STU­ART MA­CONIE

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - THEATRE -

What pop groups say and what they mean are of­ten two dif­fer­ent things. Of man­agers, ‘he’s a pussy­cat re­ally’ means ‘he’s a thug but he pays our wages’.

That for­bid­ding semi-car­i­ca­ture owed much to the mythos sur­round­ing Pe­ter Grant, the phys­i­cally im­pos­ing, tem­per­a­men­tally ter­ri­fy­ing bouncer and wrestler turned keeper of the be­he­moth that was Led Zep­pelin.

Grant learned his trade var­i­ously as Soho door­man and film and TV heavy. He was also an un­der­ling (al­beit 22st, 6ft 6in) of the leg­endary Don Ar­den, father to Sharon Os­borne, a man who was ru­moured to rou­tinely dan­gle ri­vals out of up­per-storey win­dows as a ne­go­ti­at­ing tac­tic. Grant was a good stu­dent and turned Led Zep­pelin into the enig­matic ti­tans of rock’s im­pe­rial age.

Ac­cord­ing to Mark Blake’s ex­haus­tive and de­tailed re­sumé, how­ever, Grant was a com­plex in­di­vid­ual with a pas­sion for art nou­veau, who let the British Le­gion use his of­fices for its poppy day ap­peal and whose ge­nius was to re­alise that mys­tery was key to his charges’ al­lure.

He kept Zep­pelin away from ev­ery sor­did as­pect of the rock busi­ness, bar play­ing and record­ing their folk­ish light me­tal, thus leav­ing them un­tainted by the al­to­gether less ethe­real Jimmy Hoffa-style deal­ings in car parks and board rooms (Grant claimed to have been one of the last peo­ple to see the no­to­ri­ous union boss). Some of the de­tail is

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