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BBC RADIO ONE IN CONCERT – IT WAS 53 YEARS AGO TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL 1/LZ NEWS/ ROBERT PLANT & SAVING GRACE IN BLACKBURN/ PRESENCE AT 48 TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL 2 / BOOTLEG LP NEWS/ROBERT PLANT ALBUM BY ALBUM BOOK REVIEW/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

3 April 2024 802 views One Comment

TBL Archive Special 1:

BBC Radio One John Peel In Concert  – It was 53 years ago…

Reeling in the year: Capturing the sounds of BBC Radio One on a Sunday night in April – The Wonder of Devotion…

Led Zeppelin BBC Radio One In Concert – It was 53 years ago this week:

53 years ago, on Sunday April 4 1971, I first heard the music of Led Zeppelin performed live and the effect was pretty shattering to the ears of a young 14 year old – not to mention rather lasting…

The occasion was the Radio One broadcast of an hours worth of live Zep for John Peel’s In Concert programme (repeated the following Wednesday in the Sounds of the Seventies evening slot).

Recorded three days earlier at the Paris Theatre on the back of the band’s ‘Back to the clubs tour’, at the time this was a very big deal.

Zeppelin had not appeared on a BBC radio session since August of 1969 –their return to the UK airwaves was therefore much anticipated. Especially by me, tuning in at home on our portable radio eager to hear how they sounded on stage.

My trusty reel to reel tape recorder captured all the action blow by blow. Unfortunately due to the poor reception of the then 247  radio band of BBC Radio One –much of it was played out alongside the strains of several foreign radio stations drifting amongst the airwaves. I therefore ended up unwittingly with some rather unique versions of these BBC recordings!

Unsurprisingly I wasn’t the only one…

Long-standing TBL supporter Phil Tattershall has been in touch with his story:

Here’s one of the more prized items in my quite extensive Led Zeppelin collection; a reel-to-reel tape of the 1971 Paris Theatre BBC performance, recorded on the very day of the original broadcast. I remember connecting my old Etronic valve AM radio to the family reel-to-reel recorder in my bedroom that Sunday, 4th April 1971 and waiting for the broadcast to begin.  It didn’t disappoint; Led Zeppelin live for the first time – wow!

You’ll see from the picture of the reel that the tape isn’t all the same colour.  Why?  Well, my cousin Pete, who was a van driver in the early 70s, was given a job of collecting a load of junk for disposal from a London recording studio (no idea which one) and amongst it were a some boxes of old tapes of various sizes.  Blank tapes were expensive in those days (25 shillings for a five and a quarter inch reel – a fortune!) so Pete salvaged them and gave them to members of the family who had tape recorders.  My Mum and Dad claimed the five and a quarter inch reels for recording Sing Something Simple, the Black and White Minstrel Show, Pick of the Pops etc., but gave several three inch reels to me to play with. They were a variety of brands and formulations, but were the only tapes I had available to record the 1971 BBC concert, so to capture as much of the broadcast as I could, I used Sellotape to join them together and wound them on to a spare empty spool.

The pieces held together successfully, but sadly, the tape ran out during Boogie Mama in the Whole Lotta Love medley. However, I’d managed to capture a good chunk of the show for repeated listening and it served me well until I tracked down a copy of the TMQ Stairway to Heaven vinyl boot some years later

Now, as you probably know, the programme was broadcast again the following Wednesday, so you may wonder why I didn’t seize the opportunity to record the end of the show on the other side of the tape.  Well, Wednesday was the evening the local dads and kids all went to a very nice new indoor heated swimming pool in the next town and it was the highlight of my week.  (The pool in our town was outdoor and unheated – not much fun in April.)  I had the difficult choice of going swimming with the gang or missing out and staying home to record the repeat broadcast.  To my eternal regret, swimming won.  Pointlessly as it turned out, because when we got there, the pool was closed for maintenance and by the time I got home, the radio programme had finished.  Bah!
I’m probably the only person in the world who knows for sure that Hatfield swimming pool was closed on Wednesday 7th April 1971. Isn’t it strange how Led Zeppelin associations make the most trivial of incidents stick in the memory for life?

Phil – it certainly is…

My original tape has long since been lost – I have had a listen to the source above – it’s a better recording than mine though you can hear the AM background hum. I have to say hearing it in this lo fi authentic source was hugely nostalgic – it brought the sense of excitement I had as a 14 year old listening to that historic broadcast on BBC Radio One.

Back to my story…

After I had carefully set up my reel to reel tape recorder close the radio, the dulcet tones of John Peel spoke forth: ‘’This is something we’ve waited a long time for on the Sunday repeated on Wednesday show and I know it’s all going to be worth the wait. Would you welcome please Led Zeppelin.”

Oh yes we would welcome them Mr Peel. Blam! The battering ram riff of Immigrant Song reeled from the radio and I was in seventh heaven. This was Led Zeppelin live – and a riveting experience to behold.

I was already in love with their three studio albums, I had missed out on their 1969 broadcasts so hearing them live was absolute confirmation that all my enthusiasm was justified. On record they were fantastic -but their songs performed live took all into another stratosphere.

No more so than the next track that was aired. As I was later to discover via the bootlegs, this hour long presentation was edited down from a full set.

On this Sunday evening broadcast Immigrant Song therefore did not segue into Heartbreaker as was the custom of their then live act. Instead we heard Dazed And Confused. All nigh on 18 minutes of it.

This was my baptism into the free form improvisational world of live Led Zep. It was then I realised that the studio versions were just the starting point. Dazed And Confused live went off into all sorts of tangents – the drama of the slowed down intro, the violin bow episode, the call and response sequence through to the lengthy outro – it was all there.

Within the space of 18 minutes my estimation and appreciation of Led Zeppelin shot up 100%.

That trend continued as they performed a dreamy What Is And What Should Never Be, Stairway To Heaven and Going To California from their yet to be released fourth album, That’s The Way and the Whole Lotta Love marathon that had a rock’n’roll medley that included That’s Alright Mama and Mess Of Blues. Phew…

My original reel to reel tape (and the tape recorder) is sadly long gone. However, this BBC performance would emerge first on a series of bootleg LP’s (I had the BBC Broadcast LP with that great Will Stout pig cover on Trade Mark Of Quality when it initially came out in 1973) and then on a variety of CD bootleg sets and officially on the BBC Sessions album in 1997 and on the 2016 updated Complete BBC Session set.

So thank you John Peel for persuading Led Zeppelin to perform on Radio One again back in the spring of 1971. I have countless hours of live Led Zeppelin at my disposal but it’s that very first hour that still resonates as much as any, as it unlocked the (up until then) secret world of Led Zeppelin in concert. It ultimately led to a fascination for me to hear as many of their live performances as possible.

53 years on, that desire is as strong as ever – and Led Zeppelin as recorded at the BBC back in April 1971 remains one of my all time favourite Zep recordings.

On that April afternoon, as a fledgling 14 year old Led Zeppelin fan listening intently to every second of the BBC broadcast, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that many years hence, I would be asked by Jimmy Page to contribute liner notes to an official release of this epic recording.

That truly is the wonder of devotion…

Dave Lewis – April  4 2024

 

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Bath Festival 1970 footage is now in ‘Becoming Led Zeppelin’ – but not on YouTube anymore

The latest cut of “Becoming Led Zeppelin”, the delayed feature-length documentary about the origins of Led Zeppelin, includes the Bath Festival 1970 footage of the band that emerged on YouTube in 2022.

We broke the news this week that a new cut of the film that has been privately screened during the last year features the newly emerged footage and may even include Jimmy Page reacting to it.

The footage of Led Zeppelin performing on June 28, 1970 emerged on YouTube on September 29, 2022 when three clips of it were posted by Kinolibrary, a British film licensing business. It had been thought for years that the footage was too dark to be usable.

When LedZepNews went to find those clips this week, we found that all three performance clips (along with two further videos of the crowd at the festival) had been made private by Kinolibrary, hiding them from public view.

Why were the videos taken down? Our initial theory was that it was done at the request of the filmmakers behind “Becoming Led Zeppelin” since they had paid to use the footage in their film. After all, they’ve already caused other rare footage to vanish from the internet.

But it turns out that the footage was actually removed from YouTube at the request of the estate of Peter Whitehead, the film director who organised the filming of Led Zeppelin in 1970. Last year, we published a long article about his time filming the Bath Festival show as well as the January 9, 1970 Royal Albert Hall show.

It seems that Whitehead’s family, aware of the interest in the Bath Festival footage, have chosen to handle it directly and have taken over its licensing from Kinolibrary, causing its deletion from YouTube.


Showco: The Book … is back?

Back in 2012, it was announced that collector Jason Sprinzen planned to publish a book telling the history of Showco, the equipment company that worked with Led Zeppelin and many other bands on their tours.

A planned Kickstarter fundraising campaign for the book never worked out and the book’s Facebook page went silent in 2018. It jogged memories of the “Led Zeppelin Gear” book which also faced delays and drama around its self-published release.

However, the Showco book page sprang back to life yesterday with Sprinzen writing that the project had been “reimagined”. That may be in connection to the recent launch of a Showco website.

Jimmy Page

A box set of Jimmy Page’s live album with The Black Crowes is on the way

An expanded box set version of Live at the Greek, the 2000 live album Jimmy Page released with The Black Crowes, is due to be released next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the album’s release.

That’s according to Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson who was interviewed on The Howard Stern Show this week along with his brother Rich.

“We’re going to, I think, do a box set next year. It will be the 25th anniversary of that record. That record has been released a couple of times but without any of the Black Crowes songs that we did with him, so it’s very exciting,” Robinson said.

It’s likely that the expanded version of the album will include live performances featuring Page of Black Crowes songs including “No Speak No Slave”, “Hard To Handle” and “Remedy”.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant performed with Roger Daltrey and has been touring with Saving Grace

On March 24, Robert Plant and Saving Grace performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the final Teenage Cancer Trust Ovation performance. After their set, Plant joined Roger Daltrey on stage along with Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, Kelly Jones and Simon Townshend to perform The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”:

This week, Plant and Saving Grace performed in Liverpool on March 26, Sheffield on March 27 and Blackburn on March 29.

Plant now has a full month off the road before Saving Grace resume their UK tour on April 30.

For those of you curious about what else Plant has been up to, he was photographed visiting a bookshop in Hastings on March 23. Plant bought the latest poetry book by John Cooper Clarke, likely “WHAT” which was released in February, along with a biography of the poet. We’re assuming that’s “I Wanna Be Yours” by the poet himself.

Robert Plant announced a new performance with Alison Krauss

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss now have one more upcoming US show. They’ll perform at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic on July 4 in Camden, New Jersey. More information about the event is available here.

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones performed with Thurston Moore

John Paul Jones performed with Thurston Moore on March 24 in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of the Big Ears music festival.

Jones and Moore played instrumental songs on stage together with Jones playing a Manson bass guitar featuring his symbol from Led Zeppelin’s fourth album and then a grand piano, according to videos and photos of the performance posted online.

The show was the final performance of a three-day run of shows that began with a rare solo headline performance for Jones, then included a performance as part of Sons of Chipotle and concluded with the joint show with Moore.

Upcoming events:

  • April 2 – “The Beach Boys” by The Beach Boys, including a contribution by Jimmy Page, will be published.
  • April 5 – “Led Zeppelin: A Visual Biography” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • April 6 – The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will open at Wiltshire Museum.
  • April 20 – Jimmy Page is featured on the Yardbirds album Psycho Daisies that will be released on Record Store Day.
  • April 30 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Harrogate, UK.
  • May 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stockton, UK.
  • May 3 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Coventry, UK.
  • May 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at Cheltenham Jazz Festival in Cheltenham, UK.
  • June – Genesis Publications will release its deluxe poster set that includes a poster advertising Jimmy Page’s photographic autobiography.
  • June 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • June 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Camdenton, Missouri.
  • June 5 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • June 7 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
  • June 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • June 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • June 12 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Highland Park, Illinois.
  • June 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Toledo, Ohio.
  • June 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.
  • June 18 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vienna, Virginia.
  • June 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vienna, Virginia.
  • June 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Alpharetta, Georgia.
  • June 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • June 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • June 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • June 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Syracuse, New York.
  • June 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Wantagh, New York.
  • June 30 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Holmdel, New Jersey.
  • July 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
  • July 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Camden, New Jersey.
  • July 6 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Bethel, New York.
  • July 7 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss at the Outlaw Music Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
  • July 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Southend, UK.
  • July 24 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Woking, UK.
  • July 25-28 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Cambridge Folk Festival in Cambridge, UK.
  • August 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Missoula, Montana.
  • August 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Missoula, Montana.
  • August 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • August 13 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • August 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • August 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Seattle, Washington State.
  • August 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Seattle, Washington State.
  • August 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Eugene, Oregon.
  • August 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Murphy’s, California.
  • August 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Stanford, California.
  • August 24 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Paso Robles, California.
  • August 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Highland, California.
  • August 26 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • August 28 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • August 29 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • August 31 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • September 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Alison Krauss in Vail, Colorado.
  • September 15 – The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will close at Wiltshire Museum.
  • October 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bari, Italy.
  • October 9 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Naples, Italy.
  • October 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Rome, Italy.
  • October 12 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Florence, Italy.
  • October 14 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bologna, Italy.
  • October 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Turin, Italy.
  • October 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Como, Italy.
  • October 18 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bolzano, Italy.
  • October 20 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Padua, Italy.
  • October 21 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Trieste, Italy.
  • October 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Brescia, Italy.
  • 2025 – An expanded version of Live at the Greek, the live album featuring Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes, is due to be released.Follow Led Zeppelin News on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on news as it happens, and check ledzepnews.com for the latest news.

Many thanks to James Cook

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

http://ledzepnews.com/

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Robert Plant presents Saving Grace, King George’s Hall, Blackburn, March 29, 2024
Review by Hiroshi
Only four months after the unforgettable Gateshead evening still vivid in my memory, I was sitting on a gallery seat in another house of the holy, namely King George’s Hall in Blackburn, the last night of the first leg of Saving Grace’s Never Ending Spring…2024 Tour, waiting for the magnificent five to take the stage. I was so pleased when this new tour was announced after the rather unsettling statement Robert made on stage in Wolverhampton last year and the rumour of their inactivity that ensued.
So they came, they saw, they conquered. They impressed the crowd and then left the stage. As they always ever did.
In every concert review of Saving Grace I submitted to TBL, I didn’t spare words of maximum praise. Vibrant as the show was, the way I felt this time is somewhat different.
In my humble opinion, the evolution of Saving Grace reached the culmination with the Fall tour 2023, which was encapsulated in the final, long overdue addition of four Led Zeppelin songs to the setlist. Prior to that, the only indications that gave the nod to the monolithic presence of Robert’s former glory were no more than the snippets of Black Dog and In My Time of Dying, which greatly teased the crowd.
I had seen Saving Grace live five times before; i.e. Warrington and Chesterfield 2021, Edinburgh and Glasgow 2022 and Gateshead 2023. They were all fabulous. In each season I attended the show, they amazed me with some added magic ingredients. The Blackburn show was the first occasion that I felt Saving Grace offered little beyond what I already knew. Apart from one song, I Never Will Mary (a beautiful song delivered with another heartfelt duet of Robert and Suzi), it was a well tried and tested, familiar recipe. No, it’s not even the same. A few songs were dropped from the previous song selections with no replacements whatsoever except for the aforementioned INWM (among those that disappeared this time is the beyond-the-word beautiful It’s A Beautiful Day Today that is greatly missed). In Blackburn, Saving Grace played for a little shy of an hour and thirty minutes. This is the shortest I have ever been treated to at their show. In 2021 they played for approximately 1 hr 35 mins, and in 2022 and 2023, 1 hr 45 mins. As a seasoned concertgoer, I know a longer show does not necessarily result in a better show. That being said, I feel Saving Grace has now adopted a more concise and trimmed down set for whatever reason.
Musically speaking, it feels like they are in a defense mode rather than advancing at this moment. As was suggested by the good lady Janet to Dave, Robert and Suzi duetting on Battle Of Evermore (great idea indeed) could have elevated the show to a whole new level. It wasn’t to be.
That aside, the performance was impeccable in itself as it ever was. The three backing musicians’ extraordinary instrumental prowess and the songs delivered with finesse were all there to be savoured. Robert’s never-changing quips, that weird sense of humour as well. And Suzi’s beaming charm that enchanted the floor, too. The ecstatic crowd rose to their feet when they finished the show with And We Bid You Goodnight.
Hopefully they will introduce some more new material next time I see them. Remember, “Ever Onward”.
Report and pics via Hiroshi.

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Here’s a round up of the Blackburn gig from Andrew Pepworth…

Well after a potholed road to get here from Bury through Tottington, Edgworth,Blacksnape and Eccleshill we got to Blackburn safely.

It was a  short walk from the hotel to King Georges Hall to see the wonderful Saving Grace with a certain Robert Plant. Tonight’s gig  Now what can i say, tonight’s gig was wonderful and different to the one at Salford Lowry last November.

This band is getting better all the time. They started of with The Gospel Plow and highlights included the Bert Jansch cover of You Don’t Bother Me. Tain Song and Angel Dance was a highlight. The encore was medley of Gallows Pole, Black Dog and In My Time Of Dying. Hopefully there will be a Saving Grace album at some point ahead.

Here’s some pics via Andrew…

 

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TBL Archive Special 2:

Presence at 48:

48 years ago this month, Presence, the seventh Led Zeppelin album was released worldwide. To mark the occasion, here is a Then and Now perspective I collated for the 2015 reissue – 48 years on it’s still the true heart and soul of the Led Zep catalogue…

Presence…Then:

For me personally, the Presence album is and always be tangibly associated with my own circumstances of the time. Playing out my own soap opera, as an impressionable 19 year old caught up in my first love affair played out to the soundtrack of the new Led Zeppelin album.

Back in early August 1975 we were still bathing in the warm afterglow of Earls Court. That feeling was promptly curtailed when the news came through via the national press here, that Robert had been involved in a serious car smash on the Greek island of Rhodes.

It was in early September that I read in Rolling Stone that the band had decamped to Malibu to aid Robert’s recovery – and were planning to write and rehearse for a new album. Subsequent news reports had them sighted on stage in an ad hoc performance in Jersey. There was also the report in NME that they had recorded a new album in Musicland Studios – in a mere three weeks and it would be released in early 1976.

So in January 1976, I rang the Swan Song office in London to find out a release date and more details. March was sited – the Melody Maker ran a news story not long after that the album would be titled Obelisk and released in February. They were on the right lines with the title –as we know an obelisk would be the distinctive feature of a simply bizarre cover design.

Before all that, Robert Plant had given some ‘good to be alive’ interviews in New York. He mentioned one track to be titled Achilles Last Stand ”You know immortal but for the heel -or for being a heel. I mustn’t joke about it because I’m very proud of it”. 

The very nature of the title laid down its credentials – I just knew it was going to be an epic. In his review of the Presence album in Sounds, Jonh Ingram declared it would be ”A motherfucker live”. Both these forecasts would prove to be entirely correct.

sounds

Jimmy Page’ s press interview for the album staged in March were equally positive. ”It really does sum up a period for the band  A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future”.

Achilles Last Stand was indeed an epic – as I was to find out on the evening of Saturday April 3 1976. Alan Freeman had played the entire album on his Saturday afternoon show – alas I was working that day but we taped it and – the first time I heard that opening salvo unfold was in a car travelling the byways of Bedfordshire on a bright spring Saturday evening.

It sounded like something from another planet. It sounded simply magnificent.

I still have that original BASF tape. Somehow it sounded more impressive than the LP. I think it may be a slightly different mix – and there is a slight edit in Royal Orleans. During that broadcast, Alan Freeman let the whole album run without gaps or links between the tracks – there is some noticeable surface noise in evidence indicating it may have been an acetate playing.

Upon its arrival in the record department of WH Smith where I worked, Presence caused a sales rush I’d not seen in the store since – well the release of their last album Physical Graffiti. The store had a side window and that space was reserved for an entire display of the album put in by the WEA display team. How I wish I had taken a photo of that window and the bemused reaction of passers-by as they gazed a the Higpnosis sleeve design in some bewilderment.

object 3

The WEA rep that called on the WH Smith store also kindly arranged for me to receive a stand up counter display and hanging mobile – ordered direct from Swan Song in New York.  What a moment that was when it arrived and after it’s use in the shop, it was to eventually appear in my Zep shrine of a bedroom.

A week after the release of Presence, my then girlfriend Fiona and I went to London on a Saturday to hang around the Kings Road Swan Song office -just to be near their aura -it’s what I did back then! I remember peering into the basement window of the office and seeing a poster for the album framed.

Presence went on to become our soundtrack of that very hot summer of 1976.

On in the mini bus when we went to see The Who at Charlton Athletic football ground, out on the Phillips portable cassette player by the bank when we swam in the river.

I also took the album to every party we went to, including one memorable 18th birthday party of a friend staged at a sedate village hall Here, the pulsating tones of Achilles Last Stand momentarily replaced the more dulcet tones of The Real Thing’s current disco smash You To Me Are Everything – much to the astonishment of the rather less rock orientated young ladies to be found dancing around their hand bags!

I also made a rather bizarre Presence fashion statement. In November ,when it came to showing my colours as it were in dressing up to attend The Song Remains The Same film premiere at London’s Warner West End (where we had queued overnight to get tickets), I came up with a rather novel idea. The cardboard black obelisk Object that had come with the aforementioned hanging mobile was strung arund my neck to join the Page like white scarf I was wearing. It must have looked faintly ridiculous though Jimmy seemed impressed when I thrust it his way when they came up the stairs to take their seats at the cinema that night!

Unsurprisingly, bits of cardboard obelisk mixed with scarves did not catch on around the Kings Road. However, my empathy for the seventh led Zeppelin album did not wane one bit.

The release a mere six months after Presence of The Song Remains The Same, did overshadow the Presence album for a while. I was all over the live soundtrack and subsequent screenings of the film – but when I returned to it a year or so later, Presence still sounded the business.

In the intervening years, I’ve remained incredibly loyal to Presence, often justifying its greatness in print and in the pub!

It was one of the first Zep albums I acquired on CD around 1988 and by then, it had become my near fave Zep album.

I for one was not surprised when at the 02 reunion, the previously unplayed live For Your Life enjoyed all the plaudits it so deserved as being one of the evening’s undoubted highlights. I’ve always had a great affinity for that track.

I have a fair few copies of this album, including one that retains the original shrink wrap –and another that has an inscription by Aubrey Powell the co-designer of the sleeve –this says ‘’What’s that obelisk exactly?’’ –a reference to the mysterious sleeve. This was signed for me by Po when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in 2005. Recently I’ve picked up a Chile pressing with a single sleeve and full title and track listing sticker. I also have a copy personally signed to me by Jimmy Page.

So to the album:

The thing about Presence  is that it was the product of adversity. On the run from the UK tax system, Plant injured in a car accident, tour cancelled, all energies quicky funnelled into making an album as quickly as possible.

For Jimmy Page,this adversity spurred on a surge of creative drive.

It was an act of defiance and protection. Their whole existence as a band was now in question. Plant’s car cash had rendered them unable to perform live –  something they had always taken for granted. Page suddenly became the absolute leader again. It was at that point he must have realised above all the craziness that surrounded them, it was the band, the music and the ability to perform together that was the whole reason for being in Led Zeppelin. Indeed for him inventing Led Zeppelin in the first place.

That realisation ignited Page’s creative muse and motivation to the extent that he wanted the album to be completed quicker than anything they had recorded since the debut album. His reaction was to take a firm hand grip of the Munich recording sessions, leading them in much the way he had at Olympic in 1968, many of the arrangement occurred in the studio as they were recording. When the studio time ran over, he wrapped it up with a massive overdub session with engineer Keith Harwood.

That urgency and spontaneity made for little time for the experimentation of the past.

For on Presence there are no boogies with Stu, no hat’s off to Harper’s. No funk or reggae parodies – no mellotrons or synths. Just full on full power Led Zep. The basic bass/drums/guitar/vocal approach gives the record a very live feel – leading to my conclusion that Presence is the nearest they got to capturing over a complete studio album, the unpredictable edge and power of their on-stage performances.

It’s also stock full of Jimmy Page’s genius guitar rages. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are all as good as anything he has ever applied himself to.

Given the circumstances it was recorded under, this seventh Led Zeppelin album was an amazing achievement – it’s an album that reflects the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin.

Presence… Now:

unboxing four

So to this new remaster – and as was the way with Physical Graffiti, I played it through non stop at full blast. Sound wise, it has the same new sheen that has characterised the previous reissues.

Achilles retains the majesty and mystery that so transfixed us way back.

For Your Life has that undeniable dark lyrical edge has it grinds its way through its six minute duration. The Page solo here still sounds like one of his best …maybe THE best – unfolding with incredible venom.

Royal Orleans is full of funk on a lighter level punctuated by Page Jones and Bonham pounding out the riff, over which Plant unfolds the humorous story of road fever goings on in a New Orleans hotel. Bonzo’s conga drumming is right to the fore half way through and benefits greatly from this new remaster.

Over on side two, Nobody’s Fault But Like Mine is graced with a truly startling introduction as good as any track anywhere. For all their early blues musings they never dressed up an old blues tune more inventively than when they re wrote Blind Willie’s Nobody’s Fault. Lemon squeezing Delta dealings merge with Page’s sonic guitar technology. Absoluyely masterful.

In the 50s singer Ral Donner skit Candy Store Rock, we find them just turning themselves on – playing on a 50s groove in the manner they approached the countless off the cuff juke box faves within many a Whole Lotta Love live medley. On the new remaster this a revelation – as the echo effect of Plant’s vocals zip right across the speakers.

The pure intuitive swing of Hots On For Nowhere reflects its very live in the studio construction and as Charles Shaar Murray so astutely noted in his NME review of the time, brings to mind ”What Glenn Miller would have sounded like if he had played in a murderously heavy four piece rock band”.

Leaving the understandably downbeat Tea For One, a slow blues reflecting Robert Plant’s hurt at being away form his family. ”Time goes very slowly when you cant kick a ball or kick a roadie even kick your drummer so time has been the teacher and I’ve been the pupil” he noted at the time.

Summary: This new Presence remaster only goes to emphasis how great an achievement this seventh Led Zeppelin album was, and is. A crucial album in the catalogue which will rightly attain many accolades in the coming days and weeks. Folks – you are going to absolutely love this one…

Companion Audio Disc Content:

pres_invert_(257x257)

So to the Companion Disc Audio content:

For Your Life (Reference Mix) 6.28

As the riff halts each time, there’s a pronounced echo effect. Altogether a  denser mix. At 3 mins 18 additional vocal nuances from Robert. Again the overdubs are more upfront. The solo is an alternate version – the final stinging one has yet to be added. This one bends and twists on to the canvas creeping up on the listener in the process. Always on the edge…and essential in any mix..

10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix) 6.48

Opens with low key piano from John Paul Jones. Instantly reminded me of the JPJ piano concerto type solos applied to the live versions of No Quarter in 1975 notably at Earls Court. The plaintive piano arrangement also recalls to mind his playing on Ice Fishing At Night on The Thunderthief solo album.

Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 01 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry. It all leads on to something of a crescendo in an All My Love outro tempo.

So Jonesy did take the piano out of the flight case for the Munich recordings – it’s emergence throws a new light on what had previously thought to be an  18 day frenzy of guitar, bass and drums arrangements.  There was indeed some subtly going on down at Musicland Studios and here it is. One for the theorists indeed – but one things for sure, with a suitable Plant lyric this has all the makings of a classic Zep romantic offering in the Ten Years Gone/In The Light vein. An absolute revelation.

Royal Orleans (Reference Mix) 3.01

A‘3-4’ count in and hi-hat from Bonzo and we are off for a reference mix that features a very different vocal delivery to the officially released version.

Robert Plant applying the lyrics in a harsh bluesy manner which reminded me of Dr John. The final gruff snarl at 2.52 of ‘Oh whiskers’’ brings to a close a very unorthodox Plant vocal performance. Robert taking on the role of the New Orleans night tripper…

Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix) 4.47

Both the vocal and bass are much more upfront in the mix which makes for a grittier texture. There are no vocal overdubs on the outro section just Roberts ‘Oh- ho-ho’’ – right through to a full ending after Jimmy’s guitar part as Robert adds a final ‘’Aha oh- oh- ho’’ phrase. Still swinging without the overdubs…

Which leaves one performance left to dissect:

Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand ( Reference Mix) 10.28

The vocal track is more upfront and with less echo and sheen making for a different texture to the vocal. The stereo effect of the guitar overdubs has a slightly different resonance. Slightly alternate overdubs in the mix at 5 min 53. The ‘’I know the way, know the way, know the way’’ overdub has yet to be added.

On the ‘’Aha aha-a’’ Robert refrain, Jimmy plays right along with the vocal creating a call and response sparring effect. At 9 mins 12, there’s an extra Robert vocal croon and more echo effects – all leading to a more defined   jangling Page finale. The guitar army cometh – and the grandiose just got even more grandiose…

So let me leave this overview of  Presence on an Achilles note. 

So much has happened since I first heard that epic performance for the first time some 46 years ago on a spring Saturday evening. In a world where the only thing that’s constant is change, for me Achilles Last Stand still acts as something of a standard bearer of their music.

The defining moment of the defining band…and now the final mesmeric chord progression performed by Jimmy Page at the close of a Led Zeppelin masterpiece, marches relentlessly on in this new remaster of the Presence album – still searching for that place to rest the search….

”Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth”

Dave Lewis – April 6,2023

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The Mystery Of The Object: That Bizarre Sleeve.

In the January 17 issue of Melody Maker, a news report suggested that the forthcoming Led Zeppelin album would be titled Obelisk and was due for release on February 20. Although they were a good six weeks out with the release date, and the eventual album title, the rumour of Obelisk gave hint to the actual sleeve design. For the sleeve would feature an obelisk (dictionary defined meaning: monolithic shaft of stone, square or rectangular in section with pyramical apex or simiar shape) or as Swan Song would dub it “The Object”.

The first visual evidence of this was leaked to Sounds in early March. “US adverts for the new Zeppelin album look like a scene from an early Sixties breakfast cereal ad” is how they described the illustration. By now the album had been officially titled Presence and Atlantic’s marketing team were advising of the delays in a press release as they tried to co-ordinate their sales campaign, stating that “Led Zeppelin oversee all and every detail of the production of their albums to ensure the end result is nothing short of excellent. Finally, on April 6 1976, the full extent of the bizarre gatefold sleeve was revealed alongside the seven new compositions it housed.

Zeppelin had created a series of enigmas with their controversial and striking sleeve designs. For Presence they went right out on a tangent. The idea was conceived by Storm and Po of the Hipgnosis design team who’d worked on the Houses Of The Holy sleeve. The concept came about after a group meeting between Hipgnosis, Peter Grant and George Hardie (a fine art designer who had worked on the first Zeppelin sleeve). It was apparent to Storm and Po that Zeppelin projected an almost unseen presence of power – the brief was to translate that presence into a visual illustration.

Storm takes up the story. “What we came up with was the idea of placing an item from one time or another into a surrounding from another time. So we chose all those pictures from the Forties and Fifties and contaminated them with the presence of the black obsessional object. The black object stands as being as powerful as one’s imagination cares it to be and we felt Zeppelin could rightfully feel the same way about themselves in the world of rock music. So, in those scenes The Object. as we dubbed it, was essential to all parts of the society. And those people in the scenes were trying to discover what The Object was – and how its presence was felt.

“The front and back pictures were shot by us. The back cover girl was the same child model we’d used in the Houses Of The Holy shoot. All the inner spread photos were lifted from US magazines such as Life and Look. The object was pointed on by Richard Manning – Jimmy Page actually asked us to alter the shape of the design of it and the title Presence was their suggestion. I think the whole sleeve concept was very appropriate for Zeppelin. The band are a very powerful band, musically and socially, and the black object is a definite thing of power. Its pervasive presence and mystery appealed very strongly to them.”

Jimmy was in agreement with most of their ideas. “It came out of that conversation when Hypgnosis said we had a very positive force. The fact that four people can create an effect. there’s definitely a presence there – and that was it. They came up with The Object and wanted to call it Obelisk. I held out for Presence. You think about more than just a symbol that way.”

In designing The Object, Hipgnosis were commissioned by Swan Song to have around 1,000 of them made as a three dimensional promotional items. Not all of them were welcome in the Zeppelin households.

object one

The mystery prompted Rolling Stone reporter Cameron Crowe to call the London Swan Song office. He reported the following: “Richard Cole answered the phone ‘I’ve no idea what it all means. I’m not sure they even know. Hold on for Robert”. Cole clamped his hand over the phone and returned to the receiver. ‘This is great’. Plant came on and exclaimed, ‘I’m glad people are wondering what it means. The most I can say though is that everybody should work it out for themselves – it’s not hard to work out especially for our Kubrickian fans.’ Plant’s comments seemed a clue that The Obiect is Zeppelin’s miniature modified version of the monolith featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Designer Aubrey Powell denied this. ‘Didn’t think of that – I just had a tremendous feeling when we took it to them that this design was absolutely right for the band at this point in time’. Back to Plant ‘Whatever you want to say, it says it. The Object can be taken in many ways. Let’s just say we like plucking these mysteries out. We used symbols on the fourth album. They’re fun and add to the music. But there’s not much fun in knowing everything is there?’”

The Kubrick 2001 theme was also taken up by an hilarious Earth News radio special broadcast in the US at the time of the album’s release. Here’s some of that dialogue: “The Object is black… and twisted and obviously worse for wear and tear since its original appearance in 2001. To look at it on the pictures decorating the new Led Zeppelin album it would seem The Object is now back in the year 1950 or thereabouts. Robert Plant has contemplated The Object perceiving in it the messages that others might discover in The Pyramids of Egypt. ‘It’s been ever present throughout time,’ he told us. ‘We just took one moment in time in which to illuminate its presence in society.’

“The Object may not be welcome everywhere – it appeared recently in the home of John Bonham who told us this story. ‘While I was away my wife received one of these Objects in the post and put it on the table. There was tape machine running, recording the children singing, and when they played it back, there was another sound on the tape altogether so there’s something to think about. In fact Pat put it outside the house we won’t have it in the house at all.’ So be forewarned! If Led Zeppelin’s music is sounding a little strange to you lately it may be because of that Object on the cover. If so, follow the lead of John Bonham’s wife and put the album sleeve out of the house.”

In the UK this speculation was taken up by Sounds who asked readers to write in with their own explanations. The results are published here in full – glancing at them some 20 years on, one can only marvel at the eccentric reaction all this Object scrutiny prompted. It was another episode in the grand Zeppelin guessing game. Did it really mean something, or was it all part of their playful desire to add to the mystique?

Whatever it was, you can hardly imagine anyone getting worked up about a sleeve design in this miniatured CD jewel box age. Back then these things seemed to matter as anyone weaned on double gatefold sleeves in the Hipgnosis/Roger Dean/lsland era will testify. However, just when it seemed we were all about to get mixed up in the pretension of all this Object lark – it was firmly debunked by popular satire rockers of the time Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias. In a superb spoof on the artwork of the official Zeppelin UK ads, the group advertised their new album with the illustration of “The Thing” – an upright version of The Object all under the slogan “The Albertos Give It To You Straight”.

After seeing that, I can imagine the likes of the more down to earth Bonham reversing his decision to keep that obelisk out in the garden, laughing out aloud at this scam and explaining something along the lines of “I think The Objects a load of bollocks”.

Great art or a load of bollocks? The mystery of The Object (if indeed there was one) certainly kept us all bemused and amused long after the album had drifted from the charts during the late summer of 1976.

And finally…

As mentioned above, In 2005 I met with Hipgnosis co -designer Aubrey (Po) Powell when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant promo video. While he was here, he kindly signed some of my Zep album sleeves and when it came to the Presence sleeve he wrote on it mysteriously ”What’s that obelisk exactly ?”Here’s a pic of the sleeve.

Dave Lewis – April  2024

 

 

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LATEST LED ZEPPELIN BOOTLEG LP RELEASE NEWS:
There are two new LP releases due in April that contain classic shows from 1969 and 1971.
THE HAND THAT FEED (No label 3LP vinyl box set) DUE IN APRIL
Fillmore West, San Francisco 27 April 1969 Soundboard
TONIGHT, YOU WILL BE HAPPY (No label 2LP vinyl) DUE IN APRIL
Festival Hall, Osaka 28 September 1971

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My thoughts on…
Pictures At Eleven Robert Plant Album By Album by Martin Popoff (£16.99 – Wymer Publishing)
Here’s the latest offering from the incredibly prolific Canadian based rock/metal author Martin Popoff. His 120 book catalogue makes my 17 Led Zep books in 40 years look rather paltry in comparison.
This Robert Plant offering, part of his Album By Album series, is basically a transcript of a series of episodes from the YouTube channel The Contrarians which Martin operates with Marco D’Auria
The Contrarians is a platform for discussing an artist’s catalogue album by album and track by track with various guests. The nine contributors featured carry with them various credentials in rock journalism. For this 288 page paperback volume they stick firmly to the eleven solo albums
Robert Plant has produced from his 1982 debut Pictures At Eleven to the 2017 album Carry Fire.
So this is not one writer’s study of Robert’s career but an oral overview in a question and answer format with each album analysed by a varying panel of contributors. This can make for a rather disjointed approach with a lot of contrasting opinions making themselves heard.
When it comes to the difficult third album Shaken N Stirred, there is just one contributor Ralph Chapman which works better for me. However, the contrasting debates do make for some thought provoking reading.
In only going with the eleven solo albums, the 1984 Honeydrippers Vol One album, the 66 To Timbuktu compilation which has a CDs worth of early Plant performances and odd B sides plus the pair of Raising Sand/Raise The Roof collaborations with Alison Krauss are rather glaring omissions to the story. The latter two albums in particular have been a crucial part of his post Zep output.
The book does benefits from a tight format with occasional quotes from Plant band members Jezz Woodroffe ,Richie Hayward and Plant himself.
Each album presented is also accompanied by full background credits and a detailed timeline.
Pictures at Eleven – Album By Album might not be considered the definitive word on the subject, fans who cannot get enough of Robert Plant will find much to enjoy and mull over here with the appropriate playlist of the Nine Lives box set and subsequent Plant albums to hand.
Dave Lewis – April 1, 2024
Ordering details here:
https://www.wymeruk.co.uk/…/pictures-at-eleven-robert…/
Note – Martin has another Zep related volume due out later this month Led Zeppelin The Visual Biography via Wymer Publishing – more on that soon…
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DL Diary Blog update:

To the always excellent Esquires venue in Bedford last night for a visit from the Los Angeles based band The Long Shadows. This acted as a brief homecoming for their Bedford born guitarist Luke Bossendorfer.
Luke was in a number of Bedford based bands back in the late 80s and 90s and had a stint in The Quireboys. I wrote some of his first reviews when I did a weekly local pop column in the Beds Citizen newspaper. This was his first visit for five years and there was a strong turnout to greet him and The
Long Shadows. Before the action it was great to have a catch up with Luke plus Roger Lett, Lee Abrahams, Lynn Baker and Kev Bailey.
Following a special guest acoustic set by the always engaging Spike, The Long Shadows took to the stage and from the off it really was a case of what was not to like.
Their incisive delivery of a whole lotta juke box faves went down a storm.
For starters, a quick fire selection of Yardbirds numbers, A Certain Girl, I Wish You Would and Heart Full of Soul all hitting the mark.
From there the hits just kept on coming. Jeff’s Hi Ho Silver Lining, The Kinks You Really Got Me , Let’s Stick Together, The Price of Love in the Bryan Ferry arrangements and a trio of Bowie bangers – The Jean Genie, Ziggy Sturdust and Suffragette City.
There own material was also highly effective with Crossed The Line and I Know,I Know,I Know maintaining the momentum. Front man Gary Twinn was a commanding presence throughout and the duel guitar thrust of Luke and Mick Cripps worked a treat.
Add to that a gorgeous run through of Ronnie Lane’s Debris and Ooh La La and on the home straight Squeeze Box (the second performance of this song I’ve witnessed in a week – Roger Daltrey performed it on Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall), Shakin’ All Over, Satisfaction and Gloria.
A frantic Around And Around closed a performance that really did cast a quite glorious long shadow over a joyful audience.
All in all a triumphant return for one of Bedford’s favourite musical sons. Welcome back Luke – here’s to the next time…
Many thanks to Pete Burridge and all involved in putting this one on – it was a cracking night.
Dave Lewis – March 29 2024
Saturday March 30:

Saturday is platterday – marking Eric Clapton’s Birthday with the rather brilliant 461 Ocean Boulevard album which is coming up for it’s 50th anniversary…

Saturday March 30:

Charity shop CD result today – the lot for £4 -I’ll take ‘em!

Sunday March 31: 

Thinking of dear much missed Andy Adams on the occasion of his Birthday – so many great memories….so greatly missed…

Sunday March 31:

It’s a Happy Birthday to Mr Declan Hickey…
A very special friend since we met in 1974 all of 50 years ago, unique musicologist and all round top man…
Happy Birthday from Janet and I mate, have a great day!

Sunday March 31:

Yesterday on the eve of our 40th wedding anniversary, the good lady Janet and I had a fabulous day in St. Albans.

We stayed on to catch the excellent Led Zeppelin tribute band Coda who were playing for the first time at the Horn venue – as ever they were brilliant…

Monday April 1:

53 years ago today on April 1 1971 Led Zeppelin recorded a special show at the BBC Paris Theatre which was broadcast three days later on the John Peel In Concert programme on BBC Radio One…I taped in on my reel to reel player on that day…so on the player the Stairway To Heaven bootleg on the Trade Mark of Quality label that has recordings from this legendary show… I bought this when it first surfaced in 1973

Monday April 1:

The good lady Janet and I would like to offer many thanks for all the lovely messages, comments, cards and flowers we received yesterday on our 40th wedding anniversary…
We had a fantastic weekend and feel very blessed indeed…
Thanks again and cheers!
Tuesday April 2:
In the light of our wedding anniversary all of 40 years on Sunday, (we were married back in 1984) so keeping the 80s theme going here and on the player this one really fits the bill.
Gary Crowley’s Lost 80s – an excellent 4 CD compilation from the DJ packed with hits and misses from the era from the likes of Prefab Sprout, Aztec Camera, Haircut 100, Culture Club, The Dream Academy etc.
Plenty of the singles that the good lady Janet and I sold when we worked together at the WH Smith record department in the 80s – oh what fun we had and this set takes us right back…
Tuesday April 2:

The new issue of Uncut is in the house – a whole lotta Bowie going down – Ziggy cover feature plus a special free supplement – count me right in…

Wednesday April 3:

On the player celebrating its release all of 48 years ago the rather brilliant  Led Zeppelin Presence – this is the original copy I purchased on the release Dave from WH Smith where I worked including the 60p off sticker – and signed for me in 2014 by Jimmy Page ‘’To Dave – Ever Present…

Thursday April 4:

It was 53 years ago today…
53 years ago today, On April 1 1971, I first heard the music of Led Zeppelin performed live and the effect was pretty shattering to the ears of a young 14 year old.
The occasion was the Radio One broadcast of an hours worth of live Zep for John Peel’s In Concert programme.
Recorded three days earlier at the Paris Theatre on the back of the band’s ‘Back to the clubs tour’, at the time this was a very big deal.
Zeppelin had not appeared on a BBC radio session since August of 1969 –their return to the UK airwaves was therefore much anticipated. Especially by me, tuning in a at home on our portable radio eager to hear how they sounded on stage.
Beforehand I carefully put the jack plug from my reel to reel tape recorder into the radio to capture this historic moment. Then the dulcet tones of John Peel spoke forth: ‘’This is some-thing we’ve waited a long time for on the Sunday repeated on Wednesday show and I know it’s all going to be worth the wait. Would you welcome please Led Zeppelin.”
Oh yes we would welcome them Mr Peel. Blam! The battering ram riff of Immigrant Song reeled from the radio and I was in seventh heaven.
This was Led Zeppelin live – and a riveting experience to behold.
I was already in love with their three studio albums, I had missed out on their 1969 broadcasts hearing them live was absolute confirmation that all my enthusiasm was justified. On record they were fantastic -but their songs performed live took all into another stratosphere.
No more so than the next track that was aired. As I was later to discover via the bootlegs, this hour long presentation was edited down from a full set. On this Sunday evening broadcast Immigrant Song therefore did not segue into Heartbreaker as was the custom of their then live act.
Instead we heard Dazed And Confused.
All nigh on 18 minutes of it…
This was my baptism into the free form improvisational world of live Led. It was then I realised that the studio versions were just the starting point. Dazed And Confused live went off into all sorts of tangents – the drama of the slowed down intro, the violin bow episode, the call and response sequence through to the lengthy outro – it was all there.
Within the space of 18 minutes my estimation and appreciation of Led Zeppelin shot up 100%.
That trend continued as they performed a dreamy What Is And What Should Never Be, Stairway To Heaven and Going To California from their yet to be released fourth album, That’s The Way and the Whole Lotta Love marathon that had a rock’n’roll medley that included That’s Alright Mama and Mess Of Blues.
Phew…
My trusty reel to reel captured all this action blow by blow. Unfortunately due to the poor reception of the then 247 metres radio band of BBC Radio One –much of it was played out alongside the strains of several foreign radio stations drifting amongst the airwaves. I there-fore ended up unwittingly with some rather unique versions of these BBC recordings.
No matter –I had an hours worth of live Led Zeppelin on tap…and life was very good indeed.
Subsequently this BBC performance would emerge first on a series of bootleg LP’s (I had the BBC Broadcast LP with that great Will Stout pig cover on Trade Mark Of Quality a year later) and then on a variety of CD bootleg sets and then officially on the BBC Sessions album in 1997.
I wish I still had that reel to reel tape version but it’s long disappeared along with the reel to reel tape recorder. I do still have the original BBC Broadcast album and some fantastic CD versions and I’ll be blasting those out this week in celebration of the 52nd anniversary of this iconic recording.
So thank you John Peel for persuading Led Zeppelin to perform on Radio One again back in the spring of 1971.
I have countless hours of live Led Zeppelin at my disposal…but it’s that very first hour that still resonates as much as any, as it unlocked the (up until then) secret world of Led Zeppelin in concert.
It ultimately led to a fascination for me to hear as many of their live performances as possible. 53 years on that desire is as strong as ever.

Update here:

As can be seen above yet another busy week with our 40th wedding anniversary and a whole lot more going on. We really did have a fantastic Easter weekend celebrating our anniversary and feel very blessed.

April is here and there’s a fair bit going on with the annual Record Store Day a couple of weeks off. As usual there’s one or two items I am hoping to secure. More on that ahead…

Thanks for listening

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  April 4 2024 

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Rich Farquhar said:

    Dave, first and foremost, Happy 40th Anniversary to you and Janet! Through your books, website, Facebook, I feel like I know both of you without having met!

    Several years ago, I found a BBC Transcription Services vinyl of the famous 1971 Led Zep BBC Show. The vinyl is from London. Had never seen it prior or since – and I shop for records weekly. All over the U.S. Am sure you have a copy (?). What an exception recording. Always been a favorite of mine.

    All the best,
    Rich from Atlanta GA USA

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