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Led Zeppelin II dies of a heart attack

Led Zeppelin II has died.

Not the album ... the man.

Zeppelin, of downstate Bethalto, near St. Louis, was known most of his life as George Blackburn before officially changing his name last fall.

"He and Mom got divorced and he wanted to start his life over, like a new chapter," said his daughter Mindy Baker of Seattle, adding that her father had seen Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's English band probably about 20 times in its heyday of the late 1960s and early '70s. "He had always liked Led Zeppelin since they came out, and it was just time to do it.

"My mom says that he talked about it for probably five years before the divorce."

The 64-year-old Zeppelin "climbed the Stairway to Heaven" May 18 at Alton Memorial Hospital, according to a death notice published in newspapers, including the Tribune. He died of a heart attack, his daughter said.

Zeppelin was born in Milwaukee in 1947 and was raised in Chicago. He worked 32 years for TWA in Chicago until about 1983, his daughter said, and then in St. Louis. He retired in 1997.

Led Zeppelin II, released in 1969, included such familiar songs as Whole Lotta Love and Ramble On. It was the band's second studio album and the first to reach No. 1 in the U.S.

"That's the one he just really related to," his daughter said, "just the whole thing."

She said her father redid his living room in album covers following the divorce, his third. That included, of course, Led Zeppelin's, but also those of AC/DC, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, among others.

"I reinvented myself," Zeppelin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last fall, after the name change was made official in Madison County court. "Since I became Led Zeppelin, my life has improved a thousand fold."

Zeppelin told the newspaper that he was enchanted by zeppelins as a child, and grew equally fascinated with the band that took its name from the large airships. He cited a 1960s performance in Chicago as a personal turning point.

"They changed my life forever," Zeppelin said, "and that's my whole reason for doing this.

"I don't want to appear to be some off-the-wall, drug-addict idiot. I just changed my name from the standpoint that I can be a better person than I used to be."

Zeppelin is also survived by another daughter, Melissa Gray, of Phoenix.

From: Chicago Tribune
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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