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24 November 2022 1,190 views No Comment


November 21st is always a bit of a special date in my calander year – as it was on this day back in 1971 that I was lucky enough to witness Led Zeppelin live at the Empire Pool Wembley –and as you will read, nothing was ever the same in our house after that. Over the next few days  I’ll be wading through the Empire Strikes Back Tarantura CD box set to recall the night the Wembley Empire Pool was, as the Melody Maker headline ran  ‘Zapped by Zeppelin…’

Here’s some personal reflections…

Schoolboy wonderment, Wally, Pigs and Plates at the Pool

51 years ago this week  I first witnessed the pure live power of Led Zeppelin when I attended the second Electric Magic show at the Empire Pool Wembley on the evening of Sunday November 21st 1971. I was just 15 years old –the effect would be a lasting one. Looking back one of the things that stands out from that time is that Zep had a ‘’leaders of the underground’’ stigma about them.

This was the latter period of the UK underground scene –the famous Oz obscenity trial was a only a couple of months before and on that November night there hung a heady atmosphere as London’s counter culture elite came out to see them. This feeling of being amongst the counter culture was enhanced by the presence of a large stall within the Empire Pool for Virgin Records Richard Branson’s newly inaugurated discount record retail operation. They were proudly selling the new Led Zeppelin album in that mysterious sleeve. There was also the famous Electric Magic poster on sale for all of 30p which now changes hands for upwards of a grand. I wish I’d brought more than one!

This was the night Home and Stone The Crows were the support acts and during both sets their respective guitarists took out a violin bow and briefly did a ‘’Jimmy’’ in mock respect for what would occur later. The in between entertainment was provided by the infamous performing pigs that didn’t and the plate spinner Olley Gray who also didn’t fare too well. Warm up records played by DJ Jeff Dexter included Redbone’s Witch Queen Of New Orleans and Isaac Hayes’ Shaft – both hits of the time (Page would insert the riff of Shaft into their version of Dazed And Confused the next week in Manchester.

There were frequent cries from the audience of ‘’Wally’’ a gig going tradition sparked by a roadie at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Never around when needed, the road crew cries of ‘’Where’s Wally?’’ was taken up by the festival audience – and ensuing audiences at big name gigs such as this one.

Then it was time for the main event. Promoter Ricky Farr introduced them and it was evident how loud it was going to be from the moment Bonzo rattled around the kit and Jimmy flexed the Gibson. Then 1 -2-3-4 …Blam!

I was watching Led Zeppelin perform Immigrant Song in front of my own eyes…and nothing was ever the same again.

And nothing was ever this loud. The sheer force of the riff physically pushed me back. After the initial shock of that moment, well the rest of proceedings for this particular schoolboy were just awe inspiring. I watched it all with open mouthed wonderment.


So many vivid images remain from that first stunning exposure to the grown up music world. The immediate upturn of seeing this thing in the flesh was that my interest increased manifold. The scrapbooks became more meticulous, the hunger for knowledge about them more intense and the need to follow their every move a virtual means to an end. It was a year of waiting before they returned to the UK and I saw them at Alley Pally and then came five glorious nights at Earls Court and more. By then journalistic reporting of Zep in the Melody Maker and NME by the likes of Roy Hollingsworth, Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray had inspired me to put pen to paper myself and the seeds of Tight But Loose were being sown.

Ultimately it was that night back in November 1971 that sparked the insatiable belief in their music that has stayed with me ever since. It was a night of true Electric Magic and the intervening 50 years have done nothing to diminish its impact.

Back then at 15 years old, I knew I had witnessed something very special –but little did I realize that 50 years hence at aged 65, Led Zeppelin would still mean so much to me and countless millions across the world.

Then as now… they still hold the (Electric) Magic….

Dave Lewis – November 2021 

Here’s the Evenings With Led Zeppelin entry for the November 20/211971 Wembley Empire Pool gigs…

LZ News:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were nominated for three Grammy awards for their recent album Raise The Roof. The pair were nominated for best country duo/group performance for their song “Going Where The Lonely Go”, best American roots song for their song “High And Lonesome” and best Americana album for the entire album. The 2023 Grammy Awards ceremony will take place on February 5 in Los Angeles.

John Paul Jones

Upcoming events:

November 29 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ new CMT Crossroads episode will air on CMT.
December 9 – The new Bespoke Editions Death Wish II box set including Jimmy Page’s soundtrack will be released.
December 22 – The paperback edition of “Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin” by C.M Kushins will be published.
2023 – The remastered and expanded 30th anniversary edition of “Coverdale–Page” will be released.
February 5 – The 2023 Grammy Awards ceremony will be held. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are nominated for three awards.

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



This one via Mark McFall’s great YouTube channel…what a find…

A new found recording from the Met Center in Bloomington, MN 1970.

April 12 1970

and more…

Twelve minutes of Dazed & Confused was aired on “Dit is het begin” (“This is the beginning”) TV program on Nov. 12, 1969, VARA TV network. This audio is apparently recorded from the TV speaker during this broadcast.

Courtesy of Review in Top Pop Stars magazine: “The concert hall was packed, TV cameras were everywhere and the atmosphere crackled. Heavy, crashing Zeppelin sounds swept the audience onto another plain and the timing of their applause indicated their appreciation of the material. Wild, standing ovations brought the group back time and time again and they finally left the stage exhausted.”

Another find is this 1994 Plant Plant performance.

Robert Plant from  Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico, January 28, 1994. This is a single-camera, proshot show.

Classic Rock/Louder news story on the Dazed And Confused find…


Five Glorious Nights – Led Zeppelin at Earls Court May 1975 Revised & Expanded Edition Update:

Mark Smith at Rufus Publishing informs me that the books are currently at the binding stage. The standard edition should be shipping by mid December. The de-luxe editions in January – more updates to follow.

The book can be ordered from this link:


Wilko Johnson RIP:
Like us all – I was very sad to hear the passing of Wilko Johnson – I remember watching this Dr Feelgood performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1975 and being completed captivated by the guitarist…what a performance…what a man – he will be so sorely missed
Here’s a statement from Jimmy Page:

I’m sad to hear today of the passing of Wilko Johnson, the Dr Feelgood guitarist and singer/songwriter.

I saw Wilko perform at Koko in Camden in May 2013 and the atmosphere was electric. This show was originally billed as his farewell tour (followed by his album Going Back Home with Roger Daltry) but, thankfully, he continued performing and thrilling crowds until recently.

I really admired him and we’ll all miss him. RIP Wilko.


TBL Archive Special – 2:

Led Zeppelin IV – 51 years gone…

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

To mark the 51st anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin IV here’s a TBL archive feature – first compiled for TBL issue 15 though not used at the time – it eventually appeared in the my Celebration II – The Tight But Loose Files book.

The Making Of Led Zepplin IV – Part Two

Early on during the warm up sessions, John Bonham began banging out the cymbal led introduction to Little Richard’s ‘Keep A Knockin”. Ian Stewart joined in the fun, adding a Jerry Lee Lewis barrelhouse piano backdrop. Jones and Page picked up the mantle, adding Scotty Moore-like guitar runs from the, golden era of Sun Records. Plant soon cut in with a vocal line, but instead of tripping effortlessly into one of the many rock’n’roll standards that they performed live on stage he screamed out nondescript lyrics built around a chorus of “It’s been a long time since I rock-‘n’ rolled”. Within minutes they knew they had something, as Page remembers: “We were doing something else at the time but Bonzo played the beginning of a Little Richard track. We had the tape running and I started doing that part of the riff. It ground to a halt after 12 bars but we knew we had something – Robert came in with the lyrics and within 15 minutes it was virtually complete.”

The jam session nature of the song’s construction resulted in it being credited as a four man group composition, and when they played the track during their live act during European and US dates later that year, Plant introduced it under the title ‘It’s Been A Long Time’. When it came to deciding the final track line-up for the album they agreed this three minute and 40 seconds of stomping rock’n’roll should be titled just that. So it became universally known as ‘Rock And Roll’ and it would go on to be a staple Zep stage fave, taking its rightful place as an appropriate set opener from late 1972 through to 1975.

Ian Stewart was also on hand to add his influence to another jam deemed worthy of recording. This was built around the unusual ploy of making the mandolin the lead instrument over another Fifties groove, and was clearly based on Richie Valens’ ‘Ooh My Head’, later to feature in the La Bamba movie. Cornball rockabilly lyrics like “I don’t wanna tutti frutti, no lollipop, come on baby just rock, rock, rock” were merged with Stu’s incessant barrelhouse playing, over which Page and Bonham dubbed a curious rhythmic slapping sound. Nothing more than a playful jam, they dubbed it ‘Boogie With Stu’ in tribute tq the Stones man. With one superior rock’n’roll jam already perfectly executed, this one was left on the cutting room floor. Three years later Page salvaged it for inclusion on the double set Physical Graffiti and offered a composing credit to Valens’ widow. “It was obvious a variation on ‘Ooh My Head’ by the late Ritchie Valens which itself was a variation of Little Richard’s ‘Ooh My Soul’. What we tried to do was credit Ritchie’s mother because we heard she never received any royalties from any of her son’s hits, so what happens is they try to sue us for all of the song. We had to say bugger off to that one!”

The mandolin was very much a feature of the Zep IV recording sessions. JP Jones had initially acquired it for some of the Zep III numbers, notably ‘That’s The Way’. One night in Headley Grange, Page began picking his way around that same mandolin and so began the genesis of another track.

“I picked up the mandolin, well actually it was Jonesy’s mandolin and these chords just came out. It was my first experiment with mandolin. I suppose mandolin players would laugh because it must be the standard thing to play those chords but possibly not with that approach. It did sound a little like a ‘let’s dance around the maypole number’ but it wasn’t purposely like that.”

Plant had written one new track, ‘The Battle Of Evermore’, after reading a book on the Scottish wars. He felt the track needed another vocalist to act as a foil, so they called in ex-Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny to provide a rare cameo.

“It’s really more of a playlet than a song,” said Plant. “After I wrote the lyrics I realised I needed another completely different voice as well to give the song full impact. So I asked Sandy Denny to come along and sing on the track. So while I sang the events in the song, Sandy answered back as if she was the pulse of the peo-ple on the battlements. Sandy was playing the town crier urging people to throw down their weapons.”

Zep and Fairport had long since enjoyed a rapport, Fairport bassist Dave Pegg hailing from the same Black Country area and being a lifelong friend of Plant and Bonham. Zep had jammed with Fairport at the Troubadour in LA on their last US tour and all the group had partied with Sandy at the Melody Maker poll awards in London the previous September. A month later Page and Plant went to see Sandy’s new group Fotheringay supporting Elton John at the Albert Hall. At Headley Grange Plant sang a guide vocal, leaving out the response lines for Denny to insert. Plant also claims to have played guitar on the track. The end result was an engaging folk lament and another cornerstone of the completed album.

At the time Sandy noted Plant’s own prowess on the session. “We started out soft but I was hoarse by the end trying to keep up with him,” she said.

Her vocal part was taken on by John Paul Jones when Zep finally performed the song live on their 1977 US tour. For their Unledded MTV reunion Page and Plant brought in Indian vocalist Najma Akhtar to perform with them on the track.

The acoustic guitars and mandolins were also prevalent on ‘Going To California’, which was very much in the style of ‘That’s The Way’ from the previous album, and despite its title it was another number written, at the Snowdonia cottage. The song included references to a Californian earthquake, though its main influence was Joni Mitchell. Both Page and Plant had long since admired her work – in fact California was the title of one of the tracks on her Blue album. Page commented, “Joni is able to look at something that’s happened to her, drawback, crystallise it and then write about it.”

In live versions of the song Plant would often throw in subtle Joni references like the night at Earl’s Court in 1975 when he sung the line, “They say she plays guitar and cries and sings,” adding “in parking lots…”. Lyrically the song told of the unending search for the ultimate lady. “It’s hard,” Plant would sing on stage-infinitely hard…”.

Another of Plant’s heroes, Neil Young, provided the inspiration for ‘Down By The Seaside’, one of the first numbers they worked on at Island in late 1970. Written a few months earlier at Bron Yr Aur, it mirrored Young’s laid-back vocal on songs like ‘Heart Of Gold’. Midway through it all went up a tempo, led by a stinging Page solo before it returning to the original country groove. With so much material at their disposal this was another track that did not fit in the scheme of things at the time, and Page later remixed it for inclusion on Physical Graffiti.

During their weeks at Headley Grange the band had little time for the usual boisterous antics. Tour manager Richard Cole, who more often than not took on the responsibility for relieving boredom with fun and games, noted: “There weren’t any serious drugs around the band at that point – just dope and a bit of coke-Mostly we had an account at a shop in the village and we’d go down there and collect large quantities of cider. They were playing at being country squires. They found an old shotgun and used to shoot at squirrels in the woods, not that they ever hit any. An I there was this lovely old black Labrador dog wandering around which we used to feed.”

The dog in question would eventually provide the simple title of another Headley Grange creation, as Jones recalls: “There was an old black dog around the Grange that went off to do what dogs did and came back and slept. It was quite a powerful image at the time so we called one track ‘Black Dog’.”

‘Black Dog’, largely the product of a bass riff brought in I John Paul, was a classic monster riff exercise in the grand Zep tradition that was destined to dispel all the ‘Zep go soft’ claims when it blared out as the opening track of the album. “It’s definitely one of my favourite riffs,” he says. “It was originally all in 3/16 time but no one could keep up with that!”

Plant’s acapella vocal between the riffs was an arrangement Page had picked up from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. The almost impossible to copy rhythmic swing (a combination of 4/4 time set against 5/4) of the ‘Black Dog’ riff was a key indication of how far ahead of the game Zeppelin really were. Band such as Grand Funk Railroad were already being touted as the logical successor to Zep’s heavyweight crown. Their monolithic riffing was completely devoid of the grace and timing compared to the likes of ‘Black Dog’ – a fact that would become most evident upon the album’s release. Page’s fade out solo was a cleverly overdubbed and triple tracked guitar pieced together by four different solos.

“The effect on those guitars was something I’d learned from Bill Hawelson,” remembers Johns. “He worked with Buffalo Springfield. I plugged Jimmy’s Les Paul into a direct box and from there in a mic channel.”

Page again: “We used the mic amp of the mixing board to get distortion. Then we ran it through two Urie 1176 Universal compressors,” When Page was reviewing the tapes for the Remasters box set he recalled that the guitars almost sound like an analogue synthesiser.

The thorny and eternally topical question of legalising marijuana was the subject under discussion in ‘Misty Mountain Hop’. I chunky rocker revolving around a pleasing JPJ electric piano riff suitably enhanced by Page strident chords and Bonham’s precise drumming, it’s worth noting at this point the quite exemplary percussive contribution Bonzo made to these sessions. His work on every track was superbly applied – check out the subtle drop-ping off the beat at four minutes 17 on this track’s fade. Plant’s semi-rapped vocal style here might be described as the first rock rap, predating the nu-metal movement by two decades. In doing so he exposed the problems of a certain Black Country hippy taking a walk in the park with the police looking over his shoulder.

John Paul Jones led the construction of this song. “I got up before everyone else one morning and I was sitting playing around on the electric piano. When the others got up I played them what I’d done and it went from there.”

Where Zep was really beginning to score was in their ability to balance the controversial acoustic element within their more familiar electric dynamics. Another prime example of this was ‘Four Sticks’. Led by a brilliantly incessant Page riff and powered by Bonham’s literal use of four drumsticks – hence the title – it meandered off into a spiralling acoustic section (“When the owls cry in the night”) underscored by JPJ’s then pioneering use of a VCR synthesiser, and all mixed by Page to achieve maximum stereo split. “We tried different ways of approaching it. The idea was to get an abstract feeling. We tried it a few times and it didn’t come off until the day Bonzo had a Double Diamond beer, picked up two sets of sticks and went for it. It was magic.”

“We did this at Island studios. It was a bastard to mix,” says Andy Johns. “When I originally recorded the basic tracks I com-pressed the drums, then when I went to mix it I couldn’t make it work. I did five or six mixes.” It was also reported at the time that the master tape of this track was at one point lost. Following the album’s release ‘Four Sticks’ was re-recorded in October 1972 when Page and Plant conducted an experimental recording session in Bombay with the local symphony orchestra, the results of which remain officially unreleased.

Since their very inception Page and co had frequently plundered their blues influences to come up with new renderings of old blues tunes. For the fourth album sessions, they worked  on an old Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy recording titled ‘When The Levee Breaks’.

In the final credits they did add Memphis Minnie to the eventual credits, though justifiably they also credited themselves in recreating the tune in a radical new arrangement. The end result was simply a blues rock colossus. Page: “I came up with the guitar riff and Robert sang the words which were inspired by Memphis Minnie’s arrangement – though if you heard the original you wouldn’t recognise the two”.

Page remembers ‘Levee’ being a difficult track to record. “We tried to record that in the studio before we got to Headley Grange and it sounded flat. But once we got the drum sound at Headley Grange it was like boom… and that made the difference immediately. It was very exciting to listen to that drum sound on head-phones.”

As we know know can be heard on the Coda Companion Audio disc they tried an initial version in a different arrangement.

That unique drum sound in Headley Grange was created by positioning Bonham’s drums in the hallway of the house, known as the Minstrel’s Gallery. Engineer Andy Johns:

“The other guys were out having a drink and John Bonham and I were at the house. He still complained that he wasn’t getting the sound he wanted. T finally had an idea. We got his drums and put him in the hallway and then hung two Ml 60 mikes from the staircase and pointed them towards the kit. His kit was very well] balanced internally, each drum’s volume was consistent with the others. In the truck I put him into two channels and compressed the drums. Jimmy had this Italian echo unit called a Binson that used a steel drum instead of a tape – it had a real special sound and I used that as well. I remember sitting there thinking it sounded utterly amazing so I ran out of the truck and said, ‘Bonzo you gotta come in and hear this!’ He shouted, ‘Whoa that’s it. That’s what I’ve been hearing!’”

Page was equally enthusiastic. “What you’re hearing on the record is the sound of the hall with the stereo mike on the stairs second flight up. There were a lot of different effects in there. Phased vocal and a backwards echoed harmonica solo. I’d used backwards echo as far back as The Yardbirds’ days.” (The effect can be heard on The Yardbirds’ track ‘Ten Little Indians’ from their Little Games album.)

That drum sound remains today the most sampled beat of al time – first introduced by the likes of The Beastie Boys and the house DJ’s in the late Eighties, it has lit up countless rap and dance tunes in varying speeds and tempos. It remains one of the most startling percussive statements ever committed to tape.

Another number recorded at Headley Grange and over dubbed at Island Studios dealt with the then topical subject of nuclear war. During an interview in 1971, on seeing a front page headline that read “Nuclear Test Damage Threat”, Plant had this to say about the then current state of the world: “It really breaks my heart that we’re all singing songs about love and peace and togetherness and really there’s so little of it.”

These views were reflected in the lyrics to ‘Night Flight’ a bright, breezy rocker. “I received a message from my brother across the water, he sat laughing as he said the end’s in sight” Supplemented by Page’s guitar fed through a Leslie speaker t give it a swirling effect and Jonesy’s Hammond organ, the track was one of the most commercial from the sessions but when: came to the final selection it was omitted from the album. Like ‘Boogie With Stu’ and ‘Down By The Seaside’ it was another track Page would revisit when it came to putting together their 197 double album Physical Graffiti.

Which leaves just one song to discuss; the proverbial mill-stone around their necks. Couples have played it during their marriage services, radio stations still can’t stop playing it (four million logged plays and counting), would-be guitarists learn their craft by it, and the Australians, led by Rolf Harris, have made a whole parody industry out of it. Evil messages were claimed to be heard when it was played backwards. The singer allegedly hates it.

There was a time, however, when ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was simply the longest track on Led Zeppelin’s new album. They knew it was good, but they could never have dreamt the sheer commotion that this eight-minute epic would cause over the ensuing decades. It’s been both loved and loathed in equal measures.

Routined at Headley Grange, ‘Stairway’ was actually recorded at Island Studios in London’s Notting Hill. Page had much of the chord sequence on a demo when they first tried it out. “I’d been recording demos on a home unit called a new Vista,” he said. “It was the deck from the Pye Mobile that had been used to record things like The Who’s Live At Leeds – and we’d used it to record our Albert Hall gig. I’d been fooling around with the acoustic guitar and came up with the different sections which I married together. So I had the structure and then 1 ran it through Jonesy. I’d had the chord sequence pretty much worked out and Robert came up with 60 per cent of the lyrics on the spot.”

Andy Johns remembers: “We did the track at Island in London. Jimmy had the tune pretty much worked out. He played acoustic in the iso booth. He was the thread that held it all together. We had Bonzo out in the main room and John Paul played a Horner electric piano.”

Robert’s lyrics were pieced together very quickly at the Grange. “Jimmy and I stayed up one night and we got the theme of it right there and then. The lyrics were a cynical thing about a woman getting everything she wanted without getting anything back.”

Jonesy’s contribution was the memorable and tranquil opening sequence. “We always had a lot of instruments lying around so I picked up a bass recorder and played along with Jimmy. Later at Island I multi-tracked the recorders to get it right.”

Page made three separate attempts at the solo – and rather than deploy the usual Gibson Les Paul he returned to the battered old Telecaster (a gift from Jeff Beck) that he had used on the first Zep album. “1 winged the guitar solo really. When it came to recording it I warmed up and did three of them. They were all quite different from each other. I did have the first phrase worked out and then there was the link phrase. I did check them before the tape ran. The one we used was:definitely the best”.

The result was one of the only guitar solos in history as likely to be whistled by milkman as air-guitared in the bedroom, such was the tracks eventual universal appeal. By the late Seventies Plant had tired of the tune and started to deride it publicly. “There are only so many times you can sing it and mean it,” he said. “It just became so sanctimonious.” His antipathy towards it resulted in a major backstage row with Page before their 1988 Atlantic Records 40th anniversary reunion at Madison Square Garden. Right up to them going on stage he was refusing to sing it, although he relented at the last minute.

Back in 1971 Led Zeppelin were immensely proud of ‘Stairway To Heaven’, and Page still views it as the apex of their career. Talking to Cameron Crowe from Rolling Stone in 1975, he said: “To me, I thought it crystallized the essence of the band. It had everything there and showed us at our best as a band and as a unit. Every musician wants to be to do something of lasting quality something which will hold up for years and I guess we did it with ‘Stairway’.”

With the recordings completed by early February, Page took Andy John’s advice and flew with Peter Grant and Johns to Sunset Studios in Los Angles to mix the tracks. Just as they were flying into LA the city suffered a minor earthquake, as Page recalled: “The funny thing is that on ‘Going To California’ you’ve got the line ‘mountains and the canyon’s started to tremble and shake’ and curiously, as we landed, there was a mild earthquake. In the hotel room before going to the studio you could feel the bed shake.”

Unfortunately the mix down did not go as, planned, much to Andy John’s embarrassment. “I convinced Jimmy to mix it in Los Angeles. We booked time at Sunset Sound but the room that I’d worked in before had been completely changed. So we used another room there and mixed the entire album. We came back to London and played it back at Studio One at Olympic. Anyway we put it on and it sounded terrible. I thought my number was up -but the others seemed to look to Jimmy, even though it was just as much my fault. So it had to be remixed again and that was difficult.”

Despite all these problems, the resulting production was one of Page’s finest. Rarely again did he so precisely capture the four strands of the group on record so clearly. For all their triumphs, subsequent Zep albums often suffered from an uneven mix. Compare Led Zep IV to the muddy, leaden sound of their final album In Through The Out Door. There is just no comparison, a testament perhaps to how this relaxed style of recording, away from the distractions of the city, suited them. Maybe it would have been a wise move to have invested in their own mobile recording unit.

They had hoped to have the album out by late April but that would now be impossible. Instead Page and Johns mixed most of it again between their spring UK and European tour dates at Olympic Studios. The only mix from the Los Angeles trip that was deemed fit for eventual release was ‘When The Levee Breaks’. The album finally went off to be cut at Trident Studios in London with more lacquers being cut at The Beatles’ Apple Studios in the mid-summer of 1971.

By that time they had already began previewing numbers from the album in their new stage set. The first airing of new material occurred on Friday, March 5, at Belfast’s Ulster Hall, when ‘Black Dog’,  ‘Going To California’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were all played live for the first time. For ‘Stairway’ Page acquired a custom built Gibson ES1275 double-neck guitar to perform the six and 12-string passages the song requires.

The so called ‘Back to the clubs’ UK tour saw them return to venues such as London’s Marquee where they had first established their reputation in the early days. UK listeners to Radio One’s John Peel in Concert programme were also privy to an exclusive airing of this new material. On Sunday April 4 they broad-casted a one hour Zep live show recorded four days earlier at the Paris Cinema in London. ‘Going To California’ and ‘Stairway’ were the new numbers aired. For ‘Stairway’ this would be airplay number one – with another four million to follow during the next two decades.

In Europe a month later they previewed more songs from the fourth album. At an extraordinary gig at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen on May 3 ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Going To California’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were joined by the only known live performance of ‘Four Sticks’ (“Well try something we’ve never done before… there’s every chance that we will fall apart,” Plant warned the audience) and premieres of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘Rock And Roll’ (introduced as ‘It’s Been A Long Time’) during the encores.

Dave Lewis

To be Continued…


Led Zeppelin IV cover artwork – the way it might look now:

The iconic cover of Led Zeppelin IV…then and now – how it might look today…





TBL Archive Special :

Melody Maker Poll Awards: November 28, 1979 – 43 years gone…

43 years ago on a late cold November afternoon in 1979, I walked into the plush surroundings of the Waldorf Hotel in London and ordered a vodka and lime at the bar just behind Richard Cole who was with three quarters of Led Zeppelin.

The occasion was the annual Melody Maker Poll Awards for which Peter Grant had rounded up Robert, Bonzo and Jonesy to accept a remarkable seven awards. Richard Cole and assorted roadies and tech guys and Swan Song personnel were in attendance.

I was there reporting it all for what would become Tight But Loose issue number 4. Some of the text of that report (unbeknown to me) would years later be suitably exaggerated in The Hammer Of The Gods book.

I remember spotting Robert wearing the pair of bright yellow and blue Nike trainers he’d acquired at the Wembley Goal Diggers soccer tournament the previous Sunday which I’d been along to watch. I made a mental note to seek out a similar pair on my return to Bedford – they were my style gurus as well back then and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one though I drew the line at investing in a dragon suit!


There was an air of supreme confidence amongst the Zep camp that afternoon – their delight in scooping so many awards in those post punk days could be clearly seen. It really did feel like ‘The 1980’s Part One’ was ready to usher in a new exciting era for us all. The photo here with John Paul Jones inspires a host of memories from that early era of the TBL magazine.

It was a fantastic thrill to be in their company that November afternoon all of 42 years ago – the full story originally published in TBL issue 4 and again in the Zep On the Town chapter in my Knebworth book is re-produced below..

Dave Lewis – November  ,2022


MM Poll Awards – Zep 7 The Rest 0…

Dateline: Wednesday, November 28th, 1979

Central London, just after midday on a cold sunny winter’s day, Robert Plant has managed to lure himself away from his Worcestershire home for a reason other than football. Well, Peter Grant said he ought to be here.

This formal call to arms is to attend the Melody Maker Poll Awards reception at London’s ever so posh Waldorf Hotel, the reason being that those old defunct dinosaurs, Led Zeppelin, have scooped a total of seven awards in the poll. An extraordinary feat and one worthy of celebration.

Mention celebrating and, well, you’ve got John Bonham. Arriving with the immaculately dressed Richard Coles and the rest of the, dare one say, heavy backstage entourage, he heads straight for the bar and hearty laughter is soon heard to ring out. Peter Grant arrives by chauffeur driven Rolls. Although his character is said to be nothing like as fearsome as one would imagine, he always looks so awesome. I mean really. Not so Mr John Paul Jones, of course. Down for the day from his Sussex home in similar style. He’s wearing the most incredible baggy jeans, cowboy boots, check shirt and light brown bomber jacket, with turned up collar. His hair is what I notice first of all. It’s nigh on shoulder length, but more stylish than I’ve seen it in a long time.

Robert is premiering the new training shoes he was given on Sunday. Bright yellow they are, and very nice, too. Jeans, green shirt and black, thin lapelled jacket completes the attire. Oh, not forgetting his black and red thin scarf, which I’ve seen him with loads of times. On the ’75 tour, at The Song Remains The Same premiere, the ’77 tour and now. The only reason he can give, when I ask him why he’s so attached to it, is “It’s the only one I’ve got left.”

The Waldorf Hotel is an amazing place, and, er, very expensive. Then I buy a single vodka and lime over the bar, before proceedings commence. The cost is £1.40. “Is that with the chair included?” I enquire, after rising from the floor. Thankfully, those wonderful chaps at Melody Maker have footed the bill for the reception and once inside, all manner of alcohol is flowing freely. Robert gets in to conversation with Yes manager, Brian Lane. Most of the other Zep entourage stake a table at the far end of the hall. The only notable omission from the camp is, of course, Jimmy Page, who has just got back from Barbados and couldn’t make it. Three out of four isn’t bad though, for this their first public appearance since Knebworth.

Time for proceedings to start. The host is Monty Python’s Michael Palin. First up to receive an award is Robert Plant for the Top Male Singer. Kate Bush, clad in a dress the shade of Bonzo’s red jacket (wow), steps up to get her female counterpart of the first award. “Top Band – Led Zeppelin” says Mr. Palin, and up step all three to receive the trophy, Bonzo giving a quick throwaway speech. “Best Album – In Through The Out Door” This is getting like the Led Zeppelin Fan Convention!” Robert steps up for this award with the quote, “It’s hard work, but a lot of fun.” The Boomtown Rats take their best single award and then it’s the Zep step(?) again. “Top Guitarist – Jimmy Page” shouts out Mr. Palin, but as no Zep member manages to get up for that award or the next, “Top Producer – Jimmy Page”, both get handed to MM’s Richard Williams.

Annie Nightingale is up next, to accept the award for The Old Grey Whistle Test. Chris Squire, the Yes man, follows to get Top Bassist. Phil Collins picks up the Top Drummer award, using Robert’s “hard work, but a lot of fun” one liner. Rick Wakeman can’t make it, and instead sends a recorded message on tape, but the useless P.A. does it no justice, amidst laughs all round. “Top Live Act – Led Zeppelin” and it’s Robert up again to fire his one liner, you guessed it… “Hard work, but a lot of fun”! Brand X, John Peel, Tommy Vance and Yes claim more awards, and finally, Robert takes the seventh Led Zeppelin award, for Top Composer. Proud moments indeed, and a kick in the you know where for all those critics. Ten years after they first scooped the Melody Maker Poll, Led Zeppelin do it again. It’s remarkable.

While a 1920’s style jazz band supply the background music, Zeppelin line up for a photo call with all seven awards. Cameras click merrily and Bonzo sings along with “I Only Have Eyes? For You.” With the serious stuff out of the way, it’s time for the booze and the real ligging to commence.

Robert gets into a long rap with John Peel, concerning the footballing fortunes of Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. A certain B. Geldof also comes over to chirp in. A slightly subdued Bonzo sits in the easy chairs chatting with Peter Grant. John Paul Jones, lovable Jonesey, is playing up to his unassuming image by being, well, unassuming. He looks quite the self satisfied man from Sussex, with glass of wine in hand. He has this soft articulate accent, and when you consider all the riotous behaviour Zeppelin have been associated with over the years, it’s difficult to picture John Paul Jones as part of it all.

He tells me he thought Knebworth was “most exciting.” The sound system had particularly impressed him, As Melody Maker scribe, Steve Gett eyes Jonesy’s Rock Against Journalism badge, talk gets round to the press and John recites an hilarious story about Elton John’s speech at the recent Music Therapy Awards, denouncing a certain Fleet Street The pic here is of Swan Song press officer Unity McLean, Melody Maker journalist Steve Gett and|JPJ.


When I get a closer look at one of the MM awards he’s holding (Top Band), Jonesy tells me, “You could have it for yourself, but if I went back to Sussex empty handed, my wife would start wondering where I’d been!” Robert, meanwhile, looks pleased with himself. “D’yer know, I’ve just had half an hour talking soccer” he beams. He’s content now to drink tea and talk with Bob Geldof about B. P. Fallon, ex Zepp publicist. A trainee scribe from MM comes near the Zepp entourage. “I’m looking for quotes” he states. JPJ turns around, and with usual dry wit replies, “Quotes? Oh, Eric Quotes? Haven’t seen him.”

By 3.30 the party is drawing to an end. At this point, Bonzo becomes more of his boisterous self. Looking at the Top Band award, he laughs, “Ah, The Police should have won this. Have you seen them?” he says, doing a mock Sting swing and shouting out the chorus of Message In A Bottle and Walking On The Moon. Geldof turns and laughs, “And you lot only work Tuesday to Friday, don’t you?” enquires the man Bonham. “Why’s that?” asks Robert, falling into the trap. “They Don’t Like Mondays!” Agh!

Bonzo and John Paul Jones await the Rolls. Robert is heading straight back, in his land Rover parked around the corner. As they shake hands with various liggers, The Rats, and the Yes entourage, somebody wishes Wolves success in their bid for Europe. “Yeah” jokes Mr. Plant, “If they don’t make it this season, I’m quitting this business for good – I mean it!”

Outside, the sun is still shining, though there’s a cold nip in the afternoon air. Down the road from The Waldorf, a newspaper stand has just had its delivery of the first print of the music press. Soon everyone will know, for there, emblazoned on the cover of Melody Maker, is the headline ‘7 for Zep.’ A headline which spells out clearly the fact that Led Zeppelin have ended the decade as they began it – at the top.

Dave Lewis, November 1979 – as written for TBL issue 4

Previously Unseen Photos from the Melody Maker Poll Awards: Here’s three previously unpublished photos I came across recently in the TBL archive that I took at the Melody Maker Poll Awards on November 28,1979:

The centre pic shows Robert holding court with Bob Geldof and John Peel and John’s wife Sheila.









Peter Grant 27 Years Gone:

Remembering the legendary Peter Grant – the man who Led Zeppelin, 27 years gone on November 21,2021. Here’s a tribute I wrote for the TBL magazine issue 11 at the time…






November 16,2013: Knebworth Book launch…

It was nine years ago: 

On this day in 2013, I launched the revised version of my Then As it Was Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 book at the two day VIP Musicmania Fair at Olympia, November 16th/17th.

This Knebworth book launch at the VIP Musicmania Fair was a hugely enjoyable two days.

My fellow stall holder Jerry Bloom and I set up early on Saturday morning – it was great to see faces old and new over the two days – Marc Roberty long time Eric Clapton authority and author was the first to buy the book. There were a fair few key contributors to the book in attendance including Graeme Hutchinson who compiled the bootleg discography, Phil Tatterhsall who provided the cover photo and more plus Ian Avey, Phil Harris and Ian Coleman provided their respective I Was There memories. It was also good to see Classic Rock news editor Dave Ling ,and amongst others Krys Jantzen, Julian Walker ,Michael Stendahl from Sweden, Mark Taylor, Gary Steagles, Dennis McDonnell, Lausen Blair and Mark Winslade – Mark showed me a custom made Tight But Loose badge he had made to attend the Reading Festival in 1980 –classic!

It was of course an absolute thrill to have Jimmy Page drop by at the TBL stall in between his record shopping at the fair with Ross Halfin.

Jimmy was very complementary about the book which really was a fantastic accolade to say the least – and made all the hard work of producing the book worthwhile. He posed for this photo with me taken by Ross.

I gave him a copy of the book and he asked me to sign it for him – for which in return he signed one for me (now that’s what I call a fair deal!). ”Dave – well done!, Rock on!!” was his wonderful inscription.

When he asked what number I’d like in the ‘’book number ‘’ box Jimmy took the initiative and smiling mischievously, filled it in marking it book number ‘’666’’…

Unsurprisingly, this copy of my Knebworth book personally signed and numbered by Jimmy Page is one of my most prized Zep possessions…it was some moment all of seven years ago today……

Dave Lewis, November 17, 2021.

It was nine years ago today….2:

This was the second day of the launch of the revised version of my Then As it Was Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 book at the two day VIP Musicmania Fair at Olympia.

I took the opportunity to try on this rather fetching Zozo jumper a perspective buyer of the book had brought in – this is the style of jumper Jimmy wore at the 1971 Electric Magic shows at Wembley Empire Pool in November 1971 …I think he looked better on him than it did me…

DL – November 17,2022




My thoughts on the new Bruce Springsteen album Only The Strong Survive – Covers Vol 1…  

Bruce Springsteen is of course no stranger to covering other artists songs. On stage with the E Street Band he has often taken on the role of the human juke box covering many a classic tune such as Pretty Flamingo, When You Walk Into The Room and Twist And Shout – particularly during those incendiary performances circa 1975- 1981. He also produced an album of Pete Seeger covers with the 2006 release We Shall Overcome – The Seeger Sessions.
Now comes a whole album of soulful covers from Springsteen’s record collection. He could have produced an album such as this at any time in his career but this release comes at something of a calm before the storm with Bruce and the E Streeters back on the road for a world tour in 2023.
This album was produced by Dan Aniello at the Thrill Hill Recording in New Jersey with input from the E Street Horns. It’s Bruce having time out from the day job – slightly enforced of course during lockdown.
I would draw a parallel with Bruce’s current state of play with that of Robert Plant. Like Robert, he is making music purely for pleasure – there’s no big statements to make, nothing to prove and he is clearly doing this because it feels a joy to do so. So it is with Plant and his Saving Grace project.
There’s also one other thing they have in common – both Bruce Springsteen and Robert Plant are singing as good if not better than ever.
It’s Springsteen’s committed assured vocal that constantly brings to life these old soul nuggets and right from the off he is right on it.
I am well aware of the delightful opening track the Jerry Butler/Gamble &Huff composition Only The Strong Survive – it’s long been one of my faves as performed by Elvis Presley on various releases – originating from his early 1969 Memphis sessions. The Boss sticks pretty much to the King’s arrangement opening with sweet female backing vocals before it moves into an uplifting lament on lost love.
He takes on another Jerry Butler/Gamble & Huff song Hey Western Union Man with equally successful results. Both these songs are on Jerry’s 1968 album Iceman Cometh produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff with Thom Bell arranging – those three all who went onto to huge success nurturing the 1970s Philly sound (note to self – I need to check that album out.)
Original soul man Sam Moore makes a couple of cameo appearances adding plaintive vocals to Soul Man and I Forgot To Be Your Lover. The former taken from a 2000 era Dobie Gray album, kicks in with optimistic Hungary Heart style, while the latter – a William Bell- Booker T composition, has a pleading vocal quality that reminded me of Robert Plant’s performance on Zep’s I’m Gonna Crawl.
Bruce also takes on William Bell’s Any Other Way applying a jaunty and infectious style. Tyrone Davis’ Turn Back The Hands Of Time benefits from a descending chorus with subtle strings – and while we are on the subject, Rob Mathes does a great job on the string arrangements throughout the album.
There’s also plenty of Motown representation here. Bruce tackles the gorgeous 1985 Commodores hit Nightshift adding the necessary emotion to this affecting tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. The Temptations I Wish it Would Rain makes a welcome appearance (The Faces did a great live version of this on the B side of Pool Hall Richard) – a moody interpretation with up front backing vocals and strings.
There’s a couple of Four Tops tunes – the less known When She Was My Girl from their stint on Casablanca Records in 1981 and the 1967 hit 7 Rooms Of Gloom. The latter is one of the few misfires – a rather slight rushed rendering in my view – a far better Four Tops cover for me would have been the 1971 hit A Simple Game written by the Moody Blues’ Mike Pinder.
Don’t Play That Song – a 1970 Aretha Franklin hit works in a suitably gospel chorus led arrangement with a live in the studio feel. The chosen ballad for this set work well given Bruce’s vocal strength – he brings deep resonance and melodrama to The Walker Brothers The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore and Jimmy Ruffin’s What Becomes of The Broken Hearted
The closing track is a sentimental stroll through Diana Ross’s Supremes swan song Someday W’ell Be Together Again.
Finally to the outstanding performance of the entire set – an exuberance and wonderfully uplifting canter though Frank Wilson’s classic stomper Do I Love You (Indeed I Do). A slice of rare soul, original pressings have changed hands for £15,000 plus – I have the rather more affordable Record Store Day reissue.
Bruce does Northern Soul and he does it by way of a Born to Run kitchen sink approach complete with swirling organ and breathless vocals all in the spirit of the original and it works a treat.
I am long since retired from attending the mega stadium Bruce live shows – as good no doubt as they are but if he was to play this album in a venue such as the Speigeltent Festival in Wexford where I saw Robert Plant recently, I would be up for that big time.
Only The Strong Survive – Covers- Vol I is Bruce at his most joyous and until Robert Plant gets around to hopefully releasing a Saving Grace album, this new Bruce set will no doubt be my most played covers album in the coming months. Oh, and if there’s a Covers Vol II you can count me right in for that one as well…
Dave Lewis – November 18 2022:

VIP Victoria Record Fair – Saturday November 26 -2022  and TBL Meet…

The VIP Record Fair is staged at the Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, London this Saturday, September  10

I am aiming to be in attendance trains permitting – as usual this acts as a bit of a TBL meet and there will be an adjournment at lunchtime to the nearby pub The Royal Oak

This is the last major London Record Fair  of the year – I look forward to seeing all that can make it along

The pub details are here:

Here’s all the VIP Record Fair info::

Saturday  November 26 2022
Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, SW1P 2PB.
London’s very own Vinyl Fest. – the biggest and busiest Record Fair in the

Admission 12 noon £5. Early entry £10 at 10am. Doors close 5pm.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday November 18:

DL LP record acquisition of the week …
Very pleased to pick up the Glen Campbell album This Is Glen Campbell – UK 1969 original pressing on the Ember label – I am always on the look of for Glen’s Ember catalogue and this is a beauty.
Love the endorsements on the back sleeve by the Radio One DJ’s of the time – Alan Freeman, Dave Lee Travis, Tony Brandon, Pete Murry, Ed Stewart and Dave Cash. Great performances too including Long Black Limousine which was also recorded by Elvis Presley for his From Elvis in Memphis album. All in all a real timepiece – £3 I’ll take it!

Saturday November 19:

Saturday is platterday – in the light of the excellent Bruce Springsteen Only The Strong Survive soul covers album – on the player Otis Redding Otis Blue one of the all time great soul albums and sounding mighty fine…this one a US pressing on the Volt label…

Sunday November 20:

It was 51 years ago today…
The first of the two Led Zeppelin Electric Magic presentations at the Empire Pool Wembley.
The first night had circus acts, performing pigs that didn’t and music from Bronco, Stone The Crows and Led Zeppelin…and I was lucky enough to be attending the next night…
Sunday November 21:
It’s a Happy Birthday to our very good friend Julian Walker -a long term important player in the Zep community staging several Zep gatherings including the ones we co- organised at The Atlas pub in London in 2017,2018 and 2019 and all round top man – Happy Birthday Julian from Janet and I – have a great day!
Sunday November 21:
It was 51 years ago tonight…on the player The Empire Strikes Back – Tarantura label 3 CD bootleg presentation of the November 20 1971 Led Zeppelin Electric Magic concert at the Empire Pool Wembley and sounding rather brilliant…

Monday November 21: 

We all know there’s a whole lot wrong with this World Cup but it’s here and having watched every England opening game in the World Cup since 1966 (0-0 v Uruguay) I’ll be continuing that tradition this afternoon and hoping for a good start against Iran…come on England…

Monday November 21:

6- 2 that will do very nicely…

Tuesday November 22:

It was 54 years ago today…
November 22 1968 – The release of The Beatles – The Beatles also known as The White Album…a monumental outpouring – and one of my favourite albums of all time.
Above are some original adverts

Tuesday November 22:

It was 40 years ago today…
November 22 1982 – The release of the final Led Zeppelin album Coda – such great memories of this arriving at the WH Smith record department where I worked and it so exciting to be wrapped up in a new Zep release…
Celebrating it’s original release all of 40 years ago today – on the player Led Zeppelin Coda – the three CD 2015 companion discs reissue – the outstanding re issue of the whole catalogue of the Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin remastered programme…

Tuesday November 22:

Recent DL LP record acquisitions and a very nice haul indeed:
Jethro Tull- Heavy Horses
Loudon Wainwright III–Album III
The First Edition’s 2nd – Kenny Rogers late 60s band – US Reprise label promo copy
The World Of Hits Vol 2 – Decca mid 60s compilation
Bobbie Gentry – the classic The Delta Sweete album 1968 UK original Capitol label pressing
The Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin’ Billy? 1970 UK original pressing on Decca – features Susan and Terry Jacks,the latter the Seasons In The Sun hitmaker
The Band – The Last Waltz – 3LP set
2 Originals Of David Crosby & Graham Nash
Unique packaging of their first two solo albums David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name and Graham Nash Songs For Beginners – I collect the 2 Originals Of series but have never seen this coupling complete with superb inner bags adverting other WEA label albums including Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti…
Many thanks Michael!
Wednesday November 23:
Great to meet up with fellow Bedford musicologist Roger Lett to exchange many a gig going story – it has defined our lives for sure….

Update here:

As mentioned above we know there’s a lot wrong about this World Cup but now the games have really got going there really has been so much to admire – England’s grand opening performance, Wales spirited draw with the USA, the shock wins for Saudi Arabia and Japan at the expense of Argentina and Germany and Brazil’s second half performance tonight against Serbia and that startling strike by Spurs man Richarlison – my love for the World Cup is well and truly back – and no doubt many others too. Here’s hoping Wales can overcome Iran tomorrow and England the same against USA.

In between all that, there’s been work on the DL Memoirs  and some prep for the impending publication of the Five Glorious Nights Revised & Expanded Edition. I have to say for the first time in many months I have dipped a bit mentally – there’s been a lot going on here and for a number of reasons there’s been some tears behind the smiles and I am doing my best to fend it off and get back on track.

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  November 24  2022

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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