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16 November 2022 1,500 views 8 Comments


TBL Archive Special:

Led Zeppelin IV – 51 years gone…

November 1971 /Led Zeppelin IV 

51 years ago this month the fourth Led Zeppelin album emerged in a slightly mysterious manner with that enigmatic sleeve. I vividly remember the excitement and anticipation of the album in the music press that month. In fact the November 6 1971 issue of Melody Maker was something of an historic issue because it contained the first UK sighting the four individual symbols that would make up the title of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Each symbol was featured on the end of a page – a series of teaser adverts for the forthcoming album though nobody really knew it. Now I had read a recent interview with Jimmy Page in which he had explained the album title would be made up of four runes – I did notice those symbols in that issue thinking they looked very odd – but I did not realise these were the very symbols that would become such an integral and lasting image of the band.



It was about to get even more exciting for me with the prospect of attending the November 21 Wembley Empire Pool show. Tickets a mere 75p! It’s fair to say that this advert announcing the second date was something of a life changer for me – as things were never quite the same in our house after what I witnessed on that cold November Sunday evening all of 51 years ago.

This wasn’t just a band…

Led Zeppelin IV… 

Of all their records, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, released in late 1971, remains their listened to and  admired work, and with sales of 38 million and counting it is also far and away their most successful. Featuring both the often maligned Stairway To Heaven and the widely admired ‘When The Levee Breaks’, the set is without question the most accessible of their catalogue and it continues to attract new listeners by the week. Few albums in the history of rock can rival its influence.

The fact that much of the album was made in a mysterious, run-down, 18th century workhouse in the middle of rural Hampshire only adds to its legacy. It’s the product of a band given absolute musical freedom to do as they wished in an environment that encouraged the development of their ability to blend acoustic and electric influences within a rock framework, which they did more successfully than any other act before or since.

As a complete work it remains their most focused statement. From Page’s unimpeachable riffs, through Jones musical invention and Plant’s clarity of vocal to that titanic John Bonham drum sound – Led Zeppelin IV still emits a freshness that belies its age.

Dave Lewis – November 16, 2022 

More Four at 51…

This one from last year…


(aka Led Zeppelin IV)

Celebrates 50 Years

It’s Been A Long Time Since I Rock And Rolled…

Untitled, undeniable, and unstoppable. Led Zeppelin’s fourth studio album, better known as Led Zeppelin IV, arrived 50 years ago on November 8, 1971.

Led Zeppelin IV remains one of the most creatively influential and commercially successful albums in the history of music. As an artistic statement, the record struck a chord that continues to resonate globally among music fans while inspiring generations of musicians.

Commercially, Led Zeppelin IV is a juggernaut, selling more than 37 million copies worldwide. In the U.S., the album was recently certified 24x platinum by the RIAA, ranking as the fifth best-selling album of all time as well as the best-selling album by a British artist (tied with The Beatles aka The White Album). Outside America, the album is certified diamond in Canada (x2); multi-platinum in Australia (9x), the U.K. (6x), and France (2x); platinum in Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Spain; and gold in Germany (3x).

Led Zeppelin IV also topped the album charts in the U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands, and peaked at #2 in Australia, Denmark, France, Sweden, as well as the U.S., where it remains the best-selling album of the band’s catalog.

Before the success and accolades of 1971, the band first spent the fall and winter of 1970 writing and recording Led Zeppelin IV, with early recording sessions beginning in London at Island Studios in December 1970. A month later, the band moved to Headley Grange, a country house in Hampshire, England. They converted the house into a recording studio and used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to record most of the album’s basic tracks with engineer Andy Johns, who also engineered some of Led Zeppelin II and III.

Jimmy Page, who also produced the album, says: “After the brief stay that Robert and I had at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage [while working on Led Zeppelin III], I could see a situation where we all resided at Headley Grange and had a recording truck. I was keen on this whole idea of using it as a workplace so you could concentrate totally on the effort of making the music, while residing at the location.”

“It was all a bit experimental,” John Paul Jones says. “But it was the first time we’d actually stayed together. Before, we were recording in studios…and it was always hotel, studio, hotel, studio. We’d never been in one place and had recording facilities there. So that was really a new way of working for us, and I think it was a really good way. We just had this huge old room with a big fireplace with all the equipment set up. And you could just wander down and start stuff up if nobody was there, or if somebody else would turn up, there would be a bit of jam. There was music making in some way all the time, which, as you can see by the result, worked out pretty well.”

This unconventional (for the time) approach gave the group more freedom to capture spontaneous performances and moments of inspiration. Of the writing of “Stairway To Heaven”, Robert Plant recalls:

“I was sitting next to Jimmy in front of the fire at Headley Grange. He’d written this chord sequence and was playing it to me. I was holding a pencil and paper and suddenly my hand is writing the words ‘There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold…’ I sat there, looked at the words and almost leaped out from my seat. Looking back, I suppose I sat down at the right moment.”

The band also found ways to use the acoustics of Headley Grange to their advantage. Most famously, drummer John Bonham was recorded playing “When The Levee Breaks” in the formal entrance hall of the house using microphones hanging nearby in a flight of stairs. Today, it is one of the most-famous drum sounds in the world and has been sampled countless times by artists across multiple genres including Beyoncé, Beastie Boys, Massive Attack, J. Cole, Björk, and Eminem.

When the basic tracks for the album were finished, the band returned to London to record “Stairway To Heaven” and added overdubs to the Headley material at Island Studios. Soon after, Page traveled to Los Angeles to work on the initial mix of the album at Sunset Sound studios before later returning to Island Studios for additional mixing. The final mix was then delayed until July to accommodate the band’s spring and summer tours.

One of the most memorable parts of the album artwork was the four symbols used on the inner sleeve and album label to represent the four band members.

“There was a really nice little book of signs and symbols,” John Paul Jones says. “So, we decided to choose our symbols from this book appropriate to each member. So, Bonzo [John Bonham] and I dutifully went away, and we actually chose symbols which were kind of the opposite of each other graphically, which was quite strange. And then, of course, Robert and Jimmy designed their own. They all had their own personal meanings.”

Famously, the untitled album was issued with no text on the front or back covers, including the band’s name or an album title – a radical idea at the time.

“After the release and success of the third album, we were still getting negative reviews about the albums and concerts in certain trade journals in America,” Page recalls. “And even after the third album, it was being said that we were ‘a hype’ and one thing and another. It was slightly aggravating. It seemed as though it would be an interesting proposition to actually put out an album with no information on it at all…and see how it would sell.”

“The cover means whatever people want to read into it.” said John Bonham around the album’s release. “For me it means: ‘I’d rather live in an old house than a block of flats.’ My personal view is that the album is the best thing we’ve ever done. I love it. It’s the fourth album and it’s the next stage we were in at the time of recording. All the albums have been different and to my mind this is the best and that’s not trying to be big-headed or flash.”


In 1968, Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin, one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, having sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. The band rose from the ashes of The Yardbirds, when Page brought in Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones to tour as The New Yardbirds. In 1969, Led Zeppelin released its self-titled debut. It marked the beginning of a 12-year reign, during which the group was widely considered to be the biggest and most innovative rock band in the world.

Led Zeppelin continues to be honored for its pivotal role in music history. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, received a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and a year later was awarded with the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm. Founding members Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones – along with Jason Bonham, the son of John Bonham – took the stage at London’s O2 Arena in 2007 to headline a tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun, a dear friend and Atlantic Records’ founder. The band was honored for its lifetime contribution to American culture at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. In January of 2014, the band won their first ever Grammy award as Celebration Day, which captured their live performance at the Ertegun tribute concert, was named Best Rock Album.

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 Zeppelin IV – Part One:

On the evening of Saturday, September 19, 1970, the four members of Led Zeppelin took a final bow before leaving the stage of New York’s Madison Square Garden. It signalled the end of a massively successful US tour, their two performances at the Garden alone netting each of them around $30,000 – not bad for six hours work. Their second album had been a fixture on the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic, racking up sales of over a million in both territories. The previous June the group’s bill topping appearance at the Bath Festival had cemented their reputation on home soil. Readers of the then hugely influential Melody Maker had just voted them as the top act in their annual pop poll, ending years of dominance by The Beatles.

There was simply no doubt about it. Led Zeppelin were now the biggest band in the world.

Then came the backlash…

In early October their eagerly awaited new album, Led Zeppelin III, hit the stores. Its bold agenda in combining the familiar, trademark heavy rock dynamics with more acoustic textures confused both the public and press alike. Headlines such as “I… 2… 3 Zep weaken” were rife as this new direction confused and, to some degree disappointed, critics.

Though Zep III sold well initially it did not to have the across-the-board appeal of their first two albums. Never entirely at ease with the press, Page and Plant were particularly sensitive to the criticism. “The headlines are saying Zep goes soft on their fans or some crap,” remarked Plant to Record Mirror at the time. “The point is when you begin a new album you never knew how it’s going to come out.”

For Page the third Zeppelin album signalled the beginning of a new era. “There is another side to us. This album is totally different to the others and I see this as a new direction.”

Plant again: “Now we’ve done Zeppelin III the sky’s the limit. It shows we can change, we can do things. It means there are endless possibilities. We are not stale and this proves it.”

Brave fighting talk – but quite how their following would react long term to this new direction was at the time still in question. After the initial glow of success they were at something of a crossroads, making their next album crucial. Page later reflected: “With Zep III we thought we’d made a great album – in fact we knew we had. At the time, though, it was said we had started playing acoustic instruments because Crosby, Stills & Nash had just come through and we were ripping them off. I know the record company expected us to follow up ‘Whole Lotta Love’. But we never made a point of trying to emulate something we had done before.”

Sensibly they took their time in recording the crucial fourth album. To recharge their batteries manager Peter Grant refused all offers to tour over the coming months. This included turning down flat a cool one million dollars to appear on a New Year’s Eve I concert to be relayed across the world via satellite. Years later | Peter Grant noted: “I got approached for the band to perform a show in Germany on New Year’s Eve 1970 that would be relayed to American cinemas. The offer got up to a million dollars but I found out that satellite sound can be affected by snowstorms so I said no. The promoters couldn’t believe it, but it just wasn’t right for us.”

Aside from a day out in October to accept a clutch of gold discs from a Parliamentary Secretary for their part in sustaining the country’s healthy balance of exports, the group laid low.

In late October Page and Plant returned to the idyllic cottage half way up a mountain in South Snowdonia known as Bron Yr Aur. It was here that earlier in the year they had conceived many of the songs for Zep III. This return visit again found them ensconced around the open fire with acoustic guitars in hand preparing material for the next record.

They already had a backlog of completed and work-in-progress ideas, amongst them a lilting, Neil Young-influenced: titled ‘Down By The Seaside’, ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’, a semi-acoustic country stomp and, in the same vein, a song called Poor Tom’. ‘The Rover’, then an acoustic idea with idealistic lyrics, was another song waiting to be honed. John Paul Jones had been working on a brooding keyboard piece that would later emerge as ‘No Quarter’, while Page had began demoing a lengthy instrumental track which started off tranquil but built to a crescendo. We all know how that idea flourished, initially they considered a double album, and Page even toyed with the bizarre idea of issuing the album as four separate EPs. After the Zep III backlash they were immensely keen to lay down some fresh new material.

In December they booked initial studio sessions at Island Studios. The Basing Street location was fast becoming the most in-demand studio in London and they had recorded much of Zeppelin III there the previous May. Page, though, was also looking to record on location with The Rolling Stones’ newly built mobile recording unit. “We started off doing some tracks at Island then we went to Headley Grange, a place we had rehearsed at. We took The Stones’ mobile. It was ideal.  As soon as we had an idea we put it down on tape.”

Headley Grange, a largely derelict 18th century manor house, was situated in deepest Hampshire. A three-storey stone structure built in 1795, it was once a workhouse known as Headley Poor for the aged and infirm, and in 1870 it was bought by builder Thomas Kemp who converted it to a private residence and. renamed it Headley Grange.

In the wake of the ‘getting it together in the country’ trend that acts such as Traffic had pioneered in the late Sixties, the place  began to be used as a rehearsal venue for the likes of Fleetwood  Mac and Genesis. It was Fleetwood Mac who suggested the premises to Page.

Plant reflected: “Most of the mood for the fourth album was brought about in settings we had not been used to. We were living in is falling down mansion in the country. The mood was incredible.”

So on a cold January morning early in 1971, accompanied by a handful of roadies plus engineer Andy Johns (brother of noted producer Glyn Jones who had worked on the first Zeppelin album), Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham convened on the old workhouse to set up and record material for their fourth album. Parked outside was the Stones’ mobile studio looking not unlike some vintage army intelligence unit.

Engineer Andy Johns recalled the idea behind going there in an interview with Guitar World: “I had just done Sticky Fingers with the Stones and we’d used the mobile truck on that. So I believe 1 suggested using the truck to Jimmy. We had used Mick’s house at Stargroves but Jimmy didn’t want to stay there because Mick wanted too much money. Then Jimmy found this old mansion so we brought the truck there.” They did eventually record at Stargroves the following year for the Houses Of The Holy album.

John Paul Jones has less positive memories of their stay at the Grange. “It was cold and damp. I remember we all ran in when we arrived in a mad scramble to get the driest rooms. There was no pool table or pub. It was so dull but that really focused your mind on getting the work done.”

On hand to monitor the recordings was Ian Stewart. Stu, as he was affectionately known, was a long time backroom associate of The Rolling Stones – and had even been in an early line up of the group prior to Andrew Oldham grooming the younger band members for success. Stu was an accomplished jazz and blues pianist, and his battered old upright piano was packed alongside the Zep gear in preparation for the likelihood of a jam session or two. The relaxed nature of the whole set up deemed this inevitable.

zep 1971 photo call

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.”

To be continued…

Dave Lewis


A guaranteed million seller well before release, perhaps in theory even before it was recorded, this long awaited fourth Zeppelin album is of greater importance than their controversial third LP. If Zep III gave the first indications that their music was by no means confined to power rock then this new album consolidates their expanding maturity. The eight cuts here follow through with unbridled confidence, expounding in greater details the ideas formulated on the previous album. Once again Led Zeppelin is airborne and the flight course looks very favourable. Roy Carr, New Musical Express

It might seem a bit incongruous to say that Led Zeppelin, a band never particularly known for its tendency to understate matters, has produced an album which is remarkable for its low keyed and tasteful subtlety. But that’s just the case here. The march of the dinosaur that broke the ground for their first epic release has apparently vanished. Taking along with it the splattering electronics of their second effort and the leaden acoustic moves that seem to weigh down their third album. One of the ways in which this is demonstrated is the sheer variety of the album. The got it down all right – this one was gold on the day of release. Not bad for a pack of Limey lemon squeezers. Lenny Kaye, Rolling Stones

After such a long wait one had begun to get a little worried about Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. What had gone wrong? After such a time lag and such mounting expectancy could it still be good? The answer is yes. It is brilliant. It is by far their best album to date, and has a depth and maturity to it which can only result from recording and performing experiences. It has many moods and many styles and seems far more emotionally loaded than any of their other albums – they seem to convey wisdom through experience into their music now. Caroline Boucher, Disc and Music Echo





Research by Nick Anderson:

Led Zeppelin IV was originally released in the UK on 19 November 1971 on the red and plum Atlantic label which was distributed by Polydor Records. Due to various labelling mistakes there are minute details to look out for when identifying genuine early pressings. Here is a summary of what to look out for:

1) Atlantic/Polydor 2401012 – red/plum labels, first pressing, first labels (£300)

The text “Led Zeppelin” is positioned towards the bottom of the label, below the track listing.
The “Under licence from Atlantic Recording Corpn., U.S.A” text is above the white line in the red part of the label.
Full publishing credits were omitted – only ‘Kinney Music Ltd’ is listed.
The first labels have an “Executive Producer: Peter Grant” credit.
“Misty Mountain Hop” is spelled correctly.
Side one has ‘’Pecko Duck’’ etched into the run out groove and side two has ‘’Porky’’ etched into the run out groove, which are the signature marks of English cutting engineer George Peckham. The vinyl matrix numbers are the earliest A//3, B//3
2) Atlantic/Polydor 2401012 – red/plum labels, first pressing, first labels with correction stickers (£150)

A “Led Zeppelin” sticker is placed in the top half of the label underneath the ‘Four symbols’ and above the “Atlantic Recording” credit,
A “Kinney Music Ltd/Superhype Music Inc. Produced by Jimmy Page” sticker is placed over the original Led Zeppelin, producer and executive producer credits on the lower half of the label.
3) Atlantic/Polydor 2401012 – red/plum labels, first pressing, second labels (£100)

The “Led Zeppelin” credit is printed in the top half of the label.
The “Atlantic Recording” credit is moved into the central white band.
The full “Kinney Music Ltd/Superhype Music Inc” credit is included.
The Peter Grant credit is removed.
“Misty Mountain Hop” is misspelled as “Misty Mountain Top”.
4) Atlantic/Polydor 2401012 – red/plum labels, first pressing, third labels (£65)

The fourth variant red/plum label is the same as the corrected third variant, but with the “Misty Mountain Top” misspelling corrected to “Misty Mountain Hop“.

5) Atlantic/Polydor 2401012 – red/plum labels, first pressing, fourth labels, stickered sleeve (£75)

Some corrected plum/red 2401012 fourth label pressings came with a sticker (white with red printing) on the sleeve with the Atlantic logo, K50008, audio information and record label credits. This was outstanding stock acquired by the Kinney group from Polydor and duly stickered on the sleeve with the new Kinney catalogue number – see details below

Note – the inner sleeve on all original pressings is a buff colour matt finish with flip over back. Later issues had no flipover back and for a brief time switched to white.  The gatefold outer sleeve is a matt finish – later issues have a sheen.

6) In 1969, Warner Bros.-Seven Arts was sold to the Kinney National Company. Kinney (later to be known as Warner Communications) combined the operations of all of its record labels. The following year, Kinney bought Elektra Records and its sister label Nonesuch Records, and assembled the labels into a group known as Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, also called WEA for short, or Warner Music Group. In early 1972 the distribution of the Atlantic label in the UK was switched from Polydor Records to the newly formed Kinney set up under the WEA (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic) banner. All catalogue numbers were changed to a simple K prefix and number with Led Zeppelin IV taking on the new catalogue number of K50008 with green and orange labels. Of note to collectors here is Atlantic K50008 – green/orange labels, second pressing, first labels, transitional stamper (£75)

This pressing has dual matrix numbers – both the first pressing 2401012 and later K50008 matrix numbers are included in the run-out grooves.
The ‘Four symbols’ are omitted from the label.
“Misty Mountain Hop” is again misspelled as “Misty Mountain Top”.

In the UK, a pressing plant error resulted in a few hundred pressings of Led Zeppelin IV appearing on the Asylum label. This again occurred in 1972 when distribution of the Atlantic label was switched to the Kinney stable under the WEA imprint (Warner, Elektra, Atlantic). Asylum was an offshoot of the WEA set up and most notably The Eagles’ label. Thus, Asylum Zep IV UK pressings on the K50008 catalogue number are highly prized amongst collectors and are valued at around £150.

Amongst the many worldwide pressings of Led Zeppelin IV, a handful of highly prized rare pressing variations have surfaced.


In the late 1970s, Dave Sands, a young apprentice builder working at Jimmy Page’s home, was handed a unique promo pressing of Led Zeppelin IV by the guitarist himself. ‘’I was 19 and working as an apprentice builder for a local Sussex building firm,’’ recalls Dave. In the spring of 1978, we undertook some work to build a recording studio for Jimmy Page at his Plumpton home. While we were there Jimmy gave me a t-shirt and a batch of albums. The t-shirt was from their 1977 US tour, while the albums included Led Zeppelin II (the rare pressing which has Lemon Song listed as Killing Floor), Led Zeppelin III and IV, Houses Of The Holy, Presence, The Song Remains The Same, and the first Detective album issued on Swan Song. All were on the usual Atlantic and Swan Song labels except the Led Zeppelin IV album (this appears on a plain cream label with track listing).

Jimmy’s generosity put Dave in possession of a unique Led Zeppelin IV promo pressing. This copy has the same typography and label design used for the advance US promo Atlantic pressings sent out at the time of the album’s release but, significantly, the label is a distinct yellow colour as opposed to the more common white label US promos. It comes packaged in what appears to be a mock up single sleeve. The back cover has the same design as the officially released inner sleeve with track listings. The front cover has the symbols and track listing printed on the front cover unlike the wordless standard sleeve design. The regular US white label stereo promos go for around £100, so this rare version obtained directly from Page himself is of much greater value and would easily triple in value at auction.

Another very rare pressing anomaly occurred in Canada where a unique gold and black vinyl multi coloured pressing of the fourth album surfaced a few years ago. This is almost impossible to value as it has not changed hands since it was discovered, but it is fair to assume that should it come onto the market it would be likely reach a price up to £1,000.

Rare pressings guide Compiled by Nick Anderson

LZ News:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant

John Paul Jones

Upcoming events:

November 13 – Bidding will end on John Paul Jones’ signed bass guitar that he played at the September 3 Taylor Hawkins tribute concert in London.
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.

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

Mick Wall book – Down & Out in London & L.A.: 
The renowned journalist and author Mick Wall has recently self published a memoir style book titled Down & Out in London & L.A.
I’ve long since been an admirer of Mick’s work – he has racked up a whole catalogue of biographies including works on Axel Rose, Metallica, AC/DC etc. Mick’s Led Zeppelin When Giants Walked The Earth book is right up there for me amongst the very best Led Zep biographies.
This new memoir is in the style of his online blogs – introspective tales of his life and times. This of course revolves around his career in the music industry firstly working in PR and then as a rock journalist, most prominently with Kerrang! It skips across the era’s at will as Mick recalls some heady days often in an oblique writing fashion. Axel Rose, Don Arden, Lou Reed and Bob Dylan are all references in one way or another and there’s tales of Christmas’s past and a moving break up story.
I recently put a few questions to Mick about the book and here’s his thoughts:
DL: What made you to produce another memoirs style book?
MW: I’ve taken to writing for pleasure since I did my first ultra-personal entirely family oriented blog circa 2006 – 2012-ish on my now long gone website.
I had spent decades writing for magazines and newspapers, doing books to order. It was all work to me. Hard work cos I wanted to be really good and I wasn’t really close yet. Anyway… In more recent years, now I don’t do a blog, I’ve found myself occasionally moved to write a story. Some long some very short. Some hardly what you’d call stories in the so-called normal sense. I also had some chapters from two never finished novels about my younger, and much younger days. It wasn’t much of a step to putting them into one collection. I put it out myself because I wanted it to be special and because I really really didn’t want to work with a publisher or agent and any fucker. For better or worse. So that’s what I did.
DL: The book as quite an abstract feel   as it flits from subject to subject –what inspired you to go for this approach?
MW: I have spent most of life writing magazine and newspaper articles, or lengthy biographies. Allowing myself to NOT write like that for once was very hard to achieve, it took me years. Once I got the hang f it though the words just came. They come when you let them. Right and wrong words. It’s fun to see where they fall.
DL: Some of is incredibly honest – was it a cathartic process getting it all down?
MW: Um, not really. Maybe a bit. But a lot of them I’d had kicking around on various computers in some cases for years. The earliest one was circa 1995, the most recent the very last story which I write when I was getting the book ready for the printers.
DL: I found the break up story Ten Years Gone very moving –  that must have been  hard to recall and write?
MW: That was the one from 1995. One of the first things I ever did that worked, because it was faithfully described, not too much interference from ‘the writer. It moved me reading it again after all these years. You don’t expect that.
DL: Is the book only available as a 250 limited run?
MW: Yes. It may be that one day I do a different edition, but it would have to be markedly different. Maybe a deluxe with illustrations, or maybe a cheap-as-chips paperback version. It was pricey for a lot of people.
DL: What made you go down the self-publishing route?
MW: I didn’t want anyone else involved, not even on an Unbound level. I wanted to create the entire thing, to own it as they say, top and bottom. The only art that wasn’t me was the fantastic sleeve design and artwork. The kind and generous genius that is Steven Bové did all that beautiful work. He has made a gorgeous poster which I will make as an even more limited edition one day soon.
DL: Where is the book available from?
MW: Message me at
Linda will make it happen. I have 77 copies left as I write. All hand-numbered with personalised message from me to you, the only person that matters when it comes to books – the reader.
DL: Tell me about the podcast you are involved with
MW: There was Dead Rock Stars with Joel McIver which took off like a fucking rocket in 2018. We did 23 weekly episodes, still out there on itunes etc, I think, then Joel and I fell out. What made the pod so good worked against us – that we are basically chalk and cheese as people.
DL: Have you any other book ideas mulling?
MW: Dear god you have no idea. Waaay tooooo many. My blockbuster Eagles biography comes out in 2023, plus a special Father’s Day Elton John A-Z, for next year.
I’m in process of working with a major artist I am not allowed to discuss (seriously ffs). And I have ideas for novels, more short stories, TV and film scripts. I want to be able to move from music bio stuff to my own deal. I’m 64 if not now then when exactly?
DL: Is there a musician or band you have yet to produce a book about that you would like to?
MW: I’d rather read about them. Unless someone comes along with an offer that completely catches me offguard, I feel like I’m done with them. Of course I’ve talked like this before…
DL: Which of your  are most proud of?
MW: Paranoid: Black Days With Sabbath & Other Horror Stories (1999)
When Giants Walked The Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin (2008, updated 2018)
Love Becomes A Funeral Pyre: A Biography of The Doors (2014)
Two Riders Were Approaching: The Life & Death of Jimi Hendrix (2019)
Down & Out in London & L.A. (2022)
DL: What are your all time top five fave albums?
MW: I really can’t say as they change all the time and I never really think in terms of lists. Some of my all time faves are Kinda Blue by Miles Davis, Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan, Dark Side by Pink Floyd, Transformer by Lou Reed
DL: List you top five time fave artist/bands
MW: Miles Davis
Bob Dylan
Lou Reed
David Bowie
Jimi Hendrix
DL: Finally  your top five all time fave gigs attended
David Bowie in 1976 – Wembley Arena
David Lee Roth 1988 – Boston Garden
Thin Lizzy – 1976 Hammy O
Motorhead – 1979 Friars Aylesbury
Led Zep – Live Aid 1985

DL: Mick good luck with the book and your projects ahead

MW: Thanks Dave


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday November 11:

It’s a Happy Birthday to our very good friend Mr Billy Fletcher – Led Zep connoisseur, long time TBL supporter, ardent Glasgow Rangers fan and all round top man – Happy Birthday from Janet and I Billy – have a great day mate!

Friday November 11:

It’s a Happy Birthday today to the great Yardbirds member and photographer Chris Dreja.
Back in August 2015, I was lucky to meet and chat with Chris at the Led Zeppelin From The Beginning 1963 – 1975 Photo Exhibition at Proud Gallery in Gallery:
I interviewed Chris for the TBL mag about his group photo that adorns the back cover of the Led Zeppelin 1 sleeve. The pic here shows me with Chris admiring that iconic photo…

Friday November 11:

Latest DL LP record acquisition…
I’ve been fascinated with The Beatles Get Back sessions from the moment I saw the Let It Be film at the cinema in 1970. Three years later in 1973 I got my first bootlegs of these recordings the lo fi Get Back Sessions volume 1 and 2 on the legendary Trade Mark of Quality label. Since then I have amassed a fair few LP’s and CDs of this era.
Now, in the absence of an official release, this bootleg offering is most welcome – The Beatles Get Back The Rooftop Performance new 2022 remastered version is a superb package.
Full colour inner sleeve –white vinyl pressing and a lovely colour poster all adds up to a very welcomed addition to my Get Back collection – and you can never have too many Beatles January 1969 recordings…

Friday November 11:

The new Bruce Springsteen soul covers album Only The Strong Survive is in the house…
Very much looking forward to this one which has already had some great reviews including this one today…Bruce is on tonight’s Graham Norton show…

Friday November 11:

Latest DL Charity shop finds…
Cynthia Lennon John Lennon book
Keith Moon Dear Boy –the brilliant biography by Tony Fletcher
Elton John Rocket Man maxi single gatefold sleeve with lyrics
The Rolling Stones You Got Me Rocking CD single with Our Price sticker
50p each – I’ll take ‘em!

Saturday November 12:

Saturday is platterday –in the light of his excellent new soul covers album I’m going back to this Bruce classic so on the player the brilliant Born To Run album…

Saturday November 12:

DL charity shop find…
Could not leave this rather splendid Phillips cassette recorder in the shop earlier today and complete with bass and treble slide controls – a tenner –Ill take it!
Led Zeppelin I on cassette sounding mighty fine!

Saturday November 12:

Robert Plant first up on the Later at 30 on BBC 2- looking and sounding good…

Sunday November 13:

Poignant Remembrance Sunday scenes at Bedford Embankment this morning…lest we forget…

Tuesday November 15:

Great to catch up with Fiona and Tony De Boltz today in Kettering for a bit of DL memoirs gap filling – Fiona is the only lady I know who saw Led Zeppelin at Earls Court five times in May 1975 – I know this for a fact as she was sat next to me on all five nights – that and many other 1970s memories were on the agenda today and as usual it was all a bit life affirming…

Update here:

A busy week with more collation of material for the DL memoirs. I took receipt of the new Bruce Springsteen and Paul Weller albums alongside the new Led Zeppelin photo book by Robert Ellis – more on that one to follow.

The World Cup is upon us and this one feels very weird being staged in this winter period and controversially in Qatar. Once the football get’s going let’s hope there’s all the excitement of previous finals and that England and Wales can make good progress.

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  November  16, 2022

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Gary Davies said:

    Zep 4 BBC Radio One Classic Albums broadcast (1989):

  • Kevin James said:

    Hi Dave, I’m not at all sure about “Rock and Roll” on Jools Holland. To me it is almost a cabaret band pastiche!

    On the other hand, I did watch the Plant / Krauss concert from Stuttgart, and really enjoyed “When the Levee breaks”, far better than the Glastonbury version, but it would have been great if John Bonham’s drum track had been introduced over the last verse. Shame though that Alison Krauss really didn’t get a look in during the whole show, vocally speaking. It definitely came across as being the “Robert Plant Show”.

  • Rich Farquhar said:

    Dave, excellence all around as usual – can you please provide any info on the Beatles Rooftop album you purchased. Sounds like an amazing release. Like you, I have always been fascinated with that day in music history. Am well aware of previous releases; this looks like the definitive recording.

    All the best,
    Rich Farquhar
    Atlanta GA USA

  • John Rutherford said:

    With regard to Robert’s post gig appearance in Aberdeen – he and the band came into Under The Hammer where my son Tom is manager and who is the chap beside Robert in the picture – and were really friendly – they were in search of real ale and it was a coincidence that there was an open mike night. Nevertheless the band were pleasant and polite listening to the other performers before doing a couple of numbers – the Moby Grape song and their set closer – I bid you goodnight.

    Unfortunately I was 40 miles away so couldn’t get in to see them but had seen them in Edinburgh the previous weekend.(Fantastic gig too).

    The pub is 100 yards from the Aberdeen Music Hall where I saw Led Zeppelin on 25 January 1973 !

    Incidentally they encored that night with Heartbreaker, What is and What should never be and The Ocean – many setlists from that night omit the last song as it didn’t make the one bootleg that exists….


  • Graham Rodger said:

    New documentary about Abbey Road Studios – If these walls could sing – directed by Mary McCartney, is released on 16th December. Apparently, it features newly recorded interview with Jimmy Page. Looks great. Trailer is here, but no sign of Pagey:

  • John Webster said:

    Hi Dave,
    Looks like Led Zeppelin 4 edition 3 for me. I would have had a 1st pressing as I remember leaving school to go to W H Smith in Churchill Sq Brighton to buy it and looking through racks before asking staff member!! My Dad then picked me up when he finished work at 6pm to come home. We then had to go to Hove General hospital where my Mum was a nurse which, I must admit, I hadn’t factored in also Hove train station where a petrol station was and eventually got home. Memories are made of such things.

  • SB said:

    When Giants…is the best Zeppelin book I’ve read absolutely brilliantly written.

  • Steve Hall said:

    Thanks for the memories of LZ IV being released, Dave. It was hotly anticipated by me, too, and all the snippets in MM & Sounds leading up to it just added to the excitement.

    As an addendum to this, a few months afterwards, I noticed an advert in Sounds from some guy who had done some jewellery based on the 4 symbols. I bought Jimmy’s Zoso symbol on a chain, and I still wear it to this day, over 50 years later.

    Can’t wait for your memoire coming out early next year mate, I suspect that a lot of the musical references will mirror my own, so I can’t wait to see how close we are in tastes!

    Cheers, and stay safe,


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