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8 October 2010 4,367 views 2 Comments

Tomorrow (October 9th) would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. The events of 30 years ago surrounding his comeback album Double Fantasy and his shocking death in December are intrinsically linked for me with the tragic events going inside the Zep camp this time back in 1980.

I can vividly remember Simon Bates airing the Starting Over single and there was a real optimism about his return to recording. I purchased the album in the Kings Road in November after a visit to the Swan Song offices. That optimism (as with the Zep events) turned to agony on the morning of December 9th when the news broke here that John Lennon had been shot dead in new York.

There will no doubt be a barrage of media coverage surrounding both his  birthday tomorrow and the anniversary of his death in a couple of months. There is already a variety of new CD and box sets compiling his work just out plus various remastered solo albums. I’ve been playing a playlist supplied by Gary Foy of his best Beatle moments with emphasis on the early years.

It sounds simply brilliant. It’s easy to forget the sheer exuberant joy of his rasping vocal in those formative years. Performances such as I’ll Get You, Thank You Girl, Anna, Not A Second Time, It Won’t Be Long, Twist And Shout, Ill Be Back, Yes it Is, No Reply, I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party, Help, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, Baby You’re a Rich Man etc etc are ample evidence of his genius leading to the conclusion that John Lennon just might just be my second favourite vocalist of all time. His post Beatle output has it’s moments for sure but what he achieved in those short eight years between 1962 and 1969 is awe inspiring. He packed more in those years alone than most do in a full lifetime Hearing those innocent upbeat anthems has been a tonic amongst the Autumn slog of recent days.

Must say I felt pretty drained after the week of acknowledging John Bonham’s death. It was a remarkable few days that commenced with the amazing BCC launch and an emotional chat with Jason. Gary Davies did an appropriately gracious job of arranging and delivery the TBL tribute to the graveside in Rushock and Gary Foy and I worked tirelessly to ensure the right tone was achieved as we paid tribute on the site.

At the September 25th pub meet in London it was great to see Mark Harrison, Cliff Hilliard, Amy over from the USA, Lynne and Maxine from Newcastle , Ian Avey, Russell Ritchins, Graeme H and Pam plus Rosie and Caroline from London. The landlord Eamon’s  story of John drinking in his pub in Hamstead was a quirky addition to a day of memories and toasts for dear John Henry. Always loved, always remembered.

Feeling washed out from that, coupled with a lot family stuff going on with Sam back at UNi and Adam’s week of work experience at a local sports centre to sort and various other things  seemed to took their toll – and we we’ve all been feeling the strain here these last few days.  There’s also been the not inconsequently task of distributing TBL 27. Oh yes I counted them all in and counted them all out to the UK, USA Canada, Ecuador (hi Jose),Brazil, Indonesia (hi Tatan), Israel (hi Naom), Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia Hong Kong and Japan

Many thanks for the very positive response to this issue – special thanks to Mick Lowe for a superb design and lay out, Perry Smylie for the great Robert cover shot and Genesis for their sanctioning of the Jimmy Page book photos and Cliff, Jezz and Gary F. for wading through it all without the aid of bi focal glasses.

There’s no let up now as we move towards Christmas. I’ve just completed the major feature on the 40th anniversary of the Led Zeppelin 3 album which will be in a future issue of Record Collector – wading through the various pressings of their 1970 masterpiece has been a total joy (play it yourself and see!) – many thanks to ace vinyl collector Nick Anderson for his help on all this. The current Record Collector issue also has a two page spread about the book written by yours truly. The Over Europe book is also back on the planning table big time with the wheels about to get moving on that – plus there’s final TBL magazine of the year to work on for publication at the end of the year.

News wise there’s of course Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience about to commence and in a couple of weeks it’ll be more Band Of Joy with Robert in the UK. More on all that soon.

Did take some respite from matters here to attend the Bedford Beer Festival last night – our yearly excursion into the world of dark brooding real ale. The venue was the celebrated Bedford Corn Exchange – the very same venue The Beatles performed at on the evening of December 13th 1962 supported by Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor.

It may well have been the old Black Dog ale but as I delved down in the basement of the building to go to the bathroom I swear I could here the sound of a rasping voice screeching out Twist And Shout – it was either the beer or the ghost of the then young John Winston…

I may have to go back to The Beer Festival tomorrow and check again…

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  • Rob said:

    Dave, did you have the Disc and Music Echo review? The headline ran 1,2,3 Zeppelin weaken. They certainly got that wrong, I’ve loved side 2 of the album especially since I bought on the day of release.

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Yes, Dave certainly evokes memories of that time again, a certain irony too looking at that poster including one “Jimmie Macgregor” with Jimmy touring in the mid-80’s with Roy Harper using the name “James Macgregor!” Those early 80’s times as you know were certainly very special for me!

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