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So this is Christmas …so here’s some Led Zep related Christmas memories….

TBL Retro Christmas Reflection:

 Christmas always bringing with it that air of nostalgia, so here’s a seasonal TBL retro reflection from 1972:


49 years ago on Saturday December 23rd  1972, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the closest gig Led Zeppelin ever played to Christmas in the UK. It was a cold dank day and the walk up Muswell Hill to the Alexandra Palace was a bit of a trek. All worth it of course, as this very impressionable 16 year old was again in the company of musical giants.

The venue itself had not been used for a gig for years and was a little cold and impersonal – the sound also suffered a fair bit swirling around the high ceiling. Zep of course were brilliant – I had already read they were playing new tracks off of what was still being described as Led Zeppelin V (it would emerge as Houses Of the Holy the following March.) Hearing Over The Hills And Far Away, The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song and Dancing Days was an immense thrill.

William Jellett the well known rock fan known as Jesus who frequented many London gigs at the time stripped naked in front of me (ooerr!) and played a tin whistle during Jimmy’s Dazed violin bow solo (he sadly passed away in January).

The Whole Lotta Love medley was memorable for a great Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Let’s Have A Party and a scintillating  I Can’t Quit You Baby.

Zep gig number two was ticked and I wanted more…much more… though that opportunity would not come around for nearly two and a half years. By then I had a new mantra. If Led Zeppelin were playing in the UK I wanted to be there…luckily that would all come to pass…


Long time TBL contributor Phil Tattershall was also at the December 23rd show – here are his memories of his first Led Zeppelin concert…

The announcement of Led Zeppelin’s 72/73 UK tour was incredibly exciting.  I’d had a copy of the double LP, Live On Blueberry Hill for a while and I’d captured their 1971 BBC radio performance as it was broadcast using our family reel-to-reel tape recorder.  Both had been played to death.

I was 18 in 1972 and I’d recently started work, but my old schoolmate Dave* was still job hunting.  He had a bit of spare time, also a motorbike, which meant he was just the man to journey into London in the vain hope of securing tickets for one of the Alexandra Palace shows from Harlequin Records.  Unbelievably, he was successful and managed to buy three tickets, the third being for another schoolmate, Neil**.

I proudly announced to my colleagues in the office that I was going to see Led Zeppelin, but being much older than me, they didn’t share my excitement.  I was shocked to learn that none of them had even heard of Led Zeppelin!

My first wage packet had been spent on a battery-powered cassette recorder and I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to try concert recording for the first time.  Dave was a keen photographer and thought he’d try to take some pictures to complement my efforts.

The week before the show, we went for a ride on Dave’s motorbike to Alexandra Palace, to make sure that the ancient machine was capable of completing the 45 mile round trip.  It was a curious hybrid vehicle, self assembled from parts of two other bikes dating from 1936 and 1948.  It would need to transport three of us on December 23rd, so Dave had bolted an old sidecar to it.  I remember that reconnaissance expedition well; it was freezing cold and I sat in the sidecar listening to a cassette of ELP’s Trilogy album on both legs of the journey.  (I learned later that the sidecar was attached to the motorbike by a single bolt.  Dave was a bit of a slapdash mechanic!)

Come the 23rd, Dave, Neil and I undertook that intrepid journey from Hertfordshire to north London.  It was as cold as it had been the previous week, but the bike and sidecar served us well.  Outside the venue, I bought a show programme for 25p, which I later learned was unofficial (and is now very collectable!) and chatted to a guy from New York who had bought a ticket from a tout and was fearful that it might be a forgery.  It looked the same as mine though and I think he managed to get in OK.  My voluminous police-service surplus great coat served a dual purpose: it kept out the worst of the cold and effectively concealed my rather large cassette machine.  I gained access without hindrance.

Above the 1972 bootleg programme which I purchased outside the venue on the night – – the image is actually  Marc Bolan taken from a poster (thanks to Pete Burridge for that info).

Inside the hall it was apparent that there had been problems during the soundcheck and curtains had been hung from the ceiling in an attempt to tame the cavernous venue’s wallowing acoustic. It was an all-standing event and I was surprised that the hall was nowhere-near full, probably little over two-thirds of the floor space being occupied.  I later learned that fire regulations had limited the number allowed to attend.

There was no support act, just a children’s cartoon shown on a small screen above the stage.  I remember the cheer from the audience when one of the cartoon characters swallowed the contents of a bottle labelled ‘Super Speed Pills’.  Hmmm… that certainly wouldn’t be allowed in these days of political correctness and child protection.

The lights dimmed, I pressed the record and play keys of my cassette machine and hoped for the best.  As the band took to the stage, the bloke standing next to me was hit on the head by a beer can thrown from behind, prompting a stream of foul language from him and his companions.  The can’s impact and the subsequent profanities are perfectly captured on my tape.  Sadly the music, at the time the loudest noise I’d heard in my life, is less well preserved.  The poor cassette machine was overwhelmed by the volume and the recording is hopelessly overloaded.   The tape tangled 25 minutes into the show anyway, so it’s hardly an indispensable document.  Dave fared little better in his efforts to capture the visuals and his pictures were disappointing too.

The show itself was astonishing.  Of the songs from the yet-to-be-released Houses of the Holy LP, I remember being particularly impressed by Dancing Days, while friend Neil, a guitar player himself, was blown away by The Song Remains The Same.  The high point for me was the violin bow sequence in Dazed and Confused.  Thanks to my bootlegs, I was very familiar with the live version of the piece and always imagined each “da-da da-da” element being generated by a bow strike.  When I witnessed every other ‘da’ blasting out as the bow hit thin air, I genuinely thought some sort of sorcery was afoot.  (It wasn’t magic, of course, but an Echoplex unit.  I was so disappointed when I found out.  Jimmy was a mere human after all!)

Luckily, another amateur recordist was on duty that night and his results were infinitely better than mine.  My first experience of Led Zeppelin live was preserved for posterity and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.  One thing the taper missed as he flipped tapes was Robert’s “Goodnight – we’ll see you next year”.  I remember it well, because I was thrilled that it wouldn’t be too long before I could see them again.  As it turned out, I had to wait until May 1975, but I’m sure Robert’s intentions were honourable when he gave me what seemed a personal assurance.  I also recall narrowly missing out in the scramble to grab the tambourine he threw into the crowd at the end of the Whole Lotta Love medley.

The motorbike journey home in cold rain was deeply unpleasant, but we didn’t care; we’d seen the greatest band in the world.

When safely home, I extracted the tangled mess of tape from my recorder and reassembled it into a spare cassette shell.  As already described, the sonic results were disastrous, but, forty years hence, I still have that souvenir.

A couple of days later, back at work, the office manager, who was ten years my senior at 28, asked, “How did your pop thing go Phil?”  “Pop thing!??!!”, I thought to myself.  This wasn’t a “pop thing”: this was Led Zeppelin.  But there was no point in entering into lengthy discussion on the topic.  The older generation would never understand.

*Dave had another go at photographing Led Zeppelin in 1975 and was rather more successful.  The photos can be seen in TBL issue 15.

**Those familiar with one of the better audience recordings of the first Knebworth show will have heard a voice loudly proclaiming  “I can’t hear the bass, can you?” during The Song Remains the Same. That’s Neil.

Phil Tattershall.

ALLY PALLY – THE MIKE TREMAGLIO LOGS  (as featured in the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book) 

Here’s the Alexandra Palace lowdown via Mike Tremaglio’s concert logs  which appeared in TBL issue 30.

Friday, December 22nd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 130 & 58 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Mellotron Solo/Thank You

Once again, Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker reviewed the concert in the “Caught in the Act” section of Melody Maker (January 6, 1973).  Charlesworth praised the group as “about as perfect a band as you could hope to hear.”  He wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about the venue, saying it was “never built to rock” and that the “atmosphere inside this giant hall seemed cold and forbidding…there was a diminishing sound that flew up into the rafters and returned as a disjointed series of echoes.  My guess is that only about half the fans heard the music as it should have been heard.”

Saturday, December 23rd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 131 & 28 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. The Crunge, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Heartbreaker

The band played the second of two shows at the “Ally Pally.” The setlist is virtually identical to the prior evening, except the Immigrant Song, mellotron solo, and Thank You were all dropped from the set.  The Crunge, which had typically been played during Dazed and Confused, was incorporated into the Whole Lotta Love medley.

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:
Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at

Robert Plant picks his Tracks Of My Years on Ken Bruce show Radio Two:

Rock Legend Robert Plant chooses the Tracks of My Years all week with Ken. In November the former Led Zeppelin frontman together with 27-time Grammy winner Alison Krauss released their new album Raise The Roof reuniting the two after some fourteen years. It follows the historic success of their first collaboration Raisin’ Sand which reached number 2 on the Official UK Chart, generated multi-platinum sales and earned six Grammy Awards including Album and Record of the Year.

More Nostalgia -the way we were in 1971 – The Christmas UK and US Album Charts:

Here’s the UK and US charts as published this week in 1971. A double top for the new Led Zeppelin album (the recently released fourth album).

My, there’s some amazing albums lined up here… Imagine, Electric Warrior, Rod, Santana, ELP, Isaac Hayes, Wings, The Who and many more – I have a fair few of the albums on this chart in my collection for sure!


Here’s the UK music related Christmas TV line up all of 50 years ago in 1971…











A TBL Christmas Carol:

As you get over the turkey and mince pie overload – here’s a little piece of TBL fiction on how things might have been back in the Jimmy Page household Christmas 1979…

It was Christmas 1979 and Jimmy Page was feeling pretty pleased with himself.

The last of the presents were wrapped and under the tree. The turkey was all ready to cook. In the kitchen he switched on the Amstrad 7070 radio/tape deck and pressed it to radio medium wave mode.

‘’All in all it’s just another brick in the wall…’’
The familiar school kid’s chorus of Pink Floyd’s current Christmas number one single blared out.

How that song grated on Jimmy. Not because it was a bad effort – Roger Water’s The Wall concept seemed quite interesting. It was just Pink Floyd at number one in the singles chart? It just didn’t seem right.

If any of the mega selling 1970s album selling bands should be at the top of the charts surely it should be his band Led Zeppelin?

‘’We might have missed a trick there’’ he pondered. Walking through into his home studio complex, Jimmy fired up the mixing desk. As the LED lights lit up the room he smiled. This was a good piece of kit. A wise investment. Mixing the last album here had been a luxury. Quite how they would ship it all to the new house in Windsor he wasn’t sure.

He pulled a quarter inch tape reel off the shelf marked on the outside ‘’Punk Song – Polar Studios November 21st 1978’’. That was a Bonzo joke. ‘’Let’s do the fucking punk song!’’ he used to shout from behind the screens in Abba’s Stockholm studio in his gruff Midlands accent.

Jimmy loaded up the reel and pushed the fader up to nine. Phew this was powerful stuff. It made Pink Floyd sound like the Salvation Army. The track was called Wearing And Tearing. It should have gone on the album but they had decided to save it.

Then it was Jonesy who said that would be good for Knebworth. They had rehearsed it but somehow it didn’t fit the mood.

Then G came up with the idea to release it as a special single to be available at the gigs. Somehow they ran out of time. That seemed to happen a lot these days. It was never like that back in 1969. Oh no, they’d go in record and mix and then blam, there was the album.

Simple days. Anyway if they had released it, 150,000 people who attended the shows would have brought it making it an easy number one single. That would have beaten Pink Floyd’s attempt at an unlikely hit single into a cocked hat. They could have even filmed a video to go with it.

That was the latest fad now. They were all doing it. That new Police one was a good one. Walking on the Moon, yeah that was it with Sting and co walking around the NASA complex. He’d have liked getting into character for that. They could have got those astronaut suits on that the Apollo guys used. It reminded him of that old promo French poster that superimposed their heads on to an original moon shot photo.

Videos…yes. What was that recent Buggles hit? Video Killed The Radio Star. He had heard that played at Radio London when he and Robert had recorded a show for Stuart Coleman recently. It was no joke though – videos seemed to be the future. He needed to speak to Po and Storm at Hipgnosis about that in the new year. Bet they could come up with some mad ideas.

Wearing And Tearing stopped abruptly on the tape. Jimmy leaned over to fade it and then heard some laughter and banter on the tape…and then Jonesy counting in 1-2-3-4…Oh yes The Hook…as they nicknamed it. All My Love .

He had forgotten this outtake was on the same tape. He couldn’t make up his mind about that song at the time. Was it really their style? It was a bit soft….but Robert had his reasons. This version had the long fade out. Jimmy picked up the Botswana brown Telecaster that was lying on the chair in the studio. He began playing along, strumming the chords at the ending. ‘’Sometimes, Sometimes Ooh yeah, I get a little bit lonely, when I think about it ’’ pleaded Robert.

This was actually a pretty good track. They could probably do that live on stage.
Quite when that would be, well who knows? They’d thought about doing a Bull Ring in Spain but that was a wild idea. Robert had gone on about playing Manchester and Newcastle, a full UK tour. Maybe that was what was needed.

Get back to the people like they did in ‘71. But the critics would hate it.

Oh how he hated the music press. Even trusty old Chris Welch seemed a bit off these days and the Melody Maker had given In Through The Out Door a right slagging.
Jimmy had been so angry when he saw it he set light to it. Burnt the entire paper. Banished it from the house.

Yeah they’d slag us off and who needed that? Robert, Bonzo and Jonesy were talking about getting up with Paul McCartney at his Kampuchea benefit gig in London over Christmas. He’d be away on holiday in Barbados so that was a no go.

What they really needed to do was to get back to America. That’s where their audience lay. The last album had sold two million there already. He had been thinking of framing that telex he’s got from Mitchell Fox in the New York Swan Song office telling them every Zeppelin album had re- entered the Billboard chart off the back of it.

No punk rockers and new wavers to contend with over there. Oh no – just The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen with that flashy guitarist. ‘’I could still show him a thing or two’’ Jimmy mumbled as he fluently moved his fingers up and down the frets.

America: Los Angeles, the Hyatt, Seattle, the Edgewater, New York, the Plaza. But Robert wasn’t going to go with any of that. Not after all the trouble in Oakland last time. They didn’t need that craziness again. They just needed to play. Like the old days.

The tape ground to a halt. The phone began ringing. He let it ring for a while and then picked it up.

‘’Hi Jimmy its Peter. Merry Christmas’’.

‘’Merry Christmas G’’

‘’Jimmy, I’ve been thinking, how do you fancy a run around Europe in the summer?’’

‘’What’s that involve G?’’

‘’Well I reckon we can do about a dozen gigs. I’ve been talking to Fritz Rau the top promoter in Europe, he said they’d be no fuss. Three or four thousand seater places mainly. Cologne Sporthalle, a couple of bigger ones maybe the Festhalle in Frankfurt and Munich. Santana and Zappa and Roxy Music are doing that circuit too.

What do you think?’’
‘’Yeah sounds great and no fucking press’’

‘’Yup no press. We can leave those fuckers behind. Tell nobody, just pitch up. I’m hoping Richard will be up to it. Some of the Bad Co crew are on hand too around then. We can scale it down a bit . Just take a 120 lamps and a few spotlights. That’ll please Showco. I’ve got a good feeling about this.’’

‘’Yes but…what about America?’’.

‘’Well that’s it really. We’ll get Robert up and running again on this tour – like he used to be, you know really full of himself. John won’t be away from home too long and Jonesy, well he’s probably fed up with the school run. It’s ideal. Then when Robert sees how good it can still be, I reckon convincing him we need to go back to America will be a doddle.’’

‘’G this sounds great. Feels like a bit of a rejuvenation. That’s what we need’’.

‘’I know. We proved we were still the best at Knebworth, now we need to go out and there and show ‘em what we can still do.’’

‘’I’m up for it. This is what we need to do. Get back out there playing.

This has been the best Christmas present I could have asked for.’’

‘’I’ll send the new Bentley back then!’’

Oh no please don’t!

‘’Jimmy we’ve been looking out for each other since we were stuck in that fucking Greyhound bus going across America with The Yardbirds. The 1980s will be no different. In fact I’m thinking of calling the US tour ‘’The 1980s Part One’. Short bursts of touring will really suit us. This new decade is going to start just like the old one did.’’

‘’G that’s great. Merry Christmas –I’ll see you when I get back’’

‘’Yeah Jim have a good one yourself and all the family’’

Jimmy put down the phone. He could hear Chas And Dave’s Christmas show wafting through from the TV in the lounge. They were doing a rocked up cockney version of Silent Night. He pulled the studio door shut.

Jimmy then pulled the Gibson Les Paul out of its case and plugged in the amp.
His hands almost instinctively hit the chords of the old Johnny Burnette classic Train Kept a Rollin’. The one they had jammed on at that first rehearsal in Gerrard Street way back.

He pressed down on the wah- wah pedal emitting a howl of feedback.

God that felt good.

Oh yes they just had to do this one again on stage. Maybe even open with it like they did in the early days.

1980 – It was going to be like 1968 all over again. He’d show the critics.

They were going to be a working a band – his band.

They were going to be Led Zeppelin again.

America was theirs for the taking
Good old G, he always had a plan smiled Jimmy to himself.

He replaced the Gibson and shut the studio door.
Back in the lounge on the TV Chas and Dave and their guests were doing a conga to their hit song Gertcha.

He grinned as he bent to switch the TV over.

‘’There’s no fucking way you’ll be supporting us next year!’’ he laughed.

The channel switched to a Christmas carol concert. ‘’We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year’’ sang the choir.

Jimmy sat down to take in the festive sounds.

”Happy New Year.”

Yes thought Jimmy…1980 that’ll be a happy new year….a happy Led Zeppelin.

Surely nothing can stop us now?

Written by Dave Lewis – Christmas 2009:

So there it was – a piece of fun TBL fiction for the season –  the real chain of events that unfolded in 1980 can be found in detail in the book Led Zeppelin Feather In the Wind – Over Europe 1980

Yet more Christmas TBL Nostalgia:

Here’s some reflections from the Christmas period of 1978. At that time I was ensconced in writing text for what would emerge as the first issue of a magazine about Led Zeppelin titled Tight But Loose. I was compiling all that in between working full on at WH Smiths in Bedford – it was the beginning of my balancing my retail record shop job with the Zep work -something that would be prevalent over the next few years.

Here’s a bit of TBL history…

43 years ago, I was well aware there were other fan clubs and societies of other name rock bands bands – notably The Who, Genesis and Simon Robinson’s Deep Purple Appreciation Society –in fact Simon’s Darker Than Blue magazine would be a huge influence on the TBL mag in the early 90s alongside the Bruce Springsteen mag Backsteets.

It occurred to me that given the fact I had built up a bit of a rapport with various fellow collectors/enthusiasts, I might take on the challenge of forming some sort of appreciation society. The term ‘appreciation society’ though did not feel right – I needed something different, something more substantial… and behold, it was staring me in the face, on the cover of the NME etc., every week.

For this was 1977 and a new musical phenomenon known as Punk Rock was sweeping the nation. Punk Rock was built on do it yourself ethics from the playing to the presentation. Thus, when it came to documenting on paper this new movement the magazines that chronicled bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Stranglers, Buzzcocks etc, were crude, hand written but highly effective affairs dubbed ‘Fanzines.’

So called as they were literally produce by fans. The leaders of this particular pack was Sniffin’ Glue and Ripped And Torn. At the time I was a frequent visitor to the Vintage Magazine Shop in London’s Cambridge Circus. They regularly stocked the US mags such as Circus, which I was always eager to buy if Zep were featured. This particular visit I noticed a copy of Ripped And Torn and promptly invested.

This was a light bulb moment, for wading through the crude hand written but brilliantly enthusiastic prose of this so called ‘fanzine’, I thought, would it not be a good idea to produce a similar volume purely based on the world of Led Zeppelin? This would eradicate any rather old fashioned ‘appreciation society’ methods of linking like-minded fans and provide an outlet for my scribing.

It would of course be with some irony that, given punks distain of the old guard dinosaurs of rock (of which Zep were the forerunner) I would go on to create such a fanzine, blatantly inspired out of the do it yourself punk tactics of the likes of Ripped And Torn.

Although underneath all the hype of the time, it’s now known that Johnny Rotten and co actually liked Zep and in turn both Page and Plant lauded the punk movement, even visiting the punk club, The Roxy in early 1977.

Anyway, punk rock or not, in the autumn of 1977 I set about hand writing my first edition. At the time, I had little money to invest in this idea and also no access to a typewriter. So black ballpoint pen it was.

What was also need of course was a title for this hot new fanzine.

Initially, I went through the more obvious ones of which Candy Store Rock was a one time leader. I felt, though, it needed something more individual something that projected the air of mystique that was so associated with Zep at the time.

What I need was a wording that described their music – not in an obvious way, something more oblique – a mission statement, if you like, and I found it not unsurprisingly, in the pages of the music press.

In separate interviews during their 1977 tour, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant both mentioned a phrase that rang out like a bell for me. In an interview with Circus magazine talking about their on stage appearance Jimmy was quoted as saying ‘’There were some tremendous perfoamces las tnight.It was very intense…we were tight,yet loose..Loosley tight’’.

In an interview with Melody Maker’s Ray Coleman, Robert also used the phrase. Talking about their legacy, he said, ‘’We have to bring out our very best all the time because kids have a right to expect that, but we don’t have to produce it in a stiff upper lip way or it comes out the wrong kind of way.. It’s got to be Tight But Loose. That’s probably the title of the next album’’

There was a risk, of course, that they may well use the phrase as the title for the next album. Putting caution to the wind, I went with it anyway and the first prototype pages of what would become Tight But Loose issue one were photocopied at the local Bedford library in early 1978.

At that point I had amassed a fair bit of text. This included a feature on what a chronological Zep live album might contain (this never did make the TBL mag but I later used it to form the basis of the Led Zeppelin Live chapter in the A Celebration book), a Swan Song discography with commentary about each release, another feature that never made it into the mag) plus a long rambling piece on the Earls Court gigs which I had begun writing in the summer of 1975. The latter would go on to be the centrepiece of the first issue.

With Zep off the road following the tragic curtailment of the 1977 tour I was launching this new fanzine in a fallow period. However, my plan to publish in the summer was delayed by a series of game changing events.

In early 1978 I replied to a query in the Wax Factor column in Sounds – one of the weekly music papers of the time. This column was run by the late Barry Lazell and basically offered information to queries sent in by readers. One such letter requested how to obtain Hey Hey What Can I Do. Under the guise Dave ‘Ace Zep Fan’ Lewis (more on that to follow), I replied giving the correct info. I made similar correspondence with Barry over a query about the Blueberry Hill bootleg – both of these were published.

Having given myself a bit of identity by labelling myself Dave ‘Ace Zep Fan’ Lewis in my correspondents with Barry in Sounds, I also began signing off my letters with same. I’d seen the expression Ace Fan in a copy of the underground magazine, It in a feature on The Rolling Stones. I thought (rather pretentiously, in hindsight) it laid my credentials out as a serious fan. Wisely, I dropped this tag after, I think, TBL 3. I can tell you dear Howard Mylett ribbed me about it for years after!

In late May (around the time of my ‘leap of faith’ with The Who at Shepperton), I received a call from Geoff Barton, at Sounds. He had evidently seen the Wax Factor replies and wanted to enlist my assistance on an upcoming Led Zeppelin feature. This was to be an ambitious three week series celebrating the band’s tenth anniversary.

The brief was for me to supply a timeline history of the band for Geoff to work with, plus a full discography. I suggested to Geoff that we include a bootleg listing and other pre and post session details. I’d only ever seen the basic Zep discography and I saw this as a major opportunity to present an extensive showcase of the band’s recording history to that period.

In June 1978, I met with Geoff Barton at the Sounds office in Long Acre, Covent Garden, to discuss all this at length. I took in a whole load of memorabilia for them to photograph to illustrate the feature – programmes, photos, and a fair few vinyl bootlegs (no jpeg scanning in those far off days!). Looking back, I was a bit naive entrusting them with all this and one or two items did go missing.

Back in the Dents Road bedroom during the summer of ’78, I set to work on collating all the info required – all hand written, I might add. It was a real thrill to be finally finding an outlet for the masses of info I had collected and logged, and knowing that it would be seen by fans across the country. I was also in touch with Swan Song and told them of my involvement. I have to say there did seem some tetchiness between Sounds and Swan Song. Not that it was any of my business, this uneasiness would later result in Sounds being banned from having press passes for Knebworth – which is another story altogether.

So, by early August all my info was at the Sounds office ready to be incorporated into this lavish series. Boy was I excited.

On Thursday, September 14, the first part appeared – with a cover photo of the now much seen group posing by the car shot taken by Dick Barnatt (see TBL 35 for the full story). The series was dubbed ‘The Complete Led Zep’.

Looking over it now, it’s very evident that presenting this outpouring of Zep info in Sounds back in September 1978 was clearly the moment I broke out of my bedroom, as it were, and found a true connection for my thoughts, passion and enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin.

Following the running of the series two things happened. Firstly, I began to get letters and correspondence via Sounds from fans requesting further info and discussion on the info I’d presented.

It’s worth mentioning here that being a Zep fan back then was quite an insular thing. There was no social media to share this enthusiasm, but as I said, I myself was in touch with a few fans, notably Howard Mylett and Brian Knapp in the US. The Sounds piece did much to galvanise a lot of interest and through the feedback I was receiving, I quickly realised there were many fans out there as keen as I was on the band.

Secondly, I got paid for the feature and hatched a plan to use that money to fund the printing of the first issue of Tight But Loose. During October, November and December of 1978 I carried on scribing away on the contents of the hand written first issue.

The centrepiece as mentioned was the impassioned overview of the Earls Court shows, principally the May 24 show for which I had transcribed many of Robert’s between song comments.

I had already decided that the format of the mag would flow in much the same way as the NME – with specific features and headlines, ie., a news section, major central features, a reviews section, plus a free ads section for readers to place ads for Zep items and I also had what I described as a Hip Pen Pals listing for fellow fans to get in touch. All very quaint when matched with today’s social media interaction. The reviews included the then recently released Ballcrusher bootleg, Robert’s early solo single Our Song and the Trampled Underfoot UK promo single.

There was also a quiz to enter, with the winning prize being that Trampled Underfoot UK promo, it was won by Mick Humphries who is still a subscriber. There was also a Loose Talk column which rounded up small news items in the manner of the NME’s Teasers column.

Also in the debut issue was o a report of the very inspiring conversation I had with Robert Plant at the Goldiggers football tournament he took part in at the Empire Pool, Wembley, which I attended on November 5th, 1978.

As for photos and illustrations, initially there was scant regard for copyright or ownership. I merely cribbed a few of the pics I’d collated over the years. That policy would quickly change to a more ethical one moving forward.

And as for proof reading, that was fairly non existent. Just winging it, there were some howlers that got through. Looking back I should have employed the services of my good friend, Dec who’s actual job was in the proof reading department of one of the local papers. Spell checkers were yet to be invented and again some of my spelling was, well… erratic. I guess what it lacked in finesse and professionalism, it made up for in enthusiasm.

In fact the whole editorial stance was that this specialist periodical was being written by a fan for the fans. A value that that 40 years on still stands. This now may be what I do for a living as editor author and publisher, but fundamentally I am still a fan.

Considering I don’t have great handwriting (writing mostly in capitals, at least it looked presentable), I laid out the designed text in much the same way I had my scrapbooks – pasting it all up in an A4 format.

I took the master sheets off to a local print and photocopier, Jaycopy. The young lady, Elaine was very helpful in sizing it all up and their machine rolled out 200 unbound editions.

I had to staple the pages together myself and I still have a slight scar on the second finger of my right hand where I stapled said finger to the page! Such were the trials of these early days.

The first advert I placed was a simple one in the NME in late 1978, and I repeated the same ad in Sounds. I’d hoped to publish at the end of 1978 but the UK was hit by a bout of icy snow conditions. I can vividly recall trudging through the snow carrying a box of the hot off the press TBL issue 1.

The first letters back from the early ads were sent a flyer advising that TBL 1 would be published on February 10th. I set a price of 35p and away it went.

It’s worth noting that I only ran the mag on an issue to issue basis. There was no subscription offer. I think that was down to my rather tentative approach to it all. I never really saw the full potential of what I might achieve with it – a naïve view, looking back. As for the idea of making TBL a profit gaining venture –that was never in mind. The objective was to ensure there was enough cash flow to fund the next issue.

Further ads with the price and details went in Sounds. The response was excellent. Within a month I’d sold out the initial 200 and had another 100 printed.

Hand written and low budget it may have been, but TBL was on the map. The second issue appeared in May and a Knebworth special in October. The platform of communication between like minded fans across the globe was well and truly established.

That Christmas of 1978 was therefore an exciting one for me with the prospect ahead of documenting the world of Led Zeppelin. In between the usual socialising and playing for the Wallbangers football team, I immersed myself in writing about the subject that I was most passionate about.

Fast forward 43 years on and not much has changed. Writing about Led Zeppelin and the music that inspires me continues to be part of my DNA.

Dave Lewis – December  22,2121

Saving Grace Birmingham Review:

Here’s an illuminating review of the Saving Grace Birmingham gig by long time TBL supporter and musicologist Jonathan Taylor…

Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant and Suzi Dian  – Birmingham Town Hall,  December 16 2021:

Robert Plant is the last member of Saving Grace to walk onstage, just after the band have gently led the audience into Sarah Siskind’s “Too Far From You”.

But he does not to stride to the mic; Plant, all in dignified but purposeful black, walks quietly to the rear of the stage, acknowledging the applause with a small hand gesture that simultaneously says ‘thank you’ and ‘now listen to Suzi Dian sing’.

Stage front and right, Suzi Dian, elegant in flowing dark green, sings “Some nights I don’t sleep at all…”  in a voice so pure your heart is already six ways to broken. And we’re into an incredible evening with Saving Grace. Plant joins the chorus, adding his rich, resonant tone to the song, but never overshadowing Dian.

Because this is Saving Grace.

Yes, Robert Plant is part of this band, but so are Oli Jefferson (drums and percussion), Tony Kelsey (mandolin, guitars, vocals), Matt Worley (guitars, banjo, cuatro) and of course Suzi Dian (vocals, accordion). This is so much more than Plant and a backing band; there is alchemy at work here, as these remarkable musicians weave their melodies and rhythms with consummate skill.

Suzi Dian, possessed of a voice with such beauty and clarity, has her solo moments in addition to dovetailing harmonies with Plant. In a set that includes music by Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson, Low, and Moby Grape she shines, never more so than in her potent yet relaxed lead on Donovan’s “Season Of The Witch”, which segues in to a “For What It’s Worth” ending.

Jefferson’s drumming is on point throughout, beautifully understated; Worley’s rich baritone and deft playing embellishes each and every song, whilst Kelsey conjures deep resonating magic from a beautiful Danelectro, underpinning the night’s music.

And, of course, there is Robert Plant, checking his Rock God mantle at the door (though still exuding such a stage presence…it comes so naturally to him now), looking relaxed and so very at ease, happy to be singing again and clearly revelling in making music with the members of Saving Grace. He jokingly refers to Saving Grace as “a covers band”, but these are more than just covers; they are reinventions, reworkings and rediscoveries in the hands of this master of his craft and this incredible group of musicians.

Plant’s voice has rarely sounded better; full of depth, nuance and passion, capable of such subtlety (Moby Grape’s “It’s A Beautiful Day Today”) and also such power (Los Lobos’ “Angel Dance”). Tonight’s version of “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” is a Plant tour-de-force, ending with the inclusion of a verse of “In My Time Of Dying”, tonight’s only brief nod to his planet-dominating past.

Notable in a set laden with high-water marks is Richard Thompson’s “House Of Cards” morphing into something angular, full  of taut space, yet retaining its Thompson signature. The set ends with a stirring version of Patty Griffin’s “Ohio” before Saving Grace return to encore with “Angel Dance” and their customary closer, the gorgeous whole-band acapella  of “And We Bid You Goodnight”.

Robert Plant, ever a restless musical soul. For that we should be very grateful. Tonight’s concert by Saving Grace in the musically-historic Town Hall is extraordinary.

Jonathan Taylor

My thoughts on The Beatles Get Back…

I’ve had something of a 52 year love affair with The Beatles’ Let It Be album and Get Back sessions.

Get Back was a pivotal record in my musical education back in April 1969. I went to the cinema on June 18, 1970 to see the original Let It Be film aged 13 (incidentally Paul McCartney’s 28th Birthday).
So the prospect of watching the already much lauded Peter Jackson Get Back series of films is a mouthwatering one – I’ve been a bit late to this particular party but finally got around to watching Part One last week.
Of course it’s absolutely brilliant –captivatingly so. What really makes it work for me is the context Peter Jackson brings to the story. By tracking their day to day activities in that memorable month of January 1969 he puts every viewer right into The Beatles’ world – and what a world it was…and still is.
So the basic story unfolds: they want to make a return to live appearances (well Paul does), they need to write and record some new songs for it, it’s going to be a TV special, initially they film rehearsals at Twickenham Studios then move their operation to the Apple basement. Plans change repeatedly as to how and where this comeback will occur – eventually they scrap plans for a TV special and take the radical choice of performing live on the Apple rooftop.
Peter Jackson brings a renewed perspective to this intriguing saga piecing together the action day by day. So we get the off the cuff moments, the fun, the niggles (‘’We’ve been a bit grumpy for the past 18 months’’ Ringo comments at one point), the development of songs as they unfold, the throwback oldies they revived for inspiration.
This really is, as the original advert proclaimed in 1970, ”An intimate bioscopic experience with The Beatles.”
Some personal Part One highlights:
The early attempts at future solo classics All Things Must Pass and Gimme Some Truth, an acetate seven inch pressing of Across The Universe ( it was then unreleased) playing on a record player to remind John of the song, the cut-aways to early photos as they perform One After 909, a similar tactic matching 1966 live in Japan footage of them performing Rock And Roll Music, Paul joking they might use Jimmy Nicol (the drummer who briefly replaced Ringo when he was ill before an Australian tour in 1964) as Ringo was not keen to travel abroad for the planned TV special, Jackson adding context to George relaying the story of a TV documentary he had seen leading to an early stab at I Me Mine, roadie Mal Evans banging the anvil on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. These are just a few of the often jaw dropping moments captured and presented in crystal clear colour for our delight.
Yes there are the augments and spats leading to George’s temporary walk out but above everything this a band who clearly still have so much affection for each other – as they would later sing on Abbey Road ‘’The love you take is equal to the love you make.’’
That phrase perfectly sums up this mind blowing documentary – on the evidence of viewing just one of the three parts, this for me is the finest filmed profile of any band, anywhere, anytime.
These were clearly still the days of their lives and Peter Jackson has captured them magnificently.
Watching Parts Two and Three of The Beatles Get Back will be a definite highlight of my Christmas and New Year viewing schedule during the coming days.
Dave Lewis – December 21, 2021

 DL Diary Blog Update:

Saturday December 18:

Saturday is platterday – on the player David Bowie Hunky Dory -the 1990 reissue with extra tracks.
The original album was released 50 years ago this week and sounds as impressive as ever…

Update here:

These have also been on the player supplying much needed musical inspiration:

The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet CD

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV LP

Blind Faith -Blind Faith CD

The Band – The Last Waltz CD

Dusty Springfield – The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968 -1971 2LP

and the DL and J  Christmas Playlist…

Herb Alpert & The  Tijuana Brass –  Christmas Album CD

Jimmy Smith & His Orchestra – Christmas Cookin’ CD

Diane Krall – Christmas Songs – CD

Miles Davis – Blue Christmas LP

The Partridge Family Christmas Album  – The Partridge Family Starring Shirley Jones, featuring David Cassidy LP – no apologies for this rather quirky  one –it’s a top Christmas selection…

The Beatles  – From Then To You Complete Christmas Fan Club Records – CD

On behalf of the good lady Janet, may I thank you for your amazing support to us here and wish you all a hopeful, peaceful and Merry Christmas …

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – December 22, 2021.

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Graham Rodger said:

    Corrected version of previous message:

    Interesting to see that Pink Floyd has made a dozen live concerts available to stream online from the period 1970-72. No official warning or fanfare, they just appeared earlier this month. General consensus is that this move keeps those recordings in copyright, and it would be great to see Led Zeppelin do something similar in 2022, especially following the announcement about clamping down on unofficial product bearing the Zep name (eg. those Transmissions titles that are openly sold on Amazon).

    I personally don’t think Jimmy Page has a problem with bootleg recordings – there’s a famous photo of him standing in a music store somewhere in Japan, clutching some unofficial live discs and looking rather excited about it – and I know that Jason is an authority on Led Zep’s live recorded history, which came in handy during rehearsals for the 2007 reunion show. So, I think bootlegs keep the legacy alive and let people hear what otherwise would have been lost forever, and the band knows that. I guess it’s more about corporate giants like Amazon making money from selling dodgy versions of the BBC sessions and Scandinavian shows that’s frustrating – titles not endorsed by the band, it’s management or it’s record company being sold blatantly on an international scale. That’s more about money. Bootleg collector circles are far more niche (and motivated by a passion for the artist), certainly not on the scale of Amazon and EBay anyway.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Interesting to see that Pink Floyd has made a dozen live concerts available to stream online from the period 1970-72. No official warning or fanfare, they just appeared earlier this month. General consensus is that this move keeps those recordings in copyright, and it would be great to see Led Zeppelin do something similar in 2022, especially following the announcement about clamping down on unofficial product bearing the Zep name (eg. those Transmissions titles that are openly sold on Amazon).

    I personally don’t think Jimmy Page has a problem with bootleg recordings – there’s a famous photo of him standing in a music store in somewhere in Japan, clutching some unofficial live discs and looking rather fed excited about it – and I know that Jason is an authority on Led Zep’s live recorded history, which came in handy during rehearsals for the 2007 reunion shiw. So, I think bootlegs keep the legacy alive and let people hear what otherwise would have been lost forever. I guess it’s more about corporate giants like Amazon selling dodgy versions of the BBC sessions and Scandinavian shows that’s frustrating – titles not endorsed by the band, it’s management or it’s record company being sold blatantly on an international scale.

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