a photographer and production co-ordinator, witnessed the dynamism of a Led Zeppelin performance the first time. Blown away, Fong photographed the band, capturing something of their raw, animal, yet almost mystical musical experimentations. This sense of spiritualism is evident in Terence Spencers atmospheric images of Robert Plant wandering the woods of Wales, a place he described as an undistorted mirror where he found inspiration for song writing. Finally, Michael Putlands images of the foursome on their final tour of the US in Madison Square Garden provide a close up look at rock n roll icons at the pinnacle of their success with an immediacy which conveys the visceral nature of the bands performance.
Showcasing an eclectic and diverse range of works from an era when rock music was changing the rest of the world, Led Zeppelin from the Beginning, is not one to be missed.