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20 October 2011 5,746 views 13 Comments

On the afternoon of Thursday October 21 1976, I anxiously tore open the box marked Warner/ Elektra/ Atlantic Records at the WH Smith record shop where I worked to reveal for the first time the gatefold sleeve of, as the label spine gloriously put it ‘’The Soundtrack To The Film The Song Remains The Same‘’. Yes the only official live album released during the band’s life time is 35 years old.

I have much affection for that original double live album – it captures a certain era of innocence when we knew a lot less about the actual construction of such things and just enjoyed it for what it as – four sides of live Zep to accompany the release of their long awaited film The Song Remains The Same. Whilst the on stage experimentation of their 1972 US tour had levelled out, these New York ‘73 concerts a year later capture all the swagger and verve of a band in the throes of conquering the world.

In those innocent days I was completely immune to any criticism of the boy’s work. I was therefore absolutely incensed with Nick Kent’s less than complimentary review of the film in the  NME. So much so that I wrote a letter to the paper the next week pointing out an inaccuracy on his part. This was duly printed – I used the pseudonym ‘Ace Wallbanger’, a reference to the soccer team I played in, the infamous and much feared in a keystone cops sort of way (well at least in the inner Bedfordshire area!) Wallbangers FC.

Above: Angry Ace Wallbanger of Bedford has the right of reply…

Thanks to the esteemed Eddie Edwards we now know a whole lot more of how the live set was assembled via Eddie’s amazing Garden Tapes analysis.

See link at

I know Eddie was far from happy with the revised version of the album that was issued in 2007. It cooked up a lot healthy debate at the time –have a look at the interview I conducted with Eddie in 2007 at the end of this post.

I was actually quite pleased with Kevin Shirley’s mix. He cleverly kept the excitable crowd reaction high in the mix which adds a real ‘right there’ front row authenticity heard to great effect on the opening blast of Rock And Roll, Celebration Day and Black Dog. In extending the original double album, the six previously unreleased performances included a very fluent Over The Hills And Far Away, the riotous The Ocean and of course finally gave a home to the brilliantly sublime recording of Since I’ve Been Loving You –always a stand out performance in the film and one of their best ever live moments.

I’ve played through both versions of the album in the past few days –and there is much to admire – pull them out yourselves for a nostalgic blast of prime era Zep on this 35th anniversary.

Bit of a mixed bag of ups and downs here these past couple of weeks. Duly survived the Bedford Beer Festival. It was great to see Ian Avey and his brother David on the Saturday afternoon where we spent a good couple of hours investigating the dark Young’s ale and chewing the Zep fat. Then things took take a bit of downturn after that when I went down with a bout of the old man flu/cold. The good lady Janet and Adam had had it and I eventually succumbed. This laid me well low for a couple of days leading to that old black eyed dog returning.
Anyway got the Lemsip out and plugged on. I did have a very inspiring night out to lift things so cue Friends Reunited 1: Last Tuesday night I hooked up with an old childhood friend I haven’t seen for 37 years. Dave Corp lived in the same road as me in Dents Road until he was 10. When his family moved out of Bedford we did keep in touch up until 1973. We got back in touch recently by a chance meeting of another old friend. It was quite cathartic to catch up the intervening years and recall our childhood memories, our early love for pop music (The Dave Clark Five were my first musical heroes and I still love their 1964 number one hit Glad All Over) and the day we went to see Chelsea v Man Utd back in March 1970 – a tale relayed in this diary entry from last year: see link below-

Above: Friends Reunited 37 years on : DL with Dave Corp – Fox & Hounds pub Bedford October 13th 2011. Note early presence of a Christmas tree by the bar – it comes earlier every year!Hey remember TBL products make for great Christmas presents!

Last Saturday I was breaking in my new bike in the last of the Autumn warm sunshine – the previous model had been confined to the scrap yard after various bits malfunctioned in recent months. I cycled by the nearby Bedford Rugby Club who were playing Doncaster (an 18-18 draw) –this match was being screened on Sky One and when I popped into the Fox & Hounds a pub which is the same road as the rugby ground – the match was being shown on one of the pub screens –I could hear the actual noise of the crowd echoing through the open door as I was watching the live action on the screen. Most bizarre! I am not big on rugby but it was the second match I’d watched that day. Earlier I watched Wales narrowly beaten by France in the World Cup semi- final – the Welsh blood in me was of course rooting for a Welsh victory and my late Dad would have been shouting at the screen as Wales surged forward but alas could not overcome the disadvantage of going a man down after the harsh sending off of Wales captain Sam Warburton.

Watched the excellent documentary on Lulu screened last week. I’ve long since admired the Scottish born singer who has various Zep connections, not least a lot of 60s work was arranged by one John Paul Jones and when married to Maurice Gibb they were often holiday companions of John and Pat Bonham.
In the sleeve notes to the Mickie Most Collection CD set,talking about JPJ, Lulu notes that that as well as working on the arrangements of some of her albums ‘’He used to come out on the road as my musical director’’
Unsurprisingly Lulu was in attendance at the 02 show. Her 1967 US smash To Sir With Love (from the film of the same name) is an absolute class song. She also made some great albums in the late 60s/early 70s for the Atco/Atlantic label under the direction of Jerry Wexler,Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin.

The wonderful Lulu performs a modern day version of her 1967 hit To Sir With Love

Other bits going on: Looking forward to the Who Quadrophenia reissue although the deluxe set is way expensive. Might try and get down to Pretty Green in Carnaby Street for the Quadrophenia exhibition that’s running over the next couple of weeks. TBL associate Bill McCue mentioned to me that he had seen the Rolling Stones new DVD Live In Texas 1978 at a theatre screening in New York this week and highly recommended it. I will certainly try and view that though their forthcoming Some Girls CD re issue looks less attractive. As with Exile, some of the outtakes lined up have new freshly recorded Mick Jagger vocals added – this to me takes away the authenticity of such vintage recordings. I know Robert added a vocal track to Walters Walk for Coda in 1981 but that seemed to work ok. I’ll reserve judgment on the Stones bonus tracks.

They all come back dept: The Stone Roses are the latest iconic bands to reform. I have a bit of a soft spot for Ian Brown’s boys (sorry Terry!). I well remember selling truck loads of their debut album back in the late 80s early 90s and tracks like Fools Gold and I Wanna Be Adored still retain a beguiling quality. Guitarist John Squire always had an air of the J.Pages’ about him. Their second album carried a big Zep influence (try Love Spreads). Along with Oasis they did offer something edgy and compelling. They will I am sure do very brisk business in their reformed incarnation.

Work on the next TBL/Zep 4 etc has been ongoing. Last week I caught up with another very fine female singer on the phone for an interview for the next TBL – more on that soon. Good to see Robert scooping up yet more accolades with The Band Of Joy album voted Album Of The Year in the American Music Awards – the TBL post of which created some healthy comment and feedback.
Christmas is coming and here is the first of what will be a regular prompt. TBL product makes for great Christmas presents! If you have yet to indulge in the Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind book well now is the time to request it on your Christmas list -or even log it down to treat yourself. Or get in a pre order for the revamped Led Zeppelin Then As It Was At Knebworth 1979 second edition due next year. Here’s the ordering links:

With my new vinyl player now ensconced in a neat corner of the TBL workstation area, there has been vinyl gems a plenty going down –along with a good catch up of recent CD acquisitions and old faves.
Here’s the first of what may well become a regular playlist run down. So this is what’s been echoing around the Totnes towers…or at least within the vicinity of where I conduct the TBL operations.

DL Top 10 Vinyl Playlist:
1: Soundtrack From The Film The Song Remains The Same orginal double album –Led Zeppelin
2: Going To Califonia – Led Zeppelin
3: All Things Must Pass -George Harrison
4: Best Of The Faces -The Faces
5: I’ve Got My Own Album To Do – Ron Wood
6: Rock Machine Turns You On – various CBS sampler
7: Bert Jansch Sampler – Bert Jansch
8:Court & Spark -Joni Mitchell
9: Some Girls –The Rolling Stones
10: Frampton – Peter Frampton

DL Top 10 CD Playlist:
1:  Soundtrack From the Film The Song Remains The Same (2007 revamp) –Led Zeppelin
2:  Live In Seattle 73 – Led Zeppelin
3 : All That Glitters (Zep 4 outtakes and more) – Led Zeppelin
4 : Heyday: BBC Sessions 68-69 –Fairport Convention
5 : The Atco Sessions – Lulu
6:  To Sir With Love –The Mickie Most Sessions – Lulu
7 : Australian Tour 1973 –The Rolling Stones (thank you John P)
8:  Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years –The Hollies
9:  Echoes/Best of – Pink Floyd
10:  Hunky Dory – David Bowie

Friends Reunited 2 :Note the inclusion of the aforementioned Song Remains The Same album which is where we came in –cue rumbling noise of audience, that Bonzo shout ‘’Alright!’’ – followed by the cymbal crashing intro of Rock And Roll. 35 years on it stills makes me break into a contended grin. Another case of reuniting with an old friend…

Here is the interview feature I conducted with Eddie Edwards back in 2007 about the merits or not of the revamped Song Remains The Same CD set. I admire Eddie for his forthright and very opinionated view of all this and his knowledge and attention to detail on the different cuts and edits is just amazing. This is real train spotter stuff and I find Eddie’s observations fascinating.
Have a read and see what you think. This is sure to have you assessing for yourself once again the album with the title ‘’Soundtrack To the Film The Song Remains The Same’’ 35 years on…



It was evident soon after the release last November of the reworked Song Remains The Same CD set, that some fans were not happy with the cuts and edits deployed on the new version. None more so than resident TBL Zep analyst and compiler of The Garden Tapes log Eddie Edwards.
I myself was overall very impressed with the sound upgrade and presentation of the set but to find out more about the negative feedback that was coming through, I quizzed Eddie about the construction of the reworked tapes – here is his personal perspective on what has been a hot topic of Zep conversation in recent months.

DL: Firstly you obviously have great affinity for the original soundtrack album – am I right in saying it’s your favourite Zep album?

EE: I don’t like picking a favourite Zep album but in The Garden Tapes I refer to the original Song Remains The Same as my favourite album of all time, so I guess that also makes it my favourite Zep album!

DL: For what reason?

EE: Back in the 70s when I was spending every spare moment listening to Zep, nothing quite matched the excitement of The Song Remains The Same. There are more official live albums available now, of course, and it could certainly be argued that How The West Was Won is a better album musically. But The Song Remains The Same got into my head when I was a teenager and I have so many amazing memories and emotions associated with it.

DL: When you did your first analysis of the original album were you surprised by the amount of cuts and edits made by Jimmy?

EE: I think most fans who knew the album and saw the film a few times would have formed the opinion that the film was cut about all over the place but the album featured performances that were near enough complete and uncut. That was certainly what I believed for a long time. But by the time I got round to doing any proper analysis, I had listened to the unedited performances on bootlegs quite a lot and I had realized that there was a fair bit of editing on the album versions.

DL: So the new version – before it appeared what were your expectations?

EE: It was announced quite early on that, for legal reasons, the film visuals couldn’t be changed in any way, so clearly that would be a major restriction on what could be done with the music on the new DVD. Obviously the major cuts and edits would still be there, but they could presumably be tidied up a bit. As for the new album, I expected that it would be treated as a separate project as the original album had been. There seemed to be two options – use exactly the same musical content as on the original album but remaster the sound, or start from scratch with the three original concert recordings and reassess which bits should be used. And of course, previously unreleased songs could be included with either of these options. Pretty exciting either way.

DL: Obviously you are disappointed with the end result – what are the problems?

EE: The root of the problems is that the album was not, this time, treated as a separate project. A remastered soundtrack was created for the new DVD and clearly a lot of work went into that, not only remastering the sound but using a few different extracts from the original recordings and tidying up the cuts and edits. But the crucial point is that the cuts and edits were still there, because this soundtrack had to fit the original, unaltered visuals. As far as the new DVD goes, I have no complaints about this, because it was unavoidable.

But I was amazed and horrified to discover that this soundtrack, with just a couple of minor alterations, was used on the new CD. This means that several brilliant passages of music that were on the original album are now missing. Not only that, but some of the cuts simply sound terrible in the audio-only context of the CD. Two great things about the original album were that all the best bits of music were included and that the editing was immaculate. Neither of those statements can be applied to the new CD.

DL: Can you elaborate on the worst cuts and omissions?

EE: As far as lost treasure goes, there are two passages that stand out. The first is at 05:15 in the middle of the No Quarter instrumental, where there’s about a minute-and-a-half of perfection missing. You can hear this section, full of masterful tension-building and including the vital moments where the guitar emerges from the background to become the dominant force, on the original CD from 05:21 to 06:55. The second is in Whole Lotta Love, which has lost the funky, Crunge-based bridge between the opening verses and the Theremin section. This is all present and correct on the original CD between 01:32 and 03:02, but it’s replaced on the new CD between 01:25 and 01:40 by a heavily edited section that did a reasonable job on the new DVD, accompanying the butchered visuals, but should never have been allowed anywhere near the CD.

Another notable difference is in Celebration Day, where the outstandingly brilliant guitar solo from the third night (02:24-03:31 on the original CD) has been ditched in favour of the less inspired offering from the second night (02:33-03:34 on the new CD). And as if No Quarter hasn’t suffered enough from the abovementioned cut, it also loses the superbly original section from the first night at the end of the guitar solo (08:56-09:51 on the original CD), as the new CD features instead (between 07:16 and 08:04) a section from the second night where the band meanders much less incisively towards the second verse.
The situation with Black Dog is slightly different as it wasn’t on the original album so there’s no direct comparison – this song was always incomplete in the film and obviously had to remain so on the new DVD, but it’s almost unbelievable that a complete version wasn’t put on the new CD.

The loss of great music is bad enough, but the rough editing compounds the problem. We can put up with it on the DVD, because it’s no worse than in the original film and we know that there are mitigating circumstances, but on the CD it’s unforgivable. The cut in Whole Lotta Love is probably the most obvious example – I’ve had emails from several Zep fans who thought their CD had a fault at that point until they read The Garden Tapes – but there are other dodgy, off-time edits, the like of which I would not expect to find on any official release by any artist, let alone the greatest band in history. One of the worst examples of this is in the drum segue between Heartbreaker and Whole Lotta Love, where half a beat has been lost from the first bar, destroying the rhythm and causing the entry of the Whole Lotta Love riff to sound completely wrong.

DL: Do any of the various bootleg versions offer a better alternative?

EE: I wouldn’t put it like that. The bootlegs offer something different altogether, i.e., the chance to hear the original shows exactly as they were played. It’s great to be able to do that, but I wouldn’t say that it’s more enjoyable than listening to an official compilation of the best bits from the three shows. The bootlegs have their place, and the official releases have theirs. Zep were not a band who went up on stage and reproduced everything perfectly every night, and bootleg recordings of the band usually reveal many imperfections and mistakes alongside the awesome brilliance. This is all part of the Zep magic, but for an official release, the idea of stitching together the best bits from three shows is perfectly acceptable and understandable. I think it’s fair enough to compare the original official release with the remastered version and to point out that the task was carried out impeccably for the former and less so for the latter, but it doesn’t make much sense to compare either version with bootlegs. And although some of the bootlegs feature pretty decent soundboard recordings, they can’t compete with the official releases in the sound quality department.

DL: Is the new version a radical upgrade in the sound mix?

EE: I’ve always loved the tight, crunchy sound of the original Song Remains The Same album, and the sound of the new version took a bit of getting used to, but yes, on the whole I’d say that the remastered sound is clearly better. There’s more clarity and detail and better separation of instruments. However, much of the remastered audio has been treated with effects such as delay, phase, chorus and so on, and this has proved far from universally popular with fans, many of who seem to feel that this has been overdone. Once again, I think you have to look at the fact that the aim was to create a soundtrack for the DVD. In a 5.1 audio mix with accompanying visuals, these effects sound great and add an extra dimension to the experience of watching the DVD, but in the stereo mixdown on the CD the effects can sound tasteless and unnecessary. Yet another reason why the DVD audio should not have been re-used on the CD.

DL: There must be some redeeming factors to the set?

EE: Maybe we need to take a step back here for a sense of perspective. The new CD is not quite so terrible that you need to scratch around for redeeming factors! The overall sound is great and we have two hours plus of live Led Zeppelin including some previously unreleased tracks. There’s much to enjoy, certainly. But a few serious faults result in the product being not as good as it could and should be, and that’s a very surprising thing to be saying about a Led Zeppelin album.

DL: So if it had been your decision – how would you have presented the new version yourself?

EE: Led Zeppelin weren’t the best band in the world by accident – one of the many things that made them as good as they were was their ability to make excellent musical decisions. I happen to think that the decisions they made when choosing the material for the original album were, like pretty much everything they did, absolutely brilliant, and I wouldn’t have seen any need to go through that process again. I would have presented the nine songs that were on the original album unchanged except for remastered sound quality, with the bonus tracks slotted in. Black Dog should have been as it was in the original film, but with the missing part reinstated. Since I’ve Been Loving You should have used the same musical extracts as were used in the original film, but with some serious tidying up of the editing (this was very nearly what we got, but top marks were narrowly missed due to one of those pesky timing errors). Excellent jobs were done on Over The Hills, Misty Mountain Hop, Heartbreaker and The Ocean – no complaints about any of them. And the sound mix for the CD, as well as its content, should have been a project in its own right, rather than just a by-product of the DVD soundtrack.

DL: Do you think they have done a good job with the remastered DVD?

EE: Yes, very much so. Keeping the visuals unaltered may have been a decision that was forced upon them, but I think it was for the best. Some fans might have preferred to see the fantasy sequences consigned to the history books and replaced with additional concert footage, but that would have altered the character of the film drastically. The new DVD soundtrack features mostly the same music as was used in the original film, but with greatly improved sound quality, a 5.1 mix and improved editing. Some of the edits are still not perfect but, given the restriction of having to fit the new soundtrack to the existing visuals, I think the job was done very well. The bonus tracks in the special features are superb, and should appease those who wanted more concert footage. And there are some nice touches in the menus, making use of musical fragments that are not heard in the main feature.

DL: Fans can still get hold of the original soundtrack if they search it out– would you advise they avoid the new version?

EE: I wouldn’t say avoid it. The new version is well worth having for the bonus tracks, if nothing else. Any serious fan should have both versions in their collection, but for the more casual fan who only wants one version, I’d recommend the original without a doubt. You miss out on the bonus tracks, but the songs that you do get are as good as they can be. You get the slightly dated sound quality, but superior presentation without any distractions caused by editing imperfections.
It’s just a shame that in my view the new The Song Remains The Same  package does not live up to the glory of its predecessor.

First published in TBL Issue 21
Copyright Dave Lewis/Tight But Loose –not to be reproduced without prior permission

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  • andrew johnson said:

    i must admit the new SRTS was a bit of a let down for me as well. While it may be put together like a collage , Whole Lotta Love from the original release would be close to my favourite Zep moment but man have they taken the axe to it on the new release!

  • Pete Leigh said:

    grew up in bedford, the album is the soundtrack to my youth, i love it, jimmy got such a great full sound

  • Ian Avey said:

    Hi Dave,

    It was very enjoyable to meet up and have a few drinks at the Bedford Beer Festival. The time just seemed to fly as it always does when hearing your great stories.
    Sorry to hear about the man flu. Medication? 😉

  • MarkZoso said:

    The Song Remains The Same. Wow the most Epic Semi live album I have ever heard in my life for a number of reasons. No Quarter, Stairway To Heaven, Dazed and Confused. God these versions with extended Jimmy creativity are just incredible. Edited or not they are some of the best guitar solos ever recorded in Rock histoy. My biggest problem is with the remastered cd. How dare Jimmy put out the sliced up guitar Solo’s on the songs mentioned above? He messed with the holy grail. The new generation will never hear the most incredible Solo in No Quarter. Instesd they get half a cut Solo. What In Gods name was Jimmy Thinking? He did not only remaster it he botched it. Something you would never expect for Jimmy considering what it took to get it right the first time.When I got the remastered edition I was excited by its expansion and devistated by the new mix and editing. I immediatly went to the store after hearing the remasterd version and purchased to more copy of the original mix. Ill say it for the 3rd time on TBL. I get it if Jimmy is done or retired. If this is the case stop making broken promises since 2007. Who cares about a reuinion. Just play some music Jimmy.Time is running out.

  • Michaela said:

    HI Dave , great read , of course!
    Had the pleasure of ‘borrowing’ Mark Harrisons bootlegs…so been listening to some great stuff ( including soundboard bootlegs) ….can’t go a day without some Zep.
    Missing a Led Zep tribute band tonight in favour of seeing Joe Bonamassa in Hammersmith with Mark ….and I know this is cheeky but please join me in wishing Mark a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY today.

    Any news on The Led Zep Zep experience coming to the UK ? Been tracking them over the US , sadly we wil miss them when Dan and I are in Atlanta in November . They are playing … but I had to explain to Dan the expanse of the Sattes and that we couldn’t just drive to a gig! ( we are however going to see the Foo Fighters ) so there will be one happy lady on her birthday!
    Speak soon and hopefully we can get another meet up soon Mx

  • Gerd Zaunig said:

    Great reading Dave! EE is truly an expert. Thank you for that interview.

  • Gary Wade said:

    have to agree with Colin and Eddie, th eoriginal no quarter guitar solo and the keyboard interplay at the end was far superior. take vitamin c tablets every day Dave, works for me!

  • Walter said:

    Hi Dave
    I remember in 1976,my friends and I headed to London in my 1963 mini to get tickets for the premier of TSRTS in the West End,by the time we got there that morning the que was going right around the corner of the Warner West End cinema(Leicester Square).By the time we got to the box office we had to settle for the second night,so we bought our tickets and enjoyed a great night of Zeppelin on the big screen.

  • Colin Sheil said:

    Great analysis by Eddie – the killer for me is the omission on the re-issued TSRTS of what I believe to be Jimmy’s finest recorded live solo ie No Quarter at 05.15 which Eddie refers to. This was also cited by Slash as his all time favourite Page solo a couple of years back. I urge you all to check it out – a moody funky groove leads up to 3 mins 27 seconds of pure genius !! Could not believe this was wiped from the re-issue when it came out. I really love that raw savage sound of the original too but both releases are essential Zep

  • Graeme said:

    A great read Dave. TSRTS hit the spot for me back in the 70’s. I played the bugger to death when I got it. Great review and superb interview and forensic analysis by Eddie.

    Sorry to hear you’ve had man-flu. Make sure you get one of them flu-jabs mate.

    Take care, G

  • John c said:

    Song Remains the Same holds fond regard for me as it was the first Lp I bought new from release. To hear those songs in extended form as a young boy was an eye opener, my musical life to this day still revolves around vinyl, and although I have the new CD versions I still play the original vinyl version.
    Can anyone remember going to the cinema to watch it? I don’t know what it was like for my Southern brothers & sisters, but in wonderful Durham City(UK) they showed it twice a year for years – at midnight too. We used to all get in early as they showed 20mins of WB cartoons before the movie – Ah Elmer Fudd on the big screen!!

  • Kathy Urich said:

    What a read Dave – entertaining and always informative. I love the Song Remains Same. My friends and I played the grooves smooth on our album. To this day I can’t listen to Stariway with out singing or mouthing the classic line “Does anyone remember laughter” I have not purchased the disc’s I will have to think about that now. LuLu looking fantastic what a iconic number, love that. I must also say I love your letting Nick Kent have it, Mr. Ace Wallbanger, right between the eyes with a back up comment from the man himslef. Awesome. Looking forward to the next round of TBL’s. Glad to hear your on the mend that flu is nasty. Take Care.

  • Chris Wright said:

    Hi Dave,

    I have to say that the original TSRTS has always been my weapon of choice. The revised album had a lot going for it, but it was like replacing a comfortable old pair of slippers, and there are certain changes that would irritate anyone as familiar with the original as I am.

    This has been the Zep album I’ve played the most down the years, I think primarily because it was, for decades, the only substantial official live offering.

    Agree with you about the ludicrous prospect of vocally updated Stones classics. Rather the same argument as for messing about with the original TSRTS – they shouldn’t meddle with the magic!

    Also in massive agreement about Lulu. So hugely underrated. I think she suffered from “Cilla Syndrome” in that she became widely perceived as a light entertainment show host who could sing a bit.

    As you observe, there are many great examples of how good she can be. A personal favourite is her Bond theme “The Man with The Golden Gun”, which demonstrates her excellent range and ability to really get her teeth into a song.

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