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25 February 2011 6,729 views 8 Comments

Led Zeppelin performing Achilles Last Stand -Mannheim, July 3rd 1980. Photo by Tom Locke. Taken from the forthcoming book Feather In The Wind – Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980.

Another couple of intensive weeks spent in the year 1980 and on tour with Led Zeppelin.

No bad place to be of course but that’s how it’s been here recently as I wade on with the Over Europe book. Progress is good and there has been a lot to cram in. Recent highlights have been an interview with an important player in the set up who was at every Led Zeppelin show from 1971 to 1980, and an exhaustive view of events of that year as documented across the water by long term US fan Larry Bergmann Jr. Mike Tremaglio has also been doing a sterling job overseeing the text. There’s a fair way to go yet ( I am aiming at a May/June publication) but it is shaping up to be what I hope will be an enlightening read – it’s the Led Zeppelin tour that time forgot and the deeper I delve into it all, the more understanding I become of their work of that period. I thought I knew a bit about the latter era of Zep but researching and compiling the book is proving to be a most illuminating experience. More on this soon.

TBL goes Twitter:

It’s a Twitter world – we just live in it…so…

The world of Twitter is well and truly upon us and you can now follow the world of Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter.  You can follow us on Twitter at Led Zeppelin TBL (all one word). We look forward to  welcoming you on Twitter and don’t forget to spread the word.

Follow us and of course we will follow you. I look forward to welcoming Twitter followers from far and wide.

Had to watch The Brit Awards just in case of the unlikely event of our man winning. As it was the Best UK Male Award was handed out early on and the strains of Angel Dance drifted from the TV. Plan B duly took the honours.

When I was part of the industry this annual bean feast was pretty essential viewing – indeed I attended myself in 2002, the year Sting won the Outstanding Contribution award. The latter accolade has been scrapped now, maybe they’ve run out of contenders or perhaps they got fed up with asking a certain four man group who made a bit of an impact on the scene from 1968 to 1980 and getting refused. Have to confess to feeling a bit old and out of is the likes of Tinie Tempah, Plan B etc strutted their stuff. It was good to see real music such as Arcade Fire, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons receiving awards although the latter came over a bit like a fifth rate Crosby Stills & Nash to these ears. Yes I am getting old to get down with the kids…

The old beautiful game has been, well quite beautiful recently. There was Wayne Rooney’s astonishing overhead kick against Man City, which is right up there as one of the best goals I’ve ever seen along with Ronnie Radford’s strike for Hereford against Newcastle back in 1972 and Ricky Villa’s cup winning run against Man City in 1981. The Arsenal v Barcelona game was a dazzling display of open football and that compliment is  coming from a Spurs man.  Talking of which, the AC Milan away win was a superb effort, though being Spurs it was all back down with a bang on Tuesday when Blackpool triumphed 3-1. Here’s hoping they can overcome the AC Milan threat and finish the job off next week.

It was nice to welcome Mr Foy over for a day a couple of weeks back. The Bedford TBL crew were duly scrambled and we had a night of talking the usual old bollocks in the nearby rather excellent Devonshire Arms –there were plenty of the usual Deep Purple v Led Zeppelin and  Iron Maiden v Guns’N’Roses debates with Terry which always gets the beer flowing. A curry of course was the inevitable end to the night. Here’s a pic of the fab four:

DL, Terry Boud, Gary Foy, Tom Locke : Bombay Restaurent, Harper Street Bedford,February 11th 2011

Just clocked this week’s edition of NME when I was at the post office. If I was still an avid buyer I would no doubt be firing off a complaint letter as this week they have a special supplement listing in their view The Top 25 Front Men Of All Time. 25….surely the golden god of Led Zeppelin has to be in there somewhere but alas he is nowhere to be seen. Iggy Pop at number one ,Jimi Hendrix and number 2 (wasn’t he a guitarist?). Freddie Mercury makes it at 5 and the likes of Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker  etc are all in there.  I know this is the NME but their support of the Zep has been pretty good in recent years. There’s also no room for Jagger, Daltrey, Rodgers, Rod etc – so Classic Rock it ain’t. Oh well its only their opinion…talking of which we need yours..

Iif you haven’t voted in the TBL Stairway To Heaven at 40 poll…now is the time ahead of the 40th anniversary of it first being played live on March 5th 1971.

All we need is your favourite live versions – up to five –full details are here: Stairway To Heaven Poll

While you are there have a look at the You Tube clips of the various versions over the years. Captivating stuff –from the brilliance (come on no other word for it) of the Earls Court delivery, the meandering Seattle 77 version, the glorious (come on no other word for it) Knebworth performance – the valiant ARMS instrumental, the chaotic but emotional Live Aid  epic, that beguiling Atlantic 88 reunion, the rare beauty of the song captured by the pair in a TV studio in Japan right up to the stately Decmeber 10th 2007 02 version.

It’s Stairway To Heaven….and it’s anniversary is more than worthy of celebration.

Watched a great documentary a week or so back – The Beatles At The Cavern – a look back to the early 60s and the impact the venue had on the early career of the fab four.  Gary and spent a night out at the the rebuilt Cavern when we attended the Led Zep Liverpool Convention a few years back. It still retained the 60s magic. There was a great story told in the documentary of how the club DJ Bob Wooler would end every session by playing I’ll Be There by Bobby Darin. They had Beryl Marsden one of the original singers from the Cavern singing her version in the modern day Cavern. This led me to search out Bobby Darin’s original. It’s a lovely song – in fact it struck me it’s the sort of thing Robert Plant would do much justice to. It’s a slow crooner in the style of Falling In Love Again, the Kelly Brothers number he covered on The Band Of Joy album. One of those songs as he put it, he might keep in his back pocket. I reckon it would be a prime contender for inclusion on the next Band of Joy album.

So the Bobby Darin Best Of has been on the player alongside Physical Graffiti, all of 36 years old yesterday and still the greatest album of all time in my view. Custard Pie and The Rover – surely the best opening pair of tracks on any album anywhere. Plenty of Over Europe CD’s have been on with Zurich leading the way – try the Heartbreaker encore from that gig, one of Jimmy’s best latter era performances.  Also had on Achilles Last Stand from Frankfurt, another of the great post ’75 live moments. Also dug out the Belfast Ulster Hall March 5th 1971 CD ahead of the upcoming anniverary.

I attended Joan Bonham’s funeral last week. It was a fitting send off for this remarkable of ladies from an equally remarkable family. As usual the Bonham family conducted themselves with such dignity and warmth – as they did all those years back on that memorable weekend back in 1992 at the Led Zeppelin Convention. It was a day of tears and laughter as she would have wanted it. Joan would have been very proud.

It’s been the school half term here this week and with it some typically rainy weather. Our Sam is in attendance at the Green Party Spring Conference in Cardiff this weekend in her role as a media intern which she combines with her UEA course in Norwich. Incidentally TBL contributor from UEA Alec Plowman wrote a fine piece on the Zep reforming issue in the UEA student newspaper recently.

Looking ahead the next few weeks will be full on with the Over Europe book  though I am planning to try and catch tribute band Led Zep 2 who are back at the nearby Haynes Village Hall on March 12th. That’s about where it all is.

Right it’s time to go back to 1980.

Cue the guitarist stepping on the wah wah pedal to grind out the intro to Train Kept A Rollin’ and..  well you know the rest…or at least  you will do when the book is finally published.

This is the Led Zeppelin tour that time forgot… but hopefully not for much longer.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Olli said:

    Ah ha, well said Nigel, that all important spelling.
    You must have read my little rant on the home page of our website.
    Mind you Dave was as good as his word and came along to the gig which went reasonably well. Different mistakes to last time anyway. LOL

  • Pete D said:

    Wayne Rooney? Ronnie Radford?

    Surely the best goal you have ever seen was Keith Houchen’s 1987 cup final goal?

    Or perhaps you don’t want to be reminded of that one? or for that matter Garry Mabbut’s later goal in the same game!

    Sorry Dave us Coventry fans don’t have many glorious memories so we have to keep mentioning the few we do have.

  • steve goldsmith said:

    the 1980 tour is a comparatively unknown time in zep history. it will be excellent to document this fully;
    it deserves a lavishly illustrated hardback edition- maybe with a slipcase- what about sourcing photos not used in Page’s book, make it a definitive read!

  • Kathy Urich said:

    Dave I’m anxious to read the new book. Your writing is so enjoyable, it’s as if the reader and you the writer are carrying on a conversation, brilliant. I’m also looking forward to spring the ground hog says only four more weeks till spring.

  • Steve said:

    Best two openers ? How about ,”The song remains the same” followed by “The rain song” and then just to prove a point the little matter of “Over the hills and far away ” 🙂

  • Jim Sloane said:

    Keep on keeping on – all this sounds very interesting !!

  • Geoff Adamson said:

    Dave please after all these years stop mentioning Ronnie Radford. It’s time to ramble.

  • Nigel Shoesmith said:

    Saw Led Zep Too in Ipswich a few weeks back – they were great! Mind how you “spell” their name though!!

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