A 64-year-old man who received some “this is awesome” attention for legally changing his name to “Led Zeppelin II,” has now died, prompting an outpouring of headlines like the one above. “Led Zeppelin II, formerly known as George F. Blackburn climbed the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ May 18, 2012 at Alton Memorial Hospital,” his obituary, published in The Chicago Tribune, reads.
Zeppelin was divorcing his third wife when he hatched the idea to name himself after the iconic British rock group, as he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last year. A stickler for specificity — he didn’t just name himself after the band, but after its highly regarded sophomore album, Led Zeppelin II — the name change wasn’t just a stunt for the former Mr. Blackburn. “I don’t want to appear to be some off-the-wall, drug-addict idiot,” he said to the newspaper. “I just changed my name from the standpoint that I can be a better person than I used to be.”
And if he lived by the Zep, he also appears to have died by the Zep: Zeppelin was surrounded by band-related music and imagery at the time of his passing. As The Chicago Sun-Times reported:
He collapsed because of a heart ailment Friday at an auto parts store in Downstate Bethalto. He was wearing one of his many Led Zeppelin T-shirts. Fittingly, a Led Zeppelin song was on the radio, according to Claude Walker, an owner of the Part Stop.
Zeppelin, in the interview with the Post-Dispatch, said that the band had “changed my life, forever.” Ramble on.