John Paul Jones’ Hesitation About Led Zeppelin
Being a part of a worldwide recognized band might sound appealing to most. After all, the advantages of success and international fame are what most musicians dream of when they first start their careers. However, the reality is not as pompous as it might seem, and there have always been downsides to be considered.
The excessive lifestyle successful artists often experience can be overshadowed by the long working hours at the studio. Most of the time, there’s also the constant pressure to produce and create a new project. Furthermore, musicians have to tour for long durations to promote their band and upcoming works.
As fame is fragile and can leave as quickly as it arrives, many artists choose to put their personal lives aside. Stevie Nicks, for example, had to terminate her pregnancy to pursue a career with Fleetwood Mac. When bassist John Paul Jones was recruited to Led Zeppelin, he knew it would be a life-changing experience for him and his family. However, the years spent with the cult act would make him question his life so much that he would eventually want to quit.
Why Did John Paul Jones Want To Depart From Led Zeppelin?
For John Paul Jones, the chance to play in Jimmy Page’s new band was an opportunity he couldn’t pass on. The bassist had been a session musician in the past, and he wanted to be a part of something bigger. As Led Zeppelin went on to receive international attention, Jones’ dreams of becoming a successful musician were fulfilled.
However, their long run, supported by the band’s evergrowing popularity, was something he didn’t expect. By the early ’70s, the British band had become a household name in the rock scene. Whether they were admired or criticized, Led Zeppelin was climbing the ladder of fame with more shows and tours being added to the band’s schedule.
During this exhausting period, Jones’ schedule was packed entirely with Led Zeppelin’s upcoming gigs. He couldn’t take any time off the band to spend with his family. By 1973, his personal life was on the verge of shattering, and the bassist had started to consider departing from the band.
Jones didn’t want to affect the band’s success negatively, but it was apparent that their excessive touring was harming his relationship with his family. The long time spent on the road also impacted the band’s mental health. All the members were quite tired and constantly under pressure. So, these circumstances made the bassist consider leaving Led Zeppelin.
John Paul Jones expressed his feelings about the tiring period as follows:
“I didn’t want to harm the group, but I didn’t want my family to fall apart either. We toured a huge amount in those early days. We were all very tired and under pressure, and it just came to a head.”
The bassist continued his statement, revealing that he didn’t think his run with the band would last for many years. He believed he would perform with the act for a year or two, perhaps three. John Paul Jones initially had made different plans regarding his career as he thought Led Zeppelin wouldn’t be a long-lasting project, and he wanted to pursue a new path as a movie musician.
The musician expressed his initial thoughts when joining Led Zeppelin:
“When I first joined the band, I didn’t think it would go on for that long, two or three years perhaps, and then I’d carry on with my career as a musician and doing movie music.”
Eventually, the band’s manager Peter Grant persuaded Jones to remain within the band. Yet, it seemed like John’s decision to leave the band had angered Robert Plant. The frontman wanted to kick the bassist out of Led Zeppelin. It was later revealed that Plant had invited The Runaways’ Lita Ford into Jones’ place, but Led Zeppelin managed to stay intact with Peter Grant’s persuasion.
In the end, John Paul Jones wanted to spend more time with his family, but Led Zeppelin stood in the way of his personal life. Nonetheless, he valued the band greatly and didn’t want to harm their success by departing. So, when Peter Grant talked him into not leaving, the bassist obliged and was loyal to his position.