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20 December 2011 7,550 views 7 Comments

In the wake of the recent 02 fourth anniversary, five days later on December 15th my thoughts turned to the events of 30 years ago – for it was on that night in 1981 that the three ex members of Led Zeppelin were seen together in public for the first time since they announced they could not continue as they were a year earlier.

Back in the early months of that year, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often acquainted by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicize in the next TBL a children’s charity raffle being held in December – I was only too willing to help and when I visited the Swan Song offices in September I met up with Lynne at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benjii Lefevre was there as was John Bindon who I was introduced to – a man with a towering presence. Robert and JPJ had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th so it was always going to be a special evening.
Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. As it was, it turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion in true Zep syle.

On the night itself, – Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies and Swan Song employees were there as was John Bindon again. Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy while runner up was, if my memory serves me right, Steve Simmons a TBL subscriber from Bristol.

Jimmy looked in good shape and told me he was working on the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. Later on I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with the in progress recording of his debut album and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights which has been so ripe for celebration in the past couple of weeks

30 years on, on the actual day of the 02 anniversary (December 10th), the good lady Janet and I hooked up with our good friends Marian for a day out in London. While the girls went shopping in Covent Garden, Terry and myself had a look round the excellent Quadrophenia exhibition in Carnaby Street and one or two other choice record shops – my prize vinyl purchase being Speciality Of The House – a Rolling Stones bootleg of outtakes from the 1971 -74 period. Naturally one or two public houses were also visited alongside the Christmas Fair at the Southbank.

Happiness is…A bag full of vinyl and a pub nearby…London December 10th 2011

Terry and DL outside the Argyle Arms London December 10th 2011 -scene of a TBL meet pre Robert Plant Brixton gig back in July 1993 -where Gary met his future wife -just another TBL service!

Other stuff going on. I’ve been pretty full on these past weeks packing up orders and working on TBL 31 with Mick. Issue 31 is looking very good with a real ”Back to Zeppelin” focus – Mike Tremaglio has done a fantastic job of chronicling the amazing 1971 Japan concerts and fall UK tour. Nick Anderson has searched out the story behind the rare Led Zep turquoise UK sleeve pressing and Mike T and I attempt to separate fact from fiction as to exactly when and where Led Zeppelin performed their first gig under that name.
Add in plenty of Led Zep IV at 40 comment, an interview with the first lady of Swan Song Maggie Bell and the second part of the tribute interview with Howard Mylett plus all the latest news and views – well…what’s not to like? I really am pleased with the progress and content of this one.

If you are a current subscriber issue 31 completes your subscription and it will be time to re-subscribe for 2012.
If you are new to TBL –issue 31 is your perfect introduction to the world of TBL.

Here’s the ordering links

Tom and I recently went along to see tribute band The Pink Floyd Dimension at the local Bedford Esquires venue. TBL subscriber Tom Cory has been a recent addition to the line up and he kindly invited us along. I have to say they were a revelation. Given the small proximity of the venue, the eight piece line up (which made it even a harder to tell which one was pink!) relied totally on the music as any light show was at a premium. They kicked off with Echoes (that opening bass line took me straight back to early 1975 in a second) and did note perfect renditions of the whole of Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon plus a splendid Syd era Astronomy Domine and encores of Another Brick In The Wall, Run Like Hell and Comfortably Numb. The singer Myke Clifford was particularly outstanding. A top night -(full marks to Kev Bailey for putting it on) and the obligatory after show curry was pretty good too.

Have a look at the website:

Little old Bedford is now the proud venue for the only major rock art gallery outside London. Photographer’s Andy Willsher and Mick Hutson have got together to open Rock City Art. The spacious gallery in the newly built Castlegate area of Bedford near the town centre is most impressive. The walls are adorned with a series of black and white images including classic shots of Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, Marc Bolan, Miles Davis, Rod Stewart,U2 etc etc. – these are on sale as limited framed prints.
Any who has worked for the NME for 20 years and who I last saw at the Reading Festival the night Page & Plant headlined in 1998 (he supplied some of his pics for TBL) told me the gallery has plans ahead to stage dedicated photo exhibitions with Slipknot, Punk Rock, Stone Roses and more lined up. I’ll of course be pitching for a Zep one. They also aim to stage semianrs and masterclasss events . More on all this in 2012 – visit the link below for more details

Reality TV oh don’t you just love it. Now we are finally out of the X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, Get Me Out Of Here I’m A Celebrity zone, I have a tale to tell regarding the boyish band McFly. Dougie Poynter of said band was voted the winner of Celebrity Get Me Out. While I was on Pink Floyd watch, the good lady told me in one of the final task that befell Dougie was to eat a kangaroos penis. This is actually poetic justice in my book as I’ve had previous experience of these chaps.

When McFly made a personal meet and greet appearance at the Virgin/Zavvi store about five years when I worked there, the McFly boys indulged in some not so hammer of the gods rock’n’roll mayhem. This involved them taking the drawing pins out of our notice board and steady yourself for this…drawing phallic penis shapes on the table they signed their albums on – Shock horror!

Alas, the curse of the penis caught up with young Dougie in the jungle – which might be construed as a clear case of a knob for a knob….only joking fellas! – actually that other Mcfly man drummer Harry Judd was a deserved winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

Christmas time is here again of course and it’s quite astounding how it suddenly creeps on you. The usual round of TBL Christmas cards have left the building – if I forgot you – apologies all round, it was not intended and season s greetings go to one and all. Many thanks for the many cards and best wishes received from all parts of the globe.

DL in travel photographer shock! Not trying to get in on Ross H. territory of course,but I have taken to snapping a few photos on my early morning bike rides. Can’t see Genesis Publications looking to make a book out of these but hey it’s a bit of fun.  Here’s a couple from a misty Sunday morning a month back – one of which looks a little bit like Fleetwood Mac’s Bare Trees album cover.

And here’s a couple of the sun going down early on Saturday morning by the River Ouse in Bedford -I just caught this right..

And finally the statue in Bedford’s town centre that looks a little like Pink Floyd’s Division Bell sleeve -spooky!

The next few days here will be taken up with getting ready for Christmas here, plus more text and lay out for TBL 31. In between we are trying to hook up with a fair few friends along the way –which is what this Christmas season is really all about. Yesterday it was great to have a visit from the family Foy with Gary, Carol, Jimmy and Carol’s grand son Tyler popping in to wish us the season’s best.

It’s still something of a weird feeling being out of the retail loop this time of year after so many years of working in a shop and I have to say along with a few other niggling things on my mind, there have been times recently when I’ve had to fend off the old black dog in musing over it all – but thanks to the inspirationally supportive Janet (and Sam), I had a talk with myself, manned up and snapped out of it.

While at Mick’s design studio these past few days I have been looking at my friend Dec’s new proofs for his updated New Order book From Heaven To Heaven (also designed by Mick). Dec initially published a limited edtition run back in February 2010. This is a magnificent work chronicling Dec’s memories and other Bedford New Order fans in viewing the early days of the band at close quarters – and hey I appear in one or two pictures in the book with full on 80s hair intact!  It really is a brilliant book – it’s due out early in the new year and can be pre ordered at

One of the main contributors to the book is another old friend Alan Johnston. Unfortunately Alan is in poor health and I went to visit him a few weeks a back with another old pal Barry. Despite his health problems, we had a fantastic time discussing old times and playing stuff. There was a bit of a story regarding my return journey from Alan’s.

Back in the 1990s I had a bit of a habit of travelling back on the train from London and sleeping through my stop. This occurred at least 2 or 3 times as I ended up in locations such as Wellingborough and Leicester to my dismay. One bizare occasion after a Bob Dylan gig with Terry (”We are on alien territory” – remember that line to the policeman Terry!) and once after a memorable Zep meet with Eric Sachs, Julian Walker  and Dave Linwood. The latter even had a t shirt made for me that said cryptically ‘’Wake me up in Bedford!’’

I should have worn it on the way back from Alan’s because I awoke on the way back from Leicester just as the train was pulling out of Bedford – Oh dear…I was now bound for Luton which at 11.30 at night can be a cold old place as I found out.

Alan managed to attend New Order’s gig in London a couple of weeks back and I know he had an amazing time. He is one of the people I will be thinking about over this seasonal period.

Just received what looks to be the Death Wish 2 album via Jimmy’s site. It’s a big old package and I’m saving it for Christmas Day to open. How sad is that!

Finally here’s what’s been going down on the old deck – plenty of off the wall Christmas fare (I am a bit of a sucker for the old seasonal song played well)and vinyl gems.
Look out for a final pre-Christmas post either Friday or Saturday –by then a whole lotta shopping will have needed to be done –alongside a tipple or two consummed to accompany the festive cheer in good company.

DL Top Ten Vinyl Playlist:
1:  Remasters – Led Zeppelin (back to Zep oh yes…)
2:  Bridge Over Troubled Water –Simon & Garfunkel (every song a winner)
3:  Blue Christmas –Miles Davis (a cool yuletide chill out)
4:  More Golden Eggs –The Yardbirds (from R and B to psyche in a mere 40 mins)
5:  Speciality Of the House  – Rolling Stones (what a productive era this was)
6:  Hard Up Heroes – Decca 1960s compilation (vintage rare Rod/Marriott/Cocker etc)
7:  Christmas At The Patti – Man & friends (ten inch double vinyl – brought it in 72 and then foolishly sold it –brought it back off ebay last year)
8:  Phil Spector’s Christmas album – various (perennial seasonal fave)
9:  Mother Natures Son – Ramsey Lewis (jazzy cool arrangements of Beatles White album tracks)
10:  Pin Ups –David Bowie (1973 and all that)

DL Top Ten CD Playlist:
1: Geisha Smoke Gets In Your Eyes –Led Zeppelin (liver than they ever got)
2: Shepperton Rehearsals –Led Zeppelin (the storm before the storm)
3: The Get Easy Christmas Collection –various (thank you John P)
4: Wish You Were Here extended –Pink Floyd (the full dimension)
5: Very Best Of – Slade (they made some corking singles)
6: Works Vol 1 – Emerson Lake & Palmer (Greg Lake’s tracks are in the vein of I Believe In Father Christmas – superb)
7:  Christmas Album – Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (memories of the instore seasonal music when I worked at WH Smiths)
8:  Living In The Past – Jethro Tull (includes their lovely Christmas Song)
9:  Hits– Joni Mitchell (pefect to unwind to after Christmas shopping frenzy)
10:  Misses –Joni Mitchell (see above)

Until later in the week, keep shopping and keep the festive spirit going…DL – December 20th 2011

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Fiona de Boltz said:

    Thanks for all this!

    Happy Christmas to you & your family from me & mine!

    Loved the photos, love Pink Floyd (especially ‘Wish you were here’) & of course, still love Led Zeppelin.

    love & God bless, & every good wish for 2012, Fiona xx

  • Steve said:

    Merry Christmas Dave to you and yours and to everyone who visits these pages.
    Btw the sun going down in tne morning ? 😉

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Myke -great to hear from you -it was a great gig in Bedford

    Gary and Cliff – many thanks for those kind comments as ever and seasons greetings to all

  • Cliff Hilliard said:

    Hi Dave,
    Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you, your family, Gary F, Tom L, Graeme H, Mark H, Michaela and the rest of the TBL support team a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year !!

    Thanks for another great year of TBL and nights out attending gigs. Catch up with you real soon.
    Cliff & Tracy

  • myke clifford said:

    Hey Dave

    Many thanks for your kind words on the Pink Floyd Dimesion Bedford gig, sorry did not get to chat Tom did say you were coming. You may be interested that I have a recording of Priory of Brian from the Cambridge Folk Festival. I have been main stage compare at Cambridge for over 30 years and had the pleasure of introducing Mr Plant and the lads from stage one, I also ran my mini disc and got a pretty good recording of an amazing gig. After the performance I shared a Guiness and chat with Mr Plant who seemed like a really nice fella. I also remember a Roy Harper performance at Cambridge Folk Festival with Jimmy Page guesting. I have photos of both of these Zepp related gigs. If I can get the recording transfered to CD I will send you a copy. Once again many thanks it really helps confidence when we get such great comments from people who know what they are talking about.

    Merry Christmas

    Myke Clifford

  • Gary Wade said:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Lewis clan. Surely you don’t miss those long retail hours Dave? Doesn’t look good for HMV at the moment and that will be the last high street store. But perhaps it will be like Breweries, the big ones die and small independants sprout up to take care of specialist tastes.

    Keep up the good work, your’s is the first site i look up after the BBC, where would we be without you?

  • Jeff S said:

    At first I thought the guy with the microphone was Frank Zappa.

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