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4 September 2017 2,212 views 21 Comments


61…how did that happen!

61 is the new 21!

As usual when a birthday rolls around , it’s a good time to quantify what I do, what I like and take stock…

Firstly some timelines:

I was 7 years old when I first saw a live concert (The Dave Clark Five show)

9 when I first saw Tottenham Hotspur play

13 when I first heard Led Zeppelin

15 when I first started work at British Home Stores (sadly now gone)

15 when I first saw Led Zeppelin live at the Empire Pool Wembley

16 when I saw Led Zeppelin perform at Alexandra Palace

18 when I first started selling records at WH Smith – a career in retail that would last 35 years

18 when I saw Led Zeppelin perform five times at Earls Court

19 when I attended the Song Remains the same London premiere

21 when I jumped on stage with The Who at Shepperton

22 when I wrote the first Tight But Loose magazine

23 when I travelled over Europe to see Led Zeppelin on what would be there final tour

24 when my first book Led Zeppelin -The Final Acclaim was published

25 when I started going out with the good lady Janet

27 when we married

29 when Led Zeppelin reformed for Live Aid

34 when Sam was born,

35 when my book Led Zeppelin A Celebration was published

36 when I co organised the first UK Led Zeppelin

38 when Adam was born

40 when I co wrote the Led Zeppelin Concert File book

41 when I intervened John Paul jones for the TBL magazine

46 when the Led Zeppelin DVD was premiered

50 when I contributed to the research on Robert Plant’s Nine Lives box set

51 when Led Zeppelin reunited at the 02 Arena,

53 when I was made redundant at Virgin Retail and created TBL Publishing and went self- employed

54 when I published the Feather In the Wind Over Euope 1980 book

57 when I published the revised Then As It Was Led Zeppelin at Knebworth book,

58 when I compiled the Five Glorious Nights -Led Zeppelin at Earls Court 1975 book…

59 when I wrote the liner notes for the official Complete BBC Sessions

60 when I began work on the in progress Evenings With book project

Once again, forgive me the indulgence but here are some DL birthday at 61 reflections:

Some things I’ve learned at 61…

Life sounds better to music…

It’s a great life this life of music – to paraphrase the late great Ahmet…

Records are good for the soul…

Darren’s Vinyl Barn is a very good place to be on Friday mornings

Record Store day is still a wonderful event

The CD is still a great format – particularly box sets

It’s best to lock your bike up at all times

Spurs might not win the league but hey, they play some very good football

Led Zeppelin got it right with the title of track two side one of Led Zeppelin III – I am blessed with many…

Passion is infectious….

Heritage is a great thing…

British Pubs are great places to be coveted…
My hometown is a comforting place to be…

You can’t please all the people all the time and boy, I do try…

When it comes to the love of a wife and family – I’m a multi millionaire…

DL AT 61

Once again, forgive me the indulgence but here are some DL birthday at 61 reflections:

At 61, the usual passions remain undimmed.

As ever here music remains all encompassing. Listening to it, writing about it, reading about it. That folks is my DNA.

Right at the centre of my world is of course Led Zeppelin and all its many offshoots. It remains an absolute privilege to be able to relay the world of Led Zep through the various TBL mediums, be it this web site, Facebook, the magazine or the books.

It’s also how I make a living.

Yes it’s a fantastic job but one it does come with it’s own set of challenges. To pursue the various projects, generate business and sell the TBL product is a non stop 24/7 task –  and a somewhat isolating one at times. I do have some amazing support and I’d like to single out Mike Tremaglio and Mick Lowe, for all they have done this past year working with me on the various TBL initiatives to fruition.

At this point I’d like to offer sincere thanks to  every subscriber and buyer of TBL product this past year. Your support is very much appreciated.

Add to that the love of football –and following the erratic fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur and England, the daily bike rides (my favoured mode of transport which I am now making sure I lock up at all times!)) and socialising in the pub with friends.

Pubs oh yes…I have a great affinity for the great British pub. Whilst I don’t drink much of it, I love the affinity people have with real ale. I do seem to be pictured many times with a pint of Fosters in my hand – but it’s not just that they serve alcohol – I love the differing atmosphere, the lay out –the sheer tradition of the British pub. Too many are closing of course which is a terrible shame. Those that remain should be coveted.

Last year reaching 60 felt quite a milestone – and has done since. With a continuous stream of high profile passing’s, the thoughts of mortality are more prevalent than ever.

The fact is though, none of us are getting any younger – the days really are to cherish and with health issues to contend with and the usual daily grind, it isn’t always easy – it isn’t all smiles and there are often tears behind the smiles. As I have previously documented here ( and like many others) I have had and continue to have issues with the black dog of depression. Coping with that can be tricky but luckily I am blessed with many precious friends.

In fact, track two side one of Led Zeppelin III is a big mantra of mine ….Friends….like I said I am blessed with so many.I count myself a very lucky man indeed.

And music – always music…

This is the ingredient that has forged so many like minded friendships over the past five decades.

As is plainly evident, my tastes were formulated in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s and have remained pretty constant ever since.

For me it’s about albums, songs, vocalists, emotion, composition, dynamics, light and shade…and the usual suspects continue to fill that premise and inspire so step forward in no particular order the likes of:

Led Zeppelin and related artists/Crosby Stills Nash and Young/The Who/The Beatles/The Rolling Stones/David Bowie/Rod Stewart/The Faces/Bob Dylan/Nick Drake/Elvis Presley/Frank Sinatra/Miles Davis/Free/Bad Company/Yes/Fairport Convention/Sandy Denny/Joni Mitchell/Dusty Springfield//T. Rex/Pete Townshend

Alice Cooper/Humble Pie/Peter Frampton/The Yardbirds/The Allman Brothers/Little Feat/The James Gang/Credence Clearwater Revival/The Byrds/Pink Floyd/Jethro Tull/Cat Stevens/John Lennon/George Harrison/Paul McCartney & Wings/Traffic/Eric Clapton/Blind Faith/Derek & The Dominoes/Donovan/Family/Ronnie Wood/

Mott The Hoople/ELP/Burt Bacharach/Paul Weller/The Jam and many more.

You could say it’s a whole lotta retro but that’s the way I like it. There is always a fair few CDs and LP’s in the ”To listen to’’ pile and more to unravel and enjoy.

Then there is vinyl…lovely long playing vinyl – the LP – the record… the seven inch single…the 45 RPM

Whilst I still collect CD’s –in fact as mentioned above I’ve had a bit of renaissance with that format in recent months –  it’s vinyl that tends to dominate here…

Oh yes vinyl – the collecting of vinyl albums and singles continues to be a real passion – ever increasingly so!

As my good friend Dec notes, I seem to be on a quest to invest in every rock album released since 1968 –it’s not quite as bad as that but boy do I love re connecting with the long playing format.

Big time.

So what is the attraction?

Well for me in an ever changing technological social media driven world,the LP and single record is a true bastion of past values – values to be held on to and cherished.  Vinyl is the true everlasting music carrying format.

The sleeve art work, the size, the tangible feel, the smell..and the sound – living breathing vinyl grooves…and of course that most comforting of sounds…the initial surface noise as the needle hits the vinyl…sheer bliss in my world…and countless others  – note least of course one James Patrick Page – I have been fortunate enough to see his own passion for record buying at close quarters.

For me every vinyl album or single I acquire tells a story – the historical significance of the label and pressing, of course the music itself and the memories it inspires.

In fact, I can tell a story surrounding every record I have.

Most of my collecting  concentrates on the golden age of the 1960s and 70s –when I was growing up and discovering music for myself.  Indeed part of my vinyl quest is to buy back LP’s I either foolishly sold or lost along the way.

I am also a sucker for great artwork and label designs. I love collecting anything on the Atlantic UK plum and orange label with it’s Zep heritage, and labels such as Apple, Vertigo, Immediate and Island. To me these label designs are pure works of art.

Of course anything on Swan Song Records is eagerly snapped up too.

I have acquired some great Swan Song promo pressings in the past year as well as various foreign Led Zep pressings. I would have actually had one or two more Zep foreign rarities but knowing of Jimmy’s passion for the same area of collecting, I have occasionally bought to his attention some  Zep rarities I’ve seen at record fairs we have both been at. Rather than invest myself, I have graciously passed them over to the guitarist. Well, after all he did create the music on them!

Oh and add to that the seven inch single…

In recent years I have got right back into collecting singles -I have over 2,00 if the little gems. The quest originally being to snap up the singles I would have purchased in the years 1969 to 1972 had I had the required cash to do so. That has by and large been achieved but I still love snapping up odd couplings and obscure labels,orgotten gems etc.

In the collecting of vinyl there are many bargains to be had – with a keen eye for a bargain I rarely pay over £20 and mostly under £10. I have something of a deft touch at searching out gems in local charity shops .

In London, there’s Fopp in Cambridge Circus, Sister Ray and Reckless Records in Berwick Street and the nearby Sounds of The Universe, continue to come up with some great stuff. Then there’s the London Olympia and Victoria  record fairs and Spitalfields market. The nearby Hitchin market is another good source as is Empire Records in St Albans and Wax Factor and Across the Tracks in Brighton. In Cambridge Black Barn Records has proved to be a bit of a goldmine.

As everybody reading this knows,  in Bedford, Darren Harte’s Vinyl Barn stall on Bedford market on Friday’s as something of a weekly vinyl haven. I am there most Friday mornings checking the new arrivals – and Darren continues to come up with interesting fresh retro stuff.

There is also soon to be another destination for records locally with the news that a new record shop is opening up in town – Slide Records will be open towads the end of September and I will be checking that one out for sure.

Amongst my gang, Tom, Phil and Dec are also vinyl enthusiasts particularly Tom who like me is also an avid vinyl collector and we can often be heard discussing the fascinating minutiae of rare vinyl pressings on the Vertigo label etc etc – or ‘’talking bollocks’’ as some of our ladies are prone to comment on –  but hey it’s what we do!

Our trips out for the annual Record Store Day is always one of the highlights of the year. Local collectors Pete Burridge, Mat Roberts Steve Livesley and Dave Crane are fellow local vinyl enthusiasts who have the vinyl buzz and our finds are often on our respective Facebook pages.

Rarely if ever, does a week goes by where I do not pick up one or two items – the downside is of course they do take up some considerable room as the good lady Janet often reminds me!

So the list – there’s always lists…

On the occasion of my 61st birthday:

This list chronicles 61 albums and CD’s that I have acquired over the past year from September 2016 to September 2017 from a variety of record fairs, shops and notably Darren Harte’s excellent Vinyl Barn stall in Bedford. So with here are 61 albums and CD’s sounding mighty fine at 61…


The Who Sell Out – rare Italian pressing (thanks Phil H!)

The Hollies – In The Hollies Style – original Parlophone label pressing,

The Doors – Absolutely Live Japanese pressing with Obi, box set (thanks Andrew Ricci!)

Roy Harper – HQ album – renamed When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease US promo .

CCS – Whole Lotta Love – US RAK pressing with front cover radio strip – this album retitled in the US as Whole Lotta Love

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell 1977 – promo pressing on Columbia in white promo sleeve ( one of the bargains of the year at £3!)

Cat Stevens – Catch Bull at Four – US A & M promo pressing

Stardust – David Essex film soundtrack on with alternate sleeve promo pressing on US Arista label

The Rolling Stones – Blue And Lonesome

Bob Dylan – The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert

Herbie Mann – London Underground (thanks JP)

David Crosby – Lighthouse

Terry Reid – The Other Side Of The River

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti Japanese pressing

Led Zeppelin II – Japanese pressing with obi

Elvis Presley – I Just Can’t Help Believing – deluxe CD box

Forever Changes – The Golden Age of Elektra Records 1963 – 1965 – 5CD box set

The Rolling Stones – Stray Cats LP compilation form the mono box set release

David Bowie – The Ghouster

Led Zeppelin – Berkeley Days Second night

Beatles 1968 – FM White Album broadcast – CD

Led Zeppelin – Feel All Right Live In Montreux CD set

Hot Menu 73 – Best of Warner Reprise Atlantic Japanese compilation £30

Strangely Strangely but Oddly Normal Island Records 3 CD compilation

Nick Drake – Fruit Tree LP and DVD box set

Led Zeppelin – In Through The Out Door – Japanese pressing

The Beatles – Abbey Road vinyl collection with magazine

The Dave Clark Five – Session With UK Columbia original pressing

Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Prayer album on UK Atlantic orange and plum label with great sleeve notes by Beatles/Zep PR man Bill Harry

Crosby & Nash – Another Stoney Evening 180 gram pressing

Jennifer Warnes – Famous Blue Raincoat

David Bowie – Live Nassau Coliseum

Chairman Of The Board –You Got Me Danglin on A String

Elvis Presley – Stax Sessions 3 CD set

Sandy Denny – Who Knows Where The Time Goes? 3 CD set

Cat Stevens – 4 CD box set

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes – Live At Jones Beach (Record Store day release)

Marianne Faithful – Rich Kid Blues (RSD release)

Bruce Springsteen – London 75  (RSD release)

Elton John – 7 -11 -70 Extended version  (RSD release)

David Bowie – Cracked Actor (RSD release)

David Bowie Bowie – Promo   (RSD release)

Frank Sinatra – A Man Alone US gatefold sleeve

George Harrison – Extra Texture Japanese pressing

Paul Weller – A Kind Revolution

Glen Campbell – Galvaston – US Capitol label

The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 2LP remastered reissue

The Who BBC Sessions

Free Tons of Sobs –Island gatefold sleeve reissue

John Lennon – Gimmie Some Truth 3 CD

Jethro Tull – A Passion Play UK pressing

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmos Factory – Liberty with cutting

Led Zeppelin – Presence -no block title on front cover

Steve Winwood – Arc Of A Diver Japanese pressing

Robert Plant – Principle Of Moments Japanese pressing

Burt Bacharach Hit Maker on MCA

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Playback 6 CD set

Bad Company – Run With The Pack – vinyl reissue

Chris Farlowe and The Thunderbirds – The Beginning… Jimmy release

Led Zeppelin – Remasters box set with Our Price record shop Bedford memorabilia pack

Led Zeppelin – Deus Ex Machina – Empress Valley CD box set

So there you have it…

So bring on 61 as there is a lot to do including work on the ongoing book project with co-author fellow Zep chronicler Mike Tremaglio – Evenings With Led Zeppelin is a book that will concentrate purely on the gig to gig history of the band presented with unique images. This has proved to be a huge undertaking – it’s a massive 500 page volume and Mike and I will be concentrating solidly on it in the coming months. I am working closely with TBL designer Mick Lowe on the lay out. It will be our way of marking the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s formation.

The forthcoming TBL issue 43 is also well under way – I am aiming at an autumn publication and it’s a bit of an epic…the pic here was taken last Friday as Mick Lowe and I did more work on the 02Reunion feature – it’s coming together…

Then there’s Robert Plant’s album and tour to look forward to and the planned 02 Reunion Ten Years Gone TBL meet.

As for other future objectives, I have many ideas under consideration – a chronicle of the 02 reunion concert, a possible reissue programme of the early TBL magazines, a possible best of TBL compendium and my own memoirs somewhere along the line.  I am also working on a feature that focuses on collectable UK singles and a contribution to a forthcoming Bob Dylan book.

As we approach the landmark 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s formation there is much to celebrate. Whether it be online or though social media and the TBL website ,via the magazine, future book projects etc I will continue to endeavour to ensure TBL has a platform and voice that enhances the enjoyment of this very special band of musicians…

In short, chronicling the world of Led Zeppelin is in my DNA and it continues to be an absolute privilege to do so…and I am ready for more of the same at 61…

David Francis Lewis aged 61

September 5, 2017


Led Zeppelin News Update:
In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re- producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Hello! Welcome to the 104th Led Zeppelin News email. We email out a summary of the week’s news every weekend so that you don’t miss anything.

Sorry for sending out this email a day late — LedZepNews had a busy Sunday.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin performing on March 21, 1975 (YouTube/ledzepfilm)

  • AXS TV has announced a dedicated day of Led Zeppelin programming on September 23. The programming will start at 1pm ET and will include “It Might Get Loud,” followed by Robert Plant’s 2016 Festival of Disruption performance, then “The Song Remains The Same.” After that will be Plant’s 2005 “Soundstage” performance followed by an episode of “Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar” that features Jason Bonham, and then footage of the Classic Rock Awards from 2016 which included Jimmy Page presenting an award.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones performing at the Sun Station Vadsø music festival on June 24.

Jason Bonham

Upcoming events:

September 9 – The online charity auction for three items signed by Jimmy Page ends.
September 22 – The new Black Country Communion album, which will feature Jason Bonham, is due to be released.
September 23 – AXS TV will air a day of Led Zeppelin-related programming starting from 1pm ET.
Early Autumn – The next issue of Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose, issue #43, is scheduled to be released.
October 13 – Robert Plant’s new solo album “Carry Fire” will be released.
November 5 – “Yardbirds ’68” by The Yardbirds will be released.
November 16 – Robert Plant will perform in Plymouth.
November 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Bristol.
November 20 – Robert Plant will perform in Wolverhampton.
November 22 – Robert Plant will perform in Llandudno.
November 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Newcastle.
November 25 – Robert Plant will perform in Liverpool.
November 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Glasgow.
November 28 – Robert Plant will perform in Perth.
November 30 – Robert Plant will perform in Manchester.
December 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Belfast.
December 3 — Robert Plant will perform in Dublin.
December 6 – Robert Plant will perform in Sheffield.
December 8 – Robert Plant will perform in London.
December 11 – Robert Plant will perform in Portsmouth.
December 12 — Robert Plant will perform in Birmingham.

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at


TBL Archive Special:

Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill – the pioneering bootleg album …still a thrill…47 years gone…

47 years ago on September 4 1970, Led Zeppelin performed a memorable show at the Los Angles Forum – it was captured by more than one enterprising fan and subsequently released on a variety of bootlegs. It remains for me and countless others one of THE essential Led Zeppelin recordings.

To mark the 47th anniversary of what we know and love as Live On Blueberry Hill, here is an TBL archive special this is one of the chapters in the Celebration II – The Tight But Loos Files book published by Omnibus Press in 2003.

Bootlegs and Led Zeppelin have been synonymous for over three decades. Despite manager Peter Grant’s heavy-handedness when dealing with those he caught taping their shows, the band are the most bootlegged act of all time, outstripping even The Beatles, Dylan, Springsteen and the Stones. Their final seven shows in the UK alone (five at Earls Court and two at Knebworth) account for over 100 different releases between them. Just about every known amateur recording of the band’s live gigs has made it on to CD. Given the length of their stage shows, the CD format, with its 75-minute playing time, is tailor made for presenting Zeppelin in concert, but even before the flood of digital compact format titles that emerged in the early Nineties there was no shortage of vinyl Led Zeppelin bootlegs.

Tight But Loose has carried reports on Zeppelin bootlegs since its inception. As far back as the hand written first edition I was enthusiastically reviewing the then recently issued vinyl bootleg Ballcrusher which documented their BBC In Concert show. Issue number two carried an extensive report on what was already a legendary bootleg album, Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill. In 1995 I returned to that 1970 recording to laud its 25th anniversary for TBL 11.

Whatever the legal niceties of such releases, searching out their bootleg recordings is a necessity of every serious Zep fan. Their studio albums only hinted at the creativity the group were capable of. It was on stage in live action that Zeppelin really excelled.

During the Seventies ample proof of that fact arrived with each new bootleg record, none more so than the remarkable recordings made at the Los Angles Forum from the audience on the night of September 4, 1970, during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour. This chapter reflects on the lasting impact of that memorable bootleg recording and rounds up twelve other illicit evenings with Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime target for the emerging bootleg recording business. The bands’ skill at extending and improvising on their studio record repertoire elevated their live shows to something very different from playing their albums.

During their first 18 months on the road they cleverly interwove the basic recorded material from the first two albums with additional impromptu jams. Early examples of this included the long jam on Garnet Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, employed on many of their 1969 shows, the medley of numbers to be found within ‘How Many More Times’ and an improvised jam session in the middle of ‘Communication Breakdown’. Then there was ‘Dazed And Confused’, Page’s late Yardbird remnant that by 1970 was developing into a marathon 20-minute opus with differing sections, including the violin bow episode and a call and response battle between Page and Plant.

‘Whole Lotta Love’, the Zep II opener, soon became another forum for exploration, usually a platform to playfully improvise a selection of Fifties rock’n’roll classics. During 1970 they also began previewing songs from the yet to be released third album – initially an embryonic ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and then, in a bold move, the acoustic ‘That’s The Way’, a performance that helped break the myth that Zep relied entirely on Marshall amplifiers.

Two separate teams of fans were intent on recording the Zeppelin gig at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on the night of September 4, 1970, but it’s unlikely they knew what Zeppelin had in store that night. Both came away with lengthy representations of the band’s current state of play, recorded on reel-to- reel recorders close to the stage.

The recording that would became known as the album Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill was captured by a pair of west coast bootleggers whose previous credits included Dylan’s Great White Wonder set and The Rolling Stones’ LiveR Than You’ll Ever Be. The latter had been recorded on a Uher 4000 reel-to-reel tape recorder with 71/2ips inch reels and a Sennheiser 805 shotgun microphone. They took this set up into the Forum to record in stereo the Zeppelin September 4 performance. Unbeknown to them, a separate bootlegger known as Rubber Dubber also recorded the show and quickly issued it as a double bootleg album stamped Led Zeppelin Live Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70.

The more common Blimp label version (later to appear on the high profile bootleg label Trade Mark Of Quality) with a distinctive surreal cover insert came out within weeks of the LA show. It’s worth noting, however, that it was not the first Led Zeppelin bootleg to be released. That distinction fell to a vinyl album known as PB (the title derived from the chemical symbol for lead). This came packaged in a brown sleeve with the words P.B. Live on side one and Recorded Live – Pure Blues on side two, and was pressed in limited quantities around the Seattle area. Pure Blues subsequently reached a wider market when it was picked up by the Trade Mark Of Quality label and pressed as Mudslide. The actual source was a soundboard recording from Zeppelin’s opening night of their fifth US tour on March 21, 1970, at the Pacific Coliseum Vancouver. The 40-minute tape was notable for capturing a rare version of ‘We’re Gonna Groove’, the Ben E King/James Beatha cover which the band used as a set opener during their early 1970 appearances. They also recorded a studio version the previous summer for possible inclusion on Led Zeppelin II which would eventually surface on the posthumous Coda album.

The UK music press of the time chronicled the constant stream of bootleg titles from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that were being imported into the country. When reports of Zeppelin titles came to the attention of Peter Grant he was predictably angry.

In one of the few naive statements of his career, Grant was quoted in the Melody Maker as saying: “As far as I know there can be no Led Zeppelin tapes available. After hearing some time ago that there was going to be an attempt to bootleg some tapes of the band, I flew to America. We’ve managed to retrieve all the tapes and we know nothing in existence that can be issued.”

When Grant heard that copies of Live On Blueberry Hill were being sold from a shop in Chancery Lane in London, Grant and Richard Cole, along with RAK management partner Mickie Most, paid the shop a visit. He questioned the proprietor on the Zeppelin album and with some not so gentle persuasion made sure he knew that this was one bootleg album it would be best to leave alone. In a separate incident a year later fearing another case of bootlegging, Grant smashed the equipment being used by a team of anti-pollution scientists set up to measure noise levels at a Zeppelin show in Vancouver.

For all his muscle Grant was ultimately powerless to stop the proliferation of Zeppelin underground records of which Blueberry Hill was the forerunner. If you knew where to look, such artefacts were possible to come by.

For this particular enchanted Zep obsessed teenager Blueberry Hill represented the forbidden fruit and back in 1972 I was determined to track it down. Luckily the then relative newcomer to the pop press Sounds offered a free service for readers’ classified advertisements. I scoured these columns religiously for many weeks and finally struck gold when I spotted an ad that ran along the lines: “Live albums for sale: Stones, Dylan, Zeppelin etc”. The list came back and amongst the many Dylan and Beatles titles there it was – Live On Blueberry Hill, a double album on the TMQ label, catalogue number TMQ 72002, and pressed on coloured vinyl, asking price £6. Back then six quid was a small fortune but it was more than worth it.

About three weeks later the postman dropped an LP size package on the doorstep. I anxiously ripped it open and there in all its glory was the genuine article: “106 minutes and fifty-three seconds of pure and alive rock” as the sleeve insert put it. Was it ever.


The excitement of playing that double album, on blue and red vinyl, remains an unforgettable musical memory for me. It was a novelty that never wore off. Indeed, the various incarnations I’ve obtained since – the Rubber Dubber vinyl set, the various re-issues, the various bootleg CD packages – all these have only heightened the listening pleasure of that celebrated Los Angeles stop-off during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour.

The overriding factor of the September 4 recording, regardless of which version you hear, is that it remains one of the greatest audience recordings of the era. The sheer dynamic thrust of Bonzo’s drum sound, the sinewy grind of Page’s guitar, Jonesy’s resonant bass lines and piecing keyboards and the outstanding clarity of Plant’s siren shrieks (suitably enhanced by the echo unit employed at the time), all merge into a ferocious mix that magically recreates the electricity of the occasion.

For anyone weaned the original TMQ long players, there’s an authenticity in their performances ingrained in the grooves that has rarely been captured so effectively. Alongside the 1975 Madison Sqaure Garden soundboard, the Earls Court shows and the LA 1977 gigs, there are few finer unofficial examples of the complete Led Zeppelin concert experience. The September 4, 1970, concert as captured on the TMQ double set was just choc full of off-the-wall surprises. There was no sign of any set list sterility back then – they just did as they pleased.

Moments to relish include:

The aural assault of ‘Immigrant Song’ (listed on the insert as ‘From The Midnight Sun’ as it had yet to be announced under its official title) exploding into ‘Heartbreaker’.

The slightly menacing tone of a relatively compact ‘Dazed And Confused’ with Plant bursting in mid way through screaming, “I don’t care what people say, rock’n’roll is here to stay”

Page and Bonham linked in glorious tandem for that solo exercise on ‘Bring It On Home’

The electric finale of ‘Moby Dick’ (“The big B!” exclaims Plant)

The unpredictability of ‘Communication Breakdown’ as Zep play The Buffalo Springfield and Beatles songbooks and throw in the rarely played live Zep I opener ‘Good Times Bad Times’.

Freshly minted nuggets from the yet to be heard Zep III on record such as ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and the rarely played ‘Out On the Tiles’.

The tentative introduction of the acoustic material, a stark and sensitive ‘That’s The Way’ and the rare try out of Page’s instrumental solo ‘Bron Yr Aur’, a clear five years before it was officially released

‘Thank You’ preceded by the meandering organ solo from John Paul Jones and finishing with a drawn out ending featuring Page’s delicate strumming.

‘Whole Lotta Love’ and the ensuing Zep 50’s revival show and finally the breathless rendiditon of Fats Domino’s ‘Blueberry Hill’

“Goodnight and thank you for everything,” utters a breathless Plant at the close, followed by “Did ya dig it?” by the evening’s MC.

Yes we did and still do

The greatest live album of all time? It’s certainly up there with the best, official or otherwise.

The reason is simple. It captures a group of musicians brimming with confidence. On stage that night in September 1970 Led Zeppelin were truly coming of age.

Live On Blueberry is also something of a yardstick for the bootlegs industry. Back then Zeppelin’s recorded output was just the tip of the iceberg. On stage live was where the real action occurred and, indeed, where they really built their reputation. Peter Grant summing it all up when he told me: “Led Zeppelin was primarily an in-person band… that’s what it was really about.”

Bootleg recordings of the band offered a whole new level of appreciation and Blueberry Hill was the watershed for the subsequent flood of live Zep bootlegs that would emerge throughout the next three decades.

The whole bootleg CD market may be well out of control now, beyond any reasonable realm of quality control, but there was a time when bootlegs like Blueberry Hill were considered almost as important as the group’s official output by fans and chroniclers alike and, if they were honest, probably the group themselves.

Maybe that’s the greatest compliment that can be paid to this iconic bootleg recording. It remains as essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums.

More than four decades on Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill.

Dave Lewis.


Walter Becker 1950 – 2017:

I was very sad to hear the passing of Steely Dan’s Walter Becker aged 67…so many great albums –so many great songs. A truly wonderful band. I remember Steely Dan’s Katy Lied album was played over the PA before Led Zeppelin took to the stage at Earls Court on May 17,1975 – hearing the likes of the brilliant Black Friday and Doctor Wu always reminds me of that….Walter Becker RIP





Free Appreciation Society Magazine -Free In Finland:

The new issue of David Clayton’s excellent and highly recommended Free Appreciation Society issue 140 has an illuminating feature on Free performing in Finland in 1972. This has been written and researched by long time TBL subscriber/contributor Alessandro Borri. He also enlisted help of another TBL subscriber/contributor Ilkka Pesu. I’s a great piece with some amazing pics.

More details at:



DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – at the always excellent Vinyl Barn in Bedford, a nice catch last Friday morning –Robert Palmer’s 1976 album Some People Can Do What They Like- UK Island Records white label test pressing – very nice! That one can add to the pre birthday playlist .Thanks Darren Harte !

Last Thursday we had a lovely day out in Camden and Covent Garden for the good lady Janet’s birthday. My birthday celebrations kicked off with the annual bike ride pub crawl with my good friend Max – The Polhill Arms, The Pheasant, The Tiger Moth, The Bluebell, The Sportsman, The White Horse ,The Devonshire Arms and The Fox and Hounds were all visited – a very pleasant afternoon! In the evening there followed a very nice meal and some rocking out to a local band in the Flowerpot.

Today, the good lady and I will be stepping out at lunchtime and again in the early evening. The plan is a Chinese takeaway with Janet and Adam tonight. Sam has already been in touch from Sydney to wish her Dad a happy birthday – thanks Sam!

On Saturday there’s a bit of a post birthday TBL meet at the Victoria Record Fair in London. I look forward to seeing all that can make it along.

Dave Lewis  – September 5, 2017

Until next time –  have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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YouTube clip: 

Dave Lewis sings Led Zeppelin – sort of…




YouTube clip:

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    That’s great Andrew

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Paul

  • Paul Gross said:

    Such a pleasure to read your words. I really loved the “things i’ve learned at 61” list.
    REALLY looking forward to Evenings w/LZ and TBL #43!

    Happy 61st!

  • Andrew said:

    Happy Birthday from the Jersey Shore USA. Thanks for the playlist. It’s made me revisit a lot of things I hadn’t listened to for a while. Also wanted to mention a personal Bootleg favorite. Cellar Full Of Noise. Sept 29 1971. Love the version of Friends. Killer setlist and performance. If you know of a better version let me know. Thanks again for all you do. Cheers!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    many thanks for all the amazing comments

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Ron many thanks for those very kind comments

  • Ron Adam said:


    What a wonderful article and I loved your reflections. I totally agree with you: passion is infectious. Your passion for music pervaded your entire article and left me both inspired and uplifted. Have a fantastic Birthday, and enjoy your 61st year!


  • Cragkeeper said:

    Happy birthday Dave. Hope it’s ok if I say that in the voice of the HAL 9000 computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey. The only movie that has ever been comparable to the effect of Led Zeppelin on myself! I’m 61. 62 in December. American. Zep being the only band I was ever really captivated by at the same time period you were.
    I love reading your stories and chronicles. Glad to see that other folks the same age in this world have had similar appreciation for all things Zep.
    So here we are again with the coming of a new Robert album. I am always left wrung-out emotionally when he does a new release. Since 1993 (except for UnLeded), I have been always disappointed in the net product at first. Then I give it a second chance, enjoy it a bit , and usually go to his live concerts. Round and round. Again I am experiencing the same reaction to both of the pre release songs. I wish it could be like the days of hearing Burning Down One Side, Other Arms, Little By Little, Heaven Knows, and perhaps the Ultimate of Calling To You. But I have to accept that those days are now history. I’m glad he continues to make new music. I’m glad he’s still with us. But the real magic of a Breakthrough PLANT SONG seems to be a now distant memory. Here’s hoping that something from Carry Fire is less predictable,less “world music” thumping, and more of something less underwhelming.
    take care and blessings to you!

  • Wools said:

    Dave, best wishes on your birthday celebration! Thank you so very much for providing me the opportunity to stay close to the mighty Led Zep! Your graciousness is much appreciated!

    Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Hiroshi said:

    Happy Birthday 21 Revisited!

  • Ian D said:

    A record shop – in Bedford. Wow,who’d have thunk it, and with Vinyl on the rise the dark art of master-bagging lives on.

    The format remains the same

  • Graeme Powell said:

    Belated Happy Birthday Dave !!!

  • SWIN said:

    Dave, Happy Birthday !See you at the Civic , Everonward !

  • SWIN said:

    Dave , best wishes ! Everonward !

  • Mark Williams said:

    Dave – just to wish you a very happy 61st birthday. Keep up the great work, it’s unmatched anywhere else.

    Keep on rocking in the Freeworld !

  • Larry said:

    Happy Birthday Dave! The t-shirt is a classic!

  • Michael Ulmer said:

    Hi Dave, happy birthday … and keep going on like before.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Albert!

  • Albert Borg said:

    Have a Happy Birthday Dave. Enjoy the blessings you have. Thanks for all you do for us LZ fans.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Dave be great to see you!

  • Dave Roberts said:

    Hi Dave
    A very happy 61st. Hope you had a great day. Both Cindy and I will be coming to the U.K in December to see Robert at RAH and Portsmouth. I understand you are also thinking about the 10 year anniversary of the O2 show. Looking forward to seeing you again.

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