STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: Led Zepplin Uncensored by Richard with Richard Trubo Cole

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: Led Zepplin Uncensored

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tell-all journal of the hedonism, profligacy, and perversity of the Seventies supergroup that went down in flames. Led Zeppelin was assembled by former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page; 14 months after their first performance, they had a recording contract with Atlantic, were playing 20,000 seat arenas, and had been offered a million dollars for a single performance. Cole (here ably assisted by journalist Trubo) was the group's tour manager and road companion for 12 years. What happens when four men, some not yet of majority, become rich as Croesus in 20 months, have more women than imaginable throwing themselves at their feet, and unlimited alcohol, drugs, and servants as well? Cole is astoundingly clear on the details--offhandedly honest as he is about his own gargantuan appetite for heroin and booze--and lays out the road life with all the real nitty-gritty, including the 14-year-olds Page craved, room demolitions, cross-dressing, and the infamous fornication-by-fish episode. The inevitable center of gravity of Cole's saga is the tragedy of John ""Bonzo"" Bonham, the band's drummer, dead of alcohol overdose at age 32. Bonham--a monster with his addiction fully blown, his short life drowning in a sea of alcohol--is by turns grandiose, despairing, manipulative, passionate, violent. Invited backstage to a Ten Years After Concert, he throws orange juice on Alvin Lee--the most respected guitarist of his generation--as Lee performs, then staggers on stage and rips his clothes off, defecates in women's handbags and shoes, and passes out in the gutter outside his $500 hotel room. And everywhere around him are the enablers, feeding him more alcohol, cocaine, heroin. Lacks the depth of Stephen Davis's Hammer of the Gods (1985) but dishes up the real dirt as only an insider's report can.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1992
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: HarperCollins