Page last updated at 01:34 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

BBC found Led Zeppelin 'unconvincing'

Led Zeppelin
In 1971 the band and the BBC fell out over a recording

Rock band Led Zeppelin were labelled "old fashioned" and "unconvincing" by BBC producers when the group took part in a radio audition in 1969.

Documents from the BBC's archive reveal that producers invited the group to appear on a trial basis only and criticised their performance.

However, the group eventually went on to play several sessions for Radio 1.

The band, best known for Stairway to Heaven, were one of the biggest bands of the 70s and have sold 300m albums.

One member of the 1969 audition panel said the band were "not for daytime radio - specialist listening only", while another described them as "derivative" and "unconvincing".

Sound quality dispute

And, according to a third, the group had "an old-fashioned sound".

In an interview with BBC 6 Music for a Christmas Day show, Jimmy Page said of the sessions they went on to play: "We'd showcase the material, whatever there was from the album of the time and for the rest of it we would just jam, and that's how urgent and how creative it all was at the time."

Documents have also revealed how Page stepped in after Led Zeppelin and the BBC fell out over the sound quality of a 1971 concert recorded for Radio 1.

The day after the broadcast, Led Zeppelin withdrew their approval.

They wrote to demand that the recording not be made available to the rest of the world.

Page eventually ended up remixing the recording.

A BBC memo shows the group felt "this will be better technically both for the BBC and for us and it will cost the same amount of money".

Rumoured to reform

On the BBC artist page, Led Zeppelin are described as having had an individualistic style drawn from many sources and transcending any one genre.

Their rock-infused interpretation of the blues and folk genres also incorporated rockabilly, reggae, soul and funk among other influences, it adds.

Rolling Stone magazine once described them as "the biggest band of the 70s" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history".

All of their original studio albums reached the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US.

The band, who officially split in 1980, reformed for their first concert in 19 years in front of nearly 20,000 fans at London's O2 arena in December 2007.

Their two-hour set opened with Good Times Bad Times - the first track of their debut album.

Original band members Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones were joined on stage by Jason Bonham - the son of their late drummer John.

Earlier this year, it was rumoured that the band would reform, but without Plant.



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