Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. Originally named the New Yardbirds, they consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. With a heavy, guitar-driven sound, they are cited as one of the progenitors of hard rock and heavy metal, although their style drew from a variety of influences, including blues and folk music. Led Zeppelin have been credited as significantly impacting the nature of the music industry, particularly in the development of album-orientated rock (AOR) and stadium rock. Many critics consider Led Zeppelin one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history.
Led Zeppelin's deal with Atlantic Records gave them considerable artistic freedom. Initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with eight studio albums over ten years. Their 1969 debut, Led Zeppelin, was a top-ten album in several countries and featured such well-known tracks as "Good Times Bad Times", "Dazed and Confused" and "Communication Breakdown". Led Zeppelin II (1969) was both their first number-one album and their second-biggest seller in most countries. It yielded "Ramble On" and "Whole Lotta Love", a number-one hit in Germany and Australia, and a top-five hit in most countries where it was released as a single, which did not include the UK. Led Zeppelin III (1970), which reached number one in several countries, contained "Immigrant Song", with the remainder being more acoustically based. Their untitled fourth album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV (1971), is one of the best-selling albums in history with 37 million copies sold and has been certified as double diamond in the US and Canada. Almost every song on it is an AOR staple, but "Black Dog", "Rock and Roll" and "Stairway to Heaven" stand out, with the latter being among the most popular and influential works in rock history. Houses of the Holy (1973) yielded "The Ocean", "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "The Rain Song" amongst several notable tracks. Physical Graffiti (1975), a double album certified 16x platinum in the US, featured "Trampled Under Foot" and "Kashmir", a hard-rock classic.
Page wrote most of Led Zeppelin's music, particularly early in their career, while Plant wrote most of the lyrics. Jones's keyboard-based compositions later became central to their music, which featured increasing experimentation. The latter half of their career saw a series of record-breaking tours that earned the group a reputation for excess and debauchery. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, their touring and output, which included Presence (1976) and In Through the Out Door (1979), grew limited, and the group disbanded following Bonham's death in 1980. Since then the former members sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off reunions. The most successful of these was the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London, with Bonham's son Jason Bonham on drums.
Led Zeppelin are one of the best-selling music artists of all time; various sources estimate the group's record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide. With RIAA-certified sales of 111.5 million units, they are the third-best-selling band and fifth-best-selling act in the US. They achieved eight consecutive UK number-one albums and six number-one albums on the US Billboard album chart and in Canada. Rolling Stone magazine described them as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the Seventies", and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history". They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995; the museum's biography of the band states that they were "as influential" during the 1970s as the Beatles were during the 1960s.