The New Yardbirds?
Following the demise of The Yardbirds, guitarist Jimmy Page was eager to fulfill booking engagements that were committed prior to the bands breakup. Page along with respected session musician John Paul Jones bonded together to form the nucleus of a group when Page contacted vocalist Terry Reid (Super Lungs) to join the band. But Reid turned-down the offer to peruse a solo career. However it was Terry Reid that suggested the contacting of vocalist Robert Plant who's career was struggling and uncommitted at the time. Upon Jimmy Page's offer, Plant accepted to join the band and brought aboard his drummer John Bonham to seal the deal. Immediately the band jellied as a foursome and hit the road calling themselves The New Yardbirds. But it was drummer Keith Moon of the Who that laughed when he heard of a patched-together band and impersonating as The New Yardbirds and suggested that Page's idea would "go down like a led Zeppelin." Thus the bands name, Led Zeppelin.
At the time Atlantic Records was closely monitoring the UK music scene when Zeppelin scored an entrance level artist contract with the record label based upon two key elements. First, Jimmy Page had developed a reputation as the lead with The Yardbirds, a band known for avant-guard guitarist. And second was the intangible twist. Atlantic Records recording artist Dusty Springfield who was currently riding the charts with success had mentioned to Atlantic VP Jerry Wexler about Jimmy Page's impressive session work and notable reputation. But check this out. Strong rumor inhouse at Atlantic has it that Wexler agreed to have the band signed founded purely upon Dusty Springfield's suggestion and without hearing tapes of the band. If this story is true, which doesn't surprise me and based upon Wexler's musical taste and lack of appreciation towards the English rock invasion, the signing of Led Zeppelin to the record label was an absolute whim. Upon receiving strong FM airplay support and immediate retail chart success, Chairman Ahmet Ertegun quickly shuffled to arrange a photo session with himself and Jimmy Page to publicly acknowledge the bands signing.