You could argue that Led Zeppelin's contentious relationship with music critics actually helped the band gain a foothold in America, but that doesn't mean the band easily forgave its treatment by the press.
Led Zeppelin was routinely savaged by the music press in its early years, and few reviews were more hostile than those published by Rolling Stone magazine in 1969, as recapped by Andy Greene in a 2018 story.
Even as Led Zeppelin became one of the biggest acts of the '70s, Rolling Stone rarely mentioned the band outside of its review section. The band members rarely granted interviews in their heyday and have remained wary of the press to this day.
"I give them their due," Wenner said. "One of our reviewers — I forget who ... were really nasty. To me, they would get a record, they weren't reviewing the record. They'd go use it as an excuse to get some nasty riff of their own that had nothing to do with the record. ... It wasn't a review of the record, and it wasn't freaking fair to the artists who had worked so hard on it and who deserved legitimate respect and criticism.
"If you didn't like it and you think something could be better, say so, which was one of the things we do. And it wasn't fair to the audience, our readers."
Asked if he ever tried to apologize to the band members, Wenner said he couldn't remember if Rolling Stone ever made any formal overture, but if they did, he's sure the band would have rejected it.
Eventually, Cameron Crowe was the olive branch in and of himself, Wenner recalled.
Crowe, a rising star at Rolling Stone and legitimate fan of Zeppelin (despite his employer's official position) followed the band through the U.S. on its 1975 tour until Jimmy Page finally granted an interview (Joe Walsh reportedly put in a good word for Crowe).
Wenner met up with Page at the photoshoot for the subsequent cover story. Page brought the magnate a gift to show his appreciation: a bouquet of dead roses.