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MR. JIMMY FILM UK PREMIERE SCREENINGS / LZ NEWS/TBL ARCHIVE OCTOBER MILESTONES – LYCEUM 1969 – LED ZEP III 1970 – UNLEDDED 1994 / WHO’S NEXT LIFEHOUSE/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

19 October 2023 1,223 views 3 Comments

Mr. Jimmy film screenings…

It’s been quite a week with two screenings of the Mr. Jimmy film. I attended the Saturday afternoon screening and the Wednesday  premiere.

At short notice, the director Peter Michael Dowd asked me to be involved in the Q and A session that was arranged for after the Wednesday screening.

it was fantastic to meet Peter and hear of his journey in the making of the film – here’s how it all went…

Wednesday October 18:

Great night at the Olympic Studios Cinema for the screening of the Mr. Jimmy film.

 

mde

The film was even more astonishing watching it a second time – the passion and ambition of Jimmy Sakurai is brilliantly captured.
I conducted the Q and A session after the film with the film’s director Peter Michael Dowd and the pioneering guitar engineer Roger Mayer who worked with the likes of Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and many others – he has also supported Mr. Jimmy’s endeavors over the years. Roger recalled working with Jimi Hendrix in this very building and added his thoughts on his admiration for Mr.Jimmy.
Peter added some illuminating insights to how the film came to fruition.
The Q and A was all filmed for future use. Many thanks to the great Olympic Cinema staff, Roger and Peter and also Roger Miles who kindly opened the Olympic Records records shop for us to have a good rummage beforehand – and to all who battled with the rain to make it along – oh and of course Mr. .Jimmy himself for being the subject matter of this compelling film.
Many thanks to Peter Chow for the above pics.

To back track to Saturday October 14:

My thoughts on the Mr. Jimmy film directed by Peter Michael Dowd….

To Barnes in South London on Saturday for the premiere showing of the Mr. Jimmy film.

Beforehand we checked out the excellent Olympic Records shop across the road from the Olympic Studios. A small unit packed with stock with plenty of rare pressings.

I invested in a German pressing of The Beatles’ White album. You can never have too many copies!

Led Zeppelin III was on the player as we browsed which added to the experience. Rob at the shop told me they are trying to obtain every album that was recorded over the road at the Olympic Studios they are already 1,000 up.

I told Rob we were going to the Red Lion pub nearby and he recounted a tale of how Jimi Hendrix on an occasion when he was recording in the studio, adjourned for a drink to the Red Lion and while there he wrote The Wind Cries Mary.

Over at the pub the TBL crew of myself, the good lady Janet, Phil and Ian were joined by Julian Walker and Andreas Stocker. At the screening it was great to see Rikky Rooksby, long time TBL contributor and Earls Court veteran

So to the Mr. Jimmy film. It was screened in a very plush small viewing theatre with a mere two row capacity. We were front row and had a superb view.

Firstly though, some personal thoughts on the Led Zep tribute world.

Back in 1981 when I heard a singer called Michael White was impersonating Robert Plant I was absolutely appalled. How could it be right that someone would want to forge a career modelling himself on another singer –in this case the former singer with Led Zeppelin?

Perhaps John Bonham’s passing was all too raw back then then and eventually I did succumb to the idea and Michael did a very good job. It was plainly obvious that in the absence of the real thing there were a whole host of young musicians eager to replicate the Zep sound and catalogue.

Of course, in recent years the whole tribute band industry has exploded. There are now countless tribute bands treading the boards nightly across the globe giving audiences what they want – in the case of Led Zeppelin, some of the greatest rock songs of this or any other era.

I’ve seen many a Zep tribute and had great nights out doing so. For me the best ones  adopt a policy of performing the Zep big hitters without too much indulgence. They are the ones that go down the best in terms of audience reaction and at this point I’d mention the Coda UK based tribute band who do a top job in fulfilling that role.

As the film portrayed, that thinking was very much against the grain for Mr Jimmy. For him it really is all in the detail.

The basic story kicks off – we learn of the Japanese born Akio Sakarai’s deep interest to play guitar and perform and present Jimmy Page’s music to the highest standard – his way.

It’s immediately evident that this is a film about obsession and ambition. Being a man who knows a bit about obsession, I was immediately drawn into Akio’s world.

His attention to detail in his quest to replicate every nuance of Jimmy Page’s style both musically and visually is simply awe inspiring.

Akio takes on the persona of Jimmy Sakarai and begins performing in Tokyo clubs. There are insightful scenes of Mr. Jimmy nurturing the tone  of his Gibson Les Paul with Toshio Suzuki an amplifier expert. Equally enlightening are the conversations with his stage costume designer Rie Nakahara. Every last thread has to be as Jimmy Page wore it. The stunning embroidery by Kiyomi Osawa on the black dragon suit is also beautifully captured.

This dedication naturally extends most impressively to his playing – he is a brilliant interpreter of the Zep catalogue. We see him watching The Song Remains The Same movie endlessly to get everything spot on.

It says much for the respect  Mr. Jimmy has attained that the director has gained clearance for so much Led Zeppelin music. Early on there’s that riveting sequence from the movie of the real Zep performing the opening to The Song Remains The Same. I’ve always loved that clip and it got me right in to the Zep zone.

The real turning point in the story is the appearance of the real Jimmy Page in town in October 2012 to promote the Celebration Day film  accompanied by Ross Halfin visits a Tokyo club to witness Jimmy Sakarai performing on stage. Here we see Jimmy enthusiastically clapping along as Mr. Jimmy goes through his paces. Mr Page then chats to Mr. Jimmy afterwards and poses for a photo. It’s a fabulous sequence.

This meeting with his master sets Akio on a mission to chase his dream. He relocates to Los Angeles and joins the renowned tribute band Led Zepagain.

Here comes the difference of opinion mentioned above.

Akio want’s to perform the songs in the manner of the Zep live shows. A Royal Albert Hall 1970 Dazed And Confused – a Madison Square Garden 1973 No Quarter – you name it Mr. Jimmy has researched it.

One of the film’s engaging qualities is the focus on Mr. Jimmy reproducing various versions of the songs – it’s evident  that he’s listened intensely to the bootlegs and can reel off a 1971,1972,1973 or 1979 Stairway To Heaven arrangement at will. Not to mention the Page & Plant performance on a 1994 Japanese TV show. This aspect is a delight for Zep fans who will understand the relevance of such differences.

The members of Led Zepagain whilst in admiration of his talent, are not on the same page as it were. They want to knock out the greatest hits as that is good for business and it’s not hard to see their point. Mr. Jimmy’s plan for them to present a reimagined Madison Square Garden 1973 fourth night is jettisoned.

Does the average music fan looking for a good night out care too much which version of Stairway they are getting?

Probably not. They just want a night of celebrating Zep in it’s simplest purist form. Though I must say for me personally, I’d we quite happy to sit for three hours plus as Mr. Jimmy reeled off an Earls Court 1975 set!

Following his departure from the band Mr. Jimmy is understandably crestfallen.

To his credit, he picks himself up and attempts to form his own band with limited success.

Then comes a phone call from Jason Bonham’s management and Mr. Jimmy finally gets his just reward.

Suddenly there he is on stage blasting out the blistering solo of  Since I’ve Been Loving You (1973 version I’d say!) with the son of the drummer in Led Zeppelin belting it out behind him.

A happy ending all round…

Summary:

Back in the dark post Bonham passing days of October 1980, the notion 43 years hence that  I’d be sitting in a cinema in the location for the recording of many of Led Zeppelin’s greatest albums, watching a film about one man’s quest to play and perform like Jimmy Page would have seemed very bizarre indeed.

Truth be told it is a bit bizarre but brilliantly so.

As Robert Plant uttered before performing that 1973 version of Stairway To Heaven at Madison Square Garden ‘’I think this is a song of hope’’

Mr. Jimmy is a film of hope – a vivid portrayal of what can be achieved when you have the passion and drive to make your dream happen.

This really is a case of to paraphrase a Robert Plant lyric ‘’the wonder of devotion’’.

Hats off to director to Peter Michael Dowd for bringing this man’s often unfeasible love for his subject to the big screen – and it’s been a long journey.

The onstage live performances are brilliantly captured and the film benefits greatly from some very slick editing. The sound tracking of many scenes with old blues masters such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, Elvis’ Mystery Train and even some dramatic classical orchestral pieces is also a deft touch.

Mr. Jimmy is clear proof that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues – and watching the remarkable Jimmy Sakurai in all his glory on stage, it’s in very safe hands.

Here’s hoping this superb film has a DVD, blu ray or streaming release lined up so it can reach as wider audience as possible.

It’s a heart-warming watch – a fact that all of us in this plush Olympic Studios cinema were in total agreement with.

Catch it when you can…

Dave Lewis – October 16 2023

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LedZep News

Here’s the latest Led ZepNews Update:

Jimmy Page

How Jimmy Page tribute artist Mr. Jimmy finally found the spotlight

The new feature-length documentary film “Mr. Jimmy” has its UK premiere this weekend. LedZepNews spoke to Akio Sakurai, Mr Jimmy himself, as well as the film’s director Peter Michael Dowd for this story published today about Sakurai’s career and how the film came together.

Paying subscribers to the LedZepNews Substack can listen to our full interview with Dowd and read a transcript of the interview here.

Full audio interview: Director Peter Michael Dowd on his film ‘Mr. Jimmy’

 

JAMES COOK ·
7:40 PM
Listen now (18 mins) | The new feature-length documentary film “Mr. Jimmy” follows Japanese musician Akio Sakurai, known professionally as both Mr Jimmy and Jimmy Sakurai, as he hones his craft emulating the appearance and sound of Jimmy Page.

 

Read full story

Bucks Burnett died

Bucks Burnett, the Dallas record shop owner who was a long-term acquaintance of Jimmy Page, died on October 2His article recalling attending the December 10, 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show as a guest of Page’s ex-wife is worth a read for those who aren’t already familiar with it.

Robert Plant

Saving Grace’s November UK tour gets a slight shakeup

There has been a slight scheduling change to Robert Plant’s upcoming November UK tour with Saving Grace. The band’s November 8 performance in Cardiff, Wales has been postponed to November 15 and switched to a different venue. The band will now play a newly announced show in Southampton on November 8 instead.

Robert Plant’s Mojo magazine interview now available online

Robert Plant’s interview from the November 2023 issue of Mojo Magazine is now available to read online here.

Upcoming events:

·     2023 – The second Band Of Joy album titled “Band Of Joy Volume 2” will be released and an expanded edition of the Honeydrippers album “The Honeydrippers: Volume One” will be released.

·     October 21 – Robert Plant will perform at a charity event in Oxfordshire, UK.

·     October 27 – Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will be reissued on clear vinyl

·     November 1 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Brighton, UK.

·     November 2 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Guildford, UK.

·     November 4 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Bert Jansch 80th birthday tribute concert in London, UK.

·     November 5 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Birmingham, UK.

·     November 7 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bournemouth, UK.

·     November 8 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Southampton, UK.

·     November 11 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Salford, UK.

·     November 13 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Oxford, UK.

·     November 15 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cardiff, UK.

·     November 16 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Basingstoke, UK.

·     November 17 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Cambridge, UK.

·     November 19 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Grimsby, UK.

·     November 20 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Gateshead, UK.

·     November 22 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Bradford, UK.

·     November 23 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

·     November 25 – Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace in Wolverhampton, UK.

·     2024 – Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss.

·     March 21-24 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee both as a solo act and as part of Sons Of Chipotle.

·     Summer 2024 – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Vienna, Virginia.

That was our 311th email. Have any questions or feedback? Reply to this email and we’ll get back to you.

Follow Led Zeppelin News on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on news as it happens, and check ledzepnews.com for the latest news.

Many thanks to James Cook 

The complete Led ZepNews email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:http://tinyletter.com/LedZepNews

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

OCTOBER ZEP RELATED MILESTONES:

A catch up on some key October Zep related milestones…

TBL Archive Special 1:

lyceum 69

The pic here is the very rare flyer from the Cliff Hilliard collection for Led Zeppelin’s October 12th concert at London’s Lyceum back in 1969…

So this is another milestone anniversary as it’s 53 years to the day they played what at the time, was their most prestigious London gig to date. It also marked the last time the band performed this set in the UK – by the time of their next London date – the famous January 9th 1970 Royal Albert Hall show – their set would be overhauled.

Here’s how it all lined up on that October Sunday night in 1969 via research from Mike Tremaglio:

SUNDAY OCTOBER 12 1969

LONDON, ENGLAND

THE LYCEUM, ‘SUNDAY SCENE’

Setlist (from 60 minute audience recording):

Good Times Bad Times Intro/ Communication Breakdown, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Heartbreaker, You Shook Me, What is and What Should Never Be, Dazed and Confused, How Many More Times Medley (incl. Boogie Chillun’)

Support from Frosty Moses and Audience.

The Lyceum show was the start of a series of Sunday night showcases, presented by promoter Tony Stratton-Smith. The original idea is for the headlining act to present an entire album in concert. They  declined that idea and only two numbers from the new album were subsequently premièred.

According to New Musical Express , promoter Tony Stratton-Smith was lining up a year-long series of concerts for Sunday evenings at the Lyceum.  The intention for the series was to have two star attractions plus an up-and-coming act.  Stratton-Smith mentioned that he wanted “to create the British equivalent of New York’s Fillmore East, with a free and easy atmosphere and a sense of community.”  The “Crab Nebula” light show accompanied the concert performers (in the spirit of the Fillmore East’s “Joshua” light show.   The concert was a 2,000 capacity sell out and the group were paid what is thought to be the highest fee for a one night performance in the UK.at that point. The deal with Stratton-Smith was for Led Zeppelin to receive the fee in cash the next day.

Nick Logan in New Musical Express reported: “It’s a pity that with such a large audience present, Led Zeppelin should turn in one of their less inspiring performances. Having seen them at both the Marquee and the Albert Hall it seems the larger the venue the better it suits the Zeppelin’s overpowering sound, although the Lyceum audience responded enthusiastically to everything they did. It was mainly the now familiar opening to their act – ‘Communication Breakdown’ etc. that suffered. Robert Plant’s voice being drowned by the sheer volume of sound. Jimmy Page’s guitar solo midway through was deservedly well received and when the group came in again on ‘You Shook Me’ and ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ there was something of an improvement.”

Freddie Mercury, Queen’s legendary front man and Lyceum concert attendee, was a little bit more enthusiastic. In a letter mailed to his friend Celine Daly, Freddie wrote: “Just heard Zeppelin II LP and it’s a knockout.  Saw them at the Lyceum and they were really great.”  At the time, Mercury was still in his original band called “Ibex,” who included a cover version of Communication Breakdown in their setlist (as evidenced by a 9/9/69 bootleg recording).

 Bootleg CD References:

Ballroom Blitz (World Productions)

The Lyceum Ballroom U.K. 10/12/69 (Totonka)

Lyceum (Cobla Standard)

Triumphant UK Return (Empress Valley)

Compiled by Mike Tremaglio


TBL Archive Special 2:

Led Zeppelin III at 53:

To celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin III are ‘s the first part of the making of Led Zeppelin III feature I wrote for Record Collector in 2010. 

Led Zeppelin III

Dave Lewis tracks the story of the album that ensured Led Zeppelin would be remembered for much more than stacks of Marshall amps….

At around 9pm on the evening of Saturday June 28th 1970, a pivotal moment occurred that would shape the whole future of Led Zeppelin. Following a performance of Thank You from their second album, forty minutes in to their bill topping set at the Bath Festival, Jimmy Page exchanged his Gibson Les Paul for a Martin acoustic guitar and John Paul Jones switched to mandolin. After a few minutes of tuning up Robert Plant joked with the audience that ‘’This is a medley of Lonnie Donegan tunes before announcing ‘’This is one of the really good ones especially for John Bonham’’.

As Page strummed the first chords Plant revealed ‘’This is called The Boy Next Door, for want of a better title’’. Led Zeppelin were playing acoustically on stage for the first time in the UK. The better title would appear as That’s The Way, one of the centerpiece recordings on their landmark third album issued forty years ago this month.

The significance of their Bath Festival acoustic performance could not be understated. This was a band who had often bludgeoned their listener into submission with the full on rock assault of the likes of Whole Lotta Love, Dazed And Confused and How Many More Times. Indeed performances of those songs at the Bath Festival did much to cement their growing reputation as the most popular band in the world. Clearly though, as indicated by that acoustic rendering of That’s The Way, Led Zeppelin were going to be much more than just purveyors of Marshall amplifiers.

‘’We are not a rabble rousing group’’ Page informed journalist Chris Welsh early that year. We are trying to play some music.’’

Unsurprisingly, was a mixed reaction to the album when it was released in October of 1970. Many critics and fans could not quite believe their ears. However,the clues however had long since been there. The acoustic overtones of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, the folk instrumental Black Mountain Side (itself a borrow form folk guitarist Bert Janch’s Black Waterside) and the subtly of Thank You and Ramble On all displayed evidence of Page’s intention to bring what he would often describe as a light and shade to the proceedings.

Misleadingly,the overall bombastic thrust of Led Zeppelin 2 clouded the musical diversity that lay ahead. Written and recorded on the road in between an extensive touring itinerary in 1969 ,the nature of the recording sessions provided was little room for reflection and experimentation. Its untamed power was perfect for the emerging mass album buying public, and they entered a new decade with the album topping both the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic dislodging The Beatles Abbey Road in the process.

Despite the successful formula applied to their second album, for their next recorded statement they were determine to extend the musically boundaries that their hectic schedule had yet to allow time for.

Initially sessions for their third album carried on from where Zep 2 had left off. Their fourth American tour ended in on November 8th in San Francisco just as Whole Lotta Love the single extracted from Zep 2 was climbing the American charts. There was intense pressure from Atlantic in the UK to issue a similar edited version of the song for the UK market. Peter Grant’s no singles rule averted any such plan though not before a few hundred copes slipped out from a warehouse in Manchester – ensuring it’s long term rarity status.

When they gathered in Olympic Studios in late 1969 there was a plan to try and record something for single release. Announcing the withdrawal of the planned release of Whole Lotta Love in the UK in December of that year Peter Grant issued a statement that read ‘’the group had no intention of issuing this as a single as they felt it was written as part of the concept of the album. They’ve written a special number intended as their first British single which they are recording this week’’’. It’s possible one of the numbers under consideration was the semi acoustic Hey Hey What Can I Do, which eventually emerged as a future American single B side

Page had also mentioned the singles dilemma in September of that year. ‘’We are going to spend time on producing a single. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge because in the past on the albums we’ve done long tracks, so it’s a question of condensing a 15 minute performance down to about three minutes.’’ It’s also possible the statement from Grant may well have been a smokescreen to divert the singles controversy.

In the end the plan to record a single came to nothing. However,the late ’69 session did see the beginnings of what would emerge on Led Zeppelin 3 a year hence. Page experimented with a chord progression that over laid a series of Hendrix like runs. This was dubbed Jennings Farm Blues, a reference to Plants then farmhouse in Blakeshall. This track would remain voiceless and unreleased. However the melody of this electric piece would later emerge in an acoustic arrangement titled Bron Y Aur Stomp. Another song they worked on during these initial sessions was Since I’ve Been Loving You. A dramatic custom made blues that showcased Plant’s soaring range and Page’s guitar virtuosity to great effect.

Led Zeppelin opened the new decade riding high on the back of the sales success of Led Zeppelin 2. A sold out eight city British tour for which they set a precedent in appearing without a support act (aside for a date in Edinburgh where Barclay James Harvest did the honours), saw them further cement their growing reputation. The future Zep 3 standard Since I’ve Been Loving You made its debut on the tour and would remain in the set for many years to come. The set list for these shows included a new set opener, a cover of Ben E. King’s ‘We’re Gonna Groove’. This number was recorded in the studio for Led Zeppelin 2 but remained unreleased until it turned up on the posthumous Coda set in 1982.

The UK tour included a memorable showcase at the Royal Albert Hall staged on January 9th –the night of Jimmy’s 26th birthday. The performance was captured on film by Peter Whitehead for an intended TV documentary.’’’ We are working on a film’’ said Page at the time adding that ‘’This show was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer, with everyone dancing round the stage. It is a great feeling. What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It’s indescribable, but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.”   Backstage visitors included Roger Daltrey and his wife Heather. Jimmy was introduced to Charlotte Martin, a French model with whom he would develop a long-term relationship and who would become the mother of his daughter Scarlet.   The show was professionally filmed on Grant’s instructions under the direction of Peter Whitehead and Stanley Dorfmann and recorded by Vic Maille on the Pye mobile studio (the same recording unit employed by The Who for the recording of their Live At Leeds album a month later) . Disc later announced that Zeppelin would be seen on TV screens this year for the first time in a £25,000 film financed entirely by the group. “The movie, an hour-long semi-documentary, will show scenes for the Albert Hall, a section of a States tour, individual members of the group off-duty with their wives and families – and a lot of live action shots. Peter Grant stated.

The film was their planned retort to the numerous TV offers they had turned down. Although they did a spate of TV shows early in their career, including a BBC2 appearance on How Late Is (long since wiped), they had turned down offers to appear on Top Of The Pops and This Is Tom Jones.

Despite plans to film other concerts and a sequence showing John Bonham’s then four year old son Jason playing drums, the TV documentary idea was eventually scrapped as they were unhappy with the quality of the Albert Hall footage. It was eventually salvaged by Page and restored for their official DVD which saw the light of day in 2003. The Albert Hall footage is unfortunately missing the embryonic arrangement of Since I’ve Been Loving You as some of the footage was too dark to be used.

The touring continued into Europe in February With Robert fully recovered the group were back on the road within a month playing 11 dates in Europe. The most memorable date occurred on February 28th in Copenhagen. Before the show they were confronted by one Eva Von Zeppelin. Claiming to be a direct descendant of the designer of one of the first airships, Count Von Zeppelin, she threatened to sue the band if they performed as Led Zeppelin, making the infamous statement: “They may be world famous but a group of shrieking monkeys are not going to use a privileged family name without permission.” For their KB Hallen appearance they went under the name The Nobs, a playful pun on the name of their European promoter Claude Knobs and, of course, a thinly disguised reference to something else entirely. Little was heard of Eva’s Von Zeppelin’s claim again and they were back as Led Zeppelin for their next show.

From March 21st to April 18th they were back in America for remarkably what would be their fifth visit in the space in a little over a year. Billed as ‘’An Evening with Led Zeppelin’’, the tour captured the band in full on rock assault mode for the final time. Despite a few run ins with the US authorities over their long hair and. They performed 25 shows on the tour with a show that now exceeded two hours.This one was arranged to continue their push for mass acceptance in the US and saw them perform in venues of 10,000 capacity and upwards. It was a gruelling schedule that eventually took its toll on Plant’s voice, the final date in Las Vegas being cancelled. Stone The Crows were initially announced as the support act for the tour but then cancelled. From now on in, the shows were billed as ‘An Evening With Led Zeppelin’ and there were no support bands. The political climate in the US was far from stable at this time. The shooting of four students on Ohio’s Kent State University campus during a demonstration against the Vietnam War had exacerbated the already edgy relationship between the youth of America and its police. With their long-hair and wild appearance the Zeppelin entourage attracted unfavourable treatment from the authorities. Plant was more sensitive to the unpleasantness than his colleagues and his observations would later flower into the lyrics of the Led Zeppelin 3 standard That’s The Way. “We’ve seen much in America we don’t agree with and our feelings of protest do reflect in the music,” remarked Plant. “People may think we make a lot of bread but in some cities it’s so rough – fans won’t come to our shows. We’ve been threatened with arrest if we returned to the stage and our manager’s had a gun pulled on him.” It was during this tour that Page had his Gibson ‘Black Beauty’ Les Paul Custom guitar stolen during a flight change. It wasn’t all bleak news though – in Memphis they were made honorary citizens and they sold out the venues in almost every city they visited. The total gross of the tour was over $1,200,000 with record breaking attendances reported in Montreal and Vancouver.

At the end of the tour Plant collapsed on stage at the end of their show in Phoenix Arizona due to a bout of laryngitis forcing the cancellation of the final date in Las Vegas.

Plant’s fatigue and illness highlighted the band’s current state. They all needed a rest. Since their debut tour of Scandinavia in September 1968 they had barely stopped performing. Burn out loomed and Peter Grant knew he had to allow them some slack.

Just prior to the much needed break, viewers to BBC2’s Sunday night Julie Felix Show were privy to a significant performance by Jimmy Page.

“My next guest this evening is a member of certainly the most successful group to come out of Britain in the last couple of years. Led Zeppelin LP’s top both the British and American charts and the lead guitarist in that group is definitely a very talented and special musician. Ladies and gentlemen: Jimmy Page!” That was the introduction afforded Page on the night of April 26th when the show aired. This rare Page rare solo TV appearance came about from Julie’s friendship with John Paul Jones and her being part of the RAK management stable that shared the same office as Peter Grant. Recorded at the BBC’s Lime Grove studio, the performance featured Jimmy picking feverishly away on an all acoustic delivery of White Summer/Black Mountain Side – a then prominent part of their stage act played as an electric piece on a Dan Electro guitar. On this occasion he used a Gibson J 200 acoustic guitar acquired from session man Big Jim Sullivan. This would be the last performance of this showpiece for nine years. Again the all acoustic setting was a hint of things to come.

The majority of May 1970 was deemed a holiday period – and this provided the perfect opportunity for Page and Plant to take a break together. The plan was to visit a run down cottage Robert had remembered holidaying there when he was a child. The cottage known as Bron Yr Aur Welsh for “golden hill”, “breast of the gold” or “hill of the gold” was an 18th century building located in South Snowdonia. It’s worth noting that all credits for Bron Yr Aur on the Led Zeppelin 3 album incorrectly named the cottage as Bron Y Aur. It was restored to Bron yr Aur for all future album credits notably the 1970 Bron Yr Aur acoustic track that eventually surfaced on Physical Graffiti.

This trip to the serenity of the Welsh countryside would emerge as a working holiday.

Together with a roadies Clive Coulson and Sandy McGregor, Jimmy and Robert plus visits from their ladies Maureen and Charlotte spent the month at the cottage. Given the lack of domestic electricity, the arrangements for the new songs that emerged were entirely acoustic thus setting the flavour for much of their third album.

“We’d been working solidly and thought it was time for a break, or at least some time to get away from the road’’ said Page. ‘’Robert suggested going to this cottage in South Wales that he’d once been to with his parents when he was much younger. He was going on about what a beautiful place it was and I became pretty keen to go there. So often we went; took along our guitars of course. It wasn’t a question of ‘Let’s go and knock a few songs in the country’. It was a bit of a case of getting away for a bit. As the nights wore on the guitars came out and numbers were being written.” Plant did tell of an incident when three guys on motorbikes tuned up at the cottage one night. We were preparing for trouble but it turned out they were Led Zeppelin fans who had just come for a chat. Turns out one of them was the son of a local farmer which came in handy as his dad said we’ d be welcome to fish on his private stretch of river nearby.’’ Roadie Clive Coulson told journalist Phil Sutcliffe ‘’They just wanted some peace and quiet. They met local people while they were there. They ended up buying some goats from one of the local farms. Jimmy and Robert went into Machynlleth and at pub called Owen Glendower. Everyone mucked in at the cottage, there was no superstar shit. Pagey was the tea man. The cottage was stone freezing cold. There was an open hearth fire. Pagey had a Martin guitar and they a lot of songs at the cottage’’

These compositions carried influence from a variety of sources. America was already feeling the soft rock influence of Crosby Stills Nash and Young – in fact Page and Plant were in attendance at the band’s London show earlier in the year. There was a definite Neil Young lit about I Wanna Be Your Man an acoustic skit that they left unfinished and Down By The Seaside which would eventually surface on Physical Graffiti. Plant’s reflective That’s The Way (aka The Boy next Door’’) was another number borne under the influence of the cottage.

The Rover, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Poor Tom and Friends were other songs that were first developed.

When the group reconvened for studio sessions at Olympic in late May e they had a good ten numbers at the ready to record stage. ‘’We’ll be recording for the next two weeks and we are doing a lot of acoustic stuff as well as the heavier side’’ John Bonham told Melody Maker’s Chris Welch from the studio. ‘’There will be better quality songs than on the first two albums’’

TO BE CONTINUED…

Here’s a link to a Led Zeppelin piece I did for the Louder/Classic Rock website:

https://www.loudersound.com/features/25-things-about-led-zeppelin-III

 


TBL Archive Special 3:

unledded

It was 29 years ago…October 1994 and the release of the Unledded album –  here’s the TBL review of the Unledded album.

THE ALBUM:

NO QUARTER – JIMMY PAGE AND ROBERT PLANT UNLEDDED (Fontana 526 362 2)

No Quarter (the Unledded tag has been somewhat played down in the packaging) is a lengthy, 14-track CD clocking in at over 79 minutes – a mere three minutes less than Physical Graffitti. The actual sleeve design I find disappointing. A low key shot from Corris Slate that offers a rather windswept portrait of the ageing dynamic duo. The CD booklet itself is sparse on detail and the discographer in me again bemoans the lack of sleeve notes. If ever an album’s evolution was worth explaining then it was this one. It strikes me that the official press release notes produced for the MTV premieres would have fitted in very well here. An enigmatic photo of a bizarrely painted hand maintains the mystery of sleeve images of old. The nod to the original credit for Bron Y Aur (they’ve reverted to that spelling again) first deployed on the Led Zep III inner sleeve is a nice touch and one that vividly illustrates (as I’d hoped when I undertook The Making Of Led Zeppelin III feature back in the early summer) their allegiance to the original unplugged concept from 24 years back.

The sequencing differs from the MTV broadcast, skitting around from Wales, London and Morocco rather haphazardly. I would have preferred to see it retain the more cohesive flow of the film with all the Moroccan tracks particularly in one block.

From Morocco, ‘Yallah’ retains plenty of atmosphere enhanced with an echoed spoken intro and a very live-in-the-marketplace feel. ‘Wah Wah’ has a quaint charm but does lose some of its impact when stripped of the visual scope of the film, while the previously unused ‘City Don’t Cry’ emerges as a plaintive croon with a strong Gnaoua presence. While these excursions are admirably executed and remain a worthy record of their travels, the latter two songs do come over as a little too ethnic to broaden their appeal with repeated plays. ‘Wonderful One’ is still… well… wonderful. No other word for it. This version is an alternate recording from that which appeared in the film with Robert committing an affectingly sensitive vocal over Jimmy’s equally sensitive strumming.

From the mountains, ‘No Quarter’ fascinates with its phased reverb and modal tunings while ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ stomps and grinds to a knockabout climax (listen carefully for the off mike “Thank you very much”- comment at the end). I’d love to hear ‘Levee Breaks’ and ‘Gallows’ from the same session and hopefully along the way we will. From London there are some truly outstanding moments: ‘Thank You’ delights in its sheer familiarity, ‘Friends’ via its dramatic intro, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ as a classic blow and ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ with its ethereal feel and Najma’s searing vocal

That leaves the final four numbers: ‘That’s The Way’, ‘Gallows Pole’, ‘Four Sticks’ and ‘Kashmir’. Here the sequencing is really spot on as one classic dovetails magnificentiy into another. This pan of the album really does capture the excitement so evident on screen. And as a bonus ‘That’s The Way’ appears as the previously unheard treat. Led by Jimmy’s swaying Ovation double neck, Robert offers an evocative trip through the memory bank in an arrangement enhanced by Michael Lee’s subtle drum pan and Porl’s lilting banjo. It’s a performance that again reflects Page’s ‘same picture within a different frame’ ethic.

The travelogue nature of proceedings on the No Quarter CD may skip uncomfortably across the continents at times but the journey is ultimately a fulfilling one. I find myself treating it like a favourite radio station – dipping in and out with repeated pleasure every time. Because here on Radio Unledded via the World Service you’re never too tar away from a solid gold classic.

Dave Lewis, October 1994 – first published in TBL issue 10


The Who Who’s Next Life House Super Deluxe Edition listening experience update:
This is really is an embarrassment of riches with so much to enjoy
Disc 1 CD 1 Who’s Next remaster is magnificent. This was always an album of precise economy. Nothing out of place and nothing overdone.
How they came to achieve that economy is now fully revealed.
Discs CD 2 and 3 present the Pete Townshend Who’s Next Life House demos from 1970 -1971.
So to Disc 4 and I feel like I am in the control room of the Record Plant Studios in New York back in March 1971 as The Who work through versions of their latest compositions
This a fabulous and enlightening insight to where they were at as the Life House project unfolded –and ultimately imploded.
Back in March 1971 out on the studio floor they gelled brilliantly. The star here is Keith Moon – he is just phenomenal throughout. The way he drives the opening studio warm up romp through Baby Don’t You Do It is pure percussive brilliance.
The Who Record Plant sessions haves a loose feel as they feel their way into Won’t Get Fooled Again (Record Plant, NYC Sessions) [take 13, March 16, 1971], Behind Blue Eyes (Record Plant, NYC Sessions – Version 1) [take 15, March 16, 1971],Love Ain’t for Keeping (Record Plant, NYC Sessions) [take 14, March 17, 1971],The Note (Aka Pure and Easy) [Record Plant, NYC Sessions] (Take 21, March 17, 1971),I’m in Tune (Aka Getting in Tune) [Record Plant, NYC Sessions] (Take 6, March 18, 1971) and Behind Blue Eyes (Record Plant, NYC Sessions – Version 2) [take 10, March 18, 1971).
Marvel here at the two versions of Behind Blues Eyes as it develops from a plaintive strum into a light and shade banger…
The version of Love Ain’t For keeping has Leslie West of Mountain guesting on guitar (they were recording in the next studio) and there’s plenty of studio banter to be heard. ’’Moon I don’t want to hear a single broken beat this whole thing’’ shouts then manager Kit Lampard before the Pure And Easy take.
All in all in all, this is yet another fascinating insight into how the Life House songs were initially prepared in this New Yok Record Plant studio lolcation.
Next stop would be the Olympic Studios and Stargroves back in the UK.
The Who’s Next Life House listening experience is proving to be an amazing journey – and there’s still another six discs to go…phew!
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday October 12:

Thursday treats at the Slide Record Shop…
On a wet and rainy autumn day what better than an album purchase to brighten the day – and this one is a bit special..
The reissue on ultra clear vinyl of the classic Television Marquee Moon album.
It’s high time I upgraded a copy of what remains one of my favourite albums of all time…
I initially purchased it back in March 1977 upon its release after reading Nick Kent’s stupendous reviews in the NME – he was spot on and it still sounds brilliant.
Back then looking at the inner sleeve with Tom Verlaine and the band looking very cool, I knew my days of wearing flares were over and I promptly went out and purchased a pair of straight legged jeans…
The musical times they were a changing and this album heralded the arrival of a whole new wave…
What a joy some 46 years later to enjoy the thrill of buying this one all over again – thanks Nerys and Warren!
Thursday October 12:
It’s a Happy Birthday today to the great Chris Farlowe.
Here’s a story…
On Friday July 5, 2019 at the Spitalfields Market record fair in London I was well pleased to find a copy of the single Dawn by Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds- a German Immediate label pressing…
I was even more pleased that the singer himself was on hand to sign this copy for me…
In an amazing random co-incidence, I had recognised Chris walking around the fair, so I had a really nice chat with him. I reminded him I had interviewed him for the TBL magazine when the Chris Farlowe Jimmy Page produced Beginnings album was released via Jimmy’s website in 2017.
As I was flicking through the racks, I came across this single – Chris came over to have a look at it and was only too pleased to personally sign it for me – a lovely gesture…
Thanks Chris and a Happy Birthday…
Friday October 13:
The new issue of Classic Rock is in the house and looks a great issue.
Very much look forward to getting stuck in to what looks like an insightful feature marking the 50th Anniversary of the Status Quo Hello! album by Dave Ling – a man who knows a thing or two about the Frantic Four…

Friday October 13:

The new issue of Mojo is in the house and it had to be The Rolling Stones on the cover feature – I’m very much looking forward to buying their new album Hackney Diamonds which is released next Friday continuing a trend of buying the new Stones album on the day of release that goes back 50 years to when I bought Goats Head Soup in August 1973…

Friday October 13:

Great to meet up with my good friends of 49 years and former Wallbangers FC players Dave, Phil, Geoff and Derek at the White Horse tonight…

Friday October 13:

Recent DL cassette acquisition…
The Jimmy Page Outrider album as released in 1988 on a clear cassette with fold out inlay. Good to see it has the original Woolworth’s sticker on dated 180788 which was a month after release.
Collecting is all in the detail and you gotta love cassettes…
Thank you Mr Phil Harris for finding this one

Saturday October 14:

Saturday is Platterday – it’s National Album Day today and this year’s theme is the albums of the 1990’s…
So on the player one of my faves from the era – the Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded – No Quarter album released this week in 1994…so many great memories surrounding attending the filming and the screening of this all of 29 years ago…

Saturday October 14:

At the excellent Olympic Studios Record shop – you can never have too many Beatles White Albums!

Saturday October 14:

An excellent day out in Barnes to see the Mr. Jimmy film premiere at the famous Olympic Studios.
The film is a compelling tale of Jimmy Sakurai’s obsession to replicate, perform and present Jimmy Page’s music to the highest standard – his way. All superbly filmed and edited – my full review to follow in a day or two.
If you are lucky enough to be attending Wednesday’s screening you are in for a treat.
Pic above is the TBL crew of Phil, the good lady Janet, myself, Andreas, Julian and Ian in front of the famous building…
Saturday October 14:
As seen on Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel on BBC 1 tonight…
Obviously not a TBL reader –his answer was Charlie Watts…oh dear!
Mind you, he went on to win £21,000!

Sunday October 15:

Another one from our excellent day out in Barnes to see the Mr. Jimmy film premiere at the famous Olympic Studios.
If you are lucky enough to be attending Wednesday’s screening you are in for a treat.
Here’s the TBL crew of Ian, myself, Andreas, Julian and Phil in front of the rather fetchingly named Shed Zeppelin booth outside Olympic Studios – pic by Mrs Janet Lewis…
A great day all round…
Tuesday October 17:
Latest DL Charity shop CD acquisitions…
It’s been a bit of Simon and Garfunkel thing going on today…
Firstly, five Simon and Garfunkel albums on CD in replica sleeves (possibly split from a box set) – All five for a mere £2 – I’ll take ‘em…
In another shop I could not leave behind the Bridge Over Troubled Water CD (one of my fave albums of all time.)
This one the remastered 2001 reissue with previously unreleased tracks (the demo of Bridge Over Troubled Water and unreleased Feuilles O) great sleeve notes, pics and lyrics – £1.29 I’ll take it!
As the duo once sang – keep the customer satisfied…
Wednesday October 18:
I love this pic of Janet and I with the late much missed Andy Adams.
It was taken five years ago today on October 18 2018 when the Coda tribute band performed a special 50th Anniversary gig in London at the O’Neill’s bar in London’s Wardour Street – just along from where Led Zep performed at the Marquee Club 50 years to that day.
What a great night that was…miss you Andy…
Wednesday October 18:
It would have been my Mum’s Birthday today.. .
I love this pic of her in our garden at Dents Road… lovely memories…
Wednesday October 18:
The Angel Islington meets The Hackney Diamonds…Friday is the day…you gotta love The Rolling Stones…
Wednesday October 18:
In London with Steve Livesley for the Mr. Jimmy film – first stop Flashback Records in Islington and yes we bought vinyl records !
Wednesday October 18:
A customary visit to the TBL office also known as the Spice of Life -with Steve Livesley
Thursday October 19: 
A couple from yesterday – in the excellent Olympic Studios Records shop in Barnes with owner Roger Miles and director of the Mr. Jimmy film Peter Michael Dowd – be sure to check the shop out in your are in the area.
I of course could not leave the Spanish pressing of Led Zeppelin IV that was on the wall waiting to be snapped up – and Roger purchased an original Led Zeppelin Earls Court ’75 programme – top result all round…
More details here:
Update here:
With The Who’s 1971 opus Who’s Next on the player, Mr. Jimmy up on the big screen taking us back to Led Zeppelin circa 1973 , The Rolling Stones about to release a new album  and the prospect of  watching the tribute band Absolute Bowie at the Esquires venue here tonight, it’s been a week where my musical heroes of the 1970’s have been very prominent and it’s been very life affirming to be immersed in so much amazing music…
Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis – October  19 2023

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

 

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3 Comments »

  • Pauline said:

    I recently took a music tour whilst in London ( I’m from Australia)
    How exciting it was to sit in the studio albeit now a theatre. We moved the Barbie box display to see the magnificent photos on the wall.
    I also had the pleasure of meeting Roger in the Olympic studio record store.
    He was a veritable walking encyclopaedia on the music produced across the street. Next time I’ll make room for some Zeppelin bootlegs in my luggage
    I was lucky enough to see JBLZE This year in Melbourne. Watching Mr Jimmy play SIBLY was so sublime I’ll never forget the absolute joy I felt.
    Hoping his film can be picked up on a steaming platform soon.

  • Fraser said:

    Hello Dave, great site. look forward to each new update. Have you seen the Ohio state marching band tribute to zep. you gotta check it out!!!thanks for all your time and effort. I truly appreciate it.

  • Graham said:

    Thanks for the great summary of Mr. Jimmy, sounds like a tremendous watch.

    Whenever I see the name Rikky Rooksby I automatically think back to the summer of 1988. He wrote a profile of Jimmy Page’s playing style in the free music magazine Making Music and described the song Dancing Days as having a “pagan riff”, which I always think is the perfect adjective.

    Also, your spectacular choice of (highly appropriate) tee-shirt for the Olympic Studios screening has not gone unnoticed. I hope Roger appreciated it!

    Cheers

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