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How The Brits Rocked America: Go West BBC4, 9pm

The Seventies was a decade of rock 'n' roll excess.

Groupies would indulge bands' every whim, hotel rooms would be smashed up, and Leo Sayer routinely consumed a whole bottle of Tizer before going on stage.

How The Brits Rocked America, celebrating the 50-year history of British popular music in America, looks at this decade of change when FM radio emerged as an experimental frontier, concerts attracted never-seen-before crowds of more than 200,000 gig-goers (that's the lure of Brotherhood Of Man), and a new rock royalty including Black Sabbath and Deep Purple begin to cash in.

Decadence ensued (personalised jets with dancefloors were the order of the day) as the 70s produced a cosy cartel of monolithic rock bands that looked like they were here to stay.

Cream may have paved the way but it was Led Zeppelin who come to own the USA, conquering it in less than a year.

Contributions come from Sir Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Jimmy Page, Nick Mason, Tony Iommi and many more, plus there's archive footage of their respective bands The Beatles, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. The Wombles were unavailable.

Don't expect mention of one famed incident of Seventies excess, however. The story that, at the height of Queen's fame, Freddie Mercury hosted a party at which the waiting staff included dwarves with bowls full of cocaine strapped to their heads, is in fact an urban myth.

From: This Is Staffordshire

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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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