Danny Goldberg talks Led Zeppelin, Nirvana

Goldberg backstage with Robert Plant, 1975
Goldberg backstage with Robert Plant, 1975 (Image credit: Neal Preston)

As the young publicist for Led Zeppelin in '70s and the manager of Nirvana in the '90s, Danny Goldberg has had a front row seat to rock's highest of highs and lowest of lows.

"There was so much going on around me," he says, "and so much of it has become the stuff of legend. But I was always so busy working, I didn't have the same perspective as people on the outside. Writing this book was a good was of reflecting and remembering that it really all happened."

The book is called Bumping Into Geniuses, a fascinating account of Goldberg's career in the music business, during which time he also launched Stevie Nicks's solo career and managed Bonnie Raitt when she slam-dunked the Grammy Awards, and also ran Atlantic Records, Mercury Records and Warner Brothers Records.

"Music-obsessed kid"

"These are two bands who changed the course of music. Unfortunately, both ended tragically" Danny Goldberg on Led Zeppelin and Nirvana

"Not bad for a music-obsessed kid who didn't know what he wanted to do," Goldberg says, laughing. "But I was such a fan and so in awe of the artists that I forged my way through a business as it was literally forming. I had no plan. It was like the tide took me and I went willingly."

Goldberg recently sat down with MusicRadar to discuss two of the more notable acts he's worked with, both of which he recounts in great detail in Bumping Into Geniuses: Led Zeppelin and Nirvana. "These are two bands who knew exactly who they were and changed the course of music. Unfortunately,both ended tragically and before their time should have been up."

(Note: The following interview took place before MusicRadar broke the news that the much-publicized album and tour Jimmy Page was planning with John Paul Jones, Jason Bonham and a replacement singer for Robert Plant was declared officially over.)

Part One - Goldberg on Led Zeppelin, and thoughts on Guns N' Roses
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Part Two - The Nirvana years
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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.