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15 May 2024 726 views 2 Comments

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN…Note below the NME’s May 17 issue centre spread below compiled by the late Roy Carr and the late legendary Howard Mylett. I thought I knew a bit about Led Zeppelin until I met dear Howard…

may 17

TBL Celebrates the 49th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 49 years:  Saturday May 17th 1975:

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog.

May 17th a dull rainy Saturday. Left Bedford around 4pm on the train and met then girlfriend Fiona (we are still in touch all these years later) in London for the long awaited return. I’d been counting the days down since March and now here we were hours from seeing and believing. We were inside the arena from around 7pm and the next hour was a slow one – I’d brought a programme and t.shirt. The programme with the illuminating text from Tony Palmer really whetted the appetite and had some amazing photos.

Finally when the stage burst into action following Bob Harris’s intro just after 8pm, well it was the moment my life switched into colour after the previous 18 years had been viewed in grainy black and white.

We had a good view high up to the right looking down towards Jimmy’s side. They were a little nervous and it was evident Jimmy was having lead trouble in Rock And Roll, but once they settled in it was all and more I’d hoped for. The video screen high above the stage was something I’d never seen at a gig before and I found myself gazing in awe at the memorable images flashing on screen- and wishing it was being broadcast on TV.  I’d played Physical Graffiti non stop since it had come out so seeing In My Time, Kashmir and Trampled played live was just awe inspiring. Tangerine was an unexpected treat as was the whole acoustic interlude. Having no idea what the set list would be  only added to the pure wonderment of seeing Led Zeppelin live before my very eyes.

Initial opening night impressions:

John Bonham’s incredible drum sound, Robert’s warm rapport with the crowd and the way he totally dominated the stage.. After this somewhat shaky start they quickly regained confidence and the new numbers from Physical Graffiti, In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir set the standard. The latter’s Eastern-sounding riff rose into a thick, booming sound that reverberated throughout the entire arena. As the tapes of the shows so vividly reveal, that booming sound was very much an Earls Court characteristic, a sound so solid that when Page laid down a chord you could practically lean on it.

EC jr2

The marathon Dazed and the laser lights shooting through Jimmy’s violin bow. By the evening’s end the early nerves had all but evaporated, to be replaced by a relaxed atmosphere which found JPJ playfully offering a few bars of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic as Robert introduced ‘Stairway To Heaven. Plant was now regularly adding the line “That’s all we got” to the final verse prior to Page’s solo. Whole Lotta Love  featured a few riffs from The Crunge prior to Jimmy’s theremin battle. An unsurprisingly nervous start but with plenty to build on.

We got back to Bedford at 2am and I was already counting down the hours to when we would be back in their company again.  There were just 18 hours to tick off.

The Led Zeppelin Earls Court experience was underway…and boy life was good…

Dave Lewis – May 24  2024

“Apart from The Who and The Stones I can’t think of many bands who could have put on anything like it. During moments like Trampled Underfoot it seemed the whole stage was just going to fall forward and crush everybody in the hall.” Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express.

may 18

TBL Celebrates the 49th anniversary of Led Zeppelin at Earls Court:

Turning the clock back 49 years..

Sunday May 18, 1975

Setlist: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Tangerine/Going To California/That’s The Way/Bron-Y-Aur Stomp/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

In the morning I’d got the Sunday Observer with the colour supplement magazine with that Tony Palmer feature in.

”Led Zeppelin bigger than The Beatles?” proclaimed the front cover. What a compliment…and a rightful accolade.

On the train at 5pm in the afternoon with fellow fan Nic and his girlfriend.

Hung outside Earls Court amongst the the programme sellers and poster stalls before the show -bought a bootleg badge which was as big as a dinner plate. Wore it with pride for years!

The second night saw them settled into the run. Over The Hills And Far Away developed into an early set template on each successive night. Loaded with rock steady authority, with Page at his most spontaneous, supplemented by  Bonham and Jones holding down the bottom line, and hinting at the rhythmic tempos they would develop for Candy Store Rock on the Presence album. Page’s double-neck guitar poses during The Song Remains The Same and would give the attendant photographers plenty of famous images while The Rain Song saw the guitarist draped in blue light, casting another memorable portrait, a solitary figure in the spotlight ringing out some sweet familiar notes. Add to that an intensive and incessant In My Time Of Dying (Plant’s ”I must have done somebody good” line resounded in my ears all the way home).

ec no quirter

The outstanding performance of May 18, though, was No Quarter as immortalised on the subsequent Red Devil vinyl bootleg. Never before had JPJ immersed himself in this showpiece with such subtlety and grace, the defining moment being the point where he came out of the classical sequence, at around 3mins 45, to play a cluster of descending notes that rippled from the grand piano and into the Earls Court air.

The acoustic section found Plant at his loquacious best, unfolding tales of the origins of Going To California (“So we went to Wales and when we got there we wrote songs about California”) and That’s The Way (“So we were sitting on a grassy bank looking across the unspoiled countryside”). Dazed And Confused was also developing its own unique Earls Court quality. Page’s delicate, melodic guitar passages leading into Woodstock remain an evocative reminder of the times that still brings on the chill every time I hear the tape 49 years on.

During Whole Lotta Love they kicked into the rhythm of The Crunge as they had done briefly the previous night but now further developed Plant’s echoed “I’m just trying to find the bridge” lines. A crunching Black Dog brought show number two to a close after some 195 minutes on stage.

We just managed to get the last train back and in for 2.30am. Two down and incredibly…three still to go!

Dave Lewis – May 17 2024

“In six and a half years Led Zeppelin have grown to be the biggest band in the land and judging by the excellence of their performance at Earls Court, one of, if not THE most exiting live act in the world. I guess I came on the right night. It’s difficult to describe the magic or atmosphere of that Sunday. It was one of those gigs that will remain scarred on my brain forever.”

The late Pete Makowski, Sounds.

More Earls Court Archive next time…

And sticking with Earls Court…the book…

Still readily available …

Five Glorious Nights – Led Zeppelin At Earls Court May 1975

A photographic record compiled by Dave Lewis (Rufus Publishing)

In May 1975, Led Zeppelin performed five momentous concerts at the Earls Court Arena in London to a combined audience of 85,000 fans. This was a band  at the peak of their powers slaying the sold out audiences with a nightly marathon three and a half hour presentation of light, sound, power and energy.

There’s no doubt that Led Zeppelin’s Earls Court appearances represented a career high for the band and four decades on, are still held in the highest esteem by the vast following.

Five Glorious Nights –Led Zeppelin at Earls Court May 1975 captures the sheer visual magnificence of the band though the images of some of the finest rock photographers of the era who were right there on the spot to capture rock history.

Compiled by renowned Zep authority Dave Lewis, this new 320-page revised and expanded edition offers a permanent visual record of a band at their absolute zenith – in a setting that truly justified their status as the world’s greatest live attraction. The book features over 250 black and white and colour photos plus over a 100 memorabilia images.

It comes in two versions – the standard edition is a 230mm square hardback format in a printed sleeve with slip case and four prints and is on sale on the day for a bargain £50.

There’s also an exclusive Leather and Metal Edition, measuring a huge 375mm square, bound in recycled burgundy leather and supplied in a hand-made aluminum slipcase with a reproduction show poster. Only 100 of these are available and includes the standard edition.

More details at:

Some feedback from satisfied readers:

This is a magnificent celebration of Led Zeppelin’s stratospheric five evenings at Earls Court in May 1975. The different size format works superbly and takes us on a fantastic journey across nights seldom seen and the additional Adrian Boot photos from 23 May are sensational.

Ian Saikia – UK 

Led Zeppelin functioned on a different level in their live performances, that level reached a pinnacle in May 1975 with five nights at London’s Earls Court arena. Dave Lewis has put together a beautiful photographic chronicle of those nights. Packed full of rare photographs, memorabilia and more. Five  Glorious Nights Revised and Expanded perfectly preserves those legendary evenings with Led Zeppelin.

Ed Ortiz – US

Led Zeppelin Five Glorious Nights – Revised & Expanded Edition- is a complete privilege to have received. The book drives me directly into Earl’s Court. A  riveting and a compelling account of the legendary Led Zeppelin shows. The images and descriptions create a vision of the prestigious evenings that took place in 1975. “Just a little world to get lost in occasionally” as Robert Plant stated.

Wanda Wooten – US

And the press view…

Noted Zeppelin archivist Dave Lewis has compiled a lavish mostly chronological photographic record of their 1975 shows. Revamped with a host of new photographs. What shouldn’t surprise but actually does, is just how beautiful page and Plant were. 

John Azlewood – Classic Rock 



More Earls Court…Led Zeppelin T. shirt charity find – and it’s one of mine!

The things you find in charity shops – Pete Burridge informed me that the Sue Rider charity shop in town had a display of rock T shirts in their window and one of them was a Led Zeppelin Earls Court Five Glorious Nights T shirt with my name on!

This was a promo shirt I did to promote the book back in 2015. Lo and behold today I found the T shirt in the racks in the shop asking price £15! I already have one or two here so a purchase was not necessary – quite how it found it’s way into the shop in Bedford I’ve no idea but it was nostalgic to see a part of the Five Glorious Nights legacy!


Becoming Led Zeppelin film update:

A long awaited update on the Becoming Led Zeppelin film project…

This via the Blabbermouth web site:

According to Variety, the official LED ZEPPELIN documentary “Becoming Led Zeppelin” has been acquired for release by Sony Classics Pictures for North America, Latin America, Southeast Asia (except for Japan),the Middle East and Benelux.

A “work in progress” version of “Becoming Led Zeppelin” screened at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy in September 2021, and the “now completed” cut features “a brand-new sound mix (and) newly unearthed material from the archives of all four band members,” according to the Sony Classics announcement.

“We have spent years designing this film to be experienced on the big screen with the best possible sound,” director Bernard MacMahon said in a statement. Producer/co-writer Allison McGourty added: “Sony Pictures Classics are the perfect partners because they are true believers in the theatrical experience and are passionate about giving the millions of LED ZEPPELIN fans a chance to see and hear them on the greatest screens and sound systems in the world.”

No time frame was given for the film’s release.

See full story at:


Mark McFall’s Zepfab Podcast…

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a guest on Mark McFall’s Led Zepfan podcast last week – it’s on all the regular platforms and here on YouTube.

Mark and I rambled on delightfully about a number of Zep topics – here’s the results…
LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

Here’s the latest round up from LZ News:

On Monday last week we kicked off a new campaign attempting to discover any photos of Led Zeppelin’s May 26, 1973 show in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the band’s most recent show without any circulating photos so we figured it was a good target. LedZepNews managed to appear on local TV station KSL TV 5 to talk about our plea.

Then things got a little strange. On Wednesday last week, LedZepNews was browsing eBay and stumbled upon a collection of seven photos of Led Zeppelin performing at an unspecified May 1973 show that was up for sale in an Idaho record store.

We teamed up with LedZepFilm to buy the photos and spent a week looking into their origins. Sure enough, those photos are the first images to emerge of Led Zeppelin’s May 26, 1973 Salt Lake City show.

Coincidentally, two days after we launched a public plea for photos of the show an Idaho record shop listed photos of the show online without ever knowing of our campaign.

We’ve scanned the photos and published them all online for you to enjoy.


Dave Lewis appears on Zepfan podcast

Tight But Loose editor Dave Lewis is the latest guest on Mark McFall’s Zepfan podcast. You can listen to the episode below:

Simon Kirke was interviewed for a Telegraph article about Swan Song

Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke was interviewed by The Telegraph about Swan Song and its notorious October 31, 1974 launch party.

“Being a drummer and a big fan of Bonzo we huddled in a corner and talked drummer stuff – bass drum pedals and skins and sticks – and that lasted all of about seven minutes before we toasted each other and hugged each other,” Kirke said of the party.

Coming soon: The Day on the Green Files

Walking into Clarksdale engineer Steve Albini died

Steve Albini, the musician and engineer who worked with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on their 1998 album Walking into Clarksdale died on May 7 aged 61.

Page paid tribute to Albini this week, writing on Instagram that Albini “had an impressive CV and leaves a real legacy.”

Many thanks to James Cook

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


And then two years later this happened…

TBL Archive : Heathrow Airport – 47 years Gone:

47 years ago on Tuesday May 17,1977 , I awoke with the day’s mission being to hook up with the members of Led Zeppelin – and incredibly that is exactly what happened.

As this story that appeared in TBL issue 18 explains, any plans to actually go out and see them perform live in America had been thwarted by a serious lack of funds. My then wages of £22 per week earned working on the record and tapes department at WH Smith in Bedford was never going to get me to Madison Square Garden.

As a mad keen fan of just 20 years old, I knew there had to be another way to see them. With invaluable help from Unity McClean at the Swan Song office, I hatched a plan to go to Heathrow Airport to wave them off as they began the second leg of the tour.

I got the idea from all those newsreel films of The Beatles being waved off from airports by loads of screaming girls. I did not envisage too many screaming girls being there but I did think it was a relatively feasible way of seeing them.

Unity very kindly supplied me with the timings and so it was on Tuesday May 17, I set off from Bedford to achieve my quest. I stopped off at the Swan Song office to catch up with Unity. I even got involved in running a few errands – not uncommon whenever I visited. I was dispatched to the local Kings Road newsagent to buy copies of the first day’s edition of the Evening Standard. This was to check that they had carried an apology for a mistaken identity story involving a false Robert Plant story they had run with the previous day.

Unity was well pleased to find it in there and immediately biked over a copy to Peter Grant. Back in the office Unity gave me various photos to get signed. I then took the tube to Hatton Cross and boarded a bus from there to get to the terminal. Back then there was no direct tube line into Heathrow.

I arrived at Heathrow just after 4pm. A couple of Welsh fans Russ Rees and Peter Jones (who I am still in touch with) were also there. Outside the main doors John Bonham was holding court by one of the limos chatting to Richard Cole. John Paul Jones arrived wearing a union jack cardigan – it was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year and patriotism was well high. Unity later told me Jonesy had laughed when he had seen the pics I took as the jacket had fallen to pieces soon after.

Robert kept up the royal theme wearing a badge of the Queen. Robert arrived soon after looking every inch the rock god. The first photo shows me following him across the road -Robert carrying his own luggage –  he only had to ask and I’ve gladly helped him out !

The mood was very upbeat and friendly. I talked to Robert about how the tour was going and he relayed how much they were enjoying it. A roadie came in on the conversation and Robert mentioned how much he liked Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis song.

Robert and JPJ were more than happy to sign my photos and pose for a pic. I’m carrying the photos I took along and look at those badges – dinner plate size! I’m wearing the jacket I regularly wore for work.  I look as proud as a peacock and that’s exactly how I felt. It was just incredible to be in their company – my idols right next to me!

Robert kept on joking about Jimmy’s whereabouts as he was running late. ”Where’s Patti Page ”? he kept repeating. Jimmy arrived in a Range Rover driven by his driver Rick Hobbs. He looked a little unsteady in a white suit but soon began joking and chatting with the others. I chatted to him for a couple of minutes.

I finally left them as their flight was called around 6pm. it was an absolutely thrilling experience and I made my way back to Bedford in something of a daze. I was due to play in a Wallbangers football match that night but arrived too late -not that it mattered too much as we won 11-0!

The next day I relayed these tales to my Mum and Dad and then girlfriend Fiona. In the morning I was back behind the counter selling records at WH Smith while Led Zeppelin took to the stage in Birmingham Alabama. There’s some amazing cine film of that gig and when I watch it I always marvel at the fact that I was one of the last people to talk to them in England before they left for yet another trail blazing tour of America.

Exactly two years to the day of the first Earls Court concert, I had experienced yet another incredible occasion in their company. Like all these occasions, it enhanced my enthusiasm to follow this group and it’s music with increasing passion love and devotion.

46 years on from that remarkable experience, that passion love and devotion remains ever strong….and that afternoon in Heathrow Airport is a memory that shines ever brightly…and one of many that will be in my planned DL memories book for sure…

Dave Lewis – May  15 2024

Thanks to Russ Rees and Peter Jones for the photos.  


Record Collector 1984 feature:
The current issue of Record Collector has a feature on the state of the record market in 1984. It’s part of a special 1984 Revisited focus which looks at the records and formats that dominated that era,
The writer Mathew Quinlan interviewed me about my music retail experiences during that period when I was the manager of the WH Smith record department.
I was well pleased to have a few quotes included in his excellent piece…
You can order this May edition of Record Collector at this link:


Scarlet Page on Photography Podcast…

My friend Kam who runs the photography business Abraxas Photography and Video has a podcast – a recent guest was Scarlet Page
Here’s the link to listen to it…
Welcome to The Photography Bar podcast, where we talk all things photography.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday May 9:

This one sounds even better when the sun shines…

Friday May 10:

Another album that always sounds even better when the sun shines…

Saturday May 11:

Saturday is platterday – on the player the brilliant Steve Winwood album Arc Of a Diver – another one that sounds even better when the sun shines…this copy a rather splendid Japanese pressing…

Saturday May 11:

St Albans market find today – Led Zeppelin Presence German pressing with full hype sticker- £15? I’ll take it – you can never have too many of that 1976 gem!

Thursday May 16:

It’s a Happy Birthday today to Mr Chris Charlesworth –  renowned rock journalist and book editor who was right there reporting on and interviewing the likes of The Who, Led Zep, Bowie, Lennon etc in the golden age…

I have a lot to thank this man for as back in 1990 in his role as editor in chief at Omnibus Press, he commissioned my book idea Led Zeppelin A Celebration. It set me on my way and since then Chris has sanctioned and edited further Led Zeppelin books I’ve been involved with.

Always a great support to all things TBL, his illuminating on the road tales of his association with Led Zep when he was with Melody Maker has lit up a fair few of the Zep conventions and fan meets I’ve helped stage – as some of you reading this will know.

His musings on his Just Backdated blog also light up many a day. I am very much looking forward to the forthcoming publication of his book Just Backdated: Melody Maker Seven Years In The Seventies which is due out in September.

Chris has also been a great support to us personally over many years.

Given his status as an authority on all things Who related, it’s rather fitting his Birthday coincides with the original release date of The Who Live At Leeds album all of 54 years ago yesterday.

Long may you ride that magic bus Chris… Happy Birthday from Janet and I – have a great day!

For more details about Chris’s book visit:

Thursday May 16:

It was 54 years ago – The Who Live at Leeds…
On the player marking its original release 54 years ago today, the brilliant Who Live at Leeds – right up there with the very best live albums of all time.
I vividly remember reading the NME review by Roy Carr back in 1970 in total awe knowing how good this was going to sound…
I had great fun writing the front cover lead feature on the album for Record Collector back in 2010…
Update here…
It’s been heads down and full on with the Robert Plant Portraits book writing and editing –  a trend that will continue for the next few weeks ahead. There’s a way to go yet but some good progress being made. More on all this as it unfolds…
Thanks for listening

Until next time…

Dave  Lewis –   May  16 2024

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Terry Marino said:

    Just a huge thank you for the wonderful work you do for us Zeppelin fans! I love your personal stories with them the most ( a little jealous lol!) that could be a book too. I keep the hope of one day meeting Robert just to say thanks for the music of my life( ok maybe a hug and picture too!) again thanks for all you do

  • Chris Cook said:

    Hi Dave
    Last week you, like many, paid tribute to Steve Albini.
    Yesterday I stumbled across this 10 minute video where Albini describes candidly the creation of ‘Walking Into Clarksdale’. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already seen this, but nevertheless I thought I’d share the link because I found it interesting.

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