In July 1968, the English rock band the Yardbirds disbanded after two founder members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty quit the group, with a third, Chris Dreja, leaving to become a photographer shortly afterwards. The fourth member, guitarist Jimmy Page, was left with rights to the name and contractual obligations for a series of concerts in Scandinavia. Page asked seasoned session player and arranger John Paul Jones to join as bassist, and hoped to recruit Terry Reid as singer and Procol Harum's B. J. Wilson as drummer. Wilson was still committed to Procol Harum, and Reid declined to join but recommended Robert Plant, who met with Page at his boathouse in Pangbourne, Berkshire in August to talk about music and work on new material.
Page and Plant realised they had good musical chemistry together, and Plant asked friend and former band-mate John Bonham to drum for the new group. The line-up of Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham first rehearsed in September 1968, shortly before a tour of Scandinavia as "The New Yardbirds", performing some old Yardbirds material as well as new songs such as "Communication Breakdown", "I Can't Quit You Baby", "You Shook Me", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" and "How Many More Times". After they returned to London following the tour, Page changed the band's name to Led Zeppelin, and the group entered Olympic Studios at 11 p.m. on 25 September 1968 to record their debut album.