Led Zeppelin

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Led Zeppelin, Page/Plant, Tris/Alex, Allyn Sterling/Derek Quinn
Scope/Focus:
Date(s): 1970s-1990s
See also:
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Contents

Pure Blues, issue #3, May/June 1979
fan art by by ~Shivluvzmusic: "What's better than one Led Zeppelin album? Four Led Zeppelin albums put into one. Hope you fans are able to figure them out. Took about 12 hrs through 6 days. 2H, and 2B pencils. Can't live a day without their music."

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (best known as the guitarist and singer in the huge 70's band Led Zeppelin ("Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love") are the real-life inspiration for RPS slash originally written in the late 1970s. Page and Plant both went on to relatively successful solo careers, punctuated by brief, but seemingly emotional reunions that supported a rich fannish interpretation. For example, even 'regular' (i.e., non-slashfans) Led Zep fans tended to believe that Jimmy used David Coverdale[1] to get Robert to come back to him professionally; slashfans believe he was trying to get Robert back personally, as well.

Initial Fandom

At the time that fans were beginning to slash Plant and Page, RPS was both uncommon and strongly stigmatized. RPS in Star Trek, Starsky & Hutch, and The Professionals was never published, merely passed hand to hand.

Interestingly, there were Led Zeppelin fan videos made throughout this period, and they, of course, used footage of Led Zeppelin and solo footage of Page and Plant without qualms.

In 1992 fans at Cornell University created a Led Zeppelin listserv, known as Digital Graffiti, or DG for short.

Tris and Alex, Derek and Allyn: Coded RPF

To show respect for the real people and to avoid possible legalisms, the writers in this fandom often changed the names of the real Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

One pair of writers, Nancy Arena and Pam Rose, named them Tris and Alex in their short stories and their novel For All the Gods Departed. These names caught on, and other people in the small fandom used those names as well.

Bird of Paradise is a similar fanwork. It is an explicit slash crossover with Starsky and Hutch/OCs (Derek Quinn and Allyn Sterling) who most fans believed were based on Led Zeppelin. According to the author, however, the OCs were instead based on real people in a lesser known band.[2]

appears to be a fan's fictional timeline, perhaps from "The Binder of Pain"
appears to be a fan's fictional timeline, perhaps from "The Binder of Pain"

Unlike media fandom Tris/Alex fandom did not have TV episodes to create their canon, but fans used live footage that as one fan explained: "Some of which could be called good hair/pants days, and other concerts/interviews that even their mothers...do not show them at their best." [3] Still slash fans, like fans before and after, happily persevered to create their own fanon.

As one fan explained the lack of canon was actually a benefit to those writing RPS: "And the best part is--it *isn't* scripted! We *don't know* what will happen next! Will they stay together? We hope so, but we don't know. Will they "declare their undying love/lust for each other?" Although we're not holding our collective breath for that one, *we don't know*. The remote chance is--they might! After all, as you noted in your message, Robert yelled out at the end of a recent concert in Scotland, "We're back! And we're courting!" So who can tell? That's both the joy and hardship of this particular fandom." [4]

With such a small fandom struggling to swim upstream against the tide of fans dubious of RPS, all fan fiction, even unfinished stories, was greeted with joy: "In fact, back in my Tris/Alex days I had an entire 3-ring binder of unfinished stories by all sorts of writers. Megan Kent started it, and called it "The Binder of Pain." There was so little *finished* fiction in the fandom, sometimes I just had to reread these little unfinished pieces, even though I knew I'd be a wreck afterwards..." [5]

Later Page/Plant Reunion Era

When Page and Plant briefly recorded and toured together in the mid-90s, fans worked the entire get together/tour/breakup into an existing fannish narrative of their lives. A small amount of fic was published (this time using their real names), and more fan vids incorporating the new source video appeared (some by the Media Cannibals, on Tape2 and Tape5).

At this time (2008) Robert is still "will I/won't I" to Jimmy about touring.

The Eroica Connection

The original author of the Eroica manga was a huge Led Zeppelin fan, and there are endless references to the band in the manga. See Eroica for more information.

Notable Fanworks

Fan Fiction:

Vids:

  • Rock and Roll by Sandy Herrold and Megan Kent. This vid appeared on Media Cannibals Tape 2. Liner notes: "This was a blast to do, but LZ is such a small fandom we figured we were the only two people who'd understand (or care...) Basically, it's about them missing each other, all they've done while apart, and the short reunions that finally lead to them getting back together as Page & Plant last year."
  • Turn the Page by Sandy Herrold and Megan Kent. This vid appeared on Media Cannibals Tape 5
  • Promises" by Sandy Herrold and Megan Kent. Appeared at the 1994 Virgule convention. May also be the same vid as "Rock and Roll' by the vidders
  • "When He Shines". Vidders name is only listed as "LB". (possibly Linda B.)
  • "Guitar Man". Vidders name is only listed as "LB". (possibly Linda B.)

Some Led Zeppelin Fan Art

Additional Reading

References

  1. Wikipedia page for David Coverdale
  2. Gloria Galasso. Email to gardeners list. April 13, 2010.
  3. Sandy Herrold posting to the Virgule-L mailing list September 13, 1994, quoted with permission.
  4. Posted to the Virgule-L mailing list September 12, 1995, name withheld.
  5. Sandy Herrold posting to Virgule-L mailing list June 22, 1998, quoted with permission.
  6. WebCite for "BandFic history and Led Zeppelin"
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