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Led Zeppelin made their North American concert debut in Denver in December of 1968 as the first band on a three band bill that also featured Vanilla Fudge and Spirit, but as concert promoter Barry Fey recalls, it's a milestone that almost happened in a different city.

Writing in his memoir Backstage Past, Fey remembers getting the call from Vanilla Fudge's booking agent Ron Terry a little more than a week before the show, asking him to add another group to the Denver date, which was already sold out. Fey refused at first, but Terry was persistent and said "Barry, this group is called Led Zeppelin, they're going to be huge."

Still unwilling to cave in, Fey got another phone call from Terry, who told him "Vanilla Fudge has agreed to take $750 of the money you were going to pay them and they'll give it to Led Zeppelin if you'll pay them $750, too."

Considering this, Fey thought about the fact that Vanilla Fudge was offering to give some of their money to a group that "no one's ever heard of, that's never played in North America." That must be something that's worth taking a look at, right? He made the deal with Terry and booked Led Zeppelin for their first North American show for the now-unbelievable sum of $750 out of pocket.

Led Zeppelin did not disappoint the Denver crowd with their debut American performance. After introing the group, Fey watched the band deliver a stunning set. To this day, he's still amazed that Spirit managed to go on after Zeppelin finished their show. He immediately saw the future success that the group would have. "You didn't have to be a genius to know that Zeppelin was going to be a smash. Oh, my God. People were going crazy!"

The following morning, Fey got a phone call from Max Floyd, the program director at Denver's rock station KLZ. "Who did you have on last night? Our phone lines are jammed!" Luckily, Fey had in his possession a copy of the band's unreleased debut album, which he took over to the radio station. They immediately put it on the air, playing it nonstop that day.

The moment would never be forgotten by Robert Plant, who spent time backstage with Fey in 2011 following a concert performance in the area, reminiscing how important that Denver date and the subsequent radio play was to his old band's early success.

From: Ultimate Classic Rock
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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