Tour Manager (1968-79)
Richard Cole was was on January 2, 1946 in Kensal Rise, Brent, England. He quit school at age 15 to work at a dairy factory. He soon worked in a sheet metal factory and construction jobs to make more money.
Cole got into the music business in 1965, becoming the road manager for the pop band Unit 4 + 2, upon recommendation by journalist Richard Green. He later became tour manager for The Who in 1965 and The New Vaudville Band in 1966, where he met Peter Grant, their manager.
Cole moved to the United States in 1967 to become sound engineer for Vanilla Fudge and when he heard that The Yardbirds were coming to the United States in 1968, he contacted Peter Grant to become their tour manager. Cole stayed with Peter Grant when The Yardbirds broke up in July 1968 to become the tour manager of Led Zeppelin.
Richard Cole was in charge of bringing over all of the band's equipment from England and having it transported to each concert. He was in charge of booking hotels and transportation for the band and crew and for collecting box office earnings and keeping receipts for band expenses. Cole was the only one with a key to the safety deposit box at the Drake Hotel in New York City in July 1973 when $203,000 disappeared. The money was never recovered and Colefe was cleared of any involvement.
Later in the 1970s, Cole became heavier into drugs and they began to fuel his actions and mis-actions. On July 23, 1977, Cole along with band security member John Bindon, John Bonham and Peter Grant physically assaulted a member of Bill Graham's stage crew after he accused Peter Grant's son Warren of stealing a dressing room sign. All four pleaded nolo contendere and received suspended sentences.
Cole was fired from his position as Tour Manager by Peter Grant on Led Zeppelin's 1980 European tour after Grant became concerned with Cole's drug and alcohol abuse. He was replaced by Phil Carlo. Cole went to Italy for rehab and was temporarily imprisoned after being mistaken for a terrorist.
After Led Zeppelin, Cole became tour manager for a variety of performers and bands, such as Eric Clapton, Black Sabbath, Lita Ford, Ozzy Osbourne and Three Dog Night.
In 1985, Richard Cole contributed to the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer Of The Gods, with the assistance of Stephen Davis. It had come under criticism by Robert Plant, who dismissed most of the book. 7 years later, Cole wrote his own autobiography, entitled Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored. Jimmy Page was highly upset by things he had heard were contained in the book. John Paul Jones vowed never to speak to Cole again because of this book.
Despite all of this, Cole was invited to the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion concert at the O2 Arena in London, England.