On May 11, 1974, Led Zeppelin attended (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Bonham) Elvis Presley's evening concert at the Los Angeles Forum. During the concert, Elvis stopped a song and jokingly said: 'Wait a minute... If we can start together fellas, because we've got Led Zeppelin out there... let's try to look like we know what we're doing, whether we do or not'.
Their mutual promoter at the time, Jerry Weintraub, took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant up to Presley's Las Vegas hotel suite. For the first few minutes, Elvis ignored them.
Jimmy Page—who had first picked up a guitar after hearing 'Baby Let's Play House' on overseas radio—began to fidget. What was going on? Did he really want to meet them? Should they say something? Elvis finally turned to them. 'Is it true', he said, 'these stories about you boys on the road?' Plant answered, 'Of course not. We're family men. I get the most pleasure out of walking the hotel corridors, singing your songs'. Plant offered his best Elvis impersonation. 'Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruuuuel, but looooove me...'. For a moment Elvis Presley eyed them both very carefully. Then he burst out laughing. Then his bodyguards burst out laughing. For two hours he entertained them in his suite. He had never heard their records, he said, except for when his stepbrother played him 'Stairway to Heaven'. 'I liked it', said Presley. Later, walking down the hallway from the hotel room, Page and Plant congratulated themselves on a two-hour meeting with the King. 'Hey', came a voice from behind them. Presley had poked his head out the door. 'Treat me like fooool...'.
11 May 8.30pm Forum, Los Angeles, Ca
This concert was released on the Elvis Live In L.A. Book & CD Set.
On May 11, 1974, Led Zeppelin attended Elvis Presley's evening concert at the Los Angeles Forum
The group's bassist, John Paul Jones did not attent and had never to this point met Elvis. Richard Cole, the bands manager organised a meeting via Jerry Schilling.
Elvis said it would be okay for them to come by the house.
Jerry Schilling was there on the night of the planned meeting and was 'a little surprised to see that Elvis was in pajamas and robe' - he and Sheila Ryan were getting ready to go upstairs. Jerry reminded Elvis that Richard and John were coming ... and Elvis remaind downstairs to wait for them.
The following excerpt is from the book, Me And A Guy Named Elvis.
From the momment Richard stepped into the house, he was loud and profane-packing an amazing number of f-words into everything he said. 'You know', Elvis said to him. 'I'd appreciate it if you'd watch your language in front of my lady'. Things got very quiet. Everybody sat down. And it stayed quiet. Then Elvis decided to break the ice, and asked if he could see the fancy watch that Richard was wearing. Richard handed the watch over, and when Elvis put it on, Richard quickly said that if Elvis wanted the watch, he could keep it.
'Does it have any special meaning to you?' Elvis asked.
'Well, a bit. Atlantic Records gave them to the group', said Richard.
'OK, thanks', said Elvis.
I don't know if Richard expected to lose his watch that easily, but about twenty minutes later Elvis went upstairs and came back down with another watch, a real piece of jewelry, covered in diamonds - a wristwatch you could trade in for a car. Maybe a couple of cars. 'Here', he said to Richard. 'Take this one'. A very stunned Richard accepted. From then on the night was nothing but fun, with a lot of laughs and a lot of quoting Monty Python routines (Elvis was the first Monty Python fanatic I ever knew). Elvis and Richard obviously shared a sense of humor. And I could tell Elvis also liked the much quieter John. At one point, Elvis excused himself, went back upstairs, and retuned with an equally impressive watch for the bassist. Before the evening was over, Elvis said he wanted to make another exchange. He was out of watches, but had another bit of fashion in mind. So he stood, eyed John, and said, 'Let's swap pants', while simultaneously, in expert Python fashion, letting his pajama bottoms drop beneath his robe. The loud Richard was shocked into silence, while quiet Sheila and John burst out laughing. Nobody accepted Elvis' offer, but it was a great note to end the night on.
Press link below to open audio in a pop-up window.
|Interview - Robert Plant||(07:03)|
|Above - an interview with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin who talks about Elvis' influence on his career and meeting him at his hotel after attending this concert.|
Joe Esposito wearing a Led Zeppelin T-Shirt outside of the hotel in Pine Bluff, Ar in Sept 76 (the hotel that was deemed unsuitable due to an unsatisfactory air conditioner).