Count Ferdinand Adolf Heinrich August Graf von Zeppelin was a German general, aircraft manufacturer and the founder of the Zeppelin Airship company.
The Led Zeppelin band name was derived from this airship.
His granddaughter, Countess Frau Eva von Zeppelin felt the bands use of Zeppelin was insulting and dishonoured her family name. Jimmy Page commented to the Melody Maker that The Countess initially took issue during an early Led Zeppelin concert performance in Copenhagen in October 1969, when she tried (unsuccessfully) to stop a television appearance. The aristocrat angrily described the group as “shrieking monkeys”. She then threatened to sue Led Zeppelin for illegal use of their family name while performing in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 28, 1970, despite the bands offer of free drugs and an “all areas” backstage pass.
The band invited her to meet with them for a cup of tea at a television studio and by all accounts the meeting was very cordial. However, upon leaving the studio, her anger reignited when she saw the cover of their debut album Led Zeppelin, featuring the Hindenburg airship combusting into flames.
It was then that Led Zep manager Peter Grant a notorious tough character and not one to back down from anything decided to temporarily change the bands name to “The Nobs” for several shows in this Scandanavian tour.
“Then we shall call ourselves The Nobs when we go to Copenhagen, the whole thing is absurd. The first time we played we invited her backstage to meet us, to see how we were nice young lads. We calmed her down but on leaving the studio, she saw our LP cover of an airship in flames and she exploded! I had to run and hide. She just blew her top.” – Jimmy Page
The Nobs – Copenhagen, Denmark February 28, 1970