“The Shark Episode” – Details About The Infamous Led Zeppelin Seattle Groupie Incident

Led Zeppelin checked into The Edgewater Inn in Seattle for their appearance at the Seattle Pop Festival at Gold Creek Park on July 27, 1969.  Little did they know that it would become the location of the most talked about rock n’ roll groupie incident ever.  The incident is playfully known as “The Shark Episode”.

Led Zeppelin Mud shark Groupie Incident The Edgewater Hotel Seattle 1969

Richard Cole Led Zeppelin’s road manager said the band liked to stay at the Edgewater Inn on the Puget Sound so they could fish out of their window. Cole and John Bonham had spent a drunken night reeling in fish.

Led Zeppelin Groupie Fish Incident Richard Cole Edgewater Hotel 1969

Led Zeppelin Manager Richard Cole

What they did with the fish they caught has become rock n’ roll folklore.  Here are some of the various stories out there including the different fish that were allegedly used.

Tale #1

A pretty 17-year old groupie with red hair was disrobed and tied to the bed while members of Led Zeppelin proceeded to stuff pieces of Shark (Mud Shark) into her vagina and rectum.

The basis of the story centers around a girl named “Jackie”, a tall redhead 17 year-old redhead from Portland.  She was swigging champagne from the bottle and telling the group how much she enjoyed being tied up during sex.

Mudshark Mud Shark Led Zeppelin Groupie Seattle The EDGEWATER INN 1969

Tale #2

John Bonham was in the room with Richard Cole when he used the nose of a red snapper to pleasure the tied up ginger.

Richard Cole’s rather exageratted version of the events:

“It wasn’t Bonzo, it was me. It wasn’t shark parts anyway: It was the nose that got put in. We caught a lot of big sharks, at least two dozen, stuck coat hangers through the gills and left ’em in the closet . . . But the true shark story was that it wasn’t even a shark. It was a red snapper and the chick happened to be a fucking redheaded broad with a ginger pussy. And that is the truth. Bonzo was in the room, but I did it. Mark Stein [of Vanilla Fudge] filmed the whole thing. And she loved it. It was like, “You’d like a bit of fucking, eh? Let’s see how your red snapper likes this red snapper!” That was it. It was the nose of the fish, and that girl must have cum 20 times. But it was nothing malicious or harmful, no way! No one was ever hurt.”

Tale #3

Vanilla Fudge also played the Seattle Pop Festival and here is drummer Carmine Appice version of the incident.

Appice says he was hanging out in John Paul Jones’ room with the girl and Vanilla Fudge keyboard player Mark Stein, who had an 8-millimeter camera. Appice disagrees with Cole’s version of the story.

“That’s totally wrong, It was my groupie.  She saw the camera, and kept saying she wanted to play around.”

Appice also claims that Cole made up the name Jackie, saying,

“In those days, Richard was so out of it, I’m surprised he remembers his own name.”

He then claims that Bonham and two members of the Vanilla Fudge road crew invaded the room with the catch of the day: a mud shark, not a snapper.

“We moved to my room, and it got pretty gross. I decided to leave, and then I realized I was in my room already.”

At various points, most members of Led Zeppelin and Vanilla Fudge came in for a look at the groupie being pleasured with the shark. Robert Plant recently confirmed that while he saw some of the proceedings, it was really a Vanilla Fudge event.

Looking at all the facts, although they popped in and watched some of the incident no member of Led Zeppelin actually took part in it.  Maybe they were just innocently fishing just like The Beatles did in 1964.

The Beatles Fishing Seattle Edgewater Inn Led Zeppelin

Book The Beatles Famous “Fishing Suite” in Seattle’s Edgewater Inn


  1. toyser22 says:

    the led zepplin stage photo is from the green lake aqua theater show, NOT the seattle pop festival show.

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