Helen Grant, the daughter of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, plans to sell her 10% stake in the band’s music, according to a new interview published in The Times on July 10.
Peter Grant owned a 20% stake of the “rights” of Led Zeppelin’s music, The Times reports, which was split equally between his children Helen and Warren Grant upon his death in 1995.
Now, Grant’s daughter has announced plans to sell her 10% stake in Led Zeppelin’s music. “[Peter Grant] also owned 20 per cent of the band’s rights. He passed them on to Helen and her brother, Warren, and now Helen is selling her 10 per cent share,” The Times reported on July 10.
“I’d much rather have Dad back, but I know I’m bloody lucky,” Grant said in the interview, with the newspaper referring to “her coming windfall.”
Music Week reports that no deal has been made yet and included contact details for Grant’s lawyer who is currently soliciting offers.
That article also reveals that Grant’s stake extends to areas beyond Led Zeppelin’s music. “While deals involving legendary acts are usually structured around sound recording and publishing rights, this covers a share in those rights as well as the band’s other business ventures, which encompass the trademarks and merchandise,” it reported.
It’s likely that a buyer of Grant’s stake would be an investment fund outside of the immediate Led Zeppelin “family” due to the ongoing trend of artists, especially so-called legacy artists, selling their catalogues in return for substantial windfalls.
Last year, Bob Dylan sold his catalogue to Sony Music Entertainment in a deal rumoured to be worth between $150 million and $200 million. Similar deals include Bruce Springsteen selling his catalogue to Sony Music for a rumoured $550 million, Motley Crue selling its catalogue to BMG for $90 million and David Bowie’s music publishing being bought by Warner Chappell Music last year for more than $250 million.
Aside from Warner Chappell Music, part of the same Warner Music Group which includes Led Zeppelin’s record label, another possible bidder for Grant’s stake could be Hipgnosis Songs Fund.
The British firm (not to be confused with the design collective Hipgnosis which worked on several Led Zeppelin album covers) has acquired stakes in music from artists including Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young and Steve Winwood.
Merck Mercuriadis, the firm’s CEO, has previously spoken of his admiration for Led Zeppelin’s catalogue, comparing it to Dylan’s catalogue. Led Zeppelin’s music “is of that stature, the shares of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, particularly,” he told HITS in 2020.
A Hipgnosis spokesman declined to comment when contacted on July 10 by LedZepNews about a potential deal, saying: “I’m afraid our policy is not to comment on market rumour or speculation.”
Plant and Page sold their Led Zeppelin royalties in a deal carried out in the 1980s but subsequently bought them back, according to Bill Curbishley who previously managed both men.
“They sold all of their record catalogue income and all of their publishing rights to Atlantic and Warner/Chappell some years prior to me joining them. And I, along with George Fearon, their US lawyer, got both back for them – which they still have today,” he told Music Business Worldwide in 2017.
Examining the Grant family’s stake in Led Zeppelin
A review of corporate filings in the UK carried out by LedZepNews reveals that the Grant family own stakes in two businesses within Led Zeppelin’s corporate empire.
Helen and Warren Grant each own 10% of Superhype Tapes, the music publishing business set up in October 1968 to manage Led Zeppelin’s music, with Jimmy Page owning the remaining 80% of the company. The business owns the global trademarks for the band name and its logo.
Robert Plant and John Paul Jones do not own any equity in Superhype Tapes, but Plant is on the board of the company. Jones resigned his director role in November 2021.
Helen Grant also owns 10% of United Blag Productions, a British business incorporated in 1974 that was previously called Langwest. The business appears to be connected to Led Zeppelin’s record label Swan Song and controls the rights to music released on that label.
Corporate filings suggest that United Blag Productions was originally split between the four Led Zeppelin band members who each owned 22.5% of the company, and Peter Grant, who owned 10%.
Page, Plant and Jones retain their 22.5% stakes, while John Bonham’s stake in the business has been divided up amongst his family. His wife Pat Bonham now owns 11.5% of the company, with his children Zoe and Jason Bonham owning 5.5% each.
Could a Peter Grant film finally be made?
Elsewhere in the interview with The Times, Helen Grant spoke about her desire to showcase her father’s legacy, potentially with a film about his life.
“I’m hoping [the sale of the 10% stake] will allow me to showcase Dad again in the way he should be presented. A film is being talked about. I never had a chance to do it before — I’ve got five bloody kids, for God’s sake — but I’m at that stage in life where I’m thinking we could do something great with Dad’s legacy,” Grant said in the interview.
There have been multiple attempts to create a film about Grant, most notably an attempt by director Mike Figgis and Malcolm McLaren. Grant sat for interviews for the film which ultimately wasn’t made.
In April, LedZepNews interviewed Mark Blake, the author of the 2018 Peter Grant biography “Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin and Beyond”. During our interview, he discussed the attempts to make a film about Grant’s life.
“For the last few years of his life, he was being interviewed for … a biopic about him. Malcolm McLaren was involved in this for a while [with] Mike Figgis the director,” Blake said. “I was shown hours of footage of Peter being interviewed in a hotel room, I think in Eastbourne, by Malcolm McLaren which is really interesting. I mean, not all of that stuff could be broadcast while members of Led Zeppelin are alive, certainly. This is in the late eighties, early nineties, pre-internet age, he was also still quite cagey about things, though, which I found interesting.”
“The film business is full of ‘we got a great idea’, and then you don’t hear anything,” Blake added. “Someone contacted me and wanted to make a film about Peter Grant. They contacted me ages ago. I’ve had three people contact me: ‘we’re gonna make a film about Peter Grant’. ‘Great, great, okay’. And you never hear from them again. It’s bullshit.”
Paying subscribers to the LedZepNews Substack can listen to our full audio interview with Blake and read the complete transcript of our interview here.