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Remembering The First Reunion: 25 Years Gone

15 December 2006 2,877 views No Comment

25 year ago today I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the first public reunion of the members of Led Zeppelin. It took place at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham London on the occasion of the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Raffle presentation night. I’d worked with the pub and staff on this throughout 1981 organising the selling of the tickets through Tight But Loose 6. I also spent some memorable occasions in the bar (one very notable one in the company of John Bindon but that’s a story for the memoirs).

Robert’s sound man Benji Lefevre and other Swan Song personnel were also very involved and through this connection, the presentation night itself was initially due to be held with Robert Plant and John Paul Jones in attendance at the pub on December 15. Leading up to the presentation it became clear they all saw this as an opportunity to re-group on a most informal basis at one of their favourite London haunts. So it was on that raffle night all three ex members made it on to the stage to present the prizes. First prize was Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar won as I recall by a fan from Toronto while the runner up received a unique set of Zep albums personally signed and inscribed by Jimmy. These were won by a TBL subscriber from Bristol whose name escapes me. I noted the inscriptions on the albums at the time when I saw them in the Swan Song office – on the Zep 2 sleeve Jimmy wrote ”This album took us out of the underground to the pinnacle of BBC rock establishment – note track one side one” while for Physical Graffiti he simply put ”Old and new” (bet they would go for some serious money at auction now).

Robert appeared well laid back in a combat track outfit (the forerunner to those 1983 tour jump suits), Jonesy looked like he’d just come from doing the school run (which he probably had!) in new Kicker shoes and smart tie and Jimmy as ever looked like he’d come from another planet with early 1970 length hair to match. With Peter Grant also holding court it was just like old times…except of course for one member sadly missing.

Much as they seemed to enjoy being together that night, there was an air of melancholy about this occasion. Within each other’s company they all perhaps realised more than ever before that there was no going back. Ahead lay solo albums, production duties, new band formations and a period of no led anything … but not for too long.

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As was evident on that night 25 years ago, this thing wasn’t going away easily. The camaraderie built on all those years of experiencing life in Led Zeppelin still remained the same. And for all the awards no shows of recent times – deep down it probably still does.

As Robert commented in this month’s excellent interview in Mojo ”Whenever John and Jimmy and myself meet up, the points of reference are always about the past”. That first reunion in the Golden Lion all those years may have indicated that Led Zeppelin was dead. But as we all know, it was also a case of Long Live Led Zeppelin.

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With seasonal retail frenzy building, it’s been predictably hectic here. On the iPod playlist it’s been selections from Robert’s Nine Lives, Zep 3 and 4 and the superb newly remastered edition of David Crosby’s debut solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name. No doubt over the next week I’ll be clicking on to what in my opinion is the greatest Christmas record of all time – namely The Pogues / Kirsty MacColl classic Fairytale Of New York…so altogether now:
”Sinatra was swinging, all the drunks they were singing….”

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