BY ChRIs KIEs, JoRdAN WAGNER
determination and mentality to conquer rock
and roll was all but lost by the mid to late ’70s.
pictures and insightful “techy-spechy” text and
captions, both factors that have made Tony
Bacon’s books an instant hit with gearheads.
Led Zeppelin: Good Times Bad
Times: A Visual Biography of the
No communication breakdown here, this is a
must have for any Zeppelin fan. Led Zeppelin:
Good Times Bad Times: A Visual Biography of
the Ultimate Band is a collection of more than
250 photographs taken by over 10 of rock’s
greatest photographers during Zeppelin’s time.
However, to lay the overwhelming success and
shelf-life of this book merely on the stunningly
captivating photos would be a disservice to
co-authors Jerry Prochnicky and Ralph Hulett.
What makes this photo-driven compilation
such a hit are the well-investigated and thorough captions that accompanies every shot.
Whether you’re looking for the band’s gear
info, significance of particular shows and
festivals or personal commentary and reaction from the photographers, Jerry and Ralph
include it with every charismatic photo.
If you’re an old Zep fanatic or someone just
entering their world of mysticism and hard rock,
there’s no reason to pass on this book for your
Zeppelin paraphernalia. —CK
The book works chronologically through the
Les Paul’s bright and loud history. Starting with
the early prototype stages and working through
the guitar’s early workings, the book gets heavy
when it dives into the specific types and runs of
the LP, especially those most mentioned in rock
history lore. It covers the ‘Bursts, the Goldtops,
the mystical ’ 59, along with some of the less
famous LPs like the Professional, Personal and
Recording models. Bacon even goes the extra
mile by including specific modifications and
alterations made or requested by famous players on their specific models. The additional information is contained within each section or chapter dedicated to a particular model or decade.
The photographers–Robert Knight, Herb
Green, James Fortune, David LeVine, etc.–
capture frame after memorable frame beginning in 1968 when the New Yardbirds first
took the stage on their Scandinavian tour
to the final live song played by the mighty
Zeppelin (“Whole Lotta Love”) on July 7,
1980, in Berlin. Within those 12 years, they
document plenty of Zeppelin firsts and lasts,
including Page’s first use of a Les Paul ‘burst
in concert; the first televised performance
(British TV’s Supershow) of Page using a violin
bow on “Dazed and Confused;” the last time
Page would use his Bigsby-equipped Les Paul
Black Beauty (the guitar was lost en route to
Canada after a Miami, Fla., show in 1970); or
Zeppelin last performance in the States (July
24, 1977, in Oakland, CA).
In addition to an updated compilation of pictures, stats and artist info regarding LPs, the
third edition of The Les Paul Guitar Book features a brand-new full reference section with
detailed information on variations and signature
editions, available finishes, detailed chronology
from the early ’50s through the present, with
dating and serial number info. Most of us won’t
ever rock out on a ’ 59 Standard, but with the
help of Tony Bacon, we can regurgitate oodles
of facts about the legend himself, and his legendary line of guitars. —CK
Along the way, the book also catches the
world’s biggest hard rock band dealing with
the ups and downs of their success, offering up
charmingly optimistic shots of Zeppelin embracing its ascent with all the eagerness and excitement of a seemingly unknown future. On the flip
side, the book is also laced with photos depicting a fatigued and downtrodden band contemplating and withdrawing from the monster
it had created—further proof that the band’s
The Les Paul Guitar Book
When a young entrepreneur from Waukesha,
Wis., took a fence post and mounted a magnetic coil to it, then inserted the contraption
into an Epiphone hollowbody, the prototype
“Log” was born. Unbeknownst to the world
at the time, Les Paul had created something
completely original and long-lasting—
something that has and will continue to inspire
legions of guitarists every day.
Tony Bacon, the author of
50 Years of Fender,
Electric Guitars—The Illustrated Encyclopedia
and The Ultimate Guitar Book, doesn’t stray too
far from his proven formula in this new book.
Like many of his previous titles, The Les Paul
Guitar Book features plenty of colorful, historic
Secret Policeman’s Balls: The
Secret Policeman Rocks!