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19 July 2012 3,489 views 11 Comments

Paul Weller, Jon Lord, Robert Plant, Ian Paice – Porchester Halls Sunflower charity jam event – September 14th, 2006.

It was very sad to hear the news of the passing of Jon Lord age 71. I knew he had been ill with cancer during the last year. When I interviewed Maggie Bell last autumn she had mentioned it and spoken in glowing terms about working with Jon (as everyone does).

I was actually off line on Monday due to connection problems and did not see the news until early on Tuesday – it was a huge shock.

I have had a strong affinity with Deep Purple for varying reasons over the years, going right back to when they performed at Bedford Town football ground in July 1970 and I could hear them from my bedroom. My good friends Terry Boud and Jerry Bloom are lifelong massive fans – Jerry established the Ritchie Blackmore magazine and wrote a biography about the guitarist. My good friend Dec was a big Ian Gillan fan back in the late 70s and attended some of his recording sessions.

Simon Robinson of the Deep Purple Appreciation Society has been a long term ally and along with Terry and Gary I attended the very enjoyable Deep Purple Convention held in Sheffield in 1995. Latterly of course I have had a good association with ex Mk III member Glenn Hughes re his Black Country Communion activites.

Bizarrely on the night of October 19th 1984, I spent an evening in the local Bedford pub The Ship when all of the band including Jon were holding court. This came about because Deep Purple had chosen a central Bedford club to rehearse in during the making of their comeback album Perfect Strangers. They were seen out an about in the town throughout their stay and Jerry even got to play football with them in a local park. It was a memorable evening in that pub, not least for the fact that Ritchie looked every bit the guitar legend with his cloak and hat.

Perhaps because of  my intensity for Zep, I can’t say I play a lot of their stuff though  I do own a fair few CDs and LPs and the Black Night single with the epic Speed King B side has been part of my collection for four decades. Regardless of that I have always respected their position as an inspirational band of musicians.

Then there are all the career crossovers with Zep notably David Coverdale’s collaboration with Jimmy etc. I once contributed to an article for the Deep Purple mag under the title Deep Purple v Led Zeppelin which highlighted the parallels between the two bands (I must dig that out).

In September 2006, Robert performed in a line up with Jon Lord at the inaugural Sunflower charity dinner and gig at the Porchester Halls. This benefited the Complementary Therapy Team working within cancer services at UCLH, raising funds for The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust.

The Sunflower Jam included Robert Plant, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, Paul Weller, Phil Manzanera, Linda Lewis, Sam Brown, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens, Bernie Marsden, Margo Buchanan, Nick Fyffe, Mario Argandones and Aitch McRobbie

Co incidentally Robert’s set list that night, included a version of John Mayall’s I’m Your Witchdoctor which he has recently been performing with the Sensational Space Shifters. The set that night also included the rarely performed live Good Times Bad Times

Full TBL report of that night is here:

I know a lot of TBL people are big Deep Purple fans – so this news of the passing of Jon Lord will resonate across the TBL fraternity as it has the whole of the rock world.

Our condolences go out to all his family and all followers of Deep Purple on the passing of the man described by Ian Gillan as ‘’The Godfather of Deep Purple’’.

Here’s a video of Perfect Strangers – which includes some fleeting clips of Bedford and nearby Woodlands Manor where the band stayed back in 1984.

Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers

July 17th was the 35th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s performance in front of 70,000 people at the Seattle Kingdome. There were various references to this on the day on Facebook etc. Whilst not their greatest musical performance, it remains one of their most memorable gigs as it is one of the few that was videotaped and logged in the band’s archive.

I got to know this for a fact when I was invited in to the Swan Song offices on August 21st 1981 to view much of their video archive. Over a period of eight hours (in much wonderment!) I watched the Seattle footage alongside the Earls Court and Knebworth shows. At the time I was one of the few people outside of the band privileged to see this footage. I’ll unfold the full story of this in a future TBL.

This video footage is all over You tube now but back then it was an incredible thrill to watch this archive – the Seattle footage in particular because it captures that mad period when they really were bigger than life. I can still vividly recall the sheer wonderment of being in the hallowed walls of Swan Song and watching the  Seattle performance come to life – Here’s a clip from the Seattle Kingdome footage:

Led Zeppelin – Over the Hills and Far Away 17/07/77-Seattle

With all the Robert Plant/JPJ gig activity of last week The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary media blitz passed me by a little. It is some milestone for sure and it will be interesting to see how they further mark it with a return to the stage.

On differing days The Rolling Stones or The Who are my number two. The Stones catalogue from 1968 through to 1978 is an essential work and sometime over the next few weeks, I am going to pull out those classic albums (Beggars/Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile etc) out and give them a real blast not to mention the many outtakes and bootlegs I have.

One little tribute I did make last week, was to get a photo on the site of the Marquee Club in 90 Wardour Street where the Stones and Zep played in March 1971. Indeed it was where Gary Foy and I first met at the Robert Plant showcase gig back in February 1988. So while in London last Friday, in between dodging the rain we posed for some pics outside the historic site which also has a heritage plaque commemorating the life of Keith Moon. And while on that subject, it’s great to see Pete and Roger are taking to the road again with Quadrophenia.The making of Quadrophenia documentary screened a couple of weeks back was absolutely awesome.

Here’s the TBL 2 back at the old Marquee site.

Now here’s a thing: I’ve been suffering from heartburn and chest pains for some months and went to see the doc a while back. This led to some blood tests. The heartburn has subsided a little but what came out of all this, is that this week I was confirmed as being diabetic with diabetes type 2.

For a man who considers himself fairly fit, this has come as some considerable shock.

Overall, I had not had many of the symptoms associated with the condition though when I think about it, I have not felt quite right all year and have been feeling excessively tired of late. Apparently it is not uncommon to develop the condition in your 50s. The fact that I do not eat many sweet things also made me feel a bit miffed that all this has surfaced.

The upshot is I have got it and need to deal with it. I am hoping with a bit of revision to my diet, I can keep it under control.

I see it as something of a wake up call really, as the fact is none of us are getting any younger and there is a definite need to look after this ageing body with an increased awareness. I am of course not alone in the health issues and have mentioned that Gary has also not been too well recently.

So with a deep breath, it’s ever onward – and as usual there is a lot to do. I was well tired after the memorable two days out last week in the company of Robert and John Paul Jones on successive days. It was a real blast though and again many thanks to all who made these nights out real TBL comes alive occasions. It was great to see so many fellow fans –some for the first time in far too long.

As for Robert – well despite the mixed feedback, as the clips below illustrate there was much to enjoy. It will be interesting to see how the set list evolves at the Womad Festival appearance next weekend. When I chatted to him briefly after the London show I remarked about the I’m Your Witchdoctor original Immediate single and when he asked if I knew what the B side was, thankfully the memory came good and I was able to confidently relay it was Telephone Blues. Phew!

It’s been a back to the TBL work station this week with a lot to catch up on.

The From a Whisper to a Scream book has been very well received and I’ve been busy packing orders (as mentioned on the previous post re the book, my mantra lately has been ‘’He writes them-he signs them- he a packs them –he sends them!).

I am also getting ensconced in the feature I am writing about Rod Stewart which needs to be sorted by the end of the month. I have had some invaluable help from John Gray the editor of the long running Smiler magazine and web site and met with him in London recently with fellow Rod expert Neal Webb.

With Smiler editor John Gray discussing the merits of Rod Stewart circa 1972 – Spice of Life London.

On the player: lots of Rod/Faces unsurprisingly to get me in the zone plus Robert Plant London Forum download, Led Zep Badgeholders Only (one of the best of 77), Bob Dylan and George Harrison outtakes (thank you John P) and I’ve also clocked the impressive Elton John v Pnau collaboration Sad on you tube. A clever re- working which merges the past with the present very effectively.

Can’t believe it’s the school summer holidays already as let’s face it, there has been no summer here to report.

It’s the bi- annual Bedford River Festival this weekend –one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the UK with some 300,000 expected to attend. Amazingly the weather forecast is fairly optimistic with both Saturday and Sunday said to be fairly dry. On recent form, the chances of it being without rainfall might be slim but we plan to be out there anyway come rain or shine. There’s plenty of live music on offer including Queen, Elvis and Take That (essential for me Terry!) tribute acts.

I just hope it does not bucket down like it did last night as can be seen in this pic taken outside our house. As the man once sang ‘’Upon us all just a little rain must fall….’’

Just a little rain…that would be a bonus as we pitch up at Bedford Embankment this weekend. Here’s hoping the sun shines on us for both days as after recent events, we all need cheering up a bit.…

Have a great weekend yourselves

Dave Lewis, July 20th, 2012

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Robert Plant – ‘Whole Lotta Love medley’ live at HMV Forum, London 12-07-12

Robert Plant – ‘Gallows Pole’ live at HMV Forum. London 12th July 2012

Robert Plant – ‘Spoonful’ live at HMV Forum. London 12th July 2012

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  • Graeme Powell said:

    Good luck with controlling the diabetes Dave,my wife has had the same for years and diet seems to keep things steady.
    Remember seeing Purple in 71 with Nazareth in support at Newcastle City Hall.Always felt they had the second best drummer,guitarist and vocalist in rock but Jon Lord was in a class of his own.R.I.P.

  • Denzepp58 said:

    Dave, be strong…while I do not have the diabetes I have had 4 heart operations in 10 years including Quad Bypass, 2 stents and an angioplasty and every time I get a twinge in my chest ( I also suffer from angina)I get a little worried. Had my first heart operation at the age of 44 so you are never too young to face the “joys” of growing old. Life is short, grab it by the short hairs and live it with gusto as there are no guarantees. I only hope I live long enough to see Jimmy tour and release the 02 dvd…Peace….

  • Greg Purling said:

    Will be airing the Purple album Fireball in tribute to Jon Lord. Not in the same league as Zepp for me, but some tracks are well up there, namely ‘No,no,no’ off said album; just fantastic. Sorry to hear about the type 2 Dave, and really hope you can keep it in check.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Dave thanks for comments – I’m good for 2 out of 3 of your suggestions and working on the third (ish)!

  • Dave Linwood said:

    Jon Lord – think is was Made in Europe and then Made in Japan that got me into Deep Purple. Was lucky enough to see the late 70’s/early 80’s Deep Purple spin-off(Whitesnake)a few times. Always great shows.
    Jon was a great entertainer.

    Diabetes? Yup, as you say a sign of our age mate. Alas the solution to a lot of health woes is exercise more, eat more healthily and drink less beer.. (Hmmm….!)

  • Jez said:

    Hi Dave,

    A wonderful post as ever. Sorry re the Diabetes hope all goes well.

    All the best.

  • Ian Avey said:

    Hi Dave,

    Sorry to hear about the Diabetes type 2.
    I’ve also been Diabetic (Type 1) since I was 15 and it can be a pain at times, but it’s just one of those things you have to adapt to, and learn to live with.

    Hope you have a great time at the Bedford river festival!

  • Gerd Zaunig said:

    Hi Dave, nice read as always. Also good to see the cross-connections between the authors of TBL and Smiler. Sorry to hear about the diabetis type 2 diagnosis. I hope you can handle that as good as possible. All the very best, Gerd

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Gary thanks for those kind words my friend…We intend to keep rockin..!

  • Gary Davies said:

    Have a great Bedford River Festival weekend, Dave, I think the weather will be pretty good actually (although I’m no Daniel Corbett! Incidentally, talking of weather forecasters, does anyone else get freaked out by Martyn Davies’s smile at the end of his forecasts? Just thought I’d mention it!).

    Sorry to learn about the Type 2 situation, Dave, I know that must’ve been hard to deal with when you heard the news…especially as you’re one who has always made an effort to keep yourself fit and well. Best wishes to both you and Gary….and keep yourselves well..WE NEED YOU!

    Jon Lord, what can one say…his passing is a tremendous loss to music. For me, he defined the sound of Deep Purple. His keyboard riffs were/are incredible, and he changed the perception of the instrument in many ways – he made it ‘cool’ to be a keyboard player. Ever tried playing ‘air keyboards’, as opposed to ‘air guitar’?. I’m off to try out ‘Lazy’ from Made in Japan….RIP Jon.

    Shame about Jimmy’s ‘On This Day’ feature reverting back 12 months to repeat it all again. Perhaps there’ll be a few surprises and some nice little nuggets pop up in the future (?).


  • Steve said:

    Actually, it was Deep Purples “Made in Japan” which got me into progressive/heavy/non chart music, which led in a very small time to Zepp. A major part of that was Jon Lords organ solo on ” Highway Star”. And on another note his concerto was way beyond its time. Rest in peace Jon.

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