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31 December 2014 2,741 views 5 Comments

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So that was the year that was …and in terms of being a Led Zeppelin fan -it’s been a simply incredible 12 months.

The arrival of the first three Led Zeppelin album reissues in June followed by Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy in October caused much excitement.

A live album from 1969, unreleased music , alternate versions and mixes – and Jimmy Page undertaking a promotional campaign of some magnitude.

Through his relentless telling of what happened in the studio and how, we all now understand the process Led Zeppelin undertook to create this amazing catalogue of music a whole lot better than we did.

Across the five releases, the musical delights served up offered new insight. The raw and aural energy of that Paris 1969 gig, the stripped down Gallows Pole, the simply awesome alternate take of Since I’ve Been Loving You, the emergence of  Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind and La La (where did that spring from!), the enchanting basic mix of Black Dog, the purity of the Sunset Sound mix of Stairway To Heaven, the exhilarating instrumental Song Remains The Same, and the mysterious origins of the keyboard led No Quarter.

Yes we can all ponder on the might have beens and lost tracks that may or may not have been overlooked – far better we celebrate exactly what Jimmy Page has put before us… and in my world it was more than enough for me to love this band even more than I thought I did…

Alongside all that, we have had the publication of the standard edition of the Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page book – allowing every Jimmy Page fan to be enthralled by the magnificent content’s and presentation. It also provided many a memorable book event and Q and A – for us here in England that included the quite wonderful The Guardian presents Jimmy Page A Life In Music event at the Cadogan Hall London in October.

Throughout the year there were many other accolades in the press, radio and TV regarding the reissues – and listeners of BBC Radio 2 voted Whole Lotta Love as the Greatest Riff Of All Time.

2014 has also seen Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters elevate the singer’s career to yet another high – built on the foundations of the simply awe inspiring  album lullaby…and The Ceaseless Roar. A set of songs that found Robert Plant reflecting on the past and looking back to look forward .The eclectic mix of styles coupled with some of Robert’s most deep and meaningful songs of recent years (witness Embrace Another Fall and A Stolen Kiss), made for the most significant work on record in age.

On an album that touches on universal themes of ageing, loneliness and longing – the message is clear: even rock gods need the reassurance of love – and lots of it…

On stage, the band replicated the finesse and eclectic feel of the album with a series of memorable performances across Europe and the US. High profile appearances on the BBC One show, at Glastonbury in June and the nearby Abbey in August, delighted UK audiences and there was further acclaim for the October UK tour – many fans, myself included being enthralled by some of his most enjoyable performances of recent years.

John Paul Jones maintained his ability to move between differing projects and collaborations. A US tour with Dave Rawlings Machine garnered excellent audience reaction and reviews.  There was a suitably  right out there album under the Minibus Pimps outlet, plus occasional appearance’s with and Supersilent and along the way there was continued work on his opera project.

Jason Bonham kept busy with his short lived stint in Glenn Hughes’ California Breed contributing some of his best drumming on record for their debut album and followed that with a tour with Sammy Hager.

Deborah Bonham released her excellent Spirit album and supported it with a series of UK appearances –  Deb also supported Paul Rodger at his prestigious Royal Albert Hall show and in August ensured that the John Bonham memorial fundraising at St. Stephens Church in Redditch was a very special night indeed.

So what is in store for 2015?

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters pick up their touring schedule in March with dates in Mexico ,Chile, Argentina and Brazil. There also likely to be UK festival dates in the summer.

The aforementioned ambitious opera project John Paul Jones has been working on for over two years could also bear fruition in 2015. This is an opera work titled The Ghost Sonata, based on a Strindberg work.

The Led Zeppelin re issue schedule looks likely to resume in late February with the mouth-watering  prospect of Physical Graffiti – the final three releases namely Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda will follow in the latter part of the year.

jimmy interview 2

As for Jimmy Page  – we can except a release of some of his experimental music via his website ….and there has been plenty of positive talk from the man himself that he will be out there playing – as he relayed to me in the TBL Interview last October ” I want to do what I do well which is play guitar and surprise people and scare them. I really need to be playing and I’ve got to do it while I feel this passion for what I do.”

There are plenty of sceptics out there who will believe it when they see it…. as I’ve noted before , as far I am concerned the man owes us nothing – I personally believe something special is going to happen ahead that will put Jimmy Page right back in the forefront of contemporary music…

Whatever is ahead in the world of Led Zeppelin, I will be doing my utmost to chronicle it all again through the various TBL channels of the website, Facebook,Twitter and the TBL magazine.

Talking of which…it’s been something of a consolidating year for TBL  – sales of the magazine have held steady – it would be great to see an improvement in the coming 12 months – so if you are reading this and have yet to subscribe…TBL 38 can be winging it’s way to you as soon as you sign up – and a 10x 8 print into the bargain.

TBL 39 is now in the planning stages for a spring publication and there are one or two other significant TBL projects mulling – I aim to have firm details of all this in the next couple of weeks. I’ll also be extending the TBL merchandise offer with a TBL polo shirt next month and further ahead a TBL mug. The Feather In the Wind and Knebworth books are now available as a bargain bundle deal and I’ll be introducing some special TBL back issue offers and gift packs.

All of these things of course, contribute to the way I make a living. Crucial to that is the support of the people like yourselves who buy in to what I do by investing in the various TBL products. It’s essential that these projects bring in the necessary revenue to keep everything on track.

So may I offer a massive thanks for the continued loyalty shown throughout the year – as I’ve said before – if you keep buying them, I’ll keep writing them…

Massive thanks are also due in the direction of Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio, Nick Anderson, Richard Grubb, Andy Crofts, Rob Godwin, Stephen Humphries and Jeff Strawman, for their invaluable contributions to the TBL magazine.

Thanks are also due to James Cook for all his support and input at Led Zep News which you can find on Facebook at

I must of course also offer sincere thanks to Mick Lowe at StudioMix who has applied his immense design skills to bring many TBL projects alive in 2014 – and of course to the good lady Janet for all her support.

Overall, professionally 2014 has been a massively exciting year for me- I was lucky enough to attend the Olympic Studios and Paris Olympia Led Zeppelin Reissue launches and it was a great thrill to be in Jimmy’s company one to one, for the TBL Interview that ran in issue 38.Freelance wise, the TBL schedule was too packed for much else though I did contribute to Classic Rock’s reissue coverage and a piece on John Paul Jones for Bass Guitar magazine..

It has been pretty relentless in the TBL workload with the TBL magazines, the merchandise side that saw a new TBL T shirt design launched and on-going book projects and the usual packing, stamping and daily trips to the post office – not that I am complaining – though I do have to say the good lady Janet and I were well overdue a holiday (by nine years in fact!)  and our August break at Santa Eulalai in Ibiza was a real tonic.

Even more so considering that it came at a difficult time here because in contrast to the professional side of things, personally there have been some challenges as there always are  – this culminated in a visit to the docs and something of a confessional own up about my dealing with some on-going depression issues. I can state the response to my posting of all this on August 4th has been overwhelming and humbling.

It is still a bit up and down but the support I’ve had from TBL friends has made me understand and take a hold of it far better that I have previously. That support has certainly emphasised to me that this really is not just a band…it’s more a way of life and a life that is considerably enhanced by the fans and friends and family that surround me – at home, on this website and on the TBL Facebook pages.

As we get older our health is inevitably an increasing issue (I have my type 2 diabetes to monitor), the fact is its life and it’s how you deal with it that is all important. Keeping on top of all that and all the day to day stuff that goes with it, is never easy for any of us -what becomes more than evident with age, is how important friendships become and through the social media that now consumes all our lives, it’s a big positive that support and kind words are never too far away.

Some Favourite things of 2014:

Best Gigs:

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters at Wolverhampton Civic Hall November  21st 2014 – everything about that night just came right -and 43 years to the day I first saw Led Zeppelin perform live – a fact the singer himself was well fascinated by when I relayed that fact to him after the show.  (big thanks to Cliff ‘the Ticket man’ Hilliard for getting us there and back !)

Deborah Bonham Band at the John Bonham memorial Fundraising gig at St. Stephens Chuich Redditch August 2nd 2014 – a night of true emotion in the company of the Bonham family.(big thanks to Steve Way for getting me there and back!)

Best CDs

Fave Cds 2014

Led Zeppelin Reissues naturally!

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters – lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar

Led Zeppelin – Throwing The Wild Seeds Nassau 75 box set

Led Zeppelin – Texas Hurricane

Led Zeppelin – Royal Divinity Royal Albert Hall 1970

Crosby Stills Nash & Young – CSNY 1974

Bob Dylan and the Band – The Basement Tapes Raw

Wings – At the Speed of Sound

Wings – Venus And Mars

Elvis Presley That’s The Way It Is Legacy Edition

Miles Davis At The Fillmore 1970

David Crosby -Tracks In The Dust – Live Santa Barbara

Simon & Garfunkel –Bridge Over Troubled Water Legacy Edition reissue

Frank Sinatra Eight Classic Albums 4 CD set

And then there’s vinyl – oh yes vinyl

…..that lovely black stuff of which I can’t get enough of (and neither can my good friend Tom Locke who is even madder than me on all this – as are for that matter and Ross Halfin and Jimmy Page who explained his record collecting passion to me himself during our interview.

There have been a fair few additions to my collection this past twelve months from various sources notably the Olympia Fair, Spitalfields Market, and record shops in every town I’ve visited  – notably St Albans Empire Records, Fopp in Cambridge Circus, Sister Ray and Reckless Records in Berwick Street London.

There is also now a weekly record stall in Bedford town centre – Friday morning  at Darren Harte’s  Vinyl Barn has become a most enjoyable weekly rendezvous. I’ve also recently acquired a proper rack to store the albums in (thanks Tom!)  and the vinyl experience has been further enhanced by the addition of a vintage early 1970s HMV record player. Mono rules…and Stereo too!

Here’s some of my favourite vinyl acquisitions of 2014: There’s a lot of them!

Led Zeppelin Reissues naturally!

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters-  lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar

Wings – Wings At the Speed of Sound

Amen Corner -Farewell to the Real Magnificent Seven on Immediate

This Is Soul -compilation on Atlantic

fave Lps 2014

Jose Feliciano -And the Feelings Good (thank you Dec!)

Miles Davis – Friday Night In person at The Blackhawk San Francisco

Lost And Found -Decca compilation with early Bowie/Bolan tracks etc.

Clodagh Rodgers -Clodagh Rodgers

Chicago – Chicago – original double album on CBS label

Grand Funk – Grand Funk

Joe Cocker -Mad Dogs And Englishmen (RIP)

Greg Allman – Laid Back

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II – South African pressing (thanks Phil!)

The Honeydrippers – Vol One South African pressing on the Atlantic label (thanks Phil again!)

The Beach Boys Holland plus free single

Deena Webster -Tuesday’s Child -Record Collector reissue

Tony Bennett -Sings Great Hits of Today

PFM – Photos Of Ghosts on Manticore label

Harry Nilsson/John Lennon -Pussy Cats

The Nice – Nice on Immediate

Steppenwolf – The Second

Tonto ‘s Expanding Head Bband -Zero Time on UK Atlantic plum and orange label

Ronnie Wood – Now Look (thanks Pete!)

London All Stars with Jimmy Page – British Percussion (thanks Andy A!)

Jimmy Page – Special Early Works

Jethro Tull -This Was – original UK mono pressing on island pink label (thanks Andrew!)

Pretty Things -Savage Eye on UK Swan Song label (thanks Andrew!)

This Is Blues sampler on pink Island label

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush orginal soundtrack on United Artist label

Yes – The Yes Album on original Atlantic plum and orange label

(Small) Faces First Step – first album on US Warner Bros labelled Small Faces

Faces –Long Player (US version with cardboard  sleeve)

Led Zeppelin  – Led Zeppelin III – original Australian pressing

The Beatles – White album – original mono pressing

John Martyn – Live at the Hanging Lamp (thanks John P!)

Pink Floyd  – Wish You Were Here /The Extraction version –  Bootleg

Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde – original mono pressing

Jimmy Page – James Patrick Page Session Man –bootleg box set

Led Zeppelin – Royal Albert Hall  9 January 1970 – bootleg box set

Humble Pie – Smokin’

Janis Joplin – In Concert

Booker T and the MGS – McLemore Avenue  on the Stax lebel

Bad Company – Straight Shooter – Canadian pressing on the Swan Song label

Led Zeppelin – Fab 4 Liverpool – bootleg box set

The Yardbirds – Little Games – record store day release

Rick Gretch – The Last Five Years

Derek and the Dominoes – In Concert

Credence Clearwater Revival – The ’69 Singles – record store day release

Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue – 180 gram mono pressing re issue

Dave Brubeck Quartet – My Favourite Things

Bobby Darin – 1936 – 1973 – on the US Motown label

Ray Charles – Story Volume One – original pressing on UK London/Atlantic

Steve Cropper – With A Little Help From My Friends

Good Time Music – 1966 Elektra Records sampler

Fleetwood Mac  – Then Play On – original UK Reprise pressing

The Rolling Stones – Deja Que Sangre/ Let It Bleed – bootleg

Easy Rider soundtrack – on US Dunhill label

Bob Dylan – Another Self Portrait – deluxe box set

Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door – Indian pressing on the Atlantic label

James Taylor – first album on US Apple

Crosby Stills Nash and Young – Déjà vu – on US Atlantic

Blind Faith – Blind Faith on US Atco label

Bobby Whitlock – Raw Velvet

The Byrds – History Of The Byrds

Television – Marquee Moon – 180 gram reissue

Nick Drake – A Day Gone By – bootleg

Jefferson Airplane – Long John Silver

The Misunderstood –Golden Glass

Dave Clark Five –Washington DC on US Ember

Gene Kruper – Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements

Glenn Campbell – By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Davy Graham & Bert Jansch  – Davy & Bert – 10in record store day release

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells A Story – US Mercury fold out sleeve

Bobby Womack – The Poet II

Nicky Hopkins – The Tin Man Was A Dreamer

Family – Anyway – on US United Artists label

Emerson Lake & Palmer – Tarkus – on US Cotillion label

Flying High – Atlantic Records JAL airlines sampler

Jimi Hendrix –Hendrix In The West


Fave singles 2014

The Misunderstood – Never Had a Girl Like You – original UK Fontana

The Yardbirds Ha Ha said the Clown/Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor –record store release

Marianne Faithful – Something Better/Sister Morphine – Decca single – record store day release

Ronnie Lane – Ooh La la/Anniversary  – Island single record store release

Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera –  Flames/Salisbury Plain – record store day release

Jimi Hendrix -Dolly Dagger/Star Spangled Banner -Experience Hendrix label

Aretha Franklin – Border Song on Atlantic

The Montclairs Hung Up On Your Love /James Fountain Seven Day Lover (from Northern Soul film) –record store release

The Big Three Live At the Cavern EP

Donavan -Hurdy Gurdy Man EP

Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year – EP

The Beatles – Long Tall Sally – EP


Favourite TV/Film:

Jimmy Page talking about the creation of Stairway to Heaven  BBC News clip/Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters at Glastonbury and on BBC One Show/ Marshall Amplifiers BBC 4 documentary/Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here BBC4 documentary/Rod Stewart Imagine BBC profile/ Northern Soul feature film.

Favourite Books:

Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page , Going off Alarming by Danny Baker , The Beatles Tune In by Mark Lewishon, Fire And Rain –The Lost Story Of 1970 by David Browne,  Wild Tales by Graham Nash,  Rock Stars Stole My Life by Mark Ellen, The Story Of  JBs by Geoff Tristram, Hipgnosis Portraits by Aubrey Powell .

Plus monthly reading inspiration via Mojo, Uncut ,Classic Rock and Record Collector.

Other selected highlights of the year:

Jammin’ on the Zep memories with Joe Jammer and Gary at the Spice of Life pub in February…a great day out at the Hi Fi Lounge event in Bedfordshire in March (hi to Richard and the Welsh boys and Gary D)…exciting times in the vicinity of Barnes on a grey March afternoon, a splendid morning in the company of Glenn Hughes followed by a successful shopping trip where I acquired a whopping 18 LPs from Reckless Records for just £10.50 including albums from Traffic, Vanilla Fudge, Jose Feliciano, Booby Whitlock, Kracker on Rolling Stones Records, Randy Newman , Cat Stevens, Free, The Nice ,Bobby Vee and Gene Vincent…..the good lady Janet and I celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on March 31st… Vinyl and beers on Record Sore Day..discovering  a copy of Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde mono pressing for £3…Paris in May with Gary, Michaela and Dan to hear words of wisdom from Jimmy…the grand unveiling of the first three Led Zeppelin Reissue box sets…a Friday night at the new Wimbledon Theatre with Tom and Jacky to see the T Rex musical..with Richard Cole and Warren and Tiffany Grant at the Borderline for Hats Off To Led Zeppelin.. a short notice trip to Redditch to  see the Bonham’s (thank you Steve!)… a much needed holiday on our paradise island…, 40 +10 and 58 birthday celebrations here for Janet and me… A Day of the Ceasless Roar in Camden with Gary, a night of T Rextasy in Islington with the good lady Janet and gang…selling a few bits on the TBL stall at the October Bedford Record Fair… memorable visits to Barnes ,Kensington, Sloane Square, the Paul Smith shop and Waterstones Piccadilly  in the company of the guitarist….space shifting in Camden, Cambridge and Wolverhampton with Gary, Tom and Cliff..and the same line up plus Phil grooving to Whole Lotta Led at Haynes  International Arena (well Village Hall!)

And that is about it for 2014…


DL Diary Update:

Christmas has come and gone as it does – we had a wonderfully relaxing time here and it was great to be together with Sam, Adam and Janet’s Mum Bet. On Christmas Eve it was also great to hook up with my very good friends Dec,Phil ,Tom etc and toast the season.

Chistmas day 2014

Here’s a pic in the company of the good lady Janet and her mum Bet – with the lovely ladies on Christmas Day…

I have to say Santa has also been very kind and pretty spot on in the presents department:

From my very good friends Max and Julie the Miles Davis Fillmore 1970 four CD box set -now that’s what I call Jazz Rock!

 The Faces Too Drunk For The BBC CD and John Martyn Live at the Hanging Lamp limited edition LP on island -both via my very good friend and long time TBL supporter John Parkin.

The Pretty Things album Savage Eye UK pressing with original inner sleeve on the magnificent Swan Song label – plus Jethro Tull This Was LP original mono UK pressing on the pink Island label..what a beauty! Many thanks again to my very good friend and long time TBL supporter Andrew Ricci.

Christmas goodies also came via from my very good friend Tom including Record Store Day vinyl slip mats.

There was also some Christmas present holiday reading – Man on the Run -Paul McCartney in the 1970s and The Man In Full – the story of the legendary Bobby Moore- thank you Sam and Adam!

Things are due to be a lot quieter  here as Sam has already gone back to London and Adam is back to Uni at Eastbourne at the weekend . The good lady Janet and I plan to be in the local White Horse pub tonight seeing in the new year with a beverage or two, good company, food and live music.

Tonight when the clock strikes 12 midnight, there will be a number of people in my thoughts, and I will raise a glass and take a cup of kindness for auld lang syne to the many people (and I’m sure they know who they are) who one way or another, have been an absolute inspiration to me in 2014.

Then it will be down to the serious business of kick starting the TBL 2015 campaign. There are some exciting plans ahead –more on all that soon.

So final thoughts: As much as I look back and chronicle the heritage of this unique band, the usual mantra remains…as the singer once put it, the present and future are of paramount importance. It’s still today’s work and tomorrow’s plans that give all of us a reason for being…rather than a reason for having been. In effect it’s ever onward.

 Thanks for your continued support of all things TBL and on behalf of Gary, may I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Dave Lewis – December 31st 2014

YouTube Clips

Here is the excellent Sky Arts Robert Plant documentary that was recorded just before Christmas – Malcolm Gerrie tracks  the career of Robert Plant…

Robert Plant Sky Arts Part One:

Robert Plant Sky Arts Part Two:

Robert Plant Sky Arts Part Three:

…and finally one of the moments of 2014 – Jimmy Page talking about Stairway To Heaven… 

Until next year…Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – December 31st , 2014.

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  • Byron Lewis said:

    Yes Cobber, you are!
    Seasons greetings to all other TBLers, heres hoping for more riches from the Zep personnel in 2015.
    Cheers everybody.

  • Cobber said:

    Am I the only person in the world who finds The sensational spaceshifters stuff an absolute load of shite until they play Zep stuff ?

  • christinelebourg said:

    Hello Dave i wish you an happy new year .Excuse me,but i speak English just a little !Thank you for TBL .I ‘m very happy,because 2014 was a very good year for the fans of LED ZEPPELIN .

  • Patrick said:

    Dave – quite possibly your best update yet !! That’s one great year by my rekoning, you’ve also aquired more vinyl in 12 months than most people do in a lifetime AND you got your interview with Jimmy !! Happy New Year Chap, no doubt 2015 will be just as busy with much to look forward to, see you at Olympia !!

  • Richard Grubb said:

    Epic post Dave!

    2014 was such a huge year for Zeppelin fans and we’re only half way through the reissue campaign, so who knows what surprises and delights are yet to come. At certain times it seemed like they were the only band on the planet. I usually fit in quite bit of new music each year, but there just hasn’t been time with all the Zeppelin activity – not that that is anything to complain about!

    Have shared a few great days and nights with you and the TBL crew this year (most of which I can remember!) but here’s looking forward to 2015 and more of the same…

    Highlights for me were the nostalgia of genuine excitement at going to a REAL RECORD SHOP to collect the first set of reissues (thanks to Chris at Derricks in Swansea – check em out!) – we made a day of it and it reminded me what an event record buying can be in this age of instant gratification with downloads and one click ordering. For something as monumental as the Zep catalogue being re-released there was no way Amazon was going to be enough… I was also lucky enough to visit Iceland’s Laugardalsholl and imagine what it must have been like back in 1970.

    So at the end of the busiest year for Zep related activity that I can remember, I just want to wish all TBLers a very happy and healthy new year, but particularly to you Dave, Gary, Tom, Dec, Phil, Cliff – keep up the good work and look after yourselves!



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