Email This Post Email This Post
Home » Dave Lewis Diary, Featured


25 May 2012 7,949 views One Comment

There’s a host of great TBL reading coming your way for the summer. I’ve just been looking over the final proofs of the new issue of the  new Tight But Loose magazine – and I have to say this is simply one of the best issues ever – with a varied mix news, views and features, all guaranteed to take you closer to the world of Led Zeppelin. I really do want to shout about this one from the rooftops because it really deserves to be seen and read… and what’s not to like!

Here’s an overview of the contents of the all colour 32 page new TBL magazine:

TBL Investigates: Exactly when and where did Led Zeppelin stage their first band rehearsal? Mike Tremaglio gathers the facts in an extensive research feature that offers the most accurate timeline ever published of The Yardbirds transistor into Led Zeppelin. Plus the TBL editors step out onto the streets of Chinatown in search of more proof of when history was made in August 1968.  The end result is one of the most insightful features in this magazine’s long history.

Warren Grant: ‘’My father was the man who Led Zeppelin – these are my memories’’: Warren Grant relays his memories of being right in the centre of the world of Led Zeppelin as the son of the man who just happened to be their manager and one of the most powerful figures in the music industry. In the first part of the interview, Warren recalls his early years at their Horselunges manor house in East Sussex as his family reaped the rewards of their father’s many years of hard work plus his experiences of being at the curtailed Tampa show and Oakland Coliseum show in 1977 –all illustrated with photos from Warren’s personal collection.

Led Zeppelin 1972: Thunder Down Under: Mike Tremaglio tracks Zep on tour in Australia and New Zealand 40 years on – every show of the tour analysed and illustrated with rare photos and images.  Plus Gerard Sparaco highlights the unofficial CD releases that capture key Zep live on the road moments during their Australian and New Zealand tour dates.

The Taping of the Thunder Down Under – The Live in Sydney TBL interviews: A revealing insight into how the Led Zeppelin February 27th 1972 Sydney Showgrounds concert was recorded by a member of the audience on a National Panasonic tape deck – and how the tape was  subsequently restored nearly 30 years later.

John Paul Jones: The TBL Interview: Talking Led Zep, bass guitars, opera and guest appearances and the Kettle’s Yard Composer Portrait event in an exclusive TBL interview.

John Paul Jones News Reports: At the London Bass Guitar Fair, Floating in Warwick with Robyn Hitchcock, down under with Seasick Steve, at the John Cage Musicircus and the Kettle’s Yard Cambridge Composer Portrait event.

Jimmy Website Watch: Simon Cadman reports on the Jimmy Page web site activity of the past three months.

Jimmy Page Lucifer Rising and other Soundtracks: Dave Lewis steps in through the soundscapes to dissect the recently released great lost Page soundtrack album of the 1970s.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters in Gloucester: The live debut of Robert Plant new ad hoc line up caused the biggest Zep related ticket rush since the 02 reunion. Dave Lewis reports from down the front on the  welcome return of the old witchdoctor.

Plus Justin Adams in another exclusive TBL interview – Space Shifter/Strange Sensation guitarist Justin Adams relays his thoughts on the Gloucester Guildhall gig, Ju Ju summer festival dates & a decade of working with Robert Plant.

Multi-tracking Led Zeppelin 11: Ian Avey dissects the recently surfaced multi-track recordings of four songs from the Led Zeppelin II album.

Jeff Strawman’s Instrument Watch: The first of a regular TBL series focusing on the instruments and gear deployed by the members of Led Zeppelin. In this issue, Jeff chronicles Jimmy Page’s Gibson EDS 1275 double neck guitar.

Underground Uprising: Gerard Sparaco rounds up the latest underground CD releases including Berkeley Daze First Night, LZ Riders in AZ and The Calm & the Storm.

From a Whisper to a Scream –the Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin: Details of the new book by Dave Lewis due out in July via Omnibus Press, This is an extensive album by album track by track analysis of every Led Zeppelin recording. The book is  guaranteed to take you make to the music with fresh perspective .There’s details of the exclusive TBL signed by the author edition with individually numbered insert  and only available via the TBL website.

Plus News Round Up: Jimmy Page in attendance at Genesis David Bowie book launch and comments on his plans ahead to BBC 6 Music, : Ross Halfin Jimmy Page photo the 100,00 digitised shot in National Gallery, Neal Preston’s Gods And Rockers London Exhibition, BCC Live In Europe CD and Bonzo’s Birthday Bash all star rock drumming event, Mica Ertegun Oxford Scholarship, Peter Grant memorial Scholarship and latest Robert Plant news roundup –  Plus Loose Talk – a quick snapshot of latest Zep related happenings


As you can see we had an eleventh hour change of cover  -with one of my JPJ Kettle’s Yard pics dropping in. Once again Mick Lowe has done a fantastic design job on all this –I’d also like to offer sincere thanks to Mike Tremaglio for his incredible contributions and all his many hours of research and for helping over see the final text, Gary Foy for all his unbflagging support, John Paul Jones ,Warren Grant and Justin Adams for giving me their time for interviews, and Gerard Sparaco, Jeff Strawman, Simon Cadman and Ian Avey for their input into making the magazine what it is.

TBL 32 is at the printers now and is set for distribution next week – so get ready to set some time aside to soak up this latest outpouring of essential Zep reading.

Here is just one of many satisfied subscriber feedback comments:

‘’I’m an avid reader of Mojo, Q, Uncut, Record Collector and Rolling Stone but my subscription to TBL is far and away the best value for money.’’ Michael Rae, Australia

If you are new to TBL – this is the ideal issue to step on board!

If you a past subscriber – don’t miss out –re-subscribe now!

TBL 32 kicks off the three issue TBL 2012 subscription. By subscribing  to the magazine you will never miss out (past sold out back issues are in regular demand on  on eBay) and each issue will be sent to you as published (TBL 32 May –TBL 33 September and TBL 34 January 2013).

Tight But Loose – The essential Led Zeppelin Magazine: Beyond mere websites – this is the tangible printed word you will want to collect and read again and again…

To order the TBL 2012 Subscription which commences with TBL 32 – go to the TBL 2012 Subscription link here and follow the instructions to pay via paypal.

You can also order TBL 32 as an individual issue at this link:

Get on board for the Zep Fix you can rely on!


Next up…here are the details at long last of a project I’ve been beavering away on for weeks on end – and has now finally been signed off.

First published in 1994 by Omnibus Press and based on my pioneering track by track analysis of the Zep catalogue in the A Celebration book,The Complete Guide To the Music of Led Zeppelin has undergone a major overhaul. Make that a massive, major overhaul.

 It will be published under the title From A Whisper To A Scream –The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin by Omnibus Press in mid July.

I’ve been working away on this for the past few months. I have revisited every aspect of the text to update it fully and add new text where relevant. In effect it’s a new book.

 Alongside the original ten albums, it includes full analysis of the Remasters box set, BBC Sessions album, How The West Was Won live set, The Song Remains The Same revamped edition and the official Led Zeppelin DVD. There is also a guide to bootleg recordings and outtakes and an overview of the  02 Arena reunion concert.  Along the way there’s masses of little known facts about the tracks as I attain to offer the most accurate account of where, when and how Led Zeppelin created their enduring recorded legacy. The overall aim being to take every reader back to the music with fresh perspective.

Got to say it again – I am really pleased with how this worked out. Once I got into it there was no stone left unturned. I need to offer thanks again to Mike Tremaglio for his input and overseeing of the text – we have recently had a couple of mammoth skype sessions in assessing the text to get it as right as possible. I think fans old and new will find much to enjoy from this latest outpouring. Writing this book inspired me to re-investigate the delights of the entire Zep catalogue – and I am sure that will be the case for all who read it.

There will be a special edition of the book available only via the TBL web site –this version will include an exclusive individually numbered insert that has a question and answer session with me about the writing of the book and where it all stands – and all books are personally signed by the author. The book is due for publication in mid July.

Consider this your one stop, easy access companion to their timeless catalogue of work.

You can pre order the book via this link – all pre-orders received will be allocated the lowest individually numbered inserts as received.

More great TBL summer reading…

As the 32nd anniversary of the final Led Zeppelin tour rolls around, let me remind you that Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind –Over Europe 1980 – the acclaimed book that chronicles the tour in greater detail than ever before is still available. Here’s just two of many accolades for the book:

‘‘Mr. Lewis has outdone himself with this one. Wow! A pure unadulterated masterpiece. Only he could have done this so well. Folks, there is no one who can write about this band, understand this band, and communicate the feeling of listening to and being a true Zep fan like Dave Lewis.’’. If you are a Zep fan you will love this book which will take you up close and personal on the final Led Zeppelin tour. Don’t miss out!  Chris Serratella

 Dave Lewis’ Led Zeppelin: Feather In The Wind Over Europe 1980 is the most awesome and comprehensive compilation of rock music tour data I’ve ever seen. In seven chapters and five Appendices., This extraordinary book is a must-have for Led Zeppelin fans, be they born well past the last year of Led Zeppelin’s final performance or of an age with the band members today. If you were there, this will bring back fond memories. If you weren’t, this is the next best thing. If you don’t already have your copy, get one immediately! Lif Strand

So if you have yet to indulge – this book will take on a time travel back to the last days of the band on the Led Zeppelin tour that time forgot…until now

The ordering link is here:

Looking ahead – the second edition of the Led Zeppelin Then As It Was –At Knebworth 1979 is due for publication later this year – you can pre order here


More reading matter: The current issue of Classic Rock has a piece written by yours truly on the subject of Led Zeppelin’s lost masterpiece – find out more at

Other stuff: Busy here on preparing the distribution of TBL 32 and planning the summer writing schedule. Football – got to hand it to Chelsea for their spirited performance last Saturday – the Drogba equalizer has to be one of the all time great headed goals. It was just a shame that their win rendered Spurs to the Europa League. Anyway that’s the football season finished now until…well tomorrow night when England play Norway in a warm up for the European Championships – here we go again!

The day out in Cambridge last week was a real special one and being in such close proximity to a member of Led Zeppelin at lunchtime on a Sunday was something to be cherished. Thanks to the Led Zed boys for an enjoyable afternoon at their gig at the Grapes pub nearby. I couldn’t resist this pic below – who needs Baron Wolman!

Gary F passes on thanks to all who enquired about his health and he is rallying ok right now…I had to have a quick ear syringe yesterday after my right ear began blocking up (could have been that Manson five string bass reverberating near me!)

The sun finally came out here this week and what a tonic that has been – the playlist here reflecting the sunshine:

Fleetwood Mac Rumours/Loving Spoonful Greatest Hits/Miles Davis Kind Of Blue/ Brian Prothero Pinball (fine obscure 1970s album thank you John P)/Fairport Convention BBC Sessions and in this week of weeks, plenty of Earls Court including the amazing version of Woodstock from the May 24 gig – which for me touches the heart more than any other Earls Court sequence. It perfectly sums up what Jimmy once said: ‘’When the four of us where playing like that, we combined to make it a fifth element. That was the magic –the intangible’’

Right –better get back to sticking stamps on envelopes for the impending mail out of TBL 32 –have yourselves a great weekend.

And finally the last of the Earls Court reflections…




Ticket Price £1.00

So imagine waking up on a Friday morning with the prospect of over nine hours of live Led Zeppelin in store over the next three days.

Talk about the weekend starts here!

But that was the treat in store as we went to catch the train on Friday May 23rd for EC gig 3. Earlier I’d had a passport photo taken in a booth in town suitably dressed in Earls Court T shirt – I was due to fly out with my friends to sunny Loret De Mar in a week’s time.

The days in between the first two gigs had been pretty non stop. Tuesday at short notice, Fiona, Phil H and myself  went to see Swan Song artists The Pretty Things support Status Quo in Ipswich with the Atlantic rep who called on the WH Smith record department I worked in. Next day he brought in to the shop 30 copies of the limited edition UK Trampled Underfoot single – yet another bonus!. Thursday was spent soaking up the music press with the arrival of the NME and Melody Maker front covers (those cover pics were just awesome!) – The excitement just didn’t stop.

After the frantic pace of attending the two first gigs, Friday seemed a much more relaxed affair and I took much more in. The weather was good too and beforehand  Fiona and I drank a bottle of wine in Hyde Park. Then it was to SW8. The view this time was the opposite side to last week and we scrambled down a few tiers taking some empty seats. A full on if slightly distant but clear view on Jonesy’s side. From the moment Plant gave out an excited Immigrant Song ”Aha ah” squeal as Bonzo and Jimmy did the usual warm up, well it was so evident they were up for it. Fashion note: For this night only Robert wore the cherry wrap around shirt he’d favoured on most of the ’75 American tour.

”Last week we did a couple of warm up dates for these three nights. We believe that these were the first three gigs sold out, so these must be the ones with the most energy stored up because you’ve been waiting”. That opening Plant speech was met with tremendous applause.

Highlights: Another truly scintillating Page solo in Over The Hills (one of the very best ever), Plant’s You Shook Me reference at the end of In My Time, the image of Page swathed in blue light up on the screen delicately picking out The Rain Song with such lyrical finesse, Tangerine yet again so moving, the intimacy of the acoustic set and a Dazed And Confused that reverted back to the San Francisco interlude.

This time we did miss the train (a trend that would continue) and we hung around Kings Cross finally getting back to Bedford at 4.30am. It was now Saturday May 24th and this one was going to be the big one. Second row seats beckoned. Who needed sleep with that prospect ahead…?

Dave Lewis, May 23 2012

To be continued…




Ticket Price £2.50

My friend Dec had queued up for these tickets for this one over night when they went on sale in March. Seven of us went from Bedford (Hi Dec,Tom and Phil!) We went shopping in Oxford Street where I brought a pair of hip mirror shades for the Lorret holiday to follow. Then it was over to Earls Court in the afternoon – one of our crew Gary Felts had made a top hat ala Slade’s Noddy Holder with Zep photos around it which got plenty of attention in the pub beforehand.

So into the arena – walking along the aisles and up to the front of the stage, well you can imagine the feeling. We were just so close to Bonzo’s drum kit-and the amp set up. It was so amazing. I was second row to the right of the stage – Jimmy was literally a few yards way. We posed for a photo in front of the stage before the show.

The photo shows the Bedford Crew in front of the Earls Court stage May 24th 1975 – DL with mirror shades and patchwork jeans, Dec with his school scarve (I kid you not), Phil H with denim coat as advertised in NME and Gary Felts with custom made Zep top hat. Having (one of ) the time (s) of our lives….

So what can I say – being in such close proximity to one of the highest profile gigs Led Zeppelin ever performed, well it was beyond compare really.

Images ingrained on my brain for 35 years: Watching Jimmy slither across the stage as they hit Sick Again, Plant seemingly lost in a trance right in front of us as Page did the solo in Over The Hills, dry ice seeping above us over the front rows in No Quarter (should have bottled it –imagine that on eBay!), Jimmy holding the Gibson double neck aloft during the Song Remains intro, the stand up microphones being brought out for the four part harmony of Tangerine, being so close to them clustered together for the acoustic set (incidentally listen to the various soundboard bootlegs – just before Going To California Robert introduces the song saying ‘’This is a song about the would be hope for the ultimate…for the ultimate’’ – after which you can hear a distant yelled squeal just before somebody starts whistling – that’s my squeal folks!), Trampled Underfoot and the revolving lighting creating a real sense of speed, the normally reserved Dec next to me going crazy in a manner I’ve not seen since, Page’s violin bow and going ”Ahhh’! as the lasers spiraled above us. The last few moments of Stairway as the mirrorball created that swirling spinning effect and thinking I must have died and gone to heaven!

The encores with the neon sign lighting up…Plant strutting over to our side in Black Dog and looking straight at us and smiling.

It was just too much. We left in a dazed state -how could we not? – we had just seen Led Zeppelin at the ultimate vantage point. Nothing else mattered right then.

Certainly not rushing for the train. We predictably missed the last one back and slept on the station amongst several disgruntled Scotsman –sore at the 5-1 England defeat.

Finally it was back to Bedford at 8am. The party was drawing to an end, but there was a final memorable date with Earls Court remaining…and one that final EC experience really would cement for all time my addiction for this band.


There were other events going on aside from Zep at Earls Court on that epic Saturday. In the afternoon England beat Scotland 5-1 at Wembley – a result that made for quite a few depleted and drunken Scots as we made our way to Earls Court. For the record England’s scorers were Beattie, Bell, Johnson and two from Gerry Francis. (Sorry Billy F!)

The England line up that afternoon read: Clemence,Whitworth,Beattie,Bell,Watson,Todd,Bell,Channon,Johnson,Francis,,Keegan,sub Thomas.

Can’t say Bonzo would have been too excited over this result. ”I think football’s a load of bollocks” was his no nonsense summary as they came back on for the encore.- a retort to the numerous soccer references Plant had made on stage during the gigs.

Some 24 years later history would repeat itself when I watched England triumph 2-0 over Scotland at Hampden in the Euro 2000 play offs before setting off to see Robert perform with the Priory at the Red Lion Birmingham. In stark contrast to Earls Court’s 17,000 ,there were just 300 were in the pub that night in November 1999.

Dave Lewis, May 24th, 2012

To be continued


 SUNDAY MAY 25 1975


So the party was nearly over. Got up at 1pm and on the train at 5. Very busy around Earls Court – the unofficial programmes and posters were doing brisk business.

We had an excellent view for this last swan song – a straight face on view on the back tier front stalls. I remember vividly Alan Freeman’s introduction ”We are here today because you and I have great taste…”.

There was a sense amongst us all of this show being the last as Plant put it in his opening speech for ”A considerable time”. ”Still there are always the 1980’s” – what an ironic statement that was to prove.

The arrival of that soundboard tape of this performance few years ago revealed that the band were completely at ease that final night. Free from the pressure of the opening gigs, clearly looking forward to their summer break and respective tax exile travels and content in the knowledge that their public acclaim at home was at a new height, well they could just lay back and enjoy it.

That’s exactly what they did performing with a great sense of camaraderie. Given that freedom, this performance easily rivaled the previous night and often exceeded it. May 24th remains my personal Earls Court favourite but May 25th was perhaps the best group performance of the five nights.

Great moments on the final run in: Page’s free form solo on over The Hills – right out there as he closed his eyes and drifted off – thoughts maybe of life in the Agadir the next week…Another refrain of You Shook Me at the end of In My Time…the San Francisco insert back in for what would be the final full version of Dazed And Confused ever played. An emotional Stairway with Plant’s moving reference to his daughter Carmen ”A song to a little girl who sits there and who wonders what it’s all about”…and then the encores.

When it was apparent they were coming back again after Black Dog we rushed down to the side of the stage and had a great view of Heartbreaker and Communication Breakdown. The latter with its stop start reggae scat signing middle section was just utterly sensational.

I’ve just watched the DVD of that encore segment – for pure out and out Zeppelin in their own world and nothing else mattered vibe – it may be the best footage of them ever captured.

”And its goodnight from him….”

Anxious not to let this Earls Court experience end, we hung around the front of the stage. Going home was not an option. We had spent some considerable hours in this building over the past week and we did not want to let it go. And there was a vague notion just maybe… well surely it can’t possibly happen but maybe we could get a glimpse of our heroes…

Incredibly, as the arena emptied we were able to walk through the black curtain at the side of the stage –with no security guards around we were able to walk unchallenged through to the backstage area which comprised of various luxury caravans.

There sitting on a limo was Robert Plant – blue sparkled jacket, white scarf and draped in bracelets and rings looking for all the world like a Greek god. Being right in front of Robert at that moment was just incredible. An unforgettable moment. After getting over the sheer shock of seeing him and choking back the tears of disbelief and sheer wonderment at being next to the singer in the biggest band on the planet and my hero – I asked  when would they be playing in England again. ”There’s a lot of traveling to do first” was his reply. We walked across to the entrance where the aftershow party was taking place with Plant and his wife Maureen and Rusty from Showco .Robert sang a few lines from Kashmir as he scuttled through the entrance. We also saw Bonzo, Jonesy and Jimmy arrived along with Chris Squire from Yes ,Bob Harris and Jeff Beck.

Above -Robert and Maureen at the Earls Court party not long after I had been in his company!

Knowing they would have to come out at some point we waited outside the party entrance. There was no way we were going anywhere until then!

About 3am I took a walk around the building and with no one around I was able to slip back into the arena –the entrance I took brought me direct onto the stage – yes incredibly I found myself on the Earls Court stage – now deserted except for some PA gear and Jonesy’s grand piano. It was an amazing feeling looking out from the actual focal point from where hours earlier Led Zeppelin had performed from. Standing where they had stood…

Eventually we saw them all leave the party at around 4am. Jimmy looking frail in white suit but keen to acknowledge the remaining fans – one of them asked how his finger was – ”oh fine now it’s so nice you all care”. Jonesy and Bonzo signed autographs and Robert looking rather out of it, was ushered through to the limos. That was our final view of Led Zeppelin at well after 4am on the morning of May 26th 1975.

…and coming down wasn’t easy!

Monday May 26th was thankfully a bank holiday and after arriving back home at 7.30am I then slept all day. The real cream on the whole week had been the fact I’d met them all and got their autographs – there was no plan of action to do that, it had just all slotted into place. Relaying it all to everyone back in Bedford was quite strange as it all appeared quite dream like. But it really did happen and I have the autographs to prove it!

Days later I was in the heat of Loret De Mar on a the Wallbanger lad’s holiday. My fellow Earls Court attendees Phil, Tom and Dec were with me and Phil brought along the tape he’d made of the May 24th show he recorded next to me at Earls Court on a primitive cassette portable. It rained once in Loret and we all piled into his room to hear the tape. A bizarre experience as Earls Court came alive again in foreign surroundings. Incidentally alongside reveling in the late night discos (one of them was called Moby Dick!), the highlight of the holiday was the batch of Zep Spanish pressing singles I uncovered in the local record shop- it just never stopped!

Once back home I began scribbling down some notes on my Earls Court experiences. -this would eventually form the basis of the Earls Court feature in the first issue of Tight But Loose. Inspired by the likes of Nick Kent I started to formulate a feature I dubbed Earls Court Relived. As my mate Tom often says ‘’You know the rest’’

So that was the week that was – Led Zeppelin five times in the space of seven days. To say it has had a lasting effect on me is an absolute understatement. It really was the moment my life switched into colour.

There would be many dazzling episodes ahead, but perhaps nothing quite like with the sheer uncomplicated joy and optimism of that week in May 1975 all of 37 years ago.

They were, are and always will be the glory days of Led Zeppelin

Dave Lewis – May 25th 2012

Here’s a bit of the intangible…

Led Zeppelin – Woodstock – Earls Court 1975


Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker – Earls Court 1975


Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown – Earls Court 1975


Don’t forget you can follow Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter – LedzeppelinTBL

and Facebook (add us as a friend) at!/profile.php?id=161129

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

One Comment »

  • Glen said:

    Excellent information on the website as always…, Cheque in the post for ‘From a Whisper to a Scream’. Sounds like a great read / update. I’m yet to be convinced to purchase another version of ‘Then As It Was’. The originally issued version was superb. But do I need to invest in another copy? Is the update really that good to be essential. Convince me.!!

    Keep up the good work. Really looking forward to the next issue of the TBL magazine.

    I enjoy your ‘blogs’, including the more personal stuff. Which makes me feel like I know you. Hey— I’m a fan of Dave Lewis as well as Led Zeppelin now. Keep the torch burning Dave. ..

    Just a quickie on JP. Please deliver on your promises of new music. If you want to just do what you are doing then fine (you’ve earned it), but please quit giving us all hope if they are empty promises.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.