Almost 50 years since their formation, fascination with Led Zeppelin shows no sign of waning: the ‘Led Zeppelin From The Beginning’ exhibition at Proud Galleries in central London promises to shed new light on the rock pioneers’ early years. Contributors to the photography exhibition include former Yardbirds bassist-turned-snapper Chris Dreja and ex-tabloid hack Michael Brennan, both of whom had rare and intimate access to the band at the start of their career. They will be unveiling their shots – most of which have never been seen before – when the exhibition launches this Friday (August 21). We spoke to Dreja and Brennan to hear the stories behind the pictures.
Dreja: “Jimmy Page was a quite a ‘case when he and I were in the Yardbirds. If you were sleeping with someone, he’d come in and lift up the covers to see who it was. I saw Led Zeppelin playing Madison Square Gardens [in 1970] and realised how big they’d become, and how quickly. They asked me to do this shoot after that show.”
Brennan: “I remember the strength of this performance. It’s only now that I realise the extent of [the band’s] following. After I took these pictures, I sent the negatives to my agent and he put them away; we forgot about them. When I saw Led Zeppelin being presented with a Kennedy Award by Barack Obama in 2012, I remembered these pictures. Now they’re being printed for the first time.”