Album of the Day
Remembering Peter Grant
21 years ago today, the music world lost one of the most memorable managers in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: Peter Grant, whose work with Led Zeppelin remains the stuff of legend.
Grant got his start in the entertainment business as a stagehand at the Croydon Empire Theater in Croydon, England, but his progress up the ladder of success was halted by the need to fulfill his national service requirements. After wrapping up his stint in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Grant took work as a bouncer and doorman at The 2i’s Coffee Bar in London, soon scored some additional employment as a TV wrestler, stuntman, body double, and occasional actor. But in 1963, Grant pulled a gig with concert promoter Don Arden as a British tour manager for a veritable cornucopia of visiting rock musicians, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Everly Brothers, Little Richard, and Gene Vincent, to name just a few.
By 1964, Grant had begun to manage his own music acts, many of whom found considerable fame, among them The Jeff Beck Group, the Nashville Teens, the New Vaudeville Band, Terry Reid, and Stone the Crows. It was in 1966, however, that fate took Grant’s hand: Simon Napier-Bell asked him to take over management of The Yardbirds, who eventually evolved into Led Zeppelin, and we all know what happened from there.
Grant’s work as Led Zeppelin’s manager is arguably what made them into a band that was capable of taking over the world. After he died in 1995 at age 60 of a fatal heart attack, the funeral was held on the 15th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s official breakup. Mere coincidence, of course, but the fact that he was permanently tied to the band even in the date of his death seems all too appropriate. Neither would’ve been the same without the other.