What year did the rock group Led Zeppelin first tour the United States?
Led Zeppelin's 1968/1969 tour of North America was the first concert tour of North America by the English rock band. The tour commenced on 26 December 1968 and concluded on 15 February 1969.
The genesis of this tour was the cancellation of a concert tour by the Jeff Beck Group, which happened to be managed out of the same office occupied by Led Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant. Grant contacted the promoters and convinced them to take on Led Zeppelin instead.
To help publicize the band in America before the tour, Grant sent white label advance copies of the band's debut album to key FM radio stations. The album itself was issued on 17 January, mid-way though the tour. According to tour manager Richard Cole, the tour was underwritten by Grant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bass player John Paul Jones, while singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham were paid a salary.
For this stint of concerts, Led Zeppelin initially played as the support act for bands such as Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly (both of which were also contracted to Atlantic Records) and Country Joe & the Fish. However, as the tour progressed, it became apparent that Led Zeppelin was easily outshining the headline acts. As guitarist Jimmy Page explained:
By the time we reached San Francisco, the other groups on the bill just weren't turning up. Country Joe & the Fish backed out of playing with us on the West Coast and Iron Butterfly didn't turn up on the East.