Why does Rolling Stone hate Led Zeppelin?

SCOTT M writes

Rolling Stone always felt that they were the authority on music. This is not uncommon, as the British music magazines were doing the same for years.

Rolling Stone had the power to make any mediocre band into superstars, and then they had the power to destroy those superstars by printing articles that might not be flattering to them. Usually the band in question could get out of this bad press by agreeing to some sort of media event that would make the magazine seem more important and gain more readers.

Led Zeppelin didn’t go through this cycle. Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, and New Music Express had nothing to do with their rise to fame. Consequently, these magazines did not have the power to take them back down again. It helped that the band was not particularly public in their activities, so there was little for a magazines to write about other than their music.

It got to the point where the press would write articles describing the band’s awful behavior on the road. Led Zeppelin were not angels, and they did their fair share of destruction, yet on most nights after a show the band would retire to their dressing rooms with a book and a cup of tea. These are guys who, if they did go out, they went to a gay bar so that they could relax without the fans and groupies harassing them. The papers, however, made it sound like the bad behavior was every night.

Manager Peter Grant with Led Zeppelin

The papers would threaten to print scathing articles about the band, and Peter Grant dared them to do so. When the news of Led Zeppelin’s behavior came out, instead of destroying the band it added to their mystique, making them even more popular. What angered the magazines even more was that Grant would never deny these stories. He gave a wry smile and provided a simple “no comment.”

In effect, Rolling Stone and Melody Maker were providing Led Zeppelin with free publicity and they hated the band and Peter Grant for it.

What they also feared was that there were unsubstantiated rumors that Peter Grant had mob connections. He had reportedly been a “heavy” with East End gangsters. Grant may have carried a gun. He was a man not to be trifled with, and later in his life claimed to have used that reputation to his and the band’s advantage.

Once a promoter was trying to withhold $1000 from the band. Grant went to collect the money and the promoter pulled a gun on him. Grant said, “I very much doubt you’re going to shoot me over a thousand dollars. Don’t be so f#$@ing cheap.” Any other manager would have run away as fast as he could.

There was one concert where the local police were planning to raid Zeppelin and their entourage simply because they had long hair. One of the roadies got wind of this and informed Grant. In a scene right out of The Godfather, dozens of Pinkerton detectives showed up in order to protect the band from any sort of interference from the local police.

Grant took very good care of Led Zeppelin.

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