Halloween 1974: Led Zeppelin Launches Swan Song Records with Wild Cave Party

Singer Robert Plant performing with British heavy rock group Led Zeppelin, at Earl's Court, London, May 1975. The band were initially booked to play three nights at the venue, from 23rd to 25th May, but due to public demand, two more concerts were later added, for 17th and 18th May. Total ticket sales were 85,000. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
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(Michael Putland/Getty Images)

When it came to Led Zeppelin in the '70s, the band's unofficial motto was "go big or go home." When the band flexed its considerable music industry clout by launching their very own record label in 1974, they did so in customarily excessive fashion.

The label--named after an unreleased Led Zeppelin song--launched formally in May 1974, kicking things off with a pair of parties in Los Angeles. The second, held at the Hotel Bel-Air, featured such luminaries as Groucho Marx and Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.

It was on Halloween night 1974 when the band and its notorious manager, Peter Grant, held a huge blow-out bash at Chislehurst Caves in Kent, England on Halloween night. The wild party featured nuns in suspenders serving drinks, a naked woman in a coffin covered in jelly and naked male wrestlers. The guest list included Swan Song artists Bad Company, The Pretty Things and Maggie Bell. See the official invitation below.

Led Zep Halloween 1974

"We'd been thinking about it for a while and we knew if we formed a label there wouldn't be the kind of fuss and bother we'd been going through over album covers and things like that," Jimmy Page told Trouser Press in 1977. "Having gone through, ourselves, what appeared to be an interference, or at least an aggravation, on the artistic side by record companies, we wanted to form a label where the artists would be able to fulfill themselves without all of that hassle. Consequently the people we were looking for the label would be people who knew where they were going themselves."

Paul Rodgers, lead singer of Swan Song's most successful act, Bad Company, would later say that signing to Swan Song was a blessing for the band.

"Well, it meant really that we didn't have to worry about the business end of things at all. All we had to do was make the music, go in the studio to record the songs, go out and play them and just not worry about anything," Rodgers told Classic Bands. "All of the transport was taken care of, private jets and limousines on the tarmac and just everything was top of the line, which was something Led Zeppelin had worked to achieve. They had this sort of machinery in place, and we stepped right into that and it was awesome. All of their connections with the people who run the venues was all ironed out. We were a support act in the arenas the first tour we did. Immediately after that we were the headliner, which was a pretty incredible rise to fame actually."

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