Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant back in the day, perhaps recalling some good times at Chat Noir in 1973.
I haven’t really thought about Led Zeppelin in a while, so the other day I started poking around looking at photos of the band taken back in the early 70s (don’t judge). It was one hell of a rabbit hole where I came across an infamous shot of Zeppelin taken by photographer Bengt H. Malmqvist in Stockholm in 1973. The photo in question featured the members of Zeppelin watching a couple have sex on top of a table displaying their gold records. The bizarre image was part of a larger series attributed to Malmqvist containing 56 black and white negatives, one set of photos and two contact maps which were up for auction in 2010—though it’s unclear if they ever sold. The photos of Zep taken by Mr. Malmqvist were shot inside Chat Noir—one of Stockholm’s premiere sex clubs, and according to the auction site Bonhams, Malmqvist was the only photographer allowed to shoot the event.
The Chat Noir itself was the epitome of what one might imagine a high-end sex club to be like. The establishment prided itself on being “classy” by offering what they described as a “luxury” sex experience which would routinely feature female stars from Stockholm and other locations around the world, and even some sort of sexy “wizard” which according to folklore about Chat Noir was especially popular with Japanese businessmen. The club, considered at the time to be one of Stockholm’s most glamorous, was also a popular site used by the Swedish sex film industry and several movies were shot on there including Anita: Swedish Nymphet. That film came out the same year Led Zeppelin was welcomed by the club to receive four gold records from Metronome Records in honor of their record sales. True to form, the whole salacious event was orchestrated by the band’s manager, the notorious Peter Grant.
Below, a few of the images from Zeppelin’s infamous visit to the Chat Noir, plus a full page account of what went down that night that was published in a Swedish magazine in 1973.
Robert Plant and a friend at the Chat Noir, 1973. Photo by Bengt H. Malmqvist.
Jimmy Page, (allegedly) Pamela Des Barres, and John Bonham hanging out at Chat Noir in 1973. Photo by Bengt H. Malmqvist.
More after the jump…