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Led Zeppelin Posters: Still Great After All These Years

Rock music fans wept from heartbreak on September 25, 1980. On that date, John Bonham, the talented drummer for the band Led Zeppelin, died from symptoms caused by an alcohol overdose, and concluded the reign of music?s greatest heavy metal band. While the story of Led Zeppelin rightfully revolves around the band?s music and their antics on and off stage, Led Zeppelin posters also have a firm place in rock history. The band?s contribution to the image of rock music as portrayed through the band?s posters was monumental. Led Zeppelin took rock and blues influences to new heights with their music, and captured the imagination of a generation with their poster art.

There are so many great Led Zeppelin posters; it's tough to pick a favorite. Certainly, one of the best would be the Swansong poster art of Apollo (not Icarus) above the runes. The composition is so simple, but the emotional power behind the art is undeniable. Of course, Apollo's mane of hair makes it a rock poster classic. While the meaning of the runes is still subject to debate this day, depending on your source, the most widely accepted version is that each member chose a symbol to represent them on the album cover. Robert Plant's symbol of a feather in a circle comes from an ancient mythical Mu civilization, and represents truth for Plant. John Bonham's rune of the three interlocking circles has a mysterious origin, but Plant has said that he thought it implied the trilogy of man, woman and child (or it was the emblem of Ballantine Beer inverted). John Paul Jones's symbol of a circle overlaying three ovals represents unity and family. The meaning of Jimmy Page's "zoso" symbol has not been disclosed to the public.

Some mistakenly attribute the symbols and runes on Led Zeppelin posters to an involvement by one or more band members in cults or alternative religions, and delusional rumors about satanic subliminal messages in the Stairway to Heaven played backwards have been spread for years. Though, these wild accusations often show that their fundamentalist accusers were more warped than the band. While many Led Zeppelin songs do demonstrate an attempt by the band to put people in touch with their spiritual or mystical sensitivities, nothing the band produced conflicted with basic Judean-Christian philosophies. The Led Zeppelin poster ?Writhing Angel? should evidence the band?s belief in the struggle of good against evil. Listen to Led Zeppelin yourself. You will find the lyrics to Immigrant Song, The Battle of Evermore and Whole Lotta Love and any others, are just pure rock.

Led Zeppelin hypnotized a generation around the world with powerful rock anthems. They synthesized wild combinations of musical influences and defined hard rock for the 1970's. Despite the fact that the band has produced a magnificent collection of poster art, it is interesting to note that the "plane photo" poster of the four band members in front of their airplane is still one of the most widely demanded rock music posters. In the same stature as the Beatles and Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin fans will not let go of this band. Their music means too much. In the end, the tremendous weight of success was too much for drummer John Bonham. But even with his passing, we can still buy the Stairway to Heaven. Maybe that's enough for this life.

In addition to being a collector of Led Zeppelin posters and a lifelong fan of the band and its music, Rock is the editor and publisher of Rock Poster Review. For more poster reviews, news and rumors about your favorite artists, please visit

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