This Day in 1980: Led Zeppelin Disband

Monday, December 4, 2017
This Day in Music

Just over two weeks ago, we celebrated the 35th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin’s final album, CODA. Today, we recall the unfortunate reason that it ended up being their final album.

For all practical purposes, Led Zeppelin ended on September 25, 1980, a.k.a. the day John Bonham died, but from an official standpoint, the band was still together. They had, however, cancelled their North American tour, and the members of the band remained off the radar for the next few months.

Finally, on December 4, 1980, the members of Led Zeppelin issued a formal statement, one in which they said, “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”

"Led Zeppelin wasn't a corporate entity," Jimmy Page explained to Rolling Stone in 2014. "Led Zeppelin was an affair of the heart. Each of the members was important to the sum total of what we were. I like to think that if it had been me that wasn't there, the others would have made the same decision. And what were we going to do? Create a role for somebody, say, ‘You have to do this, this way’? That wouldn’t be honest.”

Since then, there have been a handful of Led Zeppelin reunions featuring John Bonham’s son, Jason, behind the drum kit (the less said about the Live Aid performance, the better), but it’s only been on the very rarest of occasions that Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones have played together under the name “Led Zeppelin,” because as far as they’re concerned, when John died, that was the end of the band.