‘Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls’ Offers Interactive Presentation of Rock Legends
“This book is not a biography of the band members; It is instead a biography of the songs they created,” writes Charles R. Cross in the preface of his latest work, ‘Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls.’
As a lifelong Zep fan and experienced journalist, Cross (who also wrote the 1991 Zep book ‘Heaven and Hell’) takes a telescopic view at each of the band’s studio albums, numerous tours and brief reunions, and accompanies the chronology with various interactive features that perfectly compliment the detailed, but unsensational text.
“So much about this band has been focused on the offstage lives, on everything from their potential interest in Satanic rites to the hidden messages scratched into the inner groove of the vinyl,” Cross tells Noisecreep. “I wanted to tell the story of how the music was created. That’s what’s different about this book. It’s about how they made the eight studio albums and what their world was like when they worked on those records, not so much what became of their legend years later.”
Cross, author of six books, including 2001’s ‘Heavier Than Heaven: The Biography of Kurt Cobain,’ and 2004’s ‘Room Full of Mirrors: The Biography of Jimi Hendrix,’ started working on Led Zeppelin book two years ago. At the time, the plan was to have the book out in time for the then-rumored big Led Zeppelin reunion, which, as it turned out, began and ended in December 2007 with London’s O2 Arena concert.
“As a fan, it’s disappointing, but with Zeppelin I don’t think you can ever say never,” Cross says. “It’s funny, because as I was writing the last chapter and I started researching some of the things that both [guitarist Jimmy] Page and [vocalist Robert] Plant had said in the 29 years since the band fell apart the first time. There’s were many other times they said, ‘We’re never, ever going to do anything.’ And then six months later they’d be jamming at a wedding or doing the Atlantic reunion or eventually doing Live Aid, and then eventually O2. They kind of have a history, like any sparring couple, of fighting and then eventually getting back together and doing something again. So, I still remain hopeful that we’ll one day have a chance to see a reunited Led Zeppelin.”
Even for die-hard Zeppelin fans, ‘Led Zeppelin: Shadows Taller Than Our Souls’ is insightful and interesting, and the 95 pages of text make for a quick read. Just as enjoyable, however, is the layout, which makes the volume almost like a pop-up book for adults. In addition to tons of live and behind the scenes shots of Zep at their prime, there are removable reproductions of film negatives, ticket stubs, set lists, magazine covers, posters and backstage passes. There’s also a CD of an audio interview with Jimmy Page by Trouser Press journalist Dave Schulps. In an era of multimedia saturation and attention-deficit disorder, this could be just the way to reach the hordes of rock fans that haven’t hit a bookstore since before the invention of the Wii.