Saturday, January 31, 2009

Led Zeppelin members were fans of Vanilla Fudge, singer/keyboardist Mark Stein recalls

To say that the members of Led Zeppelin were inspired by the blues is accurate, but the statement is not by any stretch of the imagination, an all-encompassing observation of the band's vast array of influences.

That's why I didn't know exactly what to make of this article when I ran across it online earlier today, especially given where I was just coming from.

I spent this afternoon in the company of Vanilla Fudge keyboardist and singer Mark Stein. He was gracious enough to talk for over two hours about the formation of his band and his various meetings with Led Zeppelin members over the years. It was in some of those initial encounters that he learned Jimmy Page and John Bonham were fans of Vanilla Fudge's music.

The psychedelic and electric soul that group was producing in the United States had caught the ears of the Yardbirds, of which Page was a member when Stein first ran into him at an airport. A year later, when Zeppelin was playing its first shows in the United States in support of the Fudge, Stein heard the same from Bonham, this young drummer from England who'd been spinning their records.

He has a great story about a chance run-in with John Paul Jones around 1975, and I won't spoil it by leaking it here. You'll be hearing it on "Get the Led Out" sometime next month, the syndicated radio program hosted by Carol Miller. If your local classic rock radio station isn't carrying this weekly, hour-long show that debuted just this month in honor of the 40th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's first album release, tell them to get with the program!

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