The Led Zeppelin tune "Stairway to Heaven" is one of rock music's most famous songs, and the band itself ranks up there near The Beatles
and The Rolling Stones
in rock 'n' roll fame. The band included singer Robert Plant
, guitarist Jimmy Page
, bassist John Paul Jones (b. John Baldwin on 3 January 1946) and drummer John "Bonzo" Bonham (b. 31 May 1948). Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 and the next year released a self-titled album of heavy, blues-based rock that went to #1 on the music charts. The immediate follow-up album, Led Zeppelin II
, included the hits "Ramble On" and "Whole Lotta Love" and also went to the top of the charts. By 1971, when "Stairway to Heaven" came out on the group's mysteriously-untitled fourth album (known to fans as "Zoso"), Led Zeppelin had become a supergroup known for churning guitars and mystical lyrics and for Plant's screaming vocals. The band toured the world throughout the 1970s, becoming in many ways the prototypical hard-partying arena-rock band. Bonham, a notorious wild man, died on 24 September 1980, choking on his own vomit after a drinking binge. The group disbanded shortly thereafter, though Page, Plant and Jones continued to perform separately and in combination. In June of 2003 Led Zeppelin was on the top of the charts again: How the West Was Won
, a three-record set of live performances, was released simultaneously with a double DVD of rare concert footage, and both became top sellers within the first week. The band has reunited for performances a few times through the years, most notably at the 1985 Live Aid concert and at a 2007 London benefit for a charity in the name of Atlantic Records impresario Ahmet Ertegun.