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DAVE LEWIS DIARY: FAREWELL HOWARD…

30 June 2011 6,553 views 8 Comments

We said goodbye to Howard Mylett and celebrated his life on a lovely summer’s day in Brighton. I went down on the train with Mark Harrison and we met with Gary Foy and Graeme Hutchinson. The service was a very moving affair – there were memorable photos of Howard placed by the coffin. His niece Emma read a lovely tribute to Howard from his wife Anita. I represented the many Led Zeppelin fans worldwide who have been saddened by his passing in paying tribute to a man who’s Zep chronicling  inspired so many.

Musical choices included Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, which of course Howard didn’t to the end. The vicar the reverend Stephen Terry added his words and there was a light hearted exchange when in referring to the importance of music amongst many gathered, he noted how Eric Clapton had been called God – a cry of ‘ Jimmy Page’’ in response could be heard echo from the TBL row. Howard would have had a wry smile about that.

Finally there could be only one song that could accompany Howard’s last journey. Stairway To Heaven was played in its entirety.  I haven’t heard the studio version in a long time and its pure beauty shone ever bright. And yes the tears rolled down as they had done when I heard the song performed at the 02 back on that December night of nearly four years ago.

On that occasion they were tears of joy. Now there were tears for the passing of Howard Mylett.

Afterwards we strolled into the sunshine to look at the many flower arrangements sent – including poignantly one from Jimmy Page. The TBL floral arrangement spelling out ’Howard’’ and ‘’Led Zep’’ looked utterly beautiful and thanks to all those who made that possible with their contributions (and Graeme Hutchinson for arranging it all and to Mick Lowe for the order of service design) . It was good to see John Webster and his wife –John had helped Howard attend a fair few events (including the 02 reunion) in recent years.

The TBL floral arrangement inscription:  Note  Corrections – insert should read Steve A Jones and Kathy and Lonnie Urich

Back at the house we gathered in the conservatory marvelling at the framed Zep photos on the wall – vivid images of the Royal Albert Hall 1970, Wembley 1971,  and of course Earls Court which Howard always considered their live pinnacle. It was therefore fitting that Chris Welch the man who reported it all for the Melody Maker was in attendance and we laughed at Chris relaying the story of how his criticism of the Houses Of The Holy album led to him being left to view the show sitting on an Earls Court stairwell (he had been temporarily banned by the Zep camp from having tickets!).

The legendary MM journalist Chris Welch with DL – – Mark Harrison seated to the left. Brighton June 29th 2011

Howard’s and Anita’s family and friends made us all so welcome and it was lovely to talk to Beatles fan and lifelong friend of Howard Steve Raynsford and his wife Colleen and similarly Stuart Aspinall and Emma Holford. Then it was time to go and fond farewells were exchanged. I know Anita has been deeply touched with the response to Howard’s sad passing via the TBL site and she has asked me personally to offer sincere thanks on her behalf for all the tributes, comments, emails, letters and cards received.

The funeral was covered by the Brighton Evening Argus – see link here  http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9115801.Jimmy_Page_tribute_at_funeral_of_Led_Zeppelin_superfan/

We can shed tears that Howard has gone – or we can smile because he has lived… You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left…

Two weeks ago on Sunday June 19th when news of Howard’s sad passing reached me via Mark Harrison ,I had been getting over the night before – namely the Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind Over Europe 1980 book launch and Whole Lotta Love gig at the Civic Theatre in Bedford.  It was a splendid evening with a good attendance and much merriment – too much so for the TBL author who overdid the Red Stripe lager a little and was well worse the wear at the end of the evening. Many thanks to all those who supported the event in particular the good lady Janet, Gary Foy, Michaela and Dan Firth,Tom and Denise, Phil and Eileen, Terry and Marian, Dave and Bev and Cliff Hilliard and Jerry Bloom- Whole Lotta Love for a great set (including a surprise encore of Train Kept A Rollin’/Nobody’s Fault But Mine in tribute to the Over Europe 1980 tour), and finally to Kev Bailey for staging it all.

Whole Lotta Led on stage Bedford June 18th 2011

There was a bit of late night drama when some scoundrel tried to break into Cliff’s car to purloin the book stock (as Terry joked they would have never got rid of them!) which put paid to any notions of a curry – but by then enough was enough and the expected hangover loomed.

Cliff and DL before the scoundrel struck – Bedford June 18th 2011

Thanks again for all the support and suffice to say if you have yet to indulge in the book  ….don’t just take my word that it’s an essential purchase-  here is a review of what you can expect – this is due to go in the Fireworks rock magazine.

DAVE LEWIS – “LED ZEPPELIN: FEATHER IN THE
WIND – OVER EUROPE 1980”
(Tight But Loose Publishing )

Dave Lewis is well known to Led Zeppelin fans having chronicled the band for over two decades now. His excellent Tight But Loose is probably the best example of the contemporary rock fanzine but Lewis’ appreciation of Led Zep doesn’t stop there; he has authored a number of books on his favourite band. His latest tome is this excellent hardback book which chronicles the final era of the band: their last tour which was a low-key 14 date tour of Europe in 1980. Lewis writes about how the tour was Led Zep’s way of getting back into the groove of live shows after having some time off in recent years and after the 1979 Knebworth appearances, which he chronicled in his previous book ‘Then As It Was.’ Of course the proposed tour of America that autumn never happened due to the tragic death of drummer John
Bonham. Such is Lewis’ knowledge of the band; he gives an in-depth report on every gig from the tour. Lewis also gives a personal perspective on the tour using his own diary from that year. He discusses the lead up to the tour and the immediate aftermath, and for die-hards there are also photos of memorabilia, bootlegs and such.

Dave Lewis is an incredible archivist and chronicler, and is an asset to rock journalism. He is a fan above all else, but a shrewd and passionate one at that. ‘Feather In The Wind…’ is a hefty tome and one well worth picking up if you’re a Led Zep fan. It’s a worthy addition to any rock library. Neil Daniels

……

In amongst everything else going on, it was also sad to hear of the death of Clarence Clemons. I love this touching comment from Bruce Springsteen’s eulogy to the big man

‘’ Clarence doesn’t leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.’’

I enjoyed soaking up the element of the Glastonbury Festival from the comfort of the armchair last weekend. Friday night headliners U2 I felt did a fairly good job of keeping it simple and playing to the hits formula. Funny with U2 –I was a big fan in the mid 80s and saw them twice in the Joshua Tree era but for some reason their music has become quite dated and
I rarely play their stuff anymore. Bono’s posturing’s and their big production stages usually leaves me cold –on Friday night though they did sound a bit more like a band. Saturday headliners Coldplay did a good job of giving the punters the anthems required  (although my good friend Terry would beg to differ -not enough guitars mate!). Elbow also came over very well. My main highlight overall was the sight of Morrrisey running through The Smith’s This Charming Man – one of my all time faves. Glastonbury remains a true part of the summer and it will be much missed next year when they take a year off.

Elsewhere, on one of the hottest days of the year we went up to Norwich last Sunday to collect much of Sam’s stuff as her Uni days come to an end. Sam is back here for a few days before departing to visit a friend in Israel next week. Tonight I attended Adam’s school annual Sports presentation evening where he was nominated for excellence in his football performances. Next on the agenda is a visit to London with our good friends Marian and Terry -the ladies are going to see the Ghost stage play while us boys search for vinyl and CD’s in the usual haunts and a beer or two may be consummed. On the tennis front -here’s hoping Andy Murray can progress to the Wimbledon final…but Rafa Nadal is going to be a mighty challenge to overcome in this afternoon’s semi final.

Other stuff going on has included the necessity for a new computer system at the usual vast expense. I’d had the old one a good 6 years and when it failed to start up correctly for over a week –the writing was on the wall. Cue PC repair man to advise there was no repair and a new set up was required.

On the player Zep Seattle ’75, The Song Remains The Same original soundtrack (the No Quarter is just bliss),A great Steve Marriot compilation (thanks John P),Faces Oo La La LP as I get into reading Andy Neil’s new biography on the band plus some meloncholy Crosby Stills & Nash and Sandy Denny befitting the mood here in light of recent events.

The next couple of weeks here will be taken up with all things Who as I get down to The Who’s Next feature. I have a batch of live 1971 era Who CD’s to wade through not to mention a host of demos and outtakes to dissect to get to the heart of the story. As the Who guitarist once wrote ‘’There once was a note pure and easy…’’

I’m off to find it…

 

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8 Comments »

  • russell ritchin said:

    DAVE

    EXCELLENT TRIBUTE AND WELL DESERVED HOWARD WAS A SPECIAL MAN
    AND A TRUE LOVER OF THE GREAT MUSIC OF HIS BELOVED LED ZEP.

    R I P HOWARD

  • Denzepp58 said:

    God Bless, Howard, you have climbed that stairway to heaven…my best to your family and friends…Peace…Randy Jones

  • Steve Jennings said:

    Wonderful TBL floral arrangement inscription.

  • Byron said:

    Just raising a glass to Howard – still have my well worn copy of his biog from the 70’s – pre internet/youtube days when the info available on zep was sparse to say the least. Thank you Howard

  • Mark Harrison said:

    A sad but memorable day for many reasons.It was fitting (bearing Howard’s sense of humour in mind)that it didn’t pass without laughter
    Your tribute on the day touched everyone there, although not all would have understood the Zeppelin references!
    NB
    Cloptan(sic) is GOD!!
    Mark

  • steve raynsford said:

    Dave, thank you so much for your wounderfull & touching report on howard,s funeral. I still cant believe howard,s gone but In our heart,s and especialy mine howard Is still here with us.steve raynsford 1/7/2011

  • Steve Harrison said:

    Beautiful read.

  • Kathy Urich said:

    The flowers were perfect, and Jimmy’s acknoweldgement very touching. I had a listen myself to Stairway to Heaven yesterday in honor of Howard, it gave me goosebumps, so beautiful, such perfection. Howard’s “Wall of Jimmy” is amazing I can only imagine the stories he has shared over the years. Dave very nice review of Feather In The Wind and well deserved. Love & Light from the US.

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