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1 April 2021 2,893 views 7 Comments


TBL Archive Special 1:

BBC Radio One John Peel In Concert  – It was 50 years ago…

Reeling in the year: Capturing the sounds of BBC Radio One on a Sunday night in April – The Wonder of Devotion…

Led Zeppelin BBC Radio One In Concert – It was 50 years ago this week:

50 years ago, on Sunday April 4 1971, I first heard the music of Led Zeppelin performed live and the effect was pretty shattering to the ears of a young 14 year old – not to mention rather lasting…

The occasion was the Radio One broadcast of an hours worth of live Zep for John Peel’s In Concert programme (repeated the following Wednesday in the Sounds of the Seventies evening slot).

Recorded three days earlier at the Paris Theatre on the back of the band’s ‘Back to the clubs tour’, at the time this was a very big deal.

Zeppelin had not appeared on a BBC radio session since August of 1969 –their return to the UK airwaves was therefore much anticipated. Especially by me, tuning in a at home on our portable radio eager to hear how they sounded on stage.

My trusty reel to reel tape recorder captured all the action blow by blow. Unfortunately due to the poor reception of the then 247 metres radio band of BBC Radio One –much of it was played out alongside the strains of several foreign radio stations drifting amongst the airwaves. I therefore ended up unwittingly with some rather unique versions of these BBC recordings!

Unsurprisingly I wasn’t the only one…

Long-standing TBL supporter Phil Tattershall has been in touch with his story:

Here’s one of the more prized items in my quite extensive Led Zeppelin collection; a reel-to-reel tape of the 1971 Paris Theatre BBC performance, recorded on the very day of the original broadcast. I remember connecting my old Etronic valve AM radio to the family reel-to-reel recorder in my bedroom that Sunday, 4th April 1971 and waiting for the broadcast to begin.  It didn’t disappoint; Led Zeppelin live for the first time – wow!

You’ll see from the picture of the reel that the tape isn’t all the same colour.  Why?  Well, my cousin Pete, who was a van driver in the early 70s, was given a job of collecting a load of junk for disposal from a London recording studio (no idea which one) and amongst it were a some boxes of old tapes of various sizes.  Blank tapes were expensive in those days (25 shillings for a five and a quarter inch reel – a fortune!) so Pete salvaged them and gave them to members of the family who had tape recorders.  My Mum and Dad claimed the five and a quarter inch reels for recording Sing Something Simple, the Black and White Minstrel Show, Pick of the Pops etc., but gave several three inch reels to me to play with. They were a variety of brands and formulations, but were the only tapes I had available to record the 1971 BBC concert, so to capture as much of the broadcast as I could, I used Sellotape to join them together and wound them on to a spare empty spool.

The pieces held together successfully, but sadly, the tape ran out during Boogie Mama in the Whole Lotta Love medley. However, I’d managed to capture a good chunk of the show for repeated listening and it served me well until I tracked down a copy of the TMQ Stairway to Heaven vinyl boot some years later

Now, as you probably know, the programme was broadcast again the following Wednesday, so you may wonder why I didn’t seize the opportunity to record the end of the show on the other side of the tape.  Well, Wednesday was the evening the local dads and kids all went to a very nice new indoor heated swimming pool in the next town and it was the highlight of my week.  (The pool in our town was outdoor and unheated – not much fun in April.)  I had the difficult choice of going swimming with the gang or missing out and staying home to record the repeat broadcast.  To my eternal regret, swimming won.  Pointlessly as it turned out, because when we got there, the pool was closed for maintenance and by the time I got home, the radio programme had finished.  Bah!
I’m probably the only person in the world who knows for sure that Hatfield swimming pool was closed on Wednesday 7th April 1971. Isn’t it strange how Led Zeppelin associations make the most trivial of incidents stick in the memory for life?

Phil – it certainly is…

My original tape has long since been lost – I have had a listen to the source above – it’s a better recording than mine though you can hear the AM background hum. I have to say hearing it in this lo fi authentic source was hugely nostalgic – it brought the sense of excitement I had as a 14 year old listening to that historic broadcast on BBC Radio One.

Back to my story…

After I had carefully set up my reel to reel tape recorder close the radio, the dulcet tones of John Peel spoke forth: ‘’This is something we’ve waited a long time for on the Sunday repeated on Wednesday show and I know it’s all going to be worth the wait. Would you welcome please Led Zeppelin.”

Oh yes we would welcome them Mr Peel. Blam! The battering ram riff of Immigrant Song reeled from the radio and I was in seventh heaven. This was Led Zeppelin live – and a riveting experience to behold.

I was already in love with their three studio albums, I had missed out on their 1969 broadcasts so hearing them live was absolute confirmation that all my enthusiasm was justified. On record they were fantastic -but their songs performed live took all into another stratosphere.

No more so than the next track that was aired. As I was later to discover via the bootlegs, this hour long presentation was edited down from a full set.

On this Sunday evening broadcast Immigrant Song therefore did not segue into Heartbreaker as was the custom of their then live act. Instead we heard Dazed And Confused. All nigh on 18 minutes of it.

This was my baptism into the free form improvisational world of live Led Zep. It was then I realised that the studio versions were just the starting point. Dazed And Confused live went off into all sorts of tangents – the drama of the slowed down intro, the violin bow episode, the call and response sequence through to the lengthy outro – it was all there.

Within the space of 18 minutes my estimation and appreciation of Led Zeppelin shot up 100%.

That trend continued as they performed a dreamy What Is And What Should Never Be, Stairway To Heaven and Going To California from their yet to be released fourth album, That’s The Way and the Whole Lotta Love marathon that had a rock’n’roll medley that included That’s Alright Mama and Mess Of Blues. Phew…

My original reel to reel tape (and the tape recorder) is sadly long gone. However, this BBC performance would emerge first on a series of bootleg LP’s (I had the BBC Broadcast LP with that great Will Stout pig cover on Trade Mark Of Quality when it initially came out in 1973) and then on a variety of CD bootleg sets and officially on the BBC Sessions album in 1997 and on the 2016 updated Complete BBC Session set.

So thank you John Peel for persuading Led Zeppelin to perform on Radio One again back in the spring of 1971. I have countless hours of live Led Zeppelin at my disposal but it’s that very first hour that still resonates as much as any, as it unlocked the (up until then) secret world of Led Zeppelin in concert. It ultimately led to a fascination for me to hear as many of their live performances as possible.

50 years on, that desire is as strong as ever – and Led Zeppelin as recorded at the BBC back in April 1971 remains one of my all time favourite Zep recordings.

On that April afternoon, as a fledgling 14 year old Led Zeppelin fan listening intently to every second of the BBC broadcast, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that many years hence, I would be asked by Jimmy Page to contribute liner notes to an official release of this epic recording.

That truly is the wonder of devotion…

Dave Lewis – April 1,2021


And finally – here’s an extract for the TBL newsletter I produced 25 years ago on the BBC broadcast 25th anniversary and the Presence album’s 20th …


As mentioned last week April 8 sees the  publication of RECORD COLLECTOR PRESENTS LED ZEPPELIN:

This is the latest in a series of special Record Collector issues – recent specials have included The Who, Queen, Kate Bush and Status Quo.

In recent weeks I have been very busy liaising with the editor Jamie Atkins advising and co ordinating some of the content – I’ve also written some pieces for it.

I’ve approached this project in the way I would the TBL magazine  -this has been further enhanced by the inclusion of pieces by various regular TBL magazine contributors.

Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin has been a great outlet for me – in effect if you are a reader of the  TBL magazine you will love this publication.

As with the previous Record Collector Presents specials, it’s a mix of enlightening features, new essays on every studio album, extensive memorabilia focus, fan profiles, rare singles and albums listings and UK discography – all illustrated throughout with many rare photos and images that really brings it all to life. This is  one of best Led Zeppelin publications I’ve seen in a very long time.

Here’s some of the pages:

If you thought you knew a bit about the ins and outs of collecting Led Zeppelin – Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin will tell you much more – no fan should be without it….

Publication is April 8

Here’s the Record Collector website info and pre order link – don’t miss out – pre-order now!

Record Collector Presents… Led Zeppelin is indispensable reading for any fan of one of the biggest bands the UK has ever produced. It’s packed with all things Zep: amazing pieces on their rarest records and some jaw-dropping memorabilia and posters; new features on every studio album plus selected solo projects; classic interviews and writing from the RC archives; collector profiles; the story of their record label, Swan Song; and much more.

Pre order here:

Get ready for some quality post Easter Led Zep reading…

Dave Lewis – April 1, 2021

LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:


TBL Archive Special 2:

Presence at 45:

45 years ago this week, Presence, the seventh Led Zeppelin album was released worldwide. To mark the occasion, here is a Then and Now perspective I collated for the 2015 reissue – 45 years on it’s still the true heart and soul of the Led Zep catalogue…


For me personally, the Presence album is and always be tangibly associated with my own circumstances of the time. Playing out my own soap opera, as an impressionable 19 year old caught up in my first love affair played out to the soundtrack of the new Led Zeppelin album.    

Back in early August 1975 we were still bathing in the warm afterglow of Earls Court. That feeling was promptly curtailed when the news came through via the national press here, that Robert had been involved in a serious car smash on the Greek island of Rhodes.

It was in early September that I read in Rolling Stone that the band had decamped to Malibu to aid Robert’s recovery – and were planning to write and rehearse for a new album. Subsequent news reports had them sighted on stage in an ad hoc performance in Jersey. There was also the report in NME that they had recorded a new album in Musicland Studios – in a mere three weeks and it would be released in early 1976.

So in January 1976, I rang the Swan Song office in London to find out a release date and more details. March was sited – the Melody Maker ran a news story not long after that the album would be titled Obelisk and released in February. They were on the right lines with the title –as we know an obelisk would be the distinctive feature of a simply bizarre cover design.

Before all that, Robert Plant had given some ‘good to be alive’ interviews in New York. He mentioned one track to be titled Achilles Last Stand ”You know immortal but for the heel -or for being a heel. I mustn’t joke about it because I’m very proud of it”. 

The very nature of the title laid down its credentials – I just knew it was going to be an epic. In his review of the Presence album in Sounds, Jonh Ingram declared it would be ”A motherfucker live”. Both these forecasts would prove to be entirely correct.


Jimmy Page’ s press interview for the album staged in March were equally positive. ”It really does sum up a period for the band  A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future”.

Achilles Last Stand was indeed an epic – as I was to find out on the evening of Saturday April 3 1976. Alan Freeman had played the entire album on his Saturday afternoon show – alas I was working that day but we taped it and – the first time I heard that opening salvo unfold was in a car travelling the byways of Bedfordshire on a bright spring Saturday evening.

It sounded like something from another planet. It sounded simply magnificent.

I still have that original BASF tape. Somehow it sounded more impressive than the LP. I think it may be a slightly different mix – and there is a slight edit in Royal Orleans. During that broadcast, Alan Freeman let the whole album run without gaps or links between the tracks – there is some noticeable surface noise in evidence indicating it may have been an acetate playing.

Upon its arrival in the record department of WH Smith where I worked, Presence caused a sales rush I’d not seen in the store since – well the release of their last album Physical Graffiti. The store had a side window and that space was reserved for an entire display of the album put in by the WEA display team. How I wish I had taken a photo of that window and the bemused reaction of passers-by as they gazed a the Higpnosis sleeve design in some bewilderment.

object 3

The WEA rep that called on the WH Smith store also kindly arranged for me to receive a stand up counter display and hanging mobile – ordered direct from Swan Song in New York.  What a moment that was when it arrived and after it’s use in the shop, it was to eventually appear in my Zep shrine of a bedroom.

A week after the release of Presence, my then girlfriend Fiona and I went to London on a Saturday to hang around the Kings Road Swan Song office -just to be near their aura -it’s what I did back then! I remember peering into the basement window of the office and seeing a poster for the album framed.

Presence went on to become our soundtrack of that very hot summer of 1976.

On in the mini bus when we went to see The Who at Charlton Athletic football ground, out on the Phillips portable cassette player by the bank when we swam in the river.

I also took the album to every party we went to, including one memorable 18th birthday party of a friend staged at a sedate village hall Here, the pulsating tones of Achilles Last Stand momentarily replaced the more dulcet tones of The Real Thing’s current disco smash You To Me Are Everything – much to the astonishment of the rather less rock orientated young ladies to be found dancing around their hand bags!

I also made a rather bizarre Presence fashion statement. In November ,when it came to showing my colours as it were in dressing up to attend The Song Remains The Same film premiere at London’s Warner West End (where we had queued overnight to get tickets), I came up with a rather novel idea. The cardboard black obelisk Object that had come with the aforementioned hanging mobile was strung arund my neck to join the Page like white scarf I was wearing. It must have looked faintly ridiculous though Jimmy seemed impressed when I thrust it his way when they came up the stairs to take their seats at the cinema that night!

Unsurprisingly, bits of cardboard obelisk mixed with scarves did not catch on around the Kings Road. However, my empathy for the seventh led Zeppelin album did not wane one bit.

The release a mere six months after Presence of The Song Remains The Same, did overshadow the Presence album for a while. I was all over the live soundtrack and subsequent screenings of the film – but when I returned to it a year or so later, Presence still sounded the business.

In the intervening years, I’ve remained incredibly loyal to Presence, often justifying its greatness in print and in the pub!

It was one of the first Zep albums I acquired on CD around 1988 and by then, it had become my near fave Zep album.

I for one was not surprised when at the 02 reunion, the previously unplayed live For Your Life enjoyed all the plaudits it so deserved as being one of the evening’s undoubted highlights. I’ve always had a great affinity for that track.

I have a fair few copies of this album, including one that retains the original shrink wrap –and another that has an inscription by Aubrey Powell the co-designer of the sleeve –this says ‘’What’s that obelisk exactly?’’ –a reference to the mysterious sleeve. This was signed for me by Po when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant video in 2005. Recently I’ve picked up a Chile pressing with a single sleeve and full title and track listing sticker. I also have a copy personally signed to me by Jimmy Page.

So to the album:

The thing about Presence  is that it was the product of adversity. On the run from the UK tax system, Plant injured in a car accident, tour cancelled, all energies quicky funnelled into making an album as quickly as possible.

For Jimmy Page,this adversity spurred on a surge of creative drive.

It was an act of defiance and protection. Their whole existence as a band was now in question. Plant’s car cash had rendered them unable to perform live –  something they had always taken for granted. Page suddenly became the absolute leader again. It was at that point he must have realised above all the craziness that surrounded them, it was the band, the music and the ability to perform together that was the whole reason for being in Led Zeppelin. Indeed for him inventing Led Zeppelin in the first place.

That realisation ignited Page’s creative muse and motivation to the extent that he wanted the album to be completed quicker than anything they had recorded since the debut album. His reaction was to take a firm hand grip of the Munich recording sessions, leading them in much the way he had at Olympic in 1968, many of the arrangement occurred in the studio as they were recording. When the studio time ran over, he wrapped it up with a massive overdub session with engineer Keith Harwood.

That urgency and spontaneity made for little time for the experimentation of the past.

For on Presence there are no boogies with Stu, no hat’s off to Harper’s. No funk or reggae parodies – no mellotrons or synths. Just full on full power Led Zep. The basic bass/drums/guitar/vocal approach gives the record a very live feel – leading to my conclusion that Presence is the nearest they got to capturing over a complete studio album, the unpredictable edge and power of their on-stage performances.

It’s also stock full of Jimmy Page’s genius guitar rages. Achilles Last Stand, For Your Life and Nobody’s Fault But Mine are all as good as anything he has ever applied himself to.

Given the circumstances it was recorded under, this seventh Led Zeppelin album was an amazing achievement – it’s an album that reflects the real heart and soul of Led Zeppelin.

Presence… Now:

unboxing four

So to this new remaster – and as was the way with Physical Graffiti, I played it through non stop at full blast. Sound wise, it has the same new sheen that has characterised the previous reissues.

Achilles retains the majesty and mystery that so transfixed us way back.

For Your Life has that undeniable dark lyrical edge has it grinds its way through its six minute duration. The Page solo here still sounds like one of his best …maybe THE best – unfolding with incredible venom.

Royal Orleans is full of funk on a lighter level punctuated by Page Jones and Bonham pounding out the riff, over which Plant unfolds the humorous story of road fever goings on in a New Orleans hotel. Bonzo’s conga drumming is right to the fore half way through and benefits greatly from this new remaster.

Over on side two, Nobody’s Fault But Like Mine is graced with a truly startling introduction as good as any track anywhere. For all their early blues musings they never dressed up an old blues tune more inventively than when they re wrote Blind Willie’s Nobody’s Fault. Lemon squeezing Delta dealings merge with Page’s sonic guitar technology. Absoluyely masterful. 

In the 50s singer Ral Donner skit Candy Store Rock, we find them just turning themselves on – playing on a 50s groove in the manner they approached the countless off the cuff juke box faves within many a Whole Lotta Love live medley. On the new remaster this a revelation – as the echo effect of Plant’s vocals zip right across the speakers.

The pure intuitive swing of Hots On For Nowhere reflects its very live in the studio construction and as Charles Shaar Murray so astutely noted in his NME review of the time, brings to mind ”What Glenn Miller would have sounded like if he had played in a murderously heavy four piece rock band”.

Leaving the understandably downbeat Tea For One, a slow blues reflecting Robert Plant’s hurt at being away form his family. ”Time goes very slowly when you cant kick a ball or kick a roadie even kick your drummer so time has been the teacher and I’ve been the pupil” he noted at the time.

Summary: This new Presence remaster only goes to emphasis how great an achievement this seventh Led Zeppelin album was, and is. A crucial album in the catalogue which will rightly attain many accolades in the coming days and weeks. Folks – you are going to absolutely love this one…

Companion Audio Disc Content:


So to the Companion Disc Audio content:

For Your Life (Reference Mix) 6.28

As the riff halts each time, there’s a pronounced echo effect. Altogether a  denser mix. At 3 mins 18 additional vocal nuances from Robert. Again the overdubs are more upfront. The solo is an alternate version – the final stinging one has yet to be added. This one bends and twists on to the canvas creeping up on the listener in the process. Always on the edge…and essential in any mix..

10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix) 6.48

Opens with low key piano from John Paul Jones. Instantly reminded me of the JPJ piano concerto type solos applied to the live versions of No Quarter in 1975 notably at Earls Court. The plaintive piano arrangement also recalls to mind his playing on Ice Fishing At Night on The Thunderthief solo album.

Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 01 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry. It all leads on to something of a crescendo in an All My Love outro tempo.

So Jonesy did take the piano out of the flight case for the Munich recordings – it’s emergence throws a new light on what had previously thought to be an  18 day frenzy of guitar, bass and drums arrangements.  There was indeed some subtly going on down at Musicland Studios and here it is. One for the theorists indeed – but one things for sure, with a suitable Plant lyric this has all the makings of a classic Zep romantic offering in the Ten Years Gone/In The Light vein. An absolute revelation.

Royal Orleans (Reference Mix) 3.01

A‘3-4’ count in and hi-hat from Bonzo and we are off for a reference mix that features a very different vocal delivery to the officially released version.

Robert Plant applying the lyrics in a harsh bluesy manner which reminded me of Dr John. The final gruff snarl at 2.52 of ‘Oh whiskers’’ brings to a close a very unorthodox Plant vocal performance. Robert taking on the role of the New Orleans night tripper…

Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix) 4.47

Both the vocal and bass are much more upfront in the mix which makes for a grittier texture. There are no vocal overdubs on the outro section just Roberts ‘Oh- ho-ho’’ – right through to a full ending after Jimmy’s guitar part as Robert adds a final ‘’Aha oh- oh- ho’’ phrase. Still swinging without the overdubs…

Which leaves one performance left to dissect: 

Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand ( Reference Mix) 10.28

The vocal track is more upfront and with less echo and sheen making for a different texture to the vocal. The stereo effect of the guitar overdubs has a slightly different resonance. Slightly alternate overdubs in the mix at 5 min 53. The ‘’I know the way, know the way, know the way’’ overdub has yet to be added.

On the ‘’Aha aha-a’’ Robert refrain, Jimmy plays right along with the vocal creating a call and response sparring effect. At 9 mins 12, there’s an extra Robert vocal croon and more echo effects – all leading to a more defined   jangling Page finale. The guitar army cometh – and the grandiose just got even more grandiose…

So let me leave this overview of  Presence on an Achilles note. 

So much has happened since I first heard that epic performance for the first time some 42 years ago on a spring Saturday evening. In a world where the only thing that’s constant is change, for me Achilles Last Stand still acts as something of a standard bearer of their music.   

The defining moment of the defining band…and now the final mesmeric chord progression performed by Jimmy Page at the close of a Led Zeppelin masterpiece, marches relentlessly on in this new remaster of the Presence album – still searching for that place to rest the search….  

 ”Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth”

Dave Lewis – April 1,2021


The Mystery Of The Object: That Bizarre Sleeve.

In the January 17 issue of Melody Maker, a news report suggested that the forthcoming Led Zeppelin album would be titled Obelisk and was due for release on February 20. Although they were a good six weeks out with the release date, and the eventual album title, the rumour of Obelisk gave hint to the actual sleeve design. For the sleeve would feature an obelisk (dictionary defined meaning: monolithic shaft of stone, square or rectangular in section with pyramical apex or simiar shape) or as Swan Song would dub it “The Object”.

The first visual evidence of this was leaked to Sounds in early March. “US adverts for the new Zeppelin album look like a scene from an early Sixties breakfast cereal ad” is how they described the illustration. By now the album had been officially titled Presence and Atlantic’s marketing team were advising of the delays in a press release as they tried to co-ordinate their sales campaign, stating that “Led Zeppelin oversee all and every detail of the production of their albums to ensure the end result is nothing short of excellent. Finally, on April 6 1976, the full extent of the bizarre gatefold sleeve was revealed alongside the seven new compositons it housed.

Zeppelin had created a series of enigmas with their controversial and striking sleeve designs. For Presence they went right out on a tangent. The idea was conceived by Storm and Po of the Hipgnosis design team who’d worked on the Houses Of The Holy sleeve. The concept came about after a group meeting between Hipgnosis, Peter Grant and George Hardie (a fine art designer who had worked on the first Zeppelin sleeve). It was apparent to Storm and Po that Zeppelin projected an almost unseen presence of power – the brief was to translate that presence into a visual illustration.

Storm takes up the story. “What we came up with was the idea of placing an item from one time or another into a surrounding from another time. So we chose all those pictures from the Forties and Fifties and contaminated them with the presence of the black obsessional object. The black object stands as being as powerful as one’s imagination cares it to be and we felt Zeppelin could rightfully feel the same way about themselves in the world of rock music. So, in those scenes The Object. as we dubbed it, was essential to all parts of the society. And those people in the scenes were trying to discover what The Object was – and how its presence was felt.

“The front and back pictures were shot by us. The back cover girl was the same child model we’d used in the Houses Of The Holy shoot. All the inner spread photos were lifted from US magazines such as Life and Look. The object was pointed on by Richard Manning – Jimmy Page actually asked us to alter the shape of the design of it and the title Presence was their suggestion. I think the whole sleeve concept was very appropriate for Zeppelin. The band are a very powerful band, musically and socially, and the black object is a definite thing of power. Its pervasive presence and mystery appealed very strongly to them.”

Jimmy was in agreement with most of their ideas. “It came out of that conversation when Hypgnosis said we had a very positive force. The fact that four people can create an effect. there’s definitely a presence there – and that was it. They came up with The Object and wanted to call it Obelisk. I held out for Presence. You think about more than just a symbol that way.”

In designing The Object, Hypgnosis were commissioned by Swan Song to have around 1,000 of them made as a three dimensional promotional items. Not all of them were welcome in the Zeppelin households.

object one

The mystery prompted Rolling Stone reporter Cameron Crowe to call the London Swan Song office. He reported the following: “Richard Cole answered the phone ‘I’ve no idea what it all means. I’m not sure they even know. Hold on for Robert”. Cole clamped his hand over the phone and returned to the receiver. ‘This is great’. Plant came on and exclaimed, ‘I’m glad people are wondering what it means. The most I can say though is that everybody should work it out for themselves – it’s not hard to work out especially for our Kubrickian fans.’ Plant’s comments seemed a clue that The Obiect is Zeppelin’s miniature modified version of the monolith featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Designer Aubrey Powell denied this. ‘Didn’t think of that – I just had a tremendous feeling when we took it to them that this design was absolutely right for the band at this point in time’. Back to Plant ‘Whatever you want to say, it says it. The Object can be taken in many ways. Let’s just say we like plucking these mysteries out. We used symbols on the fourth album. They’re fun and add to the music. But there’s not much fun in knowing everything is there?’”

The Kubrick 2001 theme was also taken up by an hilarious Earth News radio special broadcast in the US at the time of the album’s release. Here’s some of that dialogue: “The Object is black… and twisted and obviously worse for wear and tear since its original appearance in 2001. To look at it on the pictures decorating the new Led Zeppelin album it would seem The Object is now back in the year 1950 or thereabouts. Robert Plant has contemplated The Object perceiving in it the messages that others might discover in The Pyramids of Egypt. ‘It’s been ever present throughout time,’ he told us. ‘We just took one moment in time in which to illuminate its presence in society.’

“The Object may not be welcome everywhere – it appeared recently in the home of John Bonham who told us this story. ‘While I was away my wife received one of these Objects in the post and put it on the table. There was tape machine running, recording the children singing, and when they played it back, there was another sound on the tape altogether so there’s something to think about. In fact Pat put it outside the house we won’t have it in the house at all.’ So be forewarned! If Led Zeppelin’s music is sounding a little strange to you lately it may be because of that Object on the cover. If so, follow the lead of John Bonham’s wife and put the album sleeve out of the house.”

In the UK this speculation was taken up by Sounds who asked readers to write in with their own explanations. The results are published here in full – glancing at them some 20 years on, one can only marvel at the eccentric reaction all this Object scrutiny prompted. It was another episode in the grand Zeppelin guessing game. Did it really mean something, or was it all part of their playful desire to add to the mystique?

Whatever it was, you can hardly imagine anyone getting worked up about a sleeve design in this miniatured CD jewel box age. Back then these things seemed to matter as anyone weaned on double gatefold sleeves in the Hipgnosis/Roger Dean/lsland era will testify. However, just when it seemed we were all about to get mixed up in the pretension of all this Object lark – it was firmly debunked by popular satire rockers of the time Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias. In a superb spoof on the artwork of the official Zeppelin UK ads, the group advertised their new album with the illustration of “The Thing” – an upright version of The Object all under the slogan “The Albertos Give It To You Straight”.

After seeing that, I can imagine the likes of the more down to earth Bonham reversing his decision to keep that obelisk out in the garden, laughing out aloud at this scam and explaining something along the lines of “I think The Objects a load of bollocks”.

Great art or a load of bollocks? The mystery of The Object (if indeed there was one) certainly kept us all bemused and amused long after the album had drifted from the charts during the late summer of 1976.

And finally…

As mentioned above, In 2005 I met with Hipgnosis co -designer Aubrey (Po) Powell when he came here to film some memorabilia for a Robert Plant promo video. While he was here, he kindly signed some of my Zep album sleeves and when it came to the Presence sleeve he wrote on it mysteriously ”What’s that obelisk exactly ?”Here’s a pic of the sleeve.

Dave Lewis – April 1,2021




Amazing Marquee Club 1968  photo find:

This is some pictorial find…a previously unseen fan shot of Led Zeppelin on stage at London’s Marquee Club on October 18 1968. This was their first ever London date and they were still billed as The Yardbirds.

This was part of a lot of 12 photos sold recently on eBay. here’s a couple of versions of the this historic photo.

Many thanks to Richard Morton Jack for spotting this one…

My thoughts on…

The Rolling Stones, ‘Fully Finished Studio Outtakes’ (Black Frisco Records BFR 101-103)

These recordings first came to my notice in a news story in The Sun a few weeks back. It revealed that 50 unreleased Rolling Stones recordings had filtered out on various internet forums.

I expected this batch of tracks to be one of those short lived internet postings made officially to clear 50 year copyright issues such as the Dylan material dropped by Columbia material. However, after I posted a report of the story on my Facebook page, download links began to came my way and it was evident this stuff was freely out there.

It was then brought to my attention that all 50 tracks had appeared on a mysterious 3 CD bootleg package titled Fully Finished Studio Outtakes. Being a man of physical product , I was well pleased to get my hands on a copy.

How this previously unreleased stack of tracks has all seeped out is not clear but there’s no doubt it’s grade A quality from a very high generation source.

So what we have here across three CD volumes is 50 completed tracks from The Rolling Stones archive spanning five decades.

The three CD’s are packaged in a gatefold CD cover depicting a colourful array of Stones tongue logos – inside are four colour postcards with Stones line ups from 1967 onwards.

Rather frustratingly, the 50 tracks are presented in a very random sequence with no regard for chronology. The only identification of the source is the year of alleged recording next to each track – some of which are less than accurate. Equally frustrating is the fact there are no accompanying sleeve notes whatsoever.

One of my first challenges was to attempt to work out where this material fits into the Stones timeline. So before I listened to the set, I did a fair bit of research to narrow down each songs potential period of recording. Being a Stones bootleg collector of nigh on 50 years, I am fairly well versed in their bootleg outtakes catalogue – though it quickly became evident that many of the titles here had not previously circulated anywhere.

There’s still a bit of a mystery about where and when some of these songs originate from and no doubt Stones scholars on specialised Stones sites will put that to right.

What emerged from my own research was the fact that a lot of the material collated here is from the 80s and 90s Stones output. That puts me at a bit of a disadvantage as I do not have a strong affinity with albums such as Undercover, Dirty Work, Voodoo Lounge and Bridges To Babylon.

Having said that, there is some surprisingly good stuff to soak up across the three CDs from those particular album sessions – and much more besides.

So here are some of my highlights from this intensive 230 minute listening experience and as best as I can make out, in something like chronological order:

She’s Doing This To Me:

This is a really quirky 60s style psychedelic romp with swirling organ and heavily echoed Jagger vocal. I’d place it around 1967 – probably from their Satanic Majesties Request sessions.

Blood Red Wine:

This has surfaced before – a 1968 outtake from the Beggers Banquet sessions. A melodic acoustic parable in the Salt Of The Earth vein. The ‘’wrap my coat around you’’ lyric would alter resurface on the Goats Head Soup track Winter.

Curtis Meets Smokey:

Lovely falsetto vocal and as the title implies, very much in the soulful Motown style. The cover has this as 1966 –I would say it’s a later work, some sources have pointed to the Let It Bleed and Jamming With Edward sessions circa 1969 -1070.8

Fast Talking, Slow Walking:

Opens with plaintive Coming Down Again like wah wah which firmly places it as a Goats Head Soup outtake from the Jamaica Dynamic Studios in late 1972 sessions.

Too Many Cooks:

From a John Lennon produced New York jam session in 1973 – a version appeared officially on the Best Of Mick Jagger CD. Minimal Stones participation here with only Bill Wyman present. Session guitarist Jesse Ed Davis does the honours over a brassy backdrop and shouted Jagger vocal.

It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like it):

A very welcomed find – the 1973 demo recorded at Ronnie Wood’s home studio The Wik in Richmond. This has Willie Weeks on bass, Kenney Jones on drums and allegedly David Bowie on backing vocals. A fairly tentative sparse arrangement – it would of course gain increased momentum ahead when it was completed and issued as a single in the summer of 1974. The drum track on this demo I think was retained for the later released version.


The much lauded late 1974 find that surfaced as a bonus track on last year’s Goat’s Head Soup reissue. Rightly acclaimed by this writer upon it’s apeprance last year, it’s a raunchy performance with a suitably dominant Jagger vocal. This is an early mix lacking some of the Jimmy Page contributions which obviously lessens the effect.

Never Make You Cry:

A Some Girls era recording from early 1978. Very much in the Beast Of Burden vein with phased guitar.

It’s a Lie:

From the same period , this zips along with Silver Train like gusto and upfront harmonica.

Covered In Bruises:

1978/9 era – a full on rocker and a rare Mick and Ronnie shared lead vocal. This was later retitled 1234 and appeared on Ronnie’s solo album of the same name issued in 1981.

 Part Of The Night:

First tried at the 1978 Some Girls sessions and later returned to for the Undercover sessions in 1982. Also known as Golden Caddy. Low key piano arrangement – very atmospheric.


Organ led groove with a Hot Stuff style breathy Jagger vocal. Dark and brooding. The cover lists it as 1994 recording and I’d go along with that.

Desperate Man:

Funky paced with a compelling Emotional Rescore type falsetto vocal. The cover states its from 1973 –I’d say late 70s.

Prairie Love:

Another stylish Prince like funk work out from the Undercover sessions.

Still in Love With You:

Again form the Undercover era, this leftover is as good as anything on that album – a gorgeous typical heartfelt Stones ballad with sensitive Jagger vocal – the stuff they always do so well…

Can’t Find Love:

Another Undercover era lost beauty. A rolling piano led arrangement with meandering falsesso vocal.

I Can’t See No One Else

From the 1985 Dirty Work sessions – mid tempo with piano overtones and an infectious chorus. There’s some period piece Dire Straitish guitar in there too.

Putty (In Your Hands):

Again from the 1985 Dirty Work sessions. A rousing delivery of The Shirelles 1962 US hit which The Yardbirds recorded for their 1965 Heart Full of Soul album. Probably discarded at the time in favour of the Bob and Earl Harlem Shuffle cover which was the lead single from the album in early 1986.

Giving It Up:

Lovely piano led slow temp stroll from the Steel Wheels sessions – precise and understated Charlie drumming

Flip The Switch:

Bridges To Babylon era. The officially released version has Mick on vocal – for this take Keith takes the role.

Low Down:

Another Bridges To Babylon session – opens with space age effects then leads into a Keith vocal applied with Dylan like gruffness.

Studio Jam Session 1:

Studio Jam Session 2:

Finally a pair of 2002 recordings used as background pieces for the Four Flicks DVD release. The first a bossa nova paced jazzy work out – the second a bluesy strut with Jagger scat singing.


Given the sheer depth of material presented, there are a few fillers amongst the 50 tracks here. As with any outtake collection, it’s often more than evident why the material did make the final cut at the time – there was obviously better songs to choose from.

Having said that, there are some remarkable performances that perhaps deserved to see the light of day when they were recorded. Their appearance through the back door on this secretive set is therefore most welcome.

Fully Finished Studio Outtakes re affirms The Rolling Stones status as prolific songwriters and performers.

Each of their albums tells a story…and as we can now hear, so much more – and when it comes to The Rolling Stones, more is never less…

Dave Lewis – March 23, 2021.


Leigh Eaton RIP:

I was very sad to recently hear of the passing of my former Our Price record shop colleague Leigh Eaton aged 55.

Leigh was based in Los Angeles and very tragically died after a road accident which was caused by Leigh suffering a heart attack at the wheel.

I first met Leigh when he came to be assistant manager at the Bedford Store in July 1986. He had previously worked at the Luton store.

It was apparent he was quite a character – a Clash loving slightly arrogant Billy Idol lookalike. Initially he did eye me very warily and at aged 30, he thought I was a bit of an old codger – Leigh being 21. He took umbrage when I persistently moaned at him for flicking cigarette ash on the album sleeves as he did the processing – but did get wise to that eventually, though not before a few Phil Collins sleeves got discoloured….

He soon realised though that with my Led Zep credentials, I was a bit of a rocker myself – and we subsequently had a fantastic couple of years working together. Leigh epitomised the sort of young go getting retail professionals that back then, were a cornerstone to the company’s growth. He bought right in to the Our Price co founders Gary Nesbitt and Mike Isaac’s ‘’can do- will do’’ culture and vision. He was quick to volunteer to be part of the management teams that relocated to Scotland to open the Our Price stores there – Leigh opened and managed the Cumbernauld store.

He was such great fun to work with, not least for his passion for the emerging 1980’s new rock movement. Leigh was the first person to tell me Guns’ N’ Roses were going to be huge after he saw them at the Marquee. The Georgia Satellites, The Quireboys and Dogs D’Amour were other bands he championed.

He attended many gigs with his great friends and colleagues Mark Turner and Andy Mariner who then worked at the Luton store. Debbie Sheldon, Sarah Dean and Carol Moore were also in the Our Price Luton/Bedford friendship group back then.

He was also always up for a bit of jape, When I had a 31st birthday party at the local night club Leigh arranged for me to have a surprise stripogram. She was dressed as a policewoman and when she came in searched me out to tell me the shop alarm had gone off…it hadn’t of course as I was to realise – it had all been staged by the grinning Leigh…to his credit he did tip off the good lady Janet beforehand!

Leigh played bass in the Luton based band The Rattlesnakes and when another Bedford OP man Ricky Brody moved to LA in 1988, Leigh decided to follow – the sun and surf of California being somewhat preferable to a rainy Bedford Our Price on a wet Wednesday afternoon.

After working in a T shirt printers, Leigh established himself in construction work, plumbing, roofing etc, and continued his playing in various bands. He married a local LA lady Liz and had two daughters Siobahn and Anstiss. Sadly that marriage split up but Leigh went on to meet a prominent American actress & singer Jonelle Allen and remarried in 2003. Jonelle appeared in “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” amongst many other shows

I last saw Leigh in 1990 when he briefly returned to the UK – Mark Turner did keep in touch with him and visited him in 1993, though he lost touch around 1998.

We of course were both greatly shocked and saddened to hear of his tragic passing.

I will always remember Leigh with much affection. A livewire character and a very loyal and efficient music retail operator who like us all, was in it for the music but found a business niche that benefitted himself and the company.

Whenever I hear that stirring opening riff to Sweet Child ‘O Mine, I will think of Leigh Eaton air guitar-ing behind the counter flashing that cheeky sneer.

Back in the mid-1980s he brought a real vitality and zest to the Our Price stores he worked in and it was a joy to work with him.

RIP you eternal rocker…

Dave Lewis – March 29, 2021.

DL Diary Blog Update:

March 27:

Saturday is platterday – on the player America’s Homecoming album sounding mighty fine as the early morning spring sun shines

March 27:

Saturday is platterday – on the player the rather brilliant Super Session album featuring Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills….




March 27:

Saturday is platterday…on the player some classic Stones for a Saturday night..Exile On Main Street – as good as it gets..and that is very good indeed…

March 27:

Saturday is platterday – on the player marking it’s 48th anniversary this weekend – Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy – a rather fetching blue vinyl copy, one of a fair few I have…sounding brilliant of course…




You can never have too many copies of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti…a new acquisition – Japanese pressing with lyric insert – a beauty…

March 28:

Sunday sounds on CD – marking the 48th anniversary of the Houses of The Holy album and loading up the excellent 2 CD 2014 reissue with Companion Disc… a whole lotta Houses will be going on here today…

Monday March 29:

The Royal Albert Hall is 150 years old today…

I love this historic building and have been lucky enough to be in attendance for a fair few gigs there – commencing in 1983 when the good lady Janet and I attended the two Arms concerts featuring Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton ,Steve Winwood and more.

Before that I was aware of the historic nature of the building having staged many famous gigs there including Cream in 1968 and Led Zeppelin in 1969 and 1970. I’ve since been lucky enough to see some very memorable shows at this unique venue – the Teenage Cancer show featuring Gary Moore, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Paul Weller in 2002, The Who performing Quadrophenia in 2010, Them Crooked Vultures the same year where this pic was taken, David Gilmour in 2016 and Robert Plant in 2005, 2013, 2017 and with Nigel Kennedy in 2017… a stately setting for some amazing gigs

Happy 150th Birthday to The Royal Albert Hall

Monday March 29:

The Royal Albert Hall is 150 years old today…

I love this historic building and have been lucky enough to be in attendance for a fair few gigs there – another memorable occasion occurred in May 2017 when the good lady Janet and I attended the Icons of The Hall Event – a special event showcasing the work of filmmaker Peter Whitehead as part of the venue’s Summer of Love: Revisited series. It was presented in the Elgar Room – a side theatre within the main venue.

This included the screening of a 40 minute cut of the famous Led Zeppelin appearance at the Royal Albert Hall on January 9 1970 Footage from The Rolling Stones 1966 Albert Hall show also shown plus a screening of a rare Julie Felix film from 1966 and Julie was on hand to take part in a special forum. The Julie Felix film was a Peter Whitehead shot black and white film of her 1966 concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The event was superbly staged by Dr.Alissa Clarke and professor Steve Chibnall from the De Montfort University plus the Hall’s Richard Dacre contributing to the panel. There was a discussion about the Led Zeppelin 1970 Bath Festival filming and a wonderful afternoon ended with a superb live performance by the late great Julie Felix.

The sense of history that surrounds this historic building was very apparent on that memorable afternoon back in May 2017.

I love this pic of the good lady Janet and I outside the venue after the event taken by Krys Jantzen…

Happy 150th birthday to The Royal Albert Hall…


March 31:

Happy Birthday Andy Adams:


It’s a Happy Birthday today to Mr Andy Adams…

I first met Andy in 1987 – I thought I knew a bit about Led Zeppelin until I met Andy…

His knowledge is truly vast and his unflagging enthusiasm for all things Led Zep has increased my love for the band manifold over the years…and continues to… his Facebook groups Celebration Days and

In 1992 Andy and I undertook a quite mad notion to stage the first ever Led Zeppelin UK Convention in London. Somehow we pulled off something very special as anyone who was there will recall.

Since then through ups and downs, we have both supported each other on many projects. My 1991 A Celebration book benefited so much from Andy’s input and his contributions to the TBL magazine have also been invaluable.

During the past very difficult year my regular phone calls with Andy have been a true source of inspiration as we tried to make sense of all the craziness  going on around more often than not to a back drop of Zep related conversation as we reminded ourselves of the many experiences we have shared over many years. My deep lasting association we Andy is proof that this Led Zep thing is not just about sharing the music -it’s about sharing friendships and Andy’s is one I value very highly.

The pics here show Andy and I setting up the Led Zep Convention in the early hours of May 22 1992 –and with the good lady Janet at the Coda 50th Led Zep tribute anniversary gig in London on October 18 2018.

Andy you are a dear friend and massive inspiration – have a great day…

DL – March 31,2021.




March 31:

It’s a Happy Birthday to our very good friend Mr Dec Hickey – a man who’s Birthday I’ve been celebrating since he was 18 in 1975…

This lovely pic with Dec’s sister Yvonne, daughter Alice, myself and the good lady Janet was taken during the memorable weekend to celebrate his 60th four years ago – have a great day mate…

DL and J

March 31:

On our 37th wedding anniversary, the good lady Janet and I took a nostalgic trip back to Goldington Church in Bedford where at 4pm on Saturday March 31 1984 we were married…

I’ve been a blessed and very lucky man to be in this wonderful lady’s company ever since…

Some particular inspirations this past week:

Watching the brilliant and moving Finding Jack Charlton documentary on BBC 2…

The new issue of the Free Appreciation Society magazine dropping through the door…incredibly it’s now up to issue 155…

The new issue of Classic Rock dropping through the door…

Birthday phone catch ups with Andy Adams and Dec Hickey…

Going back to the church 37 years on…

Update here:

A full on week as they all are beginning to be with various phone calls to discuss some projects ahead and working on text for the current ones in progress. April is here and it’s going to be  a busy one for sure. The good lady Janet has had a welcome rest from the pre school as she is off for Easter. May we wish you all a peaceful hopeful Easter.

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – April 1 , 2021

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Mike

  • Ralph Hunt Sidway said:

    I still remember seeing Zeppelin live in Louisville KY April, 25, 1977. For that tour, Jimmy did his violin bow solo as a standalone solo in a green laser pyramid flooded with dry ice smoke, eventually emerging from it, stalking the stage while picking the mysterious opening notes of Achilles Last Stand. It was amazing, and it’s well worth revisiting the Knebworth video of it on YouTube. Thanks Dave!

  • Mike Messina said:

    Guitar player myself. Very influenced my music around ideas of J. Page. Was very fortunate to see them live in Munich Germany while serving in US Army overseas.A army guy came in the barracks latrine ranting that his buddy bailed on him to see the show during my urinating in stall. I heard him say Led Zeppelin and so I told him hey, let me go in your friends place if he don’t want to go. He ultimately said yes and that was the best show ever. Jon Bonham ruled.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Larry thanks for that great feedback

  • Larry said:

    Thanks for another great post Dave… I had a similar experience with the BBC recordings, only the ones I grabbed from the radio were on cassettes which eventually collapsed from being hysterically overplayed.

    Can’t wait for the Record Collector special edition…I’m psyched for this one, it looks really well done.

    Présence…loved it from moment one…my favorite moments are Achilles, Nobody’s Fault, and Tea For One. Achilles is very special indeed, the entire band is rolling and Jimmy’s solo on that is his best moment on record in my opinion. Robert’s vocal is way up there on his all- time best moments list too. And the Page solo on Tea is sublime.

    The Marquee photo is such a great find!

    Looks like a rocking good springtime on the way!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Great stuff there John Happy Easter!

  • john morrison said:

    good morning . saturday morning ritual of mug of coffee reading your article before anyone else comes downstairs . still remember as clear as a bell reading those words ” motherfucker live ” . I was 16 at the time and was rather shocked to read those words in a paper put through the front door . my dad might have read it …. well perhaps not . and spinning the disc for the first time what joy .
    reading your play list one or two caught my eye definitely check out bloomfield kooper stills which is a new one for me . the stones . where did I go wrong . I bought exile on release . played it a few times back then . have returned to it every decade since . nope dont get it . in fact I struggle to enjoy any stones official offering . none of them run through with music that is consistently interesting for me . live was a different matter caught them 3 times .
    the good lady has entered the room , need to be seen to be doing something
    roll on next saturday morning

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