The considerable bulk of Peter Grant relaxed in a Miami Beach hotel after a day of fishing in the blue waters of Biscayne Bay.
The discerning South London-born manager of Led Zeppelin, the group which is the current sensation in the world of hard rock, had just heard with acute satisfaction that their last LP is topping the American album chart.
"Only our fifth album, and our fifth 'number one' here and in Britain," he mused. Under Grant's astute guidance which has made them all into millionaires, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham are being talked about as four young men who are doing what the American pop world thought impossible out-Beatling the Beatles.
The comparisons with the Liverpool group don't stop there for 38-year-old Grant, married with a wife and two children, is inevitably being compared with the late Brian Epstein as a financial genius who knows how to exploit talent to its full.
The unsentimental music moguls of America are contemplating with envy the cash that is flowing to Led Zeppelin.
They arrived only last week for their eighth tour of America and immediately pulled in a crowd of 54,000 in Atlanta.
Then, they moved south to Tampa, Florida where 58,000 fans paid a record £127,000 to hear them. The 35 concerts they will churn out on the tour are expected to bring them £2 million and Grant said they do the concerts to plug their albums.
The group's current LP, Houses of the Holy, has sold 1,200,000 copies in five weeks and is eventually expected to bring in £8 million.
And altogether this year the quartet of electronic musicians and their manager are expected to earn £12 million - "before expenses," said Grant.
"And they are pretty considerable we have a 10-man team of lighting and sound men to go ahead of us, and considering too, that it costs us nearly £15,000 to put on each concert."
Grant said that he joined Zeppelin five years ago (1968) when the Yardbirds, another group he used to manage, split up.
"We explored all the styles and techniques but tried not to lose the heavy core of raw feeling that was the sound in those days," said Grant.
Finally they developed a sophisticated free-floating blues style which has struck a chord of recognition in youth all over the world.
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