iTunes & App Store
iTunes & App Store
Apple iTunes
Buy.com

When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin Reviews

When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin

The first significant fresh reporting on the legendary band in twenty years, built on interviews with all surviving band members and revealing a never-before-seen side of the genius and debauchery that defined their heyday.

Veteran rock journalist Mick Wall unflinchingly tells the story of the band that pushed the envelope on both creativity and excess, even by rock ‘n’ roll standards. Led Zeppelin was the last great band of the 1960s and the first great band of the 1970s―and When Giants Walked the Earth is the full, enthralling story of Zep from the inside, written by a former confidante of both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Rich and revealing, it bores into not only the disaster, addiction and death that haunted the band but also into the real relationship between Page and Plant, including how it was influenced by Page’s interest in the occult. Comprehensive and yet intimately detailed, When Giants Walked the Earth literally gets into the principals’ heads to bring to life both an unforgettable band and an unrepeatable slice of rock history.

List Price: $ 19.99

Price: $ 10.55

Find More Led Zeppelin Products

3 Responses to When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin Reviews

  • HKDaddyO says:
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Nothing New Here, August 22, 2015
    By 
    HKDaddyO (Hong Kong) –
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    There was little ground covered here that I haven’t read elsewhere. My biggest gripe about the book is not that however. No, the most heinous parts of this book for me were the long passages in italics throughout the book where the author is “talking” to individual members of the band (“When you were 10 years old your uncle took you to see so-and-so play at the civic centre”). I found that jarring, utterly unnecessary and profoundly irritating.

    In the end, for me, the only Zeppelin book I’ve read in the last few years that broke new ground in terms of shedding light on Zeppelin (though usually the dirt and not necessarily the musical side) was Richard Cole’s “Stairway to Heaven”. Perhaps not surprisingly then, Cole’s book is referenced liberally in this book.

    Lastly, I have to question the author’s observations and “facts” simply because he gets something wrong in this book that he didn’t have to. Referencing the O2 reunion show, he writes that at the end of the show Plant said “We did it, Ahmet!” when in fact what he really said was “Hey Ahmet- we did it!”. Yes, I realize that in the grand scheme of things its not that big of a deal and the sentiment is the same.

    Nevertheless, it is a statement so simple and so easily verifiable (it is on DVD after all) that for Mick Wall to quote it wrong made me wonder what else he got wrong- especially in light of the fact that he spends a lot of time quoting conversations he says he had with the band members.

    Overall, I wish I’d have skipped this. Nothing new or revelatory to see here.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  • Mark S. says:
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Solid biography mired by lengthy tangential occult sections, November 7, 2016
    By 
    Mark S.
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    The good: One of the only well researched complete biographies on the band. The author had band access and in particular spoke a lot with Jimmy Page. The crazy stories are there as well as good details of recording and touring. Overall it is a very entertaining book in some ways. Unfortunately for me it has one deep very odd flaw.

    The bad: The author appears to take the occult very seriously. Not just a handful of pages but rather over fifty are dedicated to Page and the occult. Long sections are presented on Aleister Crowley well beyond what is necessary or desired. The author also gave far too much time to occultic fringe associates of Page, who in retrospect may have influenced Page’s private life, but had nothing to do with the band. Not a single hint of scepticism is applied to the occult sections. Other books including Case’s bio of Page demonstrates that since the 1970′s Page has pretty much disowned occult practices and likely views his past belief in the occult and magic with at minimum great skepticism. I tend to think think that Wall’s possible personal sympathies towards the occult may have caused him to make it seem more important for Zeppelin than it ever was.

    Overall a decent book but one flawed by an unequal over length treatment of the occult in relation to Jimmy Page. Wall unfortunately takes something tangential to the story and makes it far more central than necessary. Still at $9.99 on kindle it is worth a read for a fan.

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  • Peaches says:
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Still Waiting for the Definitive Zeppelin Biography, February 9, 2014
    By 
    Peaches
    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin (Paperback)
    This book is so atrocious on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. There was obviously no editor whatsoever, substantively or stylistically. Wall is prone to endless run-on, syntactically awkward, paragraph-long sentences set off by dashes, containing a jumble of ideas and subjects. A sentence will start off being about one thing and end up being about something completely different, as if he has literary ADD. Dangling modifiers abound. It’s brutal to try to read. It actually took me four months to finish this book, no exaggeration. I could only stand a few pages at a time before I had to put it down out of sheer exhaustion—call it dazed and confused. As far as those silly passages where he “gets in the heads” of the subjects, I just skipped over them entirely.

    The substance is little better. I never thought I’d defend Hammer of the Gods, but that book runs circles around this drivel. Stephen Davis may be a hack, but he knows how to write an entertaining read. And although he is accused of sensationalism, he actually put a lot in there about the music-making, and most of all, the Zeppelin live experience. There is little of that here. Wall drones on and on about things nobody cares about except him, like the album artwork, or Aleister Crowley and occult secret societies, or Black Sabbath, mostly everything except Led Zeppelin and their music. These things are part of the Zeppelin story and are discussed in HOTG, but not in such unnecessary detail. His biggest sin, in my book, is his failure to put us (especially those of us too young to remember) front and center at a Zeppelin concert at their zenith to experience it the way a concertgoer would have in 1972 or 1975. Davis, to his credit, did that. Even when Wall does talk about the music-making process, he gets bogged down in “this was taken from so-and-so, who took it from so-and-so, who took it…” Who cares that Jimmy Page wasn’t the first rock guitarist to use the violin bow? Does he claim to be? (One pearl, which I give him props for, is a passage where he details all the music Bob Dylan ripped off in his early career; since Zep is constantly bashed for this it was enlightening to read.)

    But there was very little in here that was new to me. He borrows from HOTG and various tell-alls, rehashing all the lurid, tired tales. The only revelation was that John Paul Jones considered quitting the band in the mid-70s. I learned some things about Peter Grant and John Bonham I didn’t know (and would rather not). The only redeeming, distinguishing feature of this book is Wall’s interviews with the band and manager and insights into them post-Zeppelin. But even then, he bends over backwards to show he can still write critically about his subjects despite having personally befriended them. Okay we get it, you’re objective. For some unfathomable reason he devotes an entire chapter to the Knebworth concerts. Wall seems to see them as both an omen of Zeppelin’s demise, and an indicator of what he views as the band’s declining popularity because they couldn’t sell out the shows. This is one of many places where the book suffers from its Brit-centeredness. He doesn’t seem to get (or doesn’t care) that if those concerts had been in America they would have been blowouts. Zeppelin’s popularity never declined in America, which is the country that “made” them and the only one that matters when it comes to any discussion of their impact.

    I won’t even get into how obnoxiously annoying Wall’s final chapters are. There’s interesting detail about the reunion shows and failed attempts to stage a comeback tour (Wall seemed to be the only person in attendance who was unimpressed by the O2 show), but absolutely nothing about Zeppelin’s overarching legacy and influence on popular music. How do you author a biography of Led Zeppelin and not discuss this? (Instead, Wall bizarrely sees fit to allot space in the “epilogue” to an inconsequential anti-Zeppelin rant by Jack Bruce of Cream—huh???) HOTG, for all its sleaze, gave me a sense of where Zeppelin stood in the pantheon of rock music; there is no sense of that here. Wall could have been writing about any band. He curiously titled his book “When Giants Walked the Earth,” yet doesn’t explore what made them giants but rather gets bogged down in personality conflicts and various minutiae. Wall clearly wrote about what he wanted to write about, not what readers—especially American fans–would want to read about. I hate to keep coming back to HOTG, but this book really suffers by comparison, and that’s no easy feat. It’s just a self-indulgent mess masquerading as a “serious” biography by an “insider.”

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No