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24 January 2024 1,094 views No Comment

Led Zeppelin 1 – it was 55 years ago this week.. to mark the 55th anniversary of the debut Led Zeppelin here’s some facts, figures and thoughts on it all…

January 20, 1969 – Led Zeppelin debut album released:

Despite often being attributed to either Sunday, January 12, 1969 or Friday, January 17, 1969, the correct “official” release date of the debut album might well have been Monday, January 20, 1969. As Mike Tremaglio flagged to me – this release date was referenced in an Atlantic Records memo accompanying white label advance LPs issued to radio stations by June Harris on December 30, 1968.

The album debuted on the Billboard charts at #99 on February 15, 1969 and peaked at #10 on May 17, 1969. It managed to stay in the top twenty LPs for 30 consecutive weeks, from March 8, 1969 through September 27, 1969

Many thanks Mike for that info.

Here’s one of the first reviews of the album:

January 25, 1969 – Press Review:

Go magazine (first album review):

Led Zeppelin (Atlantic): This is the new group that Jimmy Page has formed after the demise of The Yardbirds. Their first album is a blockbuster. The sound centers around hard, tough blues. You can’t help getting caught up in its excitement and drive. The one track on the album which really spotlights the group and what it’s going to do is Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. It’s a beautiful hard blues piece which has a mesmerizing quality. Led Zeppelin is something you shouldn’t miss.




On the player…

…thoughts on listening to Led Zeppelin I:

At two minutes, 43 seconds, this is a perfectly compact overture to set the scene. Bonham and Jones hold down a powerful and inventive rhythm section, and when the time comes, Jimmy flexes the Telecaster (played through a Leslie speaker to create that soaring effect) in a late Yardbirds-era fashion. From the onset though, it’s Robert Plant’s vocal that strikes home instantly. He executes all manner of vocal somersaults with the lyric but never loses control. Bonham’s intricate bass drum patterns, the rolling bass lines from Jones and Page’s fluttering guitar solo were all applied with a gusto that still completely overwhelms. Memories of the 02…

Within three minutes of this album playing we have an acoustic guitar – proof that this band were not going to be all about Marshall amplifiers. The tension here is tangible – the first flowering of light and shade – there would be much more to come…


Willie Dixon’s’ blues played with what was then a new found dynamism. The expansiveness of the whole sound here is still incredible. An early example of Jimmy’s mastery of the studio. From Jones’ swirling organ through Plant’s harmonica wailing to the point where Jimmy’s solo cascades around Bonzo’s stereo panned tom-tom attack, this is prime vintage Zeppelin. And the final incessant by-play between Page and Plant that leads out of the track is a another masterful production technique, and one that would be further emphasized on stage.

Straight into Dazed…based on Jake Holmes original composition. As we all know Jimmy and co were not adverse to borrowing a few licks here and there as much as they were often derivative it always came out sounding completely fresh. Again the interplay amongst them all is just breathtakingly….flippin heck they were good….

Turn over…side two…


Electric guitars, acoustic guitars and then church like Hammond organ and what an intro…

This showcases how important John Paul Jones was going to be – beautiful acoustic guitar overtones, incredible vocal, John Bonham so inventive in his playing…and that heavy chorus – not to mention some sublime pedal steel guitar – they just had everything….


The fade into this is another stunning moment. The melody on this Page virtuoso acoustic guitar instrumental owes more than a passing nod to a traditional folk song sung in the folk clubs by Anne Briggs. It was recorded by both John Renbourn, and Bert Jansch, The piece also featured a rare cameo appearance from tabla player Viram Jasani.

Bang….Communication Breakdown – the energy is just phenomenal – come on! Punk Rock before it was invented..
I will never ever forget them performing this in front of my very eyes as a surprise encore on the final night at Earls Court….

Crystal clear ambient sound here – John Bonham right upfront in the mix… Jimmy is just incredible …


That jazz intro is another moment as is Jimmy’s slashing wah wah – and then it’s off into all manner of fun…Oh Rosie ,The Hunter..phew!.


54 years on this album has lost none of its unique power. Led Zeppelin would go on to make more inventive and adventurous records but this first recorded statement is a blueprint for what would follow.


You can never have too much of a great thing:

Some of the Led Zeppelin I pressings I’ve accumulated over the years.

A truly iconic sleeve design and a truly iconic album – now all of 55 years old and sounding as fresh as ever…go and play it now and I think you will agree….

Dave Lewis – January 24 2024

LZ News

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Robert Plant

Robert Plant announced a new Saving Grace UK tour

Robert Plant announced a new UK tour with Saving Grace on January 15, confirming that the band will play dates in England from March to July. The tour appears to be called the “Never Ending Spring” tour. We’ve added all the dates to our list of upcoming events below.

The tour announcement allows us to speculate what the rest of Plant’s 2024 will look like. We know that he will return to perform in the US with Alison Krauss in the summer, so the gap of most of May along with all of June and most of July in his Saving Grace tour schedule suggests that will be when he’ll return to the US.

Robert Plant attended the It Bites show on January 19

It Bites drummer Chad Wackerman (left) and Robert Plant (right) at the It Bites show in Wolverhampton, UK on January 19 (Twitter/idiotbastard)

Robert Plant attended the It Bites show in Wolverhampton on January 19, posing for photos with the band’s lead singer and guitarist Francis Dunnery and drummer Chad Wackerman.


Francis Dunnery on Instagram: “Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. My favorite legend. Ha ha ha. Fuckin class. Ha ha.”

JANUARY 21, 2024

Dunnery joined Plant’s band in 1993. He appeared on the album Fate of Nations and participated in the tour that followed its release. The pair also performed together in a one-off show in the UK on November 6, 2009:

Robert Plant publicly praised the group Burr Island

Back in December, we shared that Robert Plant was photographed attending a live performance by the West Country indie folk duo Burr Island at The Old Queens Head pub in Islington, London.

Plant has now praised the group on his social media pages, writing: “a special weave of voice and harmony.. impressive.”

In case you’re curious why Plant likes them, here’s Burr Island’s latest music video:

Upcoming events:

  • February 16– “Pictures At Eleven: Robert Plant Album By Album” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • March 13– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bristol, UK.
  • March 14– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Ipswich, UK.
  • March 17– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in London, UK.
  • March 18– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Tunbridge Wells, UK.
  • March 20– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Peterborough, UK.
  • March 21– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Nottingham, UK.
  • March 22– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • March 23– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of Sons Of Chipotle and Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Hastings, UK.
  • March 24– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Teenage Cancer Trust “Ovation” event in London, UK.
  • March 26– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Liverpool, UK.
  • March 27– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Sheffield, UK.
  • March 29– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Blackburn, UK.
  • April 5– “Led Zeppelin: A Visual Biography” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • April 6– The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will open at Wiltshire Museum.
  • April 30– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Harrogate, UK.
  • May 1– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stockton, UK.
  • May 3– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Coventry, UK.
  • May 4– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at Cheltenham Jazz Festival in Cheltenham, UK.
  • Summer 2024– Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will tour the US.
  • July 23– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Southend, UK.
  • July 24– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Woking, UK.

September 15 – The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will close at Wiltshire Museum.

Many thanks to James Cook

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


TBL Archive Special: 

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot: Number Three & Four

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot Three:




Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains the Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/How Many More Times/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog/Communication Breakdown.

Something of lacklustre performance. The strain was showing with Jimmy, John Paul and Bonzo having risen very early and flown coast to coast (against the time changes) from Los Angeles to reach Greensboro in time. Robert, who flew in from Chicago, would probably have benefited from another day in bed. The show is now condensed even further by the removal of ‘The Wanton Song’ from the set list. Levee has also been dropped.

Chris Charlesworth remembers the aftermath:  “About five hundred fans attempted to storm the rear of the building, throwing broken bottles, stones and pieces of scaffolding. Three of the group’s five limousines were severely damaged, and the drivers of the other two – which were parked inside the building – wanted to take their cars away. Peter Grant wasn’t having that… oh no! He actually offered to buy them on the spot for cash, but after a ‘discussion’ the drivers had no alternative but to let him have them.

“The group and entourage had to make a very quick getaway within seconds of the final encore. Grant took the wheel of the first limo with the band and Richard Cole inside, and everybody else piled into the second. With a Police escort, sirens blazing, at speeds of up to 70 mph in a heavily built-up area, Grant led the way, driving through red lights and on the wrong side of the road.

“It was incredible to be involved in scenes like that… Peter was just unflappable. When we got to the plane he got out and kicked the car really hard. ‘Fucking useless pile of junk!’ he shouted. ‘Way off tune… my old Bently goes twice as fast!’ We all just stood there laughing… totally exhilerated by it all. Then we flew back to New York and the band checked in the Plaza. It was a very tiring day. Unforgettable!”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounds now: 

I have this recording on the Footstomping Graffiti double CD (No label). Noisy but fairly clear audience tape.

Lacklustre at times but still some inspired moments. Robert is clearly struggling which is evident in his between song patter -his voice is straining even when talking.  Jimmy takes a while to get in the swing but is well on it by No Quarter which now running at 16 minutes and heading for greatness (Jimmy’s finger is cool” says Plant defiantly at one point).

The new material goes down well with Trampled particularly vibrant. At 18 minutes, Moby Dick provides a rest for Page and Plant (”John Bonham Moby Dick – Mr Physical Graffiti!” How Many More Times has a few elements of Dazed creeping in. Stairway again proves it’s worth and is something of a saving grace. Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog and Communication Breakdown ( the latter with Jimmy thrashing the hell out of the wah wah pedal) provide a valiant encore finale…and valiant is a good description overall for another challenging performance, given the physical drawbacks they were experiencing.

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot Four:




Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/How Many More Times (inc. The Hunter – The Lemon Song)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog.

“Good evening! It’s our great pleasure to be just about back!” Plant’s opening comment sums up the gig quite accurately. The band were slowly returning to form.

”Tonight we intend to cover the spectrum of a lot of the varying music that we’ve been doing for the last seven years. As we go though this spectrum we want to include some of the new stuff from Physical Graffiti, the LP that comes out soon” (love Robert’s use of the word LP – so quaint).

Plant explains the problem with Jimmy’s finger and joked that… “The bone on his wedding ring finger is bust and that’s a real drag because if he was to get married now, he couldn’t get a ring on”. Bonzo was introduced tonight, as he would be many times on the tour, as “Mr Ultraviolence!”, a reference to the Clockwork Orange style suits that both he and his assistant Mick Hinton wore throughout the tour. This is preceded by Plant’s claim that John is ”The man who made Led Zeppelin a legend.”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounds now: 

From the double CD Just About Back – a slightly muffled audience tape but good for the time. The title deriving from Plant’s opening comments ”It’s our great pleasure to be just about back”. Just about back they are with the similar problems from Greensboro in evidence. This though is an altogether livelier showing – Page is particularly inventive on Over The Hills and despite the vocal range shortcomings, Plant attacks In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir with much verve. How Many More Times has it’s final delivery and it’s a solid free flowing performance. All roads would now lead back to the Garden as New York was the next stop off – and when it came to New York, well they were all no doubt aware that they had a reputation to maintain…


Summary: I’m with TBL contributor Andy Crofts view that the January 1975  Zep shows, though far from perfect, offer some quirky unusual set lists and performances. Here’s what Andy said in his piece on the tour in TBL 36- plus his ten notable moments listing from this period:

In my opinion Led Zeppelin’s  January 1975 performances have had a lot if unfair bad press. Musically the band  are fine, and they show us the kind of gig the band had in mind before the reality of touring the US in 1975 got the better of them. If they are rusty, they are also working hard, to put on a professional show each night. To my ear, these shows ‘cut the crap’ in the same way that they band would do – and stick to – in 1980. It makes for a refreshing listen and a fine contrast to the grandstanding that begins to take over once they reach Madison Square Garden in February….of which more next time.

Meanwhile, my advice is that you search out some of these January 1975 performances and prepare to be surprised that far from being overly sick again…Led Zeppelin were often on a very favourable night flight

Ten Notable Moments from January 1975:

Here are ten notable performances from January 1975 that demonstrate the band striving to give it their all after a lengthy period away from the stage……and despite some physical restrictions.

greens one

January 12th (Brussels): When The Levee Breaks.

Ok, it doesn’t quite work, but this is by far the best chance to hear this song live.

January 12th (Brussels): The Song Remains The Same

The drums are off at the beginning, but it soon settles down into a fast-paced and well-controlled version.

January 12th (Brussels): The Wanton Song

Another rare one. It’s a shame they dropped it. This version is strongly played and sung, and the solo – while varying from the album version – gets better the more I listen.

January 22nd (Chicago): How Many More Times

Probably the best version of this for 1975, and certainly the best sounding. Jimmy and Robert work together well here, just like the old days, a fact acknowledged by Robert at the end.

January 22nd (Chicago): Stairway To Heaven

The recording has a few glitches, but this is a fine version, with Plant making a big effort and a scorching guitar solo.

January 22nd (Chicago): Communication Breakdown

They didn’t play this much after January, replacing it with the more complex Heartbreaker. This is a strong, fun version with a funky Crunge-like middle section.

January 24th (Cleveland): No Quarter

I’ve picked this one because I really like the guitar solo; inventive and in places quite Floyd-like. The shorter versions of this song always pack more punch for me.

January 29th (Greesnboro): Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog

I couldn’t resist one from Greensboro. Whole Lotta Love is still a mere intro, but Black Dog is well sung, and Jimmy’s guitar is spot on.

January 31st (Detroit): Over The Hills And Far Away

Any version of this from 1975 is on the money, to be honest. I like this one for the solo; Jimmy isn’t flawless but he is energetic and inventive.

January 31st (Detroit): The Rain Song

A beautifully clear version, well played and sung.

Sources: these are the underground titles used as sources – note there are a fair few variations and differing versions of these dates on CD.

January 12th (Brussels) :  Belgian Triple

January 22nd (Chicago): Windy City Tapes Vol.3

January 24th (Cleveland): Ultravilence

January 29th (Greesnboro):. A Quick Getaway

January 31st (Detroit): Tune Up

Compiled by Andy Crofts – extract from TBL 36.

TBL Led Zep ’75 Snapshot – To be continued…

TBL Archive Special:

My Seven nights with Led Zep in 1977


Led Zeppelin (on film) at the Granada Bedford January 1977.

The young DL gazes adoringly at the poster outside the Granada Cinema Bedford January 1977 – no prizes for guessing where this poster ended up – you got it – on my bedroom wall…

47 years ago this week  I was about to commence a seven night stint in the company of Led Zeppelin….or to be more specific their film The Song Remains The Same.

The newly released celluloid masterpiece was on general release and doing the rounds nationally and cue fanfare…had rolled into my home town of Bedford.

Yes Led Zeppelin alive on film in the quaint market town of Bedford for seven nights only and I needed to be there every night. Simple as that.

Now this event in the life of this then 20 year old Zep fanatic was big news. I’d already seen the film six times before Christmas, the first three nights in London including the premiere plus screenings in Cambridge.

Now I had the luxury of walking from my home in Dents Road to Bedford High Street every night for seven days to view it at the local Granada cinema. This long since knocked down theatre was a grand old building that alongside its cinema presentations was a stop off for the many pop group package shows of the 1960s. It played host to The Beatles twice and Jimi Hendrix. In April 1964 the seven year old DL witnessed his first ever gig there featuring The Dave Clark Five.

The whole week was a total blast as various friends and relations joined my then girlfriend Fiona (who I have kept in contact with over the years) asnd me in seeing just what all this Zeppelin film fuss was about.

No Monday morning feeling that week either. Absolutely not. A day in the WH Smith shop selling the records and tapes of choice to the Bedford public and then the nightly prospect of 137 minutes of Zep up on the big screen. It was pure heaven. Dec was with us  on the Wednesday and again on the Friday where we sat through the afternoon and evening screenings.

Dec was also with me a year later when we made two bus rides in driving snow to see the film at Western Favell in Northampton. Now that’s what I call comradeship!

Here’s the line up on the local cinema circuit for that memorable week of January 23,1977. With all the Zep screenings, there was no time to check out the double X sex bill!

On the Thursday my late Mum and late sister came along to find out just exactly what it was that so inspired the junior one of the family. A lovely touch. This week of weeks ended on the Saturday and not even a family marriage could get in the way. My cousin was getting married that day but we still managed to sneak out of the reception for two hours to attend the final showing (viewing number nine for the week!) By then the manager of the Granada had seen our many visits and gave us free tickets. We even made the local press putting the record straight about some errors in the local review.

It was an incredible week looking back and it set the year up a treat. I did actually go down with glandular fever not long afterwards which is another story for another day. What we all wanted of course, was to see Led Zeppelin back onstage –the nearest I got to them was the hour I spent at Heathrow Airport on May 17 as they flew out for the second leg of the US tour.

It was to be another two years before the glory of Knebworth.

In between all that I went on to see The Song Remains film around 30 times in UK cinemas from 1976 to 1979. It was the next best thing during their enforced absence. These excursions to see the film included the aforementioned bus ride out with Dec to Western Favell shopping centre near  Northampton on a snowy January night in 1978 and a late night showing in Luton when it followed a porn film – I kid you not!  I also saw it a fair few times at a small cinema near Wardour Street in London called The Essential. This was an art house cinema that regularly aired rock films of the day.

The arrival of the video age of course would soon make it much easier to view. I  invested in a bootleg copy in early 1981 – not of brilliant quality but it had to be had!

It can now be viewed at the click of a YouTube link – the thought that one day the footage would be easily accessible on a mobile phone would have seen astonishingly futuristic back in that memorable week of January 1977.

As much as it’s great to have such easy access to it – it will never be quite as rewarding or exciting as those seven trips I made into Bedford St Peters Street  during that week way back in 1977. It was like having the band live down the road available at will for a nightly fix. Seven nights in 1977…what a week that was…

Dave Lewis – January 24 2024


Robert Plant at Leicester University – It was 36 years Ago …
36 years ago this week on January 23 1988, I travelled to Leicester with the good lady Janet and friends Kam and Julie and Alan on a tip off that Robert Plant would be performing a secret warm up gig at the University for his forthcoming UK tour.
After a set by Shadows look alikes The Rapiers, on walked Robert with a completely new band. He proceeded to weave a rich tapestry of both old and new in a quite astonishing performance.
The new came via tracks from his forthcoming album Now And Zen including the Zep sampled Tall Cool One, a right old rockerbilly tear up Billy’s Revenge and the then just released chorus filled single Heaven Knows.
The old came courtesy of his former band in the guise of In The Evening, Misty Mountain Hop and Trampled Underfoot. After previous warm up dates in Folkstone and Stourbridge, this was the third occasion in his solo career that he had performed numbers from the Led Zeppelin catalogue live on stage.
In an era of no ‘Led Anything’ it was simply cathartic. As can be seen by this review I wrote at the time in the weekly column I did for the local Bedfordshire Citizen newspaper, I was mightily impressed. 36 years, on that night in Leicester University remains vivid in the memory.
It was the night I first saw Robert Plant successfully reconcile his past with the present. Being there to witness it all unfold was awe inspiring.
It kicked off a great year of Now And Zen appearances which for me included gigs at Colchester University, London’s Marquee club (where I first met Gary Foy) Warwick University, Oxford Apollo, London’s Town and Country Club and Astoria Theatre and twice at Hammersmith Odeon (the second night featuring a surprise and simply amazing Jimmy Page cameo).
Brilliant as they all were, it’s that first night in Leicester all of 36 years ago this month that still resonates the most – it’s right up there in my top ten list of all time favourite gigs.
Photos by Nigel Glazier
Dave Lewis, January 24 2024

David Crosby: One year gone…

Here’s a very eloquent tribute to David Crosby from last January by long time TBL associate  Chris Wright… 

It’s now a few hours since the awful, horrible news of David Crosby’s passing surfaced and, of course, the playlist here has been, and will be for the next few days, exclusively devoted to a simply awe-inspiring body of work.

It had never really struck me before, but I realised tonight that, for many, many years now, rare has been the day without some David Crosby music in it of one kind or another. For so long, it has been the natural thing to seek salvation and derive joy from his output.
He was absolutely one of the most important musical creators for well over six decades, starting with The Byrds and some of the definitive recordings of the 60s. As if that weren’t a significant enough contribution, he was also blessed with the most beautiful male voice I, for one, have ever heard.
The harmonies he created with Graham Nash and Stephen Stills are immortal and, to this day, of unprecedented beauty. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young produced some of the most significant musical statements of their time(s) together.
His first solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name is, in many folks’ view, mine included, one of the greatest albums ever recorded. The end result of seemingly limitless studio time at Wally Heider, with all the great and good of the Laurel Canyon scene gathered to support Croz in the aftermath of the tragic death of the then love of his life Christine Gail Hinton. What emerged was an essentially cathartic and ultimately life affirming set of incredible music that has been a constant companion for me, and countless others, through good times and bad.
The excellent biopic “David Crosby Remember My Name” told the whole story of his difficult years and how he rose out of them so triumphantly, culminating in six albums since 2014 that are easily as important as anything he previously recorded. An incredibly prolific period so late in the game.
Of course this latest huge loss follows so quickly from the passing of Jeff Beck. A common thread between both these legends was their championing of young musicians. Croz recorded stellar studio albums, and a very recent live album, with the amazing Lighthouse Band, consisting of the beyond talented Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League. And let’s also not forget the earlier, excellent CPR recordings with his son James Raymond and 2021’s remarkable For Free album, produced by James, who also collaborated on the Croz and Sky Trails albums.
But nurturing new talent was nothing new for Croz. After all it was David who introduced Joni Mitchell to the world, producing her stunning debut album Song To A Seagull. For a brief period they were lovers too.
What a further punch to the spirit this dreadful news is. What survives, however, is an essential body of work that will only grow in significance.
Thank you Croz.
Chris Wright

VIP Victoria Record Fair – Saturday January 27 -2024…  

The first London VIP Record Fair of the year is staged at the Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, Victoria, London this Saturday, January 27.

I am aiming to be in attendance  – 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

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  January 27 2024
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 4.30pm.

My thoughts on Bob Harris & Colin Hall: The Songs The Beatles Gave Away –  The Jim Marshall Auditorium The Stables Wavendon, Milton Keynes January 21:

BBC’s Bob Harris and author/music journalist Colin Hall set out upon an intimate speaking tour based around their mutual love and appreciation of The Beatles, including rare archive from Bob Harris’ collection of interviews with Lennon & McCartney. By 1963 the pair had written so many songs they simply couldn’t all be accommodated on just their own Beatles releases, so it made artistic and economic good sense to be offered to other artists for recording and the Merseybeat boom of 1963 and 1964 gave them a tailor-made outlet in artists such as Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and Tommy Quickly. This is the story behind those songs, the hits, the misses and the demos that the group never released: ‘The Songs The Beatles Gave Away’

To the excellent The Stables venue in Wavendon Milton Keynes last night with my good friend Lee for the presentation of The Songs The Beatles Gave Away hosted by the legendary broadcaster ‘whispering’ Bob Harris and the renowned Beatles archivist and author Colin Hall – also the author of the book of the same name.

This tour they are undertaking grew out of a radio special Bob compiled and presented for Radio Two on the fascinating subject of the songs Lennon & McCartney and George Harrison wrote and gave to other artists.

The format in presenting this show was a simple one. Just Bob and Colin seated onstage – there were no backdrop visuals.

The main source in bringing the saga to life was via the playing of interview clips of some of the main players in the story – McCartney, George Harrison, Cilla Black, Mary Hopkin, Jackie Lomax and George Martin among them. Clips from the Radio Two broadcast and of course, the songs themselves added to the overall effect.

Bob’s familiar warm tones and his passion for the subject perfectly complimented the affable input of the Liverpool born Colin Hall. Colin’s credentials include being the custodian of John Lennon’s childhood home Mendips for 20 years ,guiding visitors and tourists around the National Trust building.

It was evident Colin has an extensive knowledge of the subjects discussed. He relayed them in an enlightening and often dry witted scouse manner that drew the audience in from the start. Colin and Bob both set the scene with thoughts on the dynamics of the Lennon and McCartney songwriting partnership.

Now I consider myself well versed in the Beatles story and I am an avid collector of Beatles cover versions and giveaways but there is always so much more to learn and that was certainly the case here.

The middle eight that John wrote for a song that ended up on an Adam Faith album? How John provided the initial J for Billy J Kramer’s stage name? The pseudonym Paul adopted for the song Women he wrote for Peter & Gordon?  All was revealed here and so much more.

There was also interview clip input from Billy Hatton of The Fourmost telling the story of how John was the key to offering them Hello Little Girl.

Cilla told of her surprise (surprise!) at finding herself in the studio to record a brass embellished Love Of The Loved as her debut single. There was mention too of the obscure One & One is Two a rare Beatle related chart miss for The Strangers with Mike Shannon (not the famous footballer as Bob mischievously commented.)

Towards the end of the first half, Colin stood up on stage to lead the audience through a singalong of Billy J Kramer’s Bad To Me (”The birds in the sky would be sad and lonely If they knew that I’d lost my one and only” ) and Peter & Gordan’s World Without Love (‘’Please lock me away and don’t allow the day’). All delightful entertainment.

The second half delved into the latter years with subjects ranging from Paul’s work on The Family Way soundtrack in 1966 with George Martin, the instrumental Catcall he gave to jazzman Chris Barber, the recording of the TV theme Thingamabob with the Black Dyke Mills Band and George Harrison’s offering of Sour Milk Sea to Jackie Lomax and Badge for Cream.

Bob Harris offered a personal  anecdote of having holidays in South Wales and meeting a young Mary Hopkin. There was a lovely clip of Mary revealing her wonder at working with Paul on the 1969 hit Goodbye. Badfinger’s Come and Get It from the same year was also aired.

The absolute highlight of the evening was a clip of Cilla Black explaining how Paul wrote the theme tune for her first BBC TV series. This was followed by an airing of a rare demo recording of Paul and Cilla with George Martin in attendance running through the wonderful Step Inside Love.

It was a moment that seemed to evoke the positive energy of the time and was made all the more poignant by Colin’s revelation that securing the contract for Cilla’s BBC series was one of Brian Epstein’s  last achievements before his untimely passing in 1967.

We left the Jim Marshall auditorium to the always uplifting sounds of All You Need Is Love.

Afterwards, it was an absolute pleasure to meet Bob and Colin and they signed various books and merchandise. Colin also had on sale the book Pre-Fab! he has co-authored with Colin Hanton about the latter’s time with the pre fab four’s skiffle outfit The Quarrymen. He told us that this is being made into a film which is due out this year.

All in all, this was a magnificent evening and another delightful re-telling of the joyous continuing soundtrack of our years – the story that keeps on giving.

Last night at The Stables, Bob Harris and Colin Hall talked us through another aspect of the act we’ve known for all these years – and it was truly fab…

Dave Lewis – January 22 2024.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday January 19:

Play More…

Remembering the late great David Crosby one year gone  so on the player loading up the superb career spanning 3 CD set Voyage…

Saturday January 20:

Saturday is platterday – marking it’s release all of 50 years ago this month – Bob Dylan Planet Waves.
This is the copy I bought the day it came out in January 1974. It was issued on the Island label ( Asylum in the US, I have that version too) after Bob temporarily split from CBS.
A superb set with the backing of The Band – Robbie Robertson on guitar puts in a steller performance throughout…
On a Night Like This, Going Going Gone, Tough Mama, Something There is About You, Hazel, Dirge, Forever Young and more.
All great performances – one of my favourite Dylan albums…
Sunday January 21:

So great to meet the legendary Bob Harris tonight after the excellent The Songs The Beatles Gave Away presentation with author Colin Hall at The Stables venue in Milton Keynes.

Being in close proximity with the voice of my generation via his Whistle Test presenting and so many great radio shows was an absolute thrill.

Back in 2007 I sat a few seats from Bob at the Led Zeppelin o2 reunion show and I’ve been lucky enough to interview him for the TBL magazine on a couple of occasions. Bob recalled all this and also remarked how fantastic Robert is doing with Saving Grace. I mentioned to Bob I am in touch with big Zep/music man Patrick Crower who he worked with at GLR radio – and noted what great times they were with Pat.

Bob also made a Zep reference in signing my copy of The Songs The Beatles Gave Away book  – ‘’Dave Zep Rule’’ he wrote as do The Beatles of course as was evident throughout this magnificent evening.

Monday January 22:

It was 51 years ago today…

On the player…

(Wonderland 4LP vinyl box set – limited edition of 300)
Some 51 years after I invested in my first Led Zep bootleg (Live on Blueberry Hill), last November I was well pleased  to add a new title to the collection – the new four LP bootleg package of the soundboard recording of Led Zeppelin’s performance at the University Refectory, Southampton, on January 22 1973.
This was a date added to their 1972/73 UK tour and significantly, was officially recorded for possible future release. This tape was considered for official release in 2003 as a live companion set to the five hour 2DVD set. Ultimately Jimmy went with the Long Beach and Los Angeles Forum recordings made in June of 1972 for the How The West Was Won release.
It’s a little known fact that a small part of the Southampton show actually made its way onto that release – the mellotron part was dubbed on during ‘Stairway to Heaven’. As Mike Tremaglio commented in the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book ‘’Evidently, Page must have decided that Jones’ mellotron, used for the first time on the Fall 1972 Japan tour, added a special vibe to the song’.
The January 22 1973 Southampton gig did surface on bootleg in 2007 notably on the One More Night release which was also released on vinyl.
Now comes this expansive new bootleg release via the Wonderland label. Dancing Days Are Here Again will be much welcomed by vinyl Zep bootleg collectors as the One More Night set is hard to come by.
The cover artwork reproduces the poster that was produced for the concert that has a bizarre Nazi connection. Allegedly, Peter Grant was upset with the association and had the posters removed.
There’s an insert with track details and a review of the time by John Clark via the University of Essex /Wessex Scene. The records are on red blue and yellow vinyl.
In both performance and sound quality it’s right up there with the best of ‘em and this transfer is a remastered version from in 2019. Robert Plant’s vocals are outstanding throughout and the multi track recording is mixed to bring out all four band members with clarity and depth.
The eight LP format does split Dazed and Confused and Thank you over differing sides by the edits are not too jarring.
The highlights of which there are many, include a rousing Since I’ve Been Loving You, previews of the soon to be released Houses Of The Holy tracks over The Hills And Far Away, The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song and Dancing Days, a marathon Thank You with Jon Paul Jones on mellotron, a rare for time fervent run through of How Many More Times plus a truly blistering Communication Breakdown encore.
This January 22 1973 recording can rightly claim to be something of a great lost live Led Zeppelin album and anyone investing in this new package will find it more than lives up to its Dancing Days Are Here Again title.
This is Led Zeppelin firing on all cylinders in one of the last small venues they would play – ahead lay mega stadiums and mega audiences. As such,
It’s an historic recording and a very welcome bootleg LP release.
Tuesday January 23:
Here’s a few examples from my singles collection of various pressings of some of the songs The Beatles gave away, inspired by the excellent Bob Harris & Colin Hall presentation I attended on Sunday night at The Stables venue in Milton Keynes……
Tuesday January 23:
On the player – inspired by the excellent Bob Harris & Colin Hall presentation I attended on Sunday night, the EMI 1979 compilation The Songs Lennon & McCartney Gave Away.
This brings together 20 tracks that were given to the likes of Peter & Gordon, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Cilla Black, The Fourmost, The Applejacks, The Chris Barber Band etc.
I’ll be taking this LP to the always excellent Pete Burridge Record Club tonight at The Castle…
Tuesday January 23:
Slim Harpo’s album Tip On In sounding great at the Pete Burridge record club at the Castle
Tuesday January 23:
Looking through Pete’s singles at his Record Club at the Castle – some amazing stuff…
Update here:
It’s been a real tonic to be out and about again these past few days. I was beginning to feel unmotivated and listless and the cold weather did not help. I could have easily fallen back into the black hole and it’s something I would have done back in the difficult days. Thankfully, I pulled myself out of it thanks to kind words, kind actions and kind people… add to that being in great company with great friends is always inspiring.
I’m continuing to master the art of being in the moment and savoring the moment and cherishing the day. It’s not always easy and it’s an ongoing challenge to do so but it’s a strategy I aim for. The benefits for my wellbeing in doing so is vast – it makes me feel a very blessed man indeed.
Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  January  242024  

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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