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DAVE LEWIS DIARY: TALKING OVER EUROPE ’80/ IT’S ONLY ROCK’N’ROLL/ WMET GRAFFITI/ TEARDROP EXPLODES/GARETH BALE /CHARLES CLARKE/ ROBERT PLANT FROM ’71 TO NOW

22 October 2010 8,330 views One Comment

A lot going on here as we shape up for a big week ahead with The Band Of Joy gigs in Birmingham and London.

I’ve been pretty ensconced in getting the Over Europe book into some sort of planning shape. There’s a lot of material to draw from and a lot of work ahead but it’s going to be an exciting challenge getting this one down. I conducted a phone interview to New York for the book this week – spoke with a key Zep associate from the time and our conversation got right to the heart of Led Zeppelin during that period.  It was one of those interviews that peeled away the years and captured the real essence of why this band meant so much to so many people back then – and still does now. It will add much to the foundation of what I am trying to achieve with this book. The Over Europe quest goes on.

Couple of notable dates passing this week. October 18th would have been my late Mum’s birthday – that date also sticks in my mind for being the release date of one of the last truly great Rolling Stones albums, It’s Only Rock’n’ Roll. I bought it from WH Smith a week before I started working behind the record counter there.  I absolutely devoured that record. Every last Keef riff, Mick Taylor lead, Charlie Watts rim shot, Wyman bass line and Jagger sneer. Played it every day for weeks back in ‘74– on Monday I dug out the old vinyl and it still sounded great. If You Really Want To Be My Friend, Till The Next Time We Say Goodbye and Time Waits For No-one are amongst the Stones finest work.

The next record I would really devour back in that era was the double album  catalogue number Swan Song SSK 89400 – Physical Graffiti by any other name. That very album has been to the forefront of things these last few days as I followed up the emergence of the rare Physical Graffiti WMET Radio customized sleeve package that collector Jeff Gold has discovered  (as reported by Steve Sauer). This copy looks to have been a one off sleeve variant package featuring the letters WMET in the windows, sent to the Chicago radio station via Atlantic Records at the time. This copy is being offered up for sale and unsurprisingly it’s is not going cheap!

Jeff is a very respected US memorabilia collector and dealer (see www.recordmecca.com ) and provided some illuminating input for a story on this I’m putting together for Record Collector. It prompted me to search out the very rare Physical Graffiti advance artwork proofs I have in my own collection. These proofs were given to me in November 1974 by the Atlantic Records rep who called on WHSmith. There are several alternate photos featured on the proof that did not make the final version of the inner sleeves including a photo of Robert with a turban taken in India. I know of only two other proofs of this nature in existence (Hello Brian K and Phil T). It remains one of my most treasured Zep collectables – more on all this in a forthcoming issue of Record Collector.

October 22nd is another date ingrained on my brain – it was the day 30 years ago my good friend Dec promoted a gig in Bedford by the then emerging Teardrop Explodes led by Julian Cope (an artist Robert Plant much admires). The Thompson Twins were support that night I recall all for a bargain £2 – it seems amazing it was all of 30 years ago. Oh the 1980s, how we laugh now. Four years previously, October 22nd was the official UK release date of The Song Remains The Same soundtrack double album – I remember being a bit mortified by the rather negative review it got in Sounds. The NME thankfully came good with the review headline ‘’Check your speakers the Zeppelin way’’. Sound advice that I, and countless others are still heeding.

Settled down to watch the Inter Milan V Spurs Champions League match mildly confident they might hold there own. How wrong was I – Alas they were 4-0 down at half time. However, in typical Spurs style they turned adversity into near triumph to pull back to 4-3 thanks to Gareth Bale’s amazing hat trick. On Adam’s insistence that we see it through, I had resisted switching over to watch The Apprentice when it was all going wrong. Good job I did. He has more faith than I do!

Great to see Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience receiving some superb feedback– the review from the Winnipeg Sun by Darryl Sherdan captured the whole ethic of this project absolutely a spot on. The tour reports from the initial Band of Joy UK dates have more than put me in the mood for next week’s gigs. The Swedish TV interview and performance of Harm’s Swift Way was excellent.

On the player here: Band Of Joy live Clearwater Florida,(thanks Billy F.), Band of Joy New York launch CD (thanks Tim D), Band Of Joy album (natch), Rod/Faces CD compilation, Paul Kossoff compilation Koss – this has some great stuff on – I gave a copy of it to my good friend Terry who has been struggling with a bad back for some weeks – hope it’s on the up mate ), Led Zeppelin 3 vinyl, Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Outtakes vinyl, The Rolling Stones  It’s Only Rock’n’ Roll vinyl, Man Live At The Padget Rooms Penarth –lovely limited edition LP on the United Artists label –brought this in 72 and foolishly sold it but oh yes back in my collection via Andrew R thanks mate!), Simon & Garfunkel Old Friends/Best Of CD which sounded just right in the early hours of this morning.

Heard from  Sam last night . Today in her role as features editor for the UEA student magazine she is interviewing former Labour Education Secretary Charles Clarke in Norwich.  Oh yes a budding Jeremy Paxman in the making – my only advise was to make sure her voice recorder was switched on correctly as her dear old Dad has got in a mess with that litte device on more than one occasion. Good luck Sam!

To get into mega Plant overdrive mood for the Band Of Joy gigs, I intend to wade through the entire contents of the Nine Lives box set over the next few days re acclimatising myself with his entire output. It’s a prelude to a celebration of the one hundred plus occasions I have had the pleasure of watching Robert Plant staring down the barrel of a Shure SM57 microphone (as he might put it) – from 1971 to now.  More on all that next week.

Next few days here will be spent planning next week, more Over Europe book, more targeting and marketing of TBL 27 (thanks for all the many encouraging comments and feedback that has come in), On Saturday Australian based TBL subscriber Colin Macphee who is over for a short break in the UK, is dropping by to the Totnes Towers to say hi in between driving from Heathrow and going down to catch JPJ’s appearance at the Manson’s Guitar Show. He’s also attending Robert’s Manchester show next week. All good timing. Colin will no doubt be relaying the story of how his Scottish bravado scored him two tickets via the Swan Song office to see Led Zeppelin at the Rotterdam Ahoy on June 21st 1980 – more source material for the Over Europe ’80 book.

I’m also hoping to sneak to the pub to catch least a second half look at the Spurs V Everton lunchtime kick off. If we are 4-0 down the cries will of course be ‘’Leave it to Bale..’’

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One Comment »

  • Gary Wade said:

    Dave

    Do you have a fantastic memory or a very detailed diary, i don’t know how you do it! Had a mad last few weeks but all geared up now for Manchester next week with my boy Josh, looking forward to seeing fellow TBL’ers at any local pub round there.

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