Illinois man who renamed himself after ‘Led Zeppelin II’ dies at age 64

By Daniel S Levine,

An Illinois man who raised eyebrows last year after he renamed himself after Led Zeppelin’s iconic second album has died after suffering a heart attack.

The Milwaukee-born George Blackburn died at the age of 64 on May 18, according to death notices that were published in local Illinois newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.

Daughter Mindy Baker of Seattle told the Tribune this week that Blackburn renamed himself after Led Zeppelin II after he and her mother divorced. “...He wanted to start his life over, like a new chapter,” she said. She added that Zeppelin was a big fan of the pioneering British hard rock group known for hits like “Stairway To Heaven,” and “Whole Lotta Love,” the latter a track on II. Baker said that her father saw them around 20 times during the ‘60s and ‘70s.

"He had always liked Led Zeppelin since they came out, and it was just time to do it,” Baker said. “My mom says that he talked about it for probably five years before the divorce.”

The Associated Press notes that Led Zeppelin IIbecame the group’s first No. 1 album on Billboard when it was released in 1969. The influential album contains “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker.”

“That's the one he just really related to,” Baker told the Tribune, “just the whole thing.”

When he changed his name, Zeppelin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they “changed my life forever and that's my whole reason for doing this.”

Zeppelin was born in Milwaukee in 1947, but grew up in Chicago. He was living in Bethalto, Ill., near St. Louis. He is survived by another daughter.

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