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ROBERT PLANT PRESENTS SAVING GRACE FEATURING SUZI DIAN SPRING TOUR /1975 US TOUR SNAPSHOT/LZ NEWS/TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL – JIMMY PAGE EXCLUSIVE TBL INTERVIEW FROM 2014/ANNIE NIGHTINGALE RIP/ DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

18 January 2024 970 views 3 Comments

Never Ending Spring 2024… 

More UK dates for Robert Plant Presents Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian -tickets on sale January 19…

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TBL Archive Special: TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot: Number Two

Snapshot Notes:
MONDAY JANUARY 20th, 1975
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
CHICAGO STADIUM

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

Robert ‘s flu is now in full effect and Jimmy is struggling with an injured finger. How Many More Times’ was recalled to the set to allow space for guitar improvisation. As Page told Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker: “We’ve had to cut ‘Dazed And Confused’ from the set and substitute ‘How Many More Times’ which we haven’t played for four years. I’m still doing the violin bow routine but we’ve had to alter even that and I can’t do it as well as I’d like to. I can tell it’s not as good as it usually is but the audience don’t seem to notice.

In addition to these problems, the sound system was a little defective, ensuring that press reviews were not all entirely favourable.
“Led Zeppelin: malfunctions reduce power,” reported Al Rudis: “Led Zeppelin is alive, but not well. Robert Plant’s ‘flu-ridden voice hurt the British band in its concert Monday. Jimmy Page was nursing a broken finger too. What was worst of all was the old bugaboo of rock and roll: defective sound equipment. In Zeppelin’s case, it’s understandable that the group wouldn’t want to be burdened with maintaining its own sound system if it only tours every year and a half; but they’re the ones who rented the system used Monday night, so they must be held responsible.”

“Kinky Led Zeppelin still king of the funky,” wrote Jack Hafferkamp: “For its part, the band played a new variation on its standard heavy-heavy, super-loud, bare-chested, Victorian decadent, fingernail polish and lipstick, kiss-me-because-I’m-really-funky, cartoon performance. Two hours worth.
“Still there were a few surprises. My companion, for example, noted she owns a blouse just like the one Robert Plant was wearing. John Bonham played what must have been the longest drum solo in the history of mankind. And Plant revealed over, and over, and over again that he has the flu. He said that almost as many times as he mentioned the title of the band’s new record. In fact, I think the final score was New Record 8, Flu 5.”

chicago tick

TUESDAY JANUARY 21st, 1975
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
CHICAGO STADIUM
Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/When The Levee Breaks/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/The Wanton Song/No Quarter/In My Time Of Dying/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/How Many More Times/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog/Communication Breakdown.

The second night in Chicago was a marked improvement, as Lisa Robinson famously reported: “Fifteen seconds onstage and everyone knows it’s going to be HOT. They’ve been truly depressed and confused all day about the first Chicago show. No matter, tonight they’re playing with that old black Zeppelin magic again, and the audience go wild. It sounds as if The Beatles battled the Stones in a parking lot – and Zeppelin won!”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounded today:

Led Zeppelin Live On The Levee (Silver Rarities)

The January 21st Chicago show is available on various CD releases – It’s actually made up of mainly the 20th night with fourteen minutes from the 21st. I have it on the Silver Rarities purchased from the Victoria Record Fair in the early 90s. The tape is a fairly clear if noisy audience recording but suffers at times with tape drop out and fluctuations.
”I’ve got a touch of flue” admits Robert early on and his vocals are certainly suffering. For his part, Jimmy battles on regardless of the finger problem. Over The Hills is already extending in length with that wonderfully lyrical solo. Jimmy is also well animated for When the Levee Breaks and In My Time of Dying played back to back – instrumentally both are pretty awesome deliveries – what a thrill it must have been to witness this rare double dose of bottleneck bravado live on stage. Levee is particularly menacing.

Kashmir (”Jonesy on mellotron – saves all the bread for the orchestra people”) works well despite Robert struggling at times. The Wanton Song (”from the long awaited album even by us”) is a definite highlight, Page attacking the riff with strong intent. It’s a real shame they did not preserve with this and keep in the set. No Quarter is still in a state of transition before it became something of a marathon, Trampled Underfoot is a fairly standard delivery while Moby Dick is back with usual Bonham aplomb (”One man’s got the flu one man’s fit as a fiddle!”) and then to How Many More Times.

A compact eleven minute delivery that features the bow episode and then switches into the Oh Rosie segment and on to the home straight. Stairway To Heaven is an epic performance and from this point, Robert rallies well vocally. In fact, on any given night in 1975, Stairway was performed with immense dedication. Encores – something of a unique arrangement for Whole Lotta Love with Plant going straight into the ”keep a coolin’ baby, I wanna be your backdoor man” usual closing refrain and then they hit Black Dog head on and boy – after all the physical drawbacks, the power of Led Zeppelin in 1975 is clearly in evidence.

It would be awhile before they were back to 100% fitness on this tour but already there was indication of the onstage embellishments to come.
To be continued…

DL – January 16 2024 

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LZ News

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

Led Zeppelin

Drake Hotel robbery files revealed after more than 50 years

Earlier this week, LedZepNews revealed New York Police Department (NYPD) files that detail its investigation into the theft of $180,000 in cash from Led Zeppelin in July 1973.

The police force spent months examining the theft, which was featured in the film “The Song Remains The Same”, and focused its investigation on two Drake Hotel employees. The department also found that Richard Cole, Led Zeppelin’s tour manager, switched safe deposit boxes hours before the theft took place.

The LedZepNews article is the first time that the NYPD files have been published, more than 50 years after the missing money was discovered.

I spoke to Belfast Live for an article it published earlier today about the documents and the investigation. “This is one of the biggest mysteries of Led Zeppelin’s career with the cash being stolen while the band were set to perform three shows at Madison Square Garden and was eventually mentioned in the iconic concert film ‘The Song Remains The Same’”, I said.

Here’s an exclusive look at a page from the NYPD case file that wasn’t included in the LedZepNews article. It’s the notes from NYPD detective O’Connor’s interview with Drake Hotel employee Robert Rey on August 1. Rey was the employee who unlocked the safe deposit box with Cole on the night of July 29, 1973 when the theft was discovered.

Robert Plant publicly sent birthday wishes to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones

Jimmy Page turned 80 on January 9 and John Paul Jones turned 78 on January 3. Robert Plant wished both men happy birthdays in a social media post on January 9, writing: “It’s never too late, Happy Birthday John and Happy Birthday Jimmy….here’s to the wonderful dancing days.”

Robert Plant on Instagram: “It’s never too late, Happy Birthday John and Happy Birthday Jimmy….here’s to the wonderful dancing days…
-RP”

JANUARY 13, 2024

Plant’s use of the phrase “it’s never too late” in a post addressing his former Led Zeppelin bandmates raised some eyebrows, with people wondering if he was suggesting it’s never too late for a reunion. Instead, it seemed to be a nod to Plant’s delayed birthday wish to Jones.

Page thanked people for their birthday wishes in a post, writing: “I would like to thank all those who sent such kind and warm wishes on my 80th birthday yesterday.”

Robert Plant

Robert Plant to perform with Saving Grace on March 24

Teenage Cancer Trust “Ovation” show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 24.

The announcement of the upcoming show puts to rest the rumour that began last year after Plant made comments on stage at the final show of Saving Grace’s UK tour that some people interpreted as announcing the end of the band.

Robert Plant visits Scotland

Robert Plant photographed at the Selkirk Arms hotel in Kirkcudbright, Scotland (Facebook/Heavier Than Metal)

Robert Plant spent some time in Scotland recently, visiting the town of Kirkcudbright. Plant posed for a photograph while visiting the Selkirk Arms hotel in the town.

Upcoming events:

  • 2024– Robert Plant will tour with Alison Krauss.
  • February 16– “Pictures At Eleven: Robert Plant Album By Album” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • March 22– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • March 23– John Paul Jones will perform at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee as part of Sons Of Chipotle.
  • March 24– Robert Plant will perform with Saving Grace at the Teenage Cancer Trust “Ovation” event in London, UK.
  • April 5– “Led Zeppelin: A Visual Biography” by Martin Popoff will be published.
  • April 6– The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will open at Wiltshire Museum.
  • Summer 2024– Robert Plant and Alison Krauss will perform in Vienna, Virginia.
  • September 15– The exhibition “The Wiltshire Thatcher – a Photographic Journey through Victorian Wessex” featuring the original photograph from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album will close at Wiltshire Museum.

Many thanks to James Cook

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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TBL ARCHIVE SPECIAL – JIMMY PAGE TBL INTERVIEW OCTOBER 2014 – ONLINE IN FULL FOR THE FIRST TIME…

Right then -settle in for this, it’s a long one…

To further mark Jimmy Page’s 80th Birthday, here’s the extensive interview I conducted with Jimmy in October 2014. This is the first time I’ve made it available on line in full – enjoy…

Jimmy Page – The TBL Interview

In a landmark TBL interview, Jimmy Page talks to Dave Lewis about his post it note like reference works on the new companion discs, his desire to issue more experimental music, his passion for record collecting and his plans ahead – ‘’I really need to be playing….

A warm autumn Thursday afternoon. I am in the South Kensington area of London. Earlier that morning, on the recommendation from my good friend, Krys Jantzen, I’d popped into the John Varvatos store in Conduit Street just off Regent Street.

This is the high fashion outlet that recently opened with a major launch attended by Jimmy Page, Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop, etc in attendance. Jimmy has also done modelling for the Varvatos brand. A most impressive store it is, too – a sort of Hard Rock Café meets high fashion. It has a variety of rock’n’roll posters on display, books, limited edition guitars and the type of rock’n’roll clothing finery that the likes of Jimmy, etc can be seen in. In effect, it rocks… although at a high ticket price. It’s a great shop with a great atmosphere – a destination place for anyone visiting the area. Oh, and it sells vinyl, no bad thing in my book, of course. The photos of Zeppelin and Jimmy that adorn the walls are something of a scene setter for what I am in town for. I also take the playing of Dancing Days over the shop’s PA as a very good omen.

Back in Kensington and just past the Imperial Museum I notice a plaque commemorating the first Queen gig in July 1970. It strikes me there really should be a plaque in the capital to represent Led Zeppelin. In fact they could do worse than to place it around the corner at the Royal Albert Hall. For inside that hallowed building (the one, naturally, I have just paid homage to), on the night of January 9th 1970 Led Zeppelin came of age, with a remarkable and much chronicled performance – and a very fine way for the guitarist to have spent his 26th birthday.

Nearly 45 years on, just down the road from Albert’s place, the very same guitarist is waxing lyrical about the achievements of the very same group.

Jimmy Page has spent the day giving media interviews on the subject of the soon to be released second series of reissued and remastered Led Zeppelin albums – namely, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy, and his soon to be published photographic autobiography.

I am here representing the TBL magazine fulfilling one of those media slots.

So yes, at last, the opportunity has arisen to conduct a formal interview with Jimmy Page. A long held ambition of mine is about to fulfilled.

I’ve been reading interviews with Jimmy Page for nearly 45 years. Many memorable ones spring to mind – Richie Yorke’s encounters in 1970 and 1971, Chris Welch’s various Melody Maker chats, Nick Kent for the NME, the Knebworth ‘79 interview with Chris Salewicz in the same paper, and much later, Jimmy’s conversations with Mick Wall in Kerrang! and Classic Rock.

Jimmy has always been a good interviewee with a lot to say. Another interview that springs to mind is Cameron Crowe’s 1975 on tour rap with Jimmy for Rolling Stone. Back then, in the pre TBL days, holed up in my Zep bedroom den and devouring every interview as a passionate teenage Zep fan, the idea that I might one day fire the questions at Jimmy was pretty inconceivable.

So, on the one hand it does feel like I am about to have my own Almost Famous moment, in the way that Cameron Crowe is depicted in the film. On the other, it’s perfectly logical that a specialist Led Zeppelin magazine would seek to interview the band members.

John Paul Jones has been very forthcoming in that department, but it has not been so easy in the case of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Robert remains elusive but the quest for Jimmy is about to reach fruition.

So, how did this all come about? Well, the genesis of what will be mainly a talk about the latest Led Zep reissues, stretches back to a chat I had with Jimmy back in January 2013 at the Olympia Record Fair. He informed me then that he was working on the remastering of the Led Zeppelin catalogue. In fact, he was viewing a few of the studio bootlegs on some of the stalls and it was evident he was assessing what was out there as reference to his own archive findings.

It was then that I suggested an interview regarding all this for the TBL magazine would be of much interest to the readership. Jimmy agreed, and the plan he initially came up with was that we should perhaps get together for an interview after the first releases came out. He felt it ‘’would give us plenty of scope.’’

Later in the year, at the November Olympia Fair when I launched my Then As It Was, Led Zeppelin at Knebworth book, Jimmy was more than happy to talk on the progress of the project – revealing that each album would have a separate disc with alternate versions. “Each of the companion discs will be like looking through a portal and seeing where we were at during that particular stage’’, he told me, adding, very enthusiastically, ‘’The version of Since I’ve Been Loving You is so dramatic.”

Since then of course, many things have happened involving this project. I have been lucky enough to attend the two Olympic Studios playbacks and the Paris Olympia launch, with Jimmy undertaking a promotional campaign to enlighten the world’s media of this Zep reissue programme of quite massive proportions.

I duly kept out of the way in requesting an interview around the time of the first three reissues but it was always been at the back of my mind that, come the release of the next two (Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy), I should strike. With a little help from one or two friends in high places and the Warners/Rhino/Outside guys, I’ve been added to the press pack line-up over two days of interviews taking place on October 1st and 2nd. I have been allocated a half hour slot at 3.30pm.

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a fair few informal chats with Jimmy over the years – stretching back to 1980 and the Over Europe tour in Cologne, Frankfurt, Mannheim and Munich, in the Swan Song office in September later that year (a week before it all ended), in Swan Song to talk about the Coda album in the spring of 1982, backstage at Robert Plant’s Wembley Arena show in 1985, on tour with Robert in 1995 and 1998 and at various record fairs in recent years.

Up until now though, I have never conducted a one-on-one formal interview – and yup, I’m nervous. In fact very nervous . The sheer magnitude of what I am about to undertake is hitting home to me. Informal chats are one thing, a one on one interview conversation is something much more substantial. A quick pre interview pint is called for and I retire to the Queens  Arms pub nearby, scene of more than one TBL pre-gig meet, notably that bizarre Teenage Cancer charity gig in early February 2002, when Jimmy and Robert appeared separately on the same bill.

I’ve diligently prepared a host of questions with the central theme of Led Zep IV and Houses Of The Holy, and a list of things extracted from an ongoing file I’ve had under the title ‘Questions I’d love to ask Jimmy Page’. Given the time restraints, I know the latter may have to wait for (hopefully) another time. No matter, finally I am here to interview him, and that represents a long time coming major coup for the TBL mag.

Unsurprisingly, things are running late as I arrive at the very plush Gore Hotel. BBC Online are filming an interview with Jimmy, and Michael Hann from the Guardian is yet to go in for his spot. There are already two other journalists in the queue behind me.

No time for nerves now. I am led into the extremely plush sitting room where Jimmy is conducting the interviews on his own. He greets me amiably, dressed in usual black attire and scarf (instant mental flashback at this point: Jimmy on stage at the Indianapolis rehearsal in 1975, in polka dot scarf).

Seated opposite each other, on extremely comfortable sofas, I set up my recording gear – digital dictaphone and back up cassette recorder( analogue rules!)

So I’m finally face to face with Jimmy Page one on one. And the opening words have to be…

So, shall we roll it, Jimmy?

DL: Just to backtrack to the first three reissues. La La was a real surprise. Why was it unfinished at the time?

JP: It was unfinished because there wasn’t any guide vocal that went on it from Robert. However, there are lots of overdubs on it, there’s acoustic guitar, lead guitar, all manner of stuff. And at the end there’s wah wah and echoplex bottleneck stuff. I mean there’s a lot that’s gone in to it but in a very short space of time. The recording process was done with ruthless efficiency. There wasn’t any hanging around and going down the pub and coming back, it was just full on commitment. So that was approached in exactly the same way. It was one of those things we put together in the studio. It had not had a previous run through or rehearsal, so you wouldn’t have expected Robert to know what to add. So, at the time, you might have heard, there was a guide vocal put on by John Paul Jones going ‘’la la la la.’’

DL: So that’s where the title comes from?

JP: Yeah, whatever the working title was, John Paul Jones did a ‘’la la’’ over the top, then it became La La, but it’s not something you could actually put out like that at the time.

DL: So there was a tape with him doing that guide vocal?

JP: After all the overdubs were on, he said, ‘’I’ve got a melody idea’’ and that was the ‘La La’ piece. It’s good though. It’s almost like one of those old ska things. It’s not a ska rhythm but it’s all that weaving around. I’m pleased we found it.

DL: Have there been things that you thought were in the tape archive that you could not locate?

JP: What do you mean, like Jennings Farm Blues? I knew that had been nicked. I tell you what I didn’t think I had. I didn’t think I had what was going to be the overture for The Song Remains The Same. I didn’t think I had that, I thought that had got nicked along with the Bombay sessions and all of that. I mean I did have stuff that got lifted right back in the day – the analogue tapes disappeared. But I did have that. It was for my own reference with all the guitars on it. It wasn’t a detailed mix but it’s got all the elements on and that’s what’s important really – I was shaping it all up.

DL: Am I right in saying that you used Fleetwood’s Mac’s Oh Well as a template for the vocal arrangement in Black Dog?

JP: Not really. We called it ‘call and response’. It was the way to approach the riff really.

DL: The version of Stairway To Heaven on the companion disc has a certain majesty about it. That’s from the Sunset Sound mix that was unused at the time?

JP: Yeah, and I’ve used the Misty Mountain Hop Sunset Sound version as well on the companion disc.

DL: So, why was the Sunset Sound mix of the album not used at the time?

JP: What happened with the Sunset Sound mix was this. Andy Johns and I went over to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles to mix the fourth album there, because of the facilities they had. They had natural echo chambers. I knew they had natural echo chambers at EMI, for example, but you couldn’t get in there. There was so much music that I liked that had come out of Sunset Sound, and it was a result of the limiters, the compression and the echo chambers – like the Byrds’ stuff, that was all done there.

I was keen and Andy was, too. There was also extra things that later came out on Physical Graffiti that we did at Headley at the time of recording the fourth album. There was Night Flight, Boogie With Stu, obviously, and Down By The Seaside – they all got mixed at Sunset, too. Going To California was mixed at Sunset but Battle Of Evermore wasn’t, that one didn’t go there for a mix but all the other things we did at the time we mixed there.

You might have heard this – and as a myth or rumour – but when we actually arrived, as were going through the airport, there’s an earthquake going on and when we get to the hotel room I was tired, but I felt the bed shaking, so I called Andy up and as I do, the bed’s juddering. I called him and said ‘’Are you ok?’’ and he said there’d been more tremors soon.  We were due to go into the studio that night and, no word of a lie, I said to Andy there’s no way we are mixing Going To California until the end, because the lyrics mention an earthquake!

DL: The mountains and the canyons did start to tremble and shake – quite literally!

JP: Yeah! So anyway, so these mixes were done and the best way to describe it is that it was at the real audiophile end of the studio. It wasn’t limp, it was so powerful, the playbacks on their monitor system. We had accentuating highs and real deep lows on the low end of it.

So when we came back with these tapes to Olympic, we played them in the listening room through these little Tannoy speakers and the whole of the frequency range suddenly disappeared into the middle. And it was like ‘Oh god.’ And you have to understand, at the time there was talk of tapes getting damaged in transit and tapes getting wiped. It was like ‘Has something happened?’ as opposed to going ‘Wait a minute.’ The logical side of this is that the monitor system at Sunset was just totally different. It was a bit of a worry and a bit of a shock but I knew the mixes were good. It comes to the point where Levee Breaks – which is on the companion disc as the English mixed version – well, at the time it couldn’t replicate what’s going on with the depth, the density and the sort of menace that is there on the Sunset Sound mix. So the Sunset Sound mix got slipped on to the fourth album! I actually thought the Sunset mixes were pretty good, so we have got the opportunity now to hear three of those mixes, because we’ve got the original Levee and we’ve got Misty Mountain and Stairway on the new releases.

DL: It’s interesting to hear the acoustic outro to Over The Hills And Far Away on the companion disc version. How did you eventually come up with the reverb ending?

JP: I had the idea for it in my head, but the only way was to fade the track down and have the nakedness of the clavinets sort of thing going on. It’s just an experiment but I knew what I was trying to do. The mix you hear now, I hadn’t got to investigate it yet. So this version is a reference – it’s like a Post-it note. Then the whole thing changed – like the keyboard part, that isolated instrument, that was a really good way to end it. Like I said, what you’re hearing on the companion disc version, of over The Hills And Far Away – it’s like a Post-it note. That’s a good way to describe it.

DL: Did you consider using an alternative D’yer Mak’er mix, as that track is missing in the companion disc line up?

JP: The reason it’s not on there is there just wasn’t another mix that turned up. There wasn’t a rough mix from Stargroves. That’s all there was to it.

DL: The instrumental No Quarter really brings out the prowess of the group, musically. Did it feel as though you were breaking new ground at the time with that arrangement?

JP: Yes, for sure. John Paul Jones had the verse of No Quarter. The opening passage and the verse, that’s what he had with No Quarter. To move it from just having a verse to having that chorus and the riff that comes into the chorus, and then going back into the verse… well, it’s got this real movement to it and it’s absolutely classic. I knew it was so atmospheric and spooky. I knew something like that would work.

It was the same with Four Sticks as well. It’s abstract, it was going into the world of abstract, and that was really marvellous. That was what is what was so good about the band. There are these different character statements. They are called the songs but they are really character statements and they are all so different to each other. You can see how far we were pushing things.

DL: It’s so apparent how Houses Of The Holy is so different, in terms of the sound and general texture of sound to Led Zeppelin IV, isn’t it?

JP: Yes, that was always intentional – the fact that every album would be so different, and not just in as much as the actual content but the whole atmosphere.

DL: Looking ahead, what is the plan for the Coda companion disc which provides  quite a lot of scope I would think?

JP: I can’t give much away at this point. Let’s say that if you think of what the original concept of Coda was in the first place, then I’m going to extend that.

DL: Are there any plans to release further Led Zeppelin live sets?

JP: Well, I remember talking to Ahmet Ertegun many years ago. I said to him about putting out bootlegs and he liked the idea of having bootlegs of the bootlegs, he thought that was fun… but it didn’t really come to much. Everyone would have thought ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea’. You just see what’s voted the top ten bootlegs and you just put them out. I know it’s been done now by other acts but at the time I thought of it, nobody had actually done it. A lot of ideas I had did not necessarily come to fruition and that was one of them.

DL: So you could put out something like Japan 1971?

JP: I could, but I’ve been doing so much Led Zeppelin work… and it’s not just compiling it , but it’s promoting it. That all takes time. I mean I’m not 40-years old or even 50-years old – where I can say ‘I’ve got at least another 25 years’. I maybe don’t have another 25 years and it comes to the point where you look at everything you’ve got and for me the website was the first thing I needed to do. The website was going to loop and deal with the history, if you like, up to the point there’s a history. That was important, just because, again, it was like nobody had done anything like that. Nobody had done a website that caught up and came round upon itself and looped.

The other thing that is important to address is the duality of Led Zeppelin and the duality is, there’s the studio recordings and there is live concerts – so I wanted to initially redress the balance, and this is what we’ve done with the first three albums. It took the first three albums to come out for people to understand what the game plan. I wanted to bring it back into the studio. When people start listening to the studio stuff afresh… and they are given all this new information, too. It’s like ‘Wow’. So, it’s great to turn people on to it.

For me, it’s for the fans. It’s about all the people along the way who have listened… not just heard it, but listened to Led Zeppelin. I’m really happy to be able to put this stuff out.

DL: What can fans expect from the instrumental music you are about to release via your website.

JP: What I am doing with the website, what I started doing, is to put out some soundtrack stuff. There’s only two but it’s all extra material. I even found something from Lucifer Rising that pre dates what I sent to Kenneth Anger, and it’s really, really terrific. It’s from my own mixes and I’m really proud of this and I want it to be heard. It’s quite different to the one that came out on the website previously. So I’ve got experimental stuff that I did, and it’s interesting to think what I was doing with that back then.

DL: Is that coming out on vinyl?

JP: It will come out on vinyl and CDs. There’s also stuff from Death Wish which never got heard but it will now, so that’s basically what I’ve got in the pipeline.

DL: I know one of your great pastimes is record shopping. What inspired you to get back to collecting LPs again?

JP: Like you!

DL: Indeed!

JP: Probably when my children grew up… because what doesn’t mix is children and vinyl! All of us fathers know this. When our vinyl is in easy reach and becomes in easy reach of children. Children and vinyl don’t mix, so I kept having to shift it up a level. Then it got put away, and then there was separation, divorce or whatever. So, once I got back into my own space Dave, I thought ‘Right, I’m going to get my records out and I’m going to listen to them again’. It’s like meeting old friends again and ‘Yeah’ it’s great. I’m my own man, I can play records when I want, I can watch TV when I want. I can do what I like now, so I’m going to make sure I’m going to resuscitate my vinyl collection! There’s a lot of stuff in there. I’ve got Led Zeppelin white labels and all the stuff you would salivate over.

DL: What has been the latest addition to the collection?

JP: It was a Velvet Underground LP – Ross picked it up for me.

DL: You mentioned your desire to be seen to be playing. Can we expect by this time next year you would have made inroads on that?

JP: I bloody hope so!

DL: So, you are very keen to get out there?

JP: Christ, yes. Yes, I want do it. I want to do what I do well, which is play guitar and surprise people and scare them! It’s time to do that. As I said, all the things – like the website, the book I’m putting out and these releases – now they are staggered to come out. Before the first releases, I had the whole of the project finished, as far as the sonic side is concerned. It had to be. I couldn’t think ‘That’s alright, I’ll come back to that’. I needed to finish all of them.

The other thing is, I really need to be playing… if I don’t, it would be such a waste. I’ve got to do it while I feel this passion for what I do.

With things running so late, I am not surprised when, after about twenty minutes, head consultant to the reissue project, Robin Hurley pops his head around the door to signal I have five minutes left. Robin appears again. ‘’Sorry to have to do this to you of all people, Dave, but we need to move on’’.

DL: So Jimmy, final thoughts for the fans on the forthcoming Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy reissues…

JP: Basically, these scheduled releases of Led Zeppelin – of which there’s been three out already, and there’s going to be Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy coming up soon, and of course all the rest of the catalogue will come out in due course… all of it has new information that people wouldn’t have heard before. In fact, they wouldn’t have heard it on bootleg before – at least a major percentage of it. Well, I’ve put it this way before but it’s absolutely true. It’s like a portal, it’s like a view point into that time when those recordings were made for those particular albums, those classic albums. And I knew right from the beginning, in thinking about this project, that it was for you, the fans. Because we sort of understand the difference between just hearing Led Zeppelin and really listening to it. I knew that people with that level of understanding would really get off on it, hearing all of these different versions and things that they haven’t heard before.

The other thing is, I really need to be playing… if I don’t, it would be such a waste. I’ve got to do it while I feel this passion for what I do.

And that is where we have to leave it…

Questions such as, was Slush the working title of The Rain Song, and a couple of Mike T. requests  – could he once and for all confirm or deny whether The Yardbirds played their very last gig in Montgomery, Alabama or in Luton, and does he remember playing Las Vegas at the Ice Palace with Zep – and a fair few others will have to wait for another day.

There’s just enough time to hand over to Jimmy an album I’ve brought along for him – The Everly Brothers’ Two Yanks in England. ’’Oh, that’s the one with the Hollies on” says Jimmy, astutely. And he should know… he played on it.

Very graciously, Jimmy signs my Feather In The Wind book (again putting in the number as 666) and my copy of the reissued Led Zeppelin 1 (‘’Dave, the start of it all. Zep 1!’’). I also showed him a photo of him and I from Feather In The Wind, taken on June 18th 1980, before the Cologne gig. ‘’Oh that a Brazilian football shirt I’ve got on there’’ he notices.

As we both posed for a ‘then and now’ photo, he laughed, ‘‘We look a whole lot younger then!”

Younger then and older now, but neither of us any less fervent for the band – his band, that really is a way of life.

‘’Thanks for all your enthusiasm, Dave’’ is his parting shot. No, Jimmy… thank you for all yours.

Back out in the bar area, as the next journo is ready to go in. I clock a look at the framed pics of the food splattered Rolling Stones, taken in this very building at their Beggars Banquet album launch back in 1968.

Then a walk across the road and a final glance over at Albert’s place. It’s been a long day and maybe it’s all in my head but I’m sure I could hear the strains of an instrumental version of Stairway To Heaven, (ala the 1983 Arms arrangement) coming from within the confines of this lovely old building.

After the interview I headed over to Euston to see my lifelong friend Dec for a beer or two and and boy did I need it. Dec has been listening to my Zep tales for over 40 years. We laughed when we recalled one story – this would have been 1974. Dec being an avid singles collector played a single by Neil Christian and the Crusaders down the phone to me to decide if Jimmy was on it.

I was in a public telephone at the time as we had no home phone. The things we did back then in the name of extending knowledge of the guitarist. The one I’ve just interviewed. In my wildest dreams I could never have foreseen this situation occurring back in 1974.

Years later, that night at the Royal Albert Hall back in 1983 signaled something of an artistic rebirth for the man. During our interview earlier, hearing his desire to get back out there and be seen to be playing again, well, I have a feeling another rebirth is on the way. In fact, it strikes me that the grand old building would be and appropriate setting for such a return. Here’s hoping.

Clearly Jimmy Page still has the passion for his music. That much I know, because I have just experienced that passion firsthand..

Dave Lewis. October 8th, 2014. With thanks to Ross Halfin and Chris Goodman.

POSTSCRIPT 2024:

As you can imagine that was an incredible afternoon for me – I would go on to interview Jimmy the following June and work with him on the BBC Sessions reissue sleeve notes in 2016. Amazing times indeed. Incredible to think that it’s nearly ten years since this first interview took place.

Jimmy made it clear to me that he was planning new music but as we all know, that is a claim he made in several interviews around that period. It’s a disappointment that he did not pursue that route but I for one respect that decision. Sometimes projects with the the best intensions do not come off for a variety of reasons. I can relate to that is some of the TBL projects I touted I had plans to do but was unable to bring to fruition.

There are always reasons for that and Jimmy will have his own – what has happened in the past decade is that Jimmy has continued to enjoy himself. His relationship with Scarlett Sabat has clearly enriched his life and one thing that has been made clear recently is that he can certainly still play -witness the superb performance of Rumble at the Hall of Fame induction of Link Wray last November.

He may decide to tread the boards again in some shape or form or he may not. I have said before he owes nobody anything – because during his seven decade career Jimmy Page has achieved everything…

Dave Lewis – January 17 2024

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

Annie Nightingale 1940 – 2024…
It cannot be understated what a pioneer of British radio and rock TV Annie Nightingale was. Not only the first female DJ on Radio One but a brilliant one – and equally so in her role as presenter of The Old Grey Whistle Test in the late 70s and early 80s.
Some personal memories:
Listening to her Sunday afternoon Radio One Request show in the mid 70s – always full of Zep, The Who, Stones, Thin Lizzy etc. it was on that show I first heard Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird and bought it the next week.
Annie announcing the exclusive news that Led Zeppelin were to play Knebworth on August 4 during the Whistle Test Tuesday May 22 1979 edition, the emotional Whistle Test special she hosted the day after John Lennon was shot, the captivating film she made with The Police on tour as they were breaking big.
I also attended one of her live gigs at the local collage here – her in person enthusiasm matching how she was on radio and TV.
Always a purveyor of great new music and a tastemaker right to the end, Annie Nightingale guided listeners for many decades.
Her passing at 83 is a very sad day for music…
RIP Annie…
—————————————————————————————————————————————————–
DL Diary Blog Update:
Thursday January 10:
Remembering the late great Jeff Beck -one year gone and today very much missed…on the player the brilliant Jeff Beck Group album Beck-Ola…
Thursday January 10:
Remembering the late great legendary David Bowie eight years gone today so on the player the 2022 release A Divine Symmetry – a slight reworking of the 1971 Hunky Dory album including the track Bombers which was left off the original – he was on a roll back then…
Friday January 12:
Thinking of our dear friend Alastair Chorlton one year gone today….
Alastair was a long time Led Zep TBL mag reader and in recent years was an integral part of the TBL record collecting crew that includes Steve Livesley, Ian Saikia, Ian Avey, Paul Sheppard, Julian Walker, Cliff Hilliard, Krys Jantzen, Graeme Hutchinson and James Bevis.
Alastair’s record collecting enthusiasm was infectious as was his passion for the Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd bootleg collecting world – we had so many fun times at the various record fairs we met at, he always brought a real knowledge and empathy to our many post record fair discussions in the pub.
He is pictured here at a Bedford VIP record fair holding a Pink Floyd bootleg.
He is much missed by all..
RIP Alastair
Saturday January 13:
Saturday is platterday – on the player the superb Elton John Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album – this one the 2LP 2023 Record Store Day edition on red marble vinyl…
Sunday  January 14:

It was 51 years ago today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the player – the 3 LP bootleg box set Led Zeppelin Fab 4 Liverpool as recorded on this day at the Empire Theatre Liverpool – limited edition of 150. The Sgt Pepper sleeve parody is rather impressive.

Monday January 15:

It was 51 years ago today…

On the player…

Loading up the excellent 2 CD Led Zeppelin soundboard recording Groovin’ In The Garden as recorded on this day at the Trentham Gardens Stoke –this is part of the superb Ascension In The Wane –The January 1973 Soundboards box set…

Monday January 15:

It was 47 years ago today:

47 years ago today, I was very excited to see this headline in the National Rockstar music paper. This short lived addition to the music papers was actually published at the local Beds County Press. The story revealed that Led Zeppelin had begun rehearsals at the Cabin Studios in Fulham – this was actually the Manticore Studios owned by ELP. They were rehearsing in preparation for a US tour due to start late Feb/early March (it would eventually begin in April due to Robert Plant’s laryngitis problem).

This was very big news indeed for this then 20 year old mad keen more than obsessed Zep fan. I vividly remember calling the Swan Song office the next day and speaking to Unity Mclean – she told me they would be booking an extensive US tour but no UK dates were planned as yet, though they were looking at a big summer outdoor appearance.. By the way, this call was made from a pay phone red call box just around the corner from where I lived – as at the time we had no phone at home.

I did harbour a plan to head up to London and hang out around the Mainticore Studio in the hope of catching a glimpse of them. However, soon after, I contacted Glandular fever and was off work for three weeks. I also was weighing up how I might even get to one of the New York Madison Square Garden gigs. This was the era of Freddie Laker’s budget airline Sky Train. As it turned out, my weekly wage of £22 selling records at WH Smith was not quite in the Sky Train league and it was not to be. I did hatch a more cost effective plan to wave them off at the Heathrow when they flew out. That is another story for another day.

All this potential 1977 Zep activity was fueling my idea to produce a Led Zep fan magazine which would be further inspired by the arrival of the Punk fanzines later that year.

‘’Led Zeppelin back in action’’…that headline all of 47 years ago kick-started a hive of Zep activity that year for me – and the imminent arrival of The Song Remains The Same film to Bedford’s Granada cinema for a week on January 23 was yet more reason to cheerful. More on that ahead…

Monday January 15:

It was eight years ago today…

Eight years ago today and five days after David Bowe’s passing, the good lady Janet and I decided that we really needed to go to London to pay our respects. Like countless others, David Bowie had been the soundtrack to our lives – when we started going out together the first concert Janet and I attended as a couple was his fantastic Serious Moonlight show at the Milton Keynes Bowl on July 3,1983.

So on the morning of Saturday January 15, 2016 we visited the David Bowie mural in Brixton – this was the focus of much of the outpouring of love and respect for the man. Being there was moving, comforting and a beautiful place to be.

Here’s some thoughts I wrote down about our visit on that day.

So this morning Janet and I walked towards the David Bowie mural in Brixton. Peaceful, and tranquil -it felt like the only place for us to be today.

A few sniffles could be heard amongst the assembled – all with quiet dignity. We laid our tribute (”’there will always be a Starman waiting in the sky’’) and I wrote on the wall as many were doing.

Looking across at the faces of those paying their respects was simply heartbreaking. We were lost souls standing there but not a lost generation. Our generation and many others past and present, will always find solace and inspiration from his wondrous music.

But, as we gazed at the flowers, the tributes and heartfelt notes with heavy hearts and a lump in our throats, we all knew what we had lost…

We didn’t really want to leave this place of David Bowie sanction – it felt like we were leaving him behind forever and so much more…

Somewhat reluctantly, we shuffled away towards the Brixton tube station – the gentle familiar words of Life On Mars from a busker drifting over us in the cold Saturday morning January air…

’’Wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the best selling show.’’

Looking down on us here today, I’m sure he does…

Eight years on I am sure he still does…
There will always be a Starman waiting in the sky…
Dave Lewis January 15 2024

Wednesday January 18:
It was 49 years ago today…
Loading up the 2 CD bootleg Led Zeppelin Salvation Through Him on the Eeelgrass label.
A near complete soundboard recording of Led Zeppelin’s performance at the Met Center Bloomingdale Minnesota on this day in 1975 –the opening night of their US tour.
This recording includes performances of the rarely played When The Levee Breaks and The Wanton Song and comes complete with a miniature reproduction of the official tour programme…

Update here: 

The cold weather has made things a bit isolating in the past few days. I have got on with sorting some stuff and there’s been some work on the DL memoirs. Overall though , for a variety of reasons I’ve been struggling mentally again – the bleak weather does not help. I know the triggers and how to deal with them and fend them off and stay positive. However ,it’s not easy and it’s a constant challenge  but through all this I know I have a lot to feel blessed about.

It was good to catch up on the phone with long term friend and TBL supporter Pete Gozzard.  Pete has not been in the best of health recently but his stoic nature is an inspiration.

Some winterlude musical inspirations on the playlist here as follows:

David Bowie – Station To Station 2CD

Bob Dylan – Planet Waves CD

Miles Davis – In a Silent Way LP

Bryan Ferry – Taxi CD

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story CD

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I LP

Robert Plant – Honeydrippers Vol 1 mini LP

Jimmy Page – Session Man  2LP

Fairport Convention – What We Did On Our Holidays CD

We Can Work it Out – Covers of The Beatles – various artists 3 CD

Thanks for listening 

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –  January 18 2024  

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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3 Comments »

  • Roy JOHN Watson said:

    so page owns noboby nothing well i think he does when he says hes going two do something and it never happens you would think might be courteous and give a reason why what it is with page he likes to keep fans on edge a while ago he said he was working on various projects whatever happened to that come two think of it whatever happened to jimmy page over the last 20 odd years the thing i like about robert plant he just gets on with it never promises anything as for page i lost my respect for him

  • Lee said:

    Hi Dave–don’t forget the one-year passing of Jeff Beck was on January 10, 2024. Such a sad loss…

  • Hiroshi said:

    While it is welcome news that Saving Grace continue with their activities, I’d rather wish at this point of time Robert toured the U.K. with Alison Krauss, where they have made only two festive appearances behind the Raise The Roof album (at Glastonbury and BST Hyde Park 2022 — both occasions were not full sets), and Saving Grace North America, where they haven’t landed yet. Some unbalanced tour scheduling and logistics there.

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