Candidate: Donovan, musical influence
Reason: Despite hundreds of pre-Zep sessions Jones and Page did together, including some on the horrendous Page-led Yardbirds album Little Games, they have Donovan to thank for "Hurdy Gurdy Man," the first recording to feature what would soon be recognized the world over as Zeppelin's trademark sound. All the elements were in place: an amazingly Bonhamesque drum sound, Jones' zooming bass, Page's acid-fuzz leads and--Donovan's fey, quavering vocals? Planting seeds, no doubt.

Candidate: Richard Cole, Zeppelin's road manager
Reason: Most people assume the lads in Zep had hands-on involvement in that notorious incident in which a Zeppelin groupie was tied to a bed and fed shark meat into her vagina. Actually, it was red snapper, and even though drummer John Bonham watched the proceedings intently, it was Cole who performed the heinous deed which got Zeppelin more worldwide press than a zillion guitar overdubs or sky-high concert grosses ever did. Candidate: Joni Mitchell, musical influence

Reason: Ms. Mitchell, more than any other artist, is responsible for bringing out the softer side of seers Page and Plant. Both men had a serious jones for Joni, lauding her records in the rock press and writing the sad and lonely ballad "Going to California" for her. But seeing as how "the queen without a king" had had relationships with Graham Nash and David Crosby, she probably wasn't too eager to hook up with any more Atlantic recording artists. Or maybe she just didn't like red snapper.

Candidate: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin's manager Reason: Because he'll beat you to a bloody pulp, that's why. It's quite an achievement that the hefty Peter Grant managed to put the fear of Zeppelin, four scrawny guys from England, into an industry already overrun with crooks, felons, sharks and cutthroats. Besides receiving an executive producer credit on all the Zep albums, he also merited a dream sequence in the band's unwatchable flick The Song Remains the Same. What with aery fairy Plant clutching castle walls, Jones reading his kids bedtime stories, Bonham feeding cows and Page acting like a hermit, Grant gave the film its only breath of life--five minutes of him dressed as a mobster emptying bullets into a business associate's office. Candidate: Elvis Presley

Reason: Since the band's earliest days, Plant has been working on a side career as an Elvis impersonator, sticking off-the-cuff versions of "That's All Right (Mama)" into encores, and practicing his lip tremble in the studio with Pelvis salutes like "Candy Store Rock" and "Hot Dog." At his first live performance after the group's demise, Plant performed Elvis' "Little Sister." When the King first met Zeppelin, the boys offered to write material for him and back him up, anticipating the novelty group Dread Zeppelin by about ten years. Sadly, the King never took up their offer, though he did give them each some gold watches and walked them to their limo when they visited Graceland--wearin' just his bathrobe! Red and Sonny said he never done that for nobody!

Candidate: John Baldwin
Reason: Hey--wait a minute! That's John Paul Jones! Still, you'd never know he was a founding member of Led Zeppelin the way Page and Plant have been carrying on in the rock press for their current tour and album. These two hogging all the credit for Led Zeppelin is not so far removed from the band's heyday, when Page forbade the lighting crew to give Jonesy or Bonzo a spotlight onstage. They even had the cheek to name this project after Jones' old showcase No Quarter. Perhaps the title explains why they failed to ring up Jones to inform him of their intentions!

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