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Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin Hardcover – 6 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571259359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571259359
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 5.1 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rock historian Barney Hoskyns is the author of nine books and has written about music and pop culture for numerous publications including NME, The Times, Guardian, Vogue and Mojo, of which he was Associate Editor. He lives in London.

Product Description


'Gripping... There is testimony aplenty to the band's collective genius, the almost occult power of their increasingly epic live shows and the untrammeled excitement they inspired ... For Hoskyns, the Zeppelin saga is 'a morality tale that starts with thrilling promise, climaxes with intoxicating splendour, and declines into pitiful addiction and violence', a story he tells via an artful orchestration of multiple voices'--
Allan Jones, Uncut

'This meticulously compiled oral history by Barney Hoskyns .. has a wonderful humour and a careful examination of the how and the why of the darkness that surrounded the band and its entourage. Hoskyns, too, is excellent on the musicianship of an extraordinary group.' -- Sunday Herald

'It is a testament to the undimmed appeal of the band and the forthright way their story is told in Barney Hoskyns's book that such long raked-over ground should still have such emotional power. ... One of the great strengths of Trampled Under Foot is its format - an oral history removes all chance of waffle and hackery - so there are no flights of fancy here, just a series of powerful, succinct and illuminating anecdotes from exes, band- and label-mates, lawyers, secretaries, journalists, roadies and tour managers, amny of whom have never spoken out before.' --Rob Fitzpatrick, Sunday Times

'Hoskyns talked to enough people to get dissenting views, giving consideration to the contradictions in Led Zeppelin's story. ... The impression you are left with of Led Zeppelin's career is that what started out as a brilliant game, of which nobody quite knew the rules, got more and more unpleasant until it destroyed the lives of many people involved' --Will Hodgkinson, The Times

'Barney Hoskyns's exhaustive history doesn't skimp on the horror and by God, there's enough of it to go round but nor does it turn Led Zeppelin into a cartoon of decadence. It never forgets that behind the caricature was an extraordinary band, lithe and limber, never the lumpen metal pioneers they are sometimes branded as. Where most bands can be reduced to guitarist, singer and supporting cast, Zeppelin's four members as Hoskyns's 128 interviewees, including band members and intimates, as well as close observers, make clear were all crucial to making them extraordinary.' -- Michael Hann, Guardian

'Amid the tales of blazing hedonism, the real story of Led Zeppelin is one of communication. As those who witnessed the band at their live zenith attest in MOJO contributor's mammoth tome, few groups could summon the sort of musical telepathy on show at a great Zeppelin gig. The importance of this on-stage dynamic thoughout the group's lifespan is a recurring theme as the memories of friends and family, roadies and record execs, musicians and journos weave alongside the central voices of Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. For those already well-versed in the Zep saga, the post-Bonzo chapters - including 1994's Unledded tour and the 2007 O2 reunion - will provide hitherto unheard insights, but it's bank in the '70s, when the Peter Grants and Richard Coles of this world helped take a British Blues band to the very top, that one of the great music tales still retains the power to mesmerise.' -- Ross Bennett, MOJO

'The real meat of the matter is in the exhaustive interviews Hoskyns conducts with the people around the band: the tour managers, roadies, record label execs, lawyers, wives, girlfriends, groupies, drinking buddies and musical contemporaries. They watched from the wings as Zep conquered the world, laid waste to rival bands and cast dark spells over all and sundry. Not for nothing have they been called the rock n roll equivalent of marauding Vikings.' --Kevin Courtney, Irish Times

Book Description

From Barney Hoskyns, founder of Rock's Backpages and author of Hotel California and Lowside of the Road, Trampled Under Foot is an essential music book for 2012.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Barbedbob on 12 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a real page-turner (no pun intended). Barney Hoskyns has cultivated impeccable connections during his many years writing about music, and particularly about California, Los Angeles and the musicians and others who together made up the whole 'scene', if that's what we could call it. This comes in particularly useful here, as there is a substantial focus on Zeppelin's US home-from-home, Los Angeles.

Unusually it is an oral history, so aside from a page or so of author contextualizing, which occurs at the beginning of each section, it is all the written equivalent of talking heads. For the most part, this works extremely well and it really helps the book to draw you in as a reader - that's maybe why, although the book is 500-odd pages long, I was able to read it in about three sittings over 2-3 days.

I have some minor gripes, though, which is why I gave it only 4 stars.

There are a great many very interesting and never before seen pictures in the book, not all of which appear in the glossy colour sections. Sometimes thet are not reproduced that well, because the paper used is really not up to the job of reproducing images. It's a pity.

The book also seems, at times, to be beset by quite a few repetitions - especially in relation to the tales of the misdeeds of the likes of Richard Cole and Peter Grant, or the stinginess of Jimmy Page - which seem to reappear chapter after chapter without much sense of chronological anchoring. Often, in other words, it is not clear if comments by witnesses relating to certain behavioural traits, or incidents, are connected to specific events. One minute you think the events that are being retold must be happening around '74 or '75, then all of a sudden it is 1977.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Sep 2012
Format: Hardcover
Led Zeppelin bestrode the 70s rock world like a colossus and perhaps it is right that any book about them should have equally epic proportions. This latest "reveal" by Barney Hoskyns sometimes borders on the obsessional yet for Zeppelin aficionados it is a hugely welcome addition to the bands colorful history from a first class rock journalist who has previously taken on such luminaries as The Band and Tom Waits. In another setting he also charts the rise of fall of the cocaine cowboys of Laurel Canyon scene in "Hotel California". His new book "Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin" does revisit some of the themes of the latter book since it is the city of Los Angeles which casts a huge shadow over proceedings as the "default" base for Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham during their all conquering American Tours. This witnessed them take residency in the legendary "Riot House" (Continental Hyatt House) on Sunset Strip where they occupied the top floor of the hotel and created a modern day bacchanalia. Their infamous and lurid excesses has formed the basis for previous books not least Stephen Davis "Hammer of the Gods" a tale of a band "drenched in sex, drugs and psychic abuse". In truth Davis relied much on the wild and often-unreliable recollections of tour manager Richard Cole whose later "Stairway to Heaven" repeated much of what had already been published. Clearly while Cole was an untrustworthy witness he was at the heart of the Zeppelin juggernaut particularly with his friendship to the brilliant but often brutish Jon Bonham. Hence the protestations of Jimmy Page and other band members about his "ridiculously false" account may fall into the "me thinks they doth protest to much" category.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mat Snow on 1 Oct 2012
Format: Hardcover
Not before time, a chronicle of the biggest and perhaps best rock band since The Beatles which not only tells the story with all its complex and, up until now, often hidden twists and turns, but digs deep into the dramatis personae, both within the group but also the friends, hangers-on and the machine that helped create and sustain the success.

The oral history format really works, bringing to vivid life everyone involved, leaving only a few unanswered questions, most notably on Jimmy Page's childhood and upbringing. My guess is an absent or ineffectual father but a driven, snobbish mother wanting the very best for her boy but acutely aware that they were relatively unprosperous people living in a very well-to-do suburb. But I may be dead wrong, and, sadly, the amazing array of witnesses who contribute to this history touch only lightly on why JP is the strange way he is. Otherwise, this is a book that sets the bar a notch higher for any history of a modern music phenomenon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Romac on 5 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Must admit here, I'm a Led Zeppelin addict. I was born in '55, hit puberty in the late 60's and first heard this mighty band's music blasting out of a student house when Zep 1 came out. I had no idea who it was, but what I heard did something to me deep inside. I can't describe the feeling, but I remember banging on the door of the house and asking a long haired guy who it was. I was invited in, handed a can of beer, and the album was started again for me. And that was it - I was hooked for life. I was lucky enough to see them twice - simply the greatest band ever. A fusion of 4 perfect talents at just the right time in history.

This book is amazing. It's not a written history, it's a series of quotes from interviews. At first I found it a little difficult to get into, but once I got used to the format I found it utterly compelling and read it in a day and a half. I couldn't put it down. It truly is "warts and all" tho, so if you expect a fanzine type book, this will probably disappoint.

What emerges here is a portrait of 4 very different guys, (5 if you include the amazing Peter Grant), who created something unique in music history. They were a runaway train, fuelled by coke, booze and underage groupies, yet they left a musical legacy which will never fade away. Bigger than the Beatles, The Stones, The Who, they conquered the USA in a way no other Brit band had before or since. It's a pity they weren't as big here or in Europe, but even the punk revolution couldn't quite kill off the "dinosaurs". Zeppelin still sell millions of albums a year!!

This great book takes you on a ride - start to finish - including the 2009 reunion at the O2. You will laugh, cry, get angry. You will wish someone had the balls to bang some heads together. But you will love it.

Best book I've read for years.
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