The Hammer of Ahmet

In the 1970s, decades before YouTube, the 24-hour news cycle and a floodgate of social media, rock music rarely made the six o’clock TV news. Instead, rock was relegated to once-a-week late night and syndicated shows such as NBC’s The Midnight Special, and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. While Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner helped birth a print media devoted to rock in the mid-1960s, the bands themselves didn’t always reciprocate. During their heyday as Atlantic Records’ biggest act in the mid-to-late 1970s, Led Zeppelin held a near-iron lock on the profiles that music industry journalists wrote about them. Reporters for industry-themed publications such as Rolling Stone and Circus, who longed to be close to the action onboard Led Zeppelin’s Boeing 720 private touring jet, eagerly accepted press orders from the group during their 1977 tour. Those press orders demanded that “objective” journalists obey the band’s rules of engagement…

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