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22 May 2010 5,066 views One Comment

This piece was  originally written for the TBL Earls Court Journal in 2000. It therefore predates the 2003 DVD and How The West Was Won releases that would go some way to unlocking their archive.

This is my version of the definitive Earls Court imaginary compilation:




“Think of 1980 – It’s The Song Remains The Same soundtrack or nothing. 1990 – The Song Remains The Same or nothing. And now it’s the same. I’ve always wanted to put out a chronological live album of Zeppelin stuff – there’s some incredibly good stuff – but I just can’t get the others to agree, so I’ve stopped trying.” – Jimmy Page/Classic Rock, March 2000.

It would seem from those latest comments that the long mooted idea of a multi-CD, chronological, live Zeppelin set being officially released was off the drawing board in 2000. And until the situation is resolved, bootlegs will have to suffice.

Nevertheless, it’s fun to speculate on its hypothetical contents. Back in the summer of 1995 I used the Earls Court shows as a basis for an imaginary 4-CD set for a feature in Record Collector magazine (issue 191). In reality it won’t happen of course, not least because it’s doubtful that the group have the complete tapes of all the shows in their archive anyway.

Knowing of the many unofficial audience and soundbaord tapes out there, there is scope to produce a complete overview of the five Earls Court shows spread over four CDs, combining the best versions of the regular repertoire with a selection of the unique items performed at these shows in the same way that Deep Purple’s Made In Japan album was expanded to a three-CD Live In Japan commemorative set.

So, having analysed the five shows, here is my imaginary four-CD selection. It offers four and a half hours of definitive Earls Court 1975 Led Zeppelin, 29 live performances selected in chronological order over the five shows. Within this there are nine examples of different versions of the same track, thus offering the opportunity to compare how the songs evolved on successive nights, and it would be all sequenced with relevant between song patter from Plant that captures the unique atmosphere of the Earls Court season.

CD 1: Material from the first two shows:

Rock And Roll (3min 51 sec)/Sick Again (4.51)/The Song Remains The Same (5.20)/The Rain Song (7.40) – all from May 17.

In My Time Of Dying (12.23)/Kashmir (10.05)/No Quarter (21.26)/Moby Dick (12.50 edit) – all from May 18

CD2: Material from the third show:

Over The Hills And Far Away (8.00)/Tangerine (4.20)/Going To California 5.50)/That’s The Way (7.45)/Dazed And Confused (32.00)/Stairway To Heaven (12.35)

CD3: Material from the fourth show:

No Quarter (22.51)/Tangerine (4.00)/That’s The Way 6.06)/Trampled Underfoot 9.05)/Dazed And Confused (33.21)

CD4: Material from the final show

Over The Hills And Far Away (7.50)/In My Time Of Dying (10.05)/Kashmir (9.07)/Going To California (4.53)/Bron Yr Aur Stomp (5.40)/Stairway To Heaven (10.43)/Whole Lotta Love (6.35)/Black Dog (6.50)/Heartbreaker (5.58)/Communication Breakdown (5.03)

So there you have it: 270 minutes of unchallengeable evidence that Earls Court was one of the greatest series of concerts Led Zeppelin ever performed.

Originally published in the TBL Earls Court Journal 2000

Copyright Dave Lewis 2010 –not to be reproduced without permission

To be continued:  Tomorrow – DL memories of the third show May 23rd 1975

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One Comment »

  • Peter Aquino said:

    What we got in 2003 is wonderful, but your above “complete” EC would be outstanding! Jimmy, MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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