'Celebration Day: The Led Zeppelin Encyclopedia' Is Perfect for the New Fan

Celebration Day may be a suitable initial reference for the neophyte Led Zeppelin fan, but it's not for acolytes and aficionados.

Celebration Day: The Led Zeppelin Encyclopedia

Publisher: Cherry Red
Length: 276 pages
Author: Malcolm Dome and Jerry Ewing
Price: $19.95
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 2011-05

Celebration Day: The Led Zeppelin Encyclopedia is an unofficial compendium covering various facts about the band, its members, their associates and of course, the music. Written by rock journalists Malcolm Dome and Jerry Ewing, Celebration Day is exactly what its subtitle states, an encyclopedia. The reference-style entries are alphabetical with black and white photos interspersed throughout.

Celebration Day is a rather slim volume at less than 300 pages, but it does contain material from the pre-Zeppelin days right up through the relatively current projects of the surviving members. That's not to say it's by any means complete, and that's where one begins to question its existence. Who is this publication meant to target? The book jacket states "Facts and figures that even the keenest follower might have missed...", so one would think that this is for die-hard fans. Well, being quite a fan myself, I can tell you it isn't. There isn't one entry here that told me anything new. To be fair, I am a music journalist, so I tend to know more details about bands I like than the average music lover, but I am by no means anywhere near the "keenest" of Led Zeppelin's followers.

So I think perhaps Celebration Day is meant for the new fan, or the odd person who has never read anything else about Led Zeppelin. It's for some strange creature who never had an older sibling, who never talked to any of the stoners in the high school parking lot, but who wakes up one day with "Stairway to Heaven" blaring from a dorm-mate's iPod, suddenly wanting to know where the musical alchemy originated. It's debatable whether that information can be found in this book, though.

Despite the claims of "in-depth" information, most entries have a piecemeal quality with all the random bits taken from various places, and, in many entries, it appears no attempt was made to fit these pieces together. The facts in some entries are, of course, arguable, but there were several places where this stitching—either by accidental context or sloppy editing—made me question (and, if I'm honest, refute) the factual accuracy of even the easily verifiable information. This could probably have been largely avoided with a bit more attention to integrating sources and, perhaps, better editing.

Another thing that could be better is the layout. While the shortest entries are fine with a bold-type title and one or two brief paragraphs immediately beneath, the longer entries (such as the ones that cover the individual albums or remastered box sets) run on and on. There's no demarcation or indication that there's a new topic, or an alternate opinion within entries, particularly those not broken up by photographs, and some of the longest entries span many pages. In a two-column, text-heavy, tightly kerned format, it becomes a bit monotonous. Maybe it is because this is a paperback edition, with only black and white photos, that an absence of typographical variance becomes an issue. Or maybe it's simply because I expected more.

For a book that says "Everything you'll ever need to know about the band is covered.", Celebration Day: The Led Zeppelin Encyclopedia is somewhat lacking. It may well be a suitable initial reference for the neophyte Zeppelin fan, but not for acolytes and aficionados.





The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.


ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.


Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.


Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.


'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.


10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.


'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.


The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.