The Day Led Zeppelin Became The Nobs

(Gibson) On this day in 1970, Led Zeppelin played a gig in Copenhagen as The Nobs after Eva Von Zeppelin, a relative of the airship designer, threatened to sue if the family name was used in Denmark. Gibson takes a look back: By February of 1970, Led Zeppelin had released their first two albums and had become one of the big names in rock and roll. But the legendary band didn't use their name when they played a show in Denmark on this day in 1970. For the first, and only time, Led Zeppelin were billed as The Nobs.

The name change stemmed from an incident from when the group played Copenhagen the year before. Eva von Zeppelin, a descendant of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (creator of the famous aircraft), was unhappy that a rock band was becoming famous off of her family's name. She even tried to prevent Led Zeppelin from recording a performance for Danish television, saying that the band sounded like a bunch of "shrieking monkeys." The attempt didn't work and the boys performed for the TV Byen cameras, as planned.

But Jimmy Page and company weren't upset with Frau von Zeppelin, and invited her to have tea with the band after the taping, just to prove to her that they were a bunch of decent guys. By all accounts, the meeting went very well and everyone got along very well. Unfortunately, things went south quickly as von Zeppelin was leaving.

"We invited her backstage to meet us, to see how we were nice young lads," Page told Melody Maker. "We calmed her down but on leaving the studio, she saw our LP cover of an airship in flames and she exploded! I had to run and hide. She just blew her top."

After seeing the cover of the band's debut album, with the famous image of the Hindenburg, von Zeppelin's hostility to the group instantly returned and even grew worse than before. When Led Zeppelin announced plans to perform in Copenhagen in 1970, she threatened to sue the band if they continued to use their name. Although manager Peter Grant was rarely one to back down, in the face of the lawsuit, he encouraged the band to play under a pseudonym for their Denmark appearance. more on this story

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