It's hard for me not to compare Hammer of the Gods, the antic filled account of Led Zeppelin's meteoric ride to the top without comparisons to the tell-all rock books that it inspired, namely The Dirt. But it's not a fair comparison and I appreciate that this was one of the first to delve into the crazy life of rock 'n roll with such shamelessness. Still, it lacks the personal involvement of the band, and the human voice that could make the book sing.
The story is a great one, it's a weird one and a surprising one – I was particularly unaware of how hard the band had to fight against the media who hated them with a passion and gave them no respect despite their insane popularity among kids.
Of course it delves into the seedy side, mostly accounted for by braggart roady Richard Cole who answers to the infamous “shark incident” by saying (among a lot of other things that you'll just have to read in the book):
“It wasn't shark parts anyway… Let's see how your red snapper likes this red snapper!”
Most of the insights are from the foul mouthed Cole, quotes from band members come from various articles. Between Bonzo's alcoholic flip outs, Page's dipping into the magikal arts, Plant's stars-truck rise from farm boy to sex god, and John Paul Jones relative sanity, the book focuses on detailed descriptions of concerts.
Davis is constantly writing about how they ripped into one song, then tore the house down with another before amazing everyone with one more. It can get a bit boring to see what must have been electric performances reduced to an excitable boy's set list notes.
Still, there's a lot here of fast reading fun to be had – and it makes you want to listen to nothing but Led Zeppelin for days, which is never a bad thing.