My contribution to The Devil and Philosophy, an installment in Open Court’s “Popular Culture and Philosophy” series:
“I’m a Golden God!”
It was March of 1975, and Led Zeppelin was the biggest rock ‘n roll band in the world. Robert Plant was being interviewed by music journalist Stephen Davis in Los Angeles at the Continental Hyatt House–appropriately dubbed the Continental Riot House–when he bounded out to his balcony, revealing with open arms and tousled mane his divine nature to the masses below. Led Zeppelin had it all. Thanks to their pugilistic manager, they had signed a ridiculously lucrative deal with Atlantic Records at the start of their career before they were even heard, went home each night with ninety percent of ticket sales, and broke attendance records with every tour even though they eschewed TV performances and didn’t even put out singles. They rented entire floors of swanky hotels, where wriggling throngs of nubile, doe-eyed groupies would claw and clamor for access to their hippie-haired heroes. It seemed like the band was supernaturally blessed. As Robert Plant told a young Cameron Crowe later that same year, “The music’s gelled amazingly well. Everyone loved Physical Graffiti. It’s like we’re on an incredible winning streak.”
But there were sinister whispers.
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