After changing their name from the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin signed a deal with Atlantic Records at the beginning of their career that afforded them considerable artistic freedom. They viewed their albums as indivisible and complete listening experiences and disliked releasing their songs as singles. Although the group was initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with albums such as Led Zeppelin (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), their untitled fourth album (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), and Physical Graffiti (1975). Their fourth album, which features the track "Stairway to Heaven", is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to cement the popularity of the group.
The group's later albums saw greater experimentation and were accompanied by record-breaking tours that earned the band a reputation for excess and debauchery. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, their output and touring schedule were limited in the late 1970s, and the group disbanded following Bonham's sudden death in 1980. In the decades since, the surviving members have sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off Led Zeppelin reunions. The most successful of these was at the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London, with Jason Bonham taking his late father's place behind the drums.
Led Zeppelin are widely considered one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history. They are one of the best-selling music artists in the history of audio recording; various sources estimate the group's record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide. With 111.5 million RIAA-certified units, they are the second-best-selling band in the United States. Each of their nine studio albums placed on the Billboard Top 10 and six reached the number-one spot. Rolling Stone magazine described them as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the '70s" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history". They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995; the museum's biography of the band states that they were "as influential in that decade [the 1970s] as the Beatles were in the prior one".
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