FIVE GLORIOUS NIGHTS – LED ZEPPELIN AT EARLS COURT MAY 1975 – A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD COMPILED BY DAVE LEWIS
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So what is this book all about?
30 x 30 album size de-luxe hardback book
288 pages – including approximately 62 colour photos, 155 black & white photos – 229 in all – plus 165 colour memorabilia images including Earls Court bootleg LP, CD and DVD sleeves etc.
Drawn from over 350 images sourced from various contact sheets provided by publisher Mark Smith, and with the assistance of Ross Halfin as associate picture editor, the best photos possible have been selected. Knowing that there has been a host of photos of the band at Earls Court published over the years, the objective was to select rarely seen images and unusual angles.
Amongst the many images are scenes of the stage being set up, close ups of the acoustic set, the band performing four part harmony on Tangerine, the Jimmy Page violin bow solo in Dazed And Confused, John Bonham explaining “football is a load of bollocks” and the Led Zeppelin emblazoned sign in view as they perform their encore numbers. In effect, every aspect of Led Zeppelin’s Earls Court performances is represented.
In laying out the photos for design and to get the feel of the five glorious nights, I have separated the photos into five sections each representing the individual concerts performed. Where possible, I have sequenced the photos in to something of a set list order for each night and supplemented them with some of Robert Plant’s comments from the stage at the time, along with a series of press comments that demonstrate the esteem in which these concerts were held by reviewers at the time. I have also attempted to match the photos to the nights they were taken though this has not always been possible. The bulk of the images used are from the May 17, 18 and 24 gigs – less photos have surfaced of the May 23 and 25 gigs. Therefore, I have applied some artistic license within the photo spreads to represent each night and performance.
Overall, much thought has gone into the presentation of the photos to best capture the visual impact of the superb images we have selected. The pic here shows another intensive wade through the proofs at StudioMix recently.
To complement the photo content, there’s a Preface that explains why these concerts were amongst the most important the band ever performed – plus interviews with promoter, Mel Bush, photographer, Barry Plummer and journalist Chris Welch. The appendix sections bring together various selected images of Earls Court bootlegs and magazine covers, and there’s also an appraisal of the 2015 reissue of Physical Graffiti.
The Foreword is provided by long time rock radio DJ, Nicky Horne who introduced the band on stage at the May 24 gig.
Five Glorious Nights is in a strictly limited edition of 1,000 books.
Rufus Stone Limited Editions have a proven record of producing large format books of high quality – their catalogue includes Deep Purple at the California Jam, Jon Lord All Those Years Ago and The Beatles Monochrome. This is a high end price but as you will see by visiting the Rufus Stone site, they pride themselves on producing quality books to an exceptionally high standard.
All books are individually numbered and printed on high quality paper with high end binding.
All books are individually numbered and personally signed by the author.
The book design is by Mick Lowe at StudioMix – highly regarded designer of previous Dave Lewis, Led Zeppelin books Feather In The Wind – Over Europe 1980 and Then As It Was – At Knebworth 1979.
Much more than a mere book of photos, the intention is to capture the atmosphere of the five Earls Court shows through these startling images – sequenced and presented in a way that unfolds the whole saga of this remarkable series of concerts – to be viewed and enjoyed time and time again.
Five Glorious Nights at Earls Court in May 1975 will be a superbly presented unique visual record of Led Zeppelin in their absolute prime.
Watch the preview video here:
Jimmy Page with his copy:
On July 16 2015 at Olympic Studios London , It was an absolute pleasure to hand over to Jimmy Page his copy of the Five Glorious Nights Earls Court book. Copy number 0001 naturally. I’m pleased to say Jimmy was most impressed – ”It looks amazing” he said. I signed a book for him and he signed my copy that I brought along.
Looking through the book, Jimmy commented on various photos notably the group shot on pages 238/239 – this is a side on shot during Trampled Underfoot. ”That is all four of us really going for it” he told me. (Dave Lewis)
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Here’s some feedback:
‘Five Glorious Nights captures Led Zeppelin at the peak of their career during the Earl’s Court gigs of May 1975. For those lucky enough to have been there, and for generations of rock fans who weren’t, Dave Lewis provides a front-row perspective on the action with an impressive choice of dramatic images by famous rock photographers who snapped the band in full-flight. Rikky Rooksby
It’s not often (these days) I’m blown away by things in general, but this book is fantastic. I expected it to be good, but this is beyond my expectations – John Copeland
Five Glorious Nights’ arrived this morning, a stunning book that takes you back to those magical May evenings at Earls Court all those years ago. It’s hefty size and weight can only reflect the power of those concerts, and the array of beautiful shots of the band in all their glory, a fitting tribute to Led Zeppelin in one of their momentous periods. To collate all the photographs and references must have been an Herculean task, but the wait has been worth it, a fine souvenir for all of us lucky enough to witness those amazing concerts, but also for anyone with an interest in Led Zeppelin. Thanks Dave and the team for all your hard work, just off to have another browse through the book, I can almost picture. Bob Harris in the spotlight and remember the intense excitement and anticipation of what was to follow in the next three hours that warm evening in May 1975. – Alex Machin
This book is amazing and has certainly given me an opportunity to think about something else for a while and something I can come back to.It certainly is something much more than a photo book. It is in fact an “experience” to go through. I went to the three show run and the memories of those nights is forever imprinted on my mind. The book certainly reinforces those memories and has reminded me of things I had forgotten. You and your colleagues deserve a lot of praise for the efforts required in getting such a publication together – well done. – Martin Vail
Just received my book had a quick run through like you do and after doing so had to email you personally to congratulate yourself and all concerned on what can only be described as one of the best books on Led Zeppelin I have seen! At last count I had 23 books on our beloved Zepp and this is right up there with the Neil Preston books and even Jimmy’s own book, you should be very proud – Del Sharpe
Just wanted to drop you a quick line about your book Five Glorious Nights. I received my copy today and I think it is stunning, I’ve had a look through and one of the things I love most are the quotes by the side of the picture, and also the way the pictures show the concerts as they happened, it really is wonderful, apart from a DVD of the concerts it’s the nearest I will ever have gotten to seeing these shows live. I didn’t fall in love with the band until 1990 when the remastered vinyl was released and that vinyl has become one of many Led Zeppelin treasures I hold dear to me. Thanks to yourself, Ross and all the other people that put the book together, I am very grateful. – Stephen Brockley
Dave – Fantastic job! I’m not just blowing smoke either. Could be your finest book ever. It’s not full of the wealth of info ‘Celebration Day’ and ‘The Concert File’ or ‘Final Acclaim’ for example but that’s understandable because we’re only talking (5) five nights here. So it shouldn’t be. In visual terms, it’s your finest piece of work. The photographs really capture the five nights from literally every conceivable angle. The full stage shots helped in that category. As with Jimmy’s book, it’s going to be years before I digest what all it has to offer and that’s hard to do at the moment because we are literally being bombarded with Zeppelin and that’s a situation none of us have any complaints about! As a musician, I could spend hours studying the closeups of Bonzo’s kit, Jimmy’s action setup on his guitars etc. I can almost see his amplifier knob settings! It’s fantastic! Keep up the dedication and hard work Dave. No other band can say they have a dedicated ambassador in their flock like Zeppelin can say regarding you. – Ken Winovich
Led Zeppelin Five Glorious Nights landed here in New Jersey in the USA a few minutes ago and it is just beautiful! I’ve listened to and watched the Earls Court shows many times, but now I feel like I’m experiencing them on a whole other level. Thank you, Dave, for the great care you gave this book and for the great care you give all your Zeppelin endeavours. Jim O’Donnell
’This is certainly money well spent. It is quite clear a lot of thought and effort has gone into this book and I think it is a must for any Led Zeppelin fan. It will take pride of place on my bookshelf, although I might have to strengthen the bookshelf as it’s a fairly hefty book!’’
Kevin Tubby – UK
The Earls Court Book – your finest. You can be very proud. It will stand the test of time as this is history on many levels. This is world class – it captures the greatest band at their greatest time. – Steve Way
Big Thanks to you for the book Five Glorious Nights book!You can look through the photos, read Plant’s quotations and really feel the atmosphere of those nights. Oleg Pavlov Moscow, Russia
Book #068 just turned up down here in New Zealand Dave…..thank you so much for such a beautiful piece of work, simply brilliant with class written all over it….you deserve every accolade that will be coming your way. Jason Noble
Wow! Your book is magnificent! Beautifully crafted in every way. Nicky Horne
I am stunned by the quality It’s absolutely awesome. Pictures and layout just great. I can’t say enough good things about it – very well done. Chris Maley
It has arrived! The book is gigantic. It is very factual, interesting and beautiful. Full of rare beautiful photos by many photographers.. The books are numbered, hand signed, and a serious must for collectors of all things Zep. Kimberly Grant Deleon
I just received the Five Glorious Nights book and wanted to tell you that it is fantastic!! Thank you for your hard work and the super job! Matt Walsh
Dave – I’m in LA, and just received Five Glorious Nights yesterday. Phenomenal – absolutely phenomenal. I look forward to playing my bootlegs of the gigs while turning the pages. Great stuff, and much gratitude. Roy Dunn
Oh my, oh my…. Am I in 7th heaven? Not just a great Zep chronicle but a glorious book for any aficionados of great gig photos. Amazing work Dave Lewis and I hope it gets the credit you deserve. Simon Croom
The masterpiece book arrived last Thursday and I`m tasting it like a good and old wine. Very slowly, enjoying, and hoping that the end never comes… Every page has a taste! What a job! What a band! The Zeppelin pinnacle and Dave and Mick as well at the top of their game. Priceless! Thank you both very much. Andre Cruz
A couple of longer reviews here:
Rarely does a book come along that actually fully captures a monumental moment in history. But with the new Dave Lewis Led Zeppelin Earl’s Court book, it’s as if you are actually there with a front row seat! Dave’s left no stone un-turned. The book reminds me of the best of those Kennedy Assassination books where every photo, every angle, every nook and every cranny of Dealey Plaza was uncovered on that fateful day in order to document what unfortunately in that case would become the saddest event in American history. In contrast, the Dave Lewis book is again, a celebration. I immediately get that perspective with this monumental book. Right off the cuff, you get the feel of the buildup to the gig as the trucks pull up, unloading stage scaffolding and chairs even before the band’s equipment arrival!
There’s ticket stubs, articles, set lists and reviews. You name it! But most importantly, photos from each of the five shows. And lots of ’em! And they’re not the usual far away shots, blurry, in-cohesive and foggy. They’re right up close and personal.
Led Zeppelin’s 1975 Earl’s Court shows were the band at the top of the rock and roll mountain where literally no other band hand gone before them. They are firing on all cylinders. At their best, no other band could touch them. Argueably, many might feel the 1973 U S Tour captured the band at the top of their peak. Some fans may even feel that 1977 was better or flip-flop back and forth between 1973, the 1975 Earl’s Court shows or the 1977 U S Tour…like myself. Nevertheless, this is Led Zeppelin at their best. Confident, in full swing and explosive!
The book is a nice compliment to the 2nd printing of Jimmy Page’s photographic biography. It has all the set lists and concert summaries as well as important tidbits from newspapers and reporters plus their quotes regarding these shows. You get a full spectrum of observations by many who witnessed these shows. This wasn’t just slapped together with “we’ll go with what we have” type of setting. It’s so full of gems, one would hardly think there’s anything left to add for a revised and updated version in the future! Not unless the former band members themselves would show up and say “I’ve been wanting to show this to the fans for years..” type of momentos.
If you are a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan, this book will give you the clearest look at the band ever. Even better than anything the band’s record company could possibly slap together and would be neck and neck with anything the band members themselves would put out and that’s what’s nice about it! You can easily tell that this was produced by a dedicated Led Zeppelin fan. All of Dave’s books are still used by me on a daily and weekly basis and this one is right up there with them if not eclipsing them all. From the care, planning and assemblage, it’s all here! It’s not only Dave’s perspective or account of the five London shows from May of 1975 since he attended them all. But there are quotes and articles from many others which prove this was a monumental event for London’s Led Zeppelin fans and those from other countries lucky enough to attend.
Many of the pictures are so close we can actually see the band members facial reactions and grins during the show. There are countless great shots of Page’s iconic black dragon suit, their equipment, Jones’s stand-up bass and more and I must say it’s going to take months if not years to thoroughly process all of it. Many Zep fans are musicians and we take the time to study Page’s guitars or Bonham’s drum kit and how it’s mic’d. It’s the best thing there possibly is short of the band actually releasing a DVD of these five epic shows. It’s Led Zeppelin….captured in the apogee of flight! The book includes all of the classic shots we’ve come to love and many more new ones! This is as good a non-video documentary as you could ever possibly hope to get! Fantastic!
Scale of 1 to 5 with ‘5’ being the best: 5-star rating! Utter quality! Well done Rufus Stone and Dave Lewis! Thank you!
This book, released in late June 2015, is a visual tribute to the legendary five nights that Led Zeppelin played at Earls Court Arena in London, exactly 40 years ago. The first thing that strikes you about this big and heavy book is the size, it is exactly 12 inches by 12 inches, the same size as a vinyl LP. This is a homage to the hallowed vinyl by the publisher. Rufus Stone have in the past published some large and lavish books on Deep Purple, the late and great Ronnie James Dio, the Beatles, Whitesnake, and Yes, a rather eclectic variety of musicians and musical art forms by anybody’s standard! However with this new book on Led Zeppelin’s very famous, if not legendary, five nights at Earls Court, the publisher has pulled off a remarkable visual feat for all Led Zeppelin fans. As already stated, this is a large and heavy book, but it can still be ready comfortably with it resting on your lap. It is indeed most fortunate that the author of this book is Dave Lewis, the man behind the superb Tight But Loose magazine, and numerous excellent books about the band. Dave attended all five concerts, so he can write with considerable authority and insight about them, as he witnessed each one first hand. He has put in a tremendous amount of hard work into this project, in fact as he just said to me in an email: “I put my heart and soul in that one, and then some!”. The book is heavy because of the high quality paper used in the printing. As the publisher advised me, it would have been a lot cheaper to have this printed in China. But quite clearly this book has been produced on the highest quality terms alone, not on costs. Hence why it is an expensive book, limited to 1000 numbered copies, each signed by the author. There is also a super deluxe leather bound edition, strictly limited to 100 signed and numbered copies, inside a white powder coated slipcase, that is completely sold out.
The book opens with a lovely introduction from DJ Nicky Horne, who introduced the band on the 24th May. He recounts that a few days after the concerts he was given a beautiful engraved Asprey’s silver goblet as a thank you, a lovely jesture from the band. Dave sets the background to these May 1975 concerts with a review of the North American tour that had run from late January to the end of March. This is followed by a detailed look at the the massive organisation and logistics of preparing for these five mammoth concerts. Each of the five nights are then covered, illustrated by countless superb colour and black & white photos from the well known photographers who were lucky enough to get passes for the shows. Intersperced on the pages are quotes from the press reviews, but mainly from what Robert Plant said each night to the audience. The quality of the reproduction of these photos is outstanding, and they add up to make this book one of the finest rock concert records extant. As a serious photographer myself (I bought my first Pentax SLR in 1971), I can appreciate the difficulties in shooting on film (negatives or positive slides) using only available light, at a concert with constantly changing conditions. With today’s massively powerful DSLRs it is straightforward to crank up the ISO and get shot after shot bang on. It was very much harder in those days, manually focussing as well. So the photos displayed in this book are a testament to the professionalism and skills of these photographers. Apart from the photos there are also colour reproductions of the adverts and posters, and at the end of the book all the tickets, bootleg LPs, CDs and DVDs are also illustrated.
Having carefully gone through the book, it is still very difficult to pick out my favourite photos, as there are so many great ones to choose from. Suffice it to say, this book is crammed full of outstanding images, which will bring great enjoyment to all fans lucky enough to own this book. Combined with the extremely high standard of printing (rare in this day and age), this all adds up to a truly wonderful record of those five concerts from exactly 40 years ago. There are also interviews with the promotor, Mel Bush, one of the photographers, Barry Plummer, and finally the music journalist Chris Welch. The book concludes with a brief resume of the events that followed these concerts, with Robert’s terible car accident just a few months later, that ground the juggernaut that was (and remains) Led Zeppelin to a halt. And also a look at the stupendous double LP that was the highlight of 1975, “Physical Graffiti”. The very last photo in the book, on the last page, is most aptly one of John Bonham, hard at work behind his drum kit. Without him there would be no Led Zeppelin, and there never can be again, he was totally irreplaceable.
Every serious fan of Led Zeppelin needs this beautiful and superbly printed and produced book. (Jules McTrainspotter June 2015).
Jules McTrainspotter June 2015 via Underground Uprising website.