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17 November 2016 2,298 views One Comment



November 21st is always a bit of a special date in my calander year – as it was on this day back in 1971 that I was lucky enough to witness Led Zeppelin live at the Empire Pool Wembley –and as you will read, nothing was ever the same in our house after that. Over the next few days  I’ll be wading through the Empire Strikes Back Tarantura CD box set to recall the night the Wembley Empire Pool was, as the Melody Maker headline ran  ‘Zapped by Zeppelin…’

Here’s some personal reflections…

Schoolboy wonderment, Wally, Pigs and Plates at the Pool

45 years ago on Monday I first witnessed the pure live power of Led Zeppelin when I attended the second Electric Magic show at the Empire Pool Wembley on the evening of Sunday November 21st 1971. I was just 15 years old –the effect would be a lasting one. Looking back one of the things that stands out from that time is that Zep had a ‘’leaders of the underground’’ stigma about them.

This was the latter period of the UK underground scene –the famous Oz obscenity trial was a only a couple of months before and on that November night there hung a heady atmosphere as London’s counter culture elite came out to see them. This feeling of being amongst the counter culture was enhanced by the presence of a large stall within the Empire Pool for Virgin Records Richard Branson’s newly inaugurated discount record retail operation. They were proudly selling the new Led Zeppelin album in that mysterious sleeve. There was also the famous Electric Magic poster on sale for all of 30p which now changes hands for upwards of a grand. I wish I’d brought more than one!

This was the night Home and Stone The Crows were the support acts and during both sets their respective guitarists took out a violin bow and briefly did a ‘’Jimmy’’ in mock respect for what would occur later. The in between entertainment was provided by the infamous performing pigs that didn’t and the plate spinner Olley Gray who also didn’t fare too well. Warm up records played by DJ Jeff Dexter included Redbone’s Witch Queen Of New Orleans and Isaac Hayes’ Shaft – both hits of the time (Page would insert the riff of Shaft into their version of Dazed And Confused the next week in Manchester.

There were frequent cries from the audience of ‘’Wally’’ a gig going tradition sparked by a roadie at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Never around when needed, the road crew cries of ‘’Where’s Wally?’’ was taken up by the festival audience – and ensuing audiences at big name gigs such as this one.

Then it was time for the main event. Promoter Ricky Farr introduced them and it was evident how loud it was going to be from the moment Bonzo rattled around the kit and Jimmy flexed the Gibson. Then 1 -2-3-4 …Blam!

I was watching Led Zeppelin perform Immigrant Song in front of my own eyes…and nothing was ever the same again.

And nothing was ever this loud. The sheer force of the riff physically pushed me back. After the initial shock of that moment, well the rest of proceedings for this particular schoolboy were just awe inspiring. I watched it all with open mouthed wonderment.


So many vivid images remain from that first stunning exposure to the grown up music world. The immediate upturn of seeing this thing in the flesh was that my interest increased manifold. The scrapbooks became more meticulous, the hunger for knowledge about them more intense and the need to follow their every move a virtual means to an end. It was a year of waiting before they returned to the UK and I saw them at Alley Pally and then came five glorious nights at Earls Court and more. By then journalistic reporting of Zep in the Melody Maker and NME by the likes of Roy Hollingsworth, Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray had inspired me to put pen to paper myself and the seeds of Tight But Loose were being sown.

Ultimately it was that night back in November 1971 that sparked the insatiable belief in their music that has stayed with me ever since. It was a night of true Electric Magic and the intervening 45 years have done nothing to diminish its impact.

Back then at 15 years old, I knew I had witnessed something very special –but little did I realize that 45 years hence at aged 60, Led Zeppelin would still mean so much to me and countless millions across the world.

Then as now… they still hold the (Electric) Magic….

Dave Lewis – November 17, 2016.   


Newcastle Chronicle:

Long time TBL supporter Dave Morton was in touch recently to inform me he was putting together a piece for the Newcastle Chronicle regarding Led Zeppelin’s  appearance there in 1971. It came out very nicely:

When the world’s biggest rock band Led Zeppelin were on a Stairway to Heaven at Newcastle City Hall

On this day 45 years ago, Led Zeppelin played songs from their new album – it would become a classic

By David Morton,

Led Zeppelin on tour in the United States in 1973, 18 months after they graced Newcastle City Hall and released their bestselling fourth album in November, 1971

Led Zeppelin on tour in the United States in 1973, 18 months after they graced Newcastle City Hall and released their bestselling fourth album in November, 1971

For legions of rock fans the world over, the song Stairway To Heaven is the greatest ever recorded.

The album it came from was released this week 45 years ago and, indeed on this day in 1971, the band that recorded it began their UK tour at Newcastle City Hall.

The early 1970s was a golden era for rock music, with the likes of Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie, Elton John and other stellar names all performing in the region.

By late 1971, the biggest rock band in the world, however, was Led Zeppelin who had supplanted the now-defunct Beatles in that position a year earlier.

The irony was the English group, who’d actually made their first UK performance at Newcastle Mayfair in October 1968, refused to release singles, rarely gave press interviews, and wouldn’t do television.

They never appeared on Top of the Pops, despite the show using a version of one of their songs – Whole Lotta Love – as its theme tune for many years.

Today, this PR approach would mean commercial suicide. Back then it gave Led Zeppelin a mystique which set them apart from their rivals.

Author Dave Lewis, the world’s leading authority on the band runs the popular Tight But Loose magazine and website.

Dave said: “Led Zep had a strong affinity for performing in the North East. This date was the first night of a 16-date UK tour.

“It saw them showcase material from their much anticipated fourth album. It was the first time a UK audience would have seen their new stage set-up with Jimmy Page’s amplifier emblazoned with his ‘Zoso’ symbol – one of the four that made up the mysterious title of the album.

“The new material such as Black Dog and the soon-to-be immortal Stairway To Heaven, went down a storm. The reaction on the night ensured that when Zep next toured the UK 12 months later – they again chose the City Hall as the opening night.”

Dave added: “According to Zeppelin manager, Peter Grant, the gig was ‘sold out before word was officially out. The manager found so many people waiting outside the hall that he was forced to sell the tickets on the spot.’

“The show was promoted by legendary Northeast concert promoter Geoff Docherty. He had promoted the band’s Newcastle Mayfair show back on March 18, 1971.”

An audience recording of the City Hall show exists on a bootleg and captures the excitement of the crowd and the power of the band.

Opening with the Immigrant Song, singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham, and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, show why their sound was packing out arenas in the United States and around the world.

Dave Lewis added: “The band performed four songs from their brand new LP which was to be released in the UK the following day – Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, and Going to California.”

It would go straight to number one, but little would the audience know the album would go on to become one of the best selling of all time, with estimated sales – to date – of 37 million.


TBL Archive Special:

Led Zeppelin IV – 45 years gone…

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

To mark the 45th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin IV here’s a TBL archive feature – first compiled for TBL issue 15 though not used at the time – it eventually appeared in the my Celebration II – The Tight But Loose Files book.

The Making Of Led Zeppelin IV – Part One:

On the evening of Saturday, September 19, 1970, the four members of Led Zeppelin took a final bow before leaving the stage of New York’s Madison Square Garden. It signalled the end of a massively successful US tour, their two performances at the Garden alone netting each of them around $30,000 – not bad for six hours work. Their second album had been a fixture on the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic, racking up sales of over a million in both territories. The previous June the group’s bill topping appearance at the Bath Festival had cemented their reputation on home soil. Readers of the then hugely influential Melody Maker had just voted them as the top act in their annual pop poll, ending years of dominance by The Beatles.

There was simply no doubt about it. Led Zeppelin were now the biggest band in the world.

Then came the backlash…

In early October their eagerly awaited new album, Led Zeppelin III, hit the stores. Its bold agenda in combining the familiar, trademark heavy rock dynamics with more acoustic textures confused both the public and press alike. Headlines such as “I… 2… 3 Zep weaken” were rife as this new direction confused and, to some degree disappointed, critics.

Though Zep III sold well initially it did not to have the across-the-board appeal of their first two albums. Never entirely at ease with the press, Page and Plant were particularly sensitive to the criticism. “The headlines are saying Zep goes soft on their fans or some crap,” remarked Plant to Record Mirror at the time. “The point is when you begin a new album you never knew how it’s going to come out.”

For Page the third Zeppelin album signalled the beginning of a new era. “There is another side to us. This album is totally different to the others and I see this as a new direction.”

Plant again: “Now we’ve done Zeppelin III the sky’s the limit. It shows we can change, we can do things. It means there are endless possibilities. We are not stale and this proves it.”

Brave fighting talk – but quite how their following would react long term to this new direction was at the time still in question. After the initial glow of success they were at something of a crossroads, making their next album crucial. Page later reflected: “With Zep III we thought we’d made a great album – in fact we knew we had. At the time, though, it was said we had started playing acoustic instruments because Crosby, Stills & Nash had just come through and we were ripping them off. I know the record company expected us to follow up ‘Whole Lotta Love’. But we never made a point of trying to emulate something we had done before.”

Sensibly they took their time in recording the crucial fourth album. To recharge their batteries manager Peter Grant refused all offers to tour over the coming months. This included turning down flat a cool one million dollars to appear on a New Year’s Eve I concert to be relayed across the world via satellite. Years later | Peter Grant noted: “I got approached for the band to perform a show in Germany on New Year’s Eve 1970 that would be relayed to American cinemas. The offer got up to a million dollars but I found out that satellite sound can be affected by snowstorms so I said no. The promoters couldn’t believe it, but it just wasn’t right for us.”

Aside from a day out in October to accept a clutch of gold discs from a Parliamentary Secretary for their part in sustaining the country’s healthy balance of exports, the group laid low.

In late October Page and Plant returned to the idyllic cottage half way up a mountain in South Snowdonia known as Bron Yr Aur. It was here that earlier in the year they had conceived many of the songs for Zep III. This return visit again found them ensconced around the open fire with acoustic guitars in hand preparing material for the next record.

They already had a backlog of completed and work-in-progress ideas, amongst them a lilting, Neil Young-influenced: titled ‘Down By The Seaside’, ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’, a semi-acoustic country stomp and, in the same vein, a song called Poor Tom’. ‘The Rover’, then an acoustic idea with idealistic lyrics, was another song waiting to be honed. John Paul Jones had been working on a brooding keyboard piece that would later emerge as ‘No Quarter’, while Page had began demoing a lengthy instrumental track which started off tranquil but built to a crescendo. We all know how that idea flourished, initially they considered a double album, and Page even toyed with the bizarre idea of issuing the album as four separate EPs. After the Zep III backlash they were immensely keen to lay down some fresh new material.

In December they booked initial studio sessions at Island Studios. The Basing Street location was fast becoming the most in-demand studio in London and they had recorded much of Zeppelin III there the previous May. Page, though, was also looking to record on location with The Rolling Stones’ newly built mobile recording unit. “We started off doing some tracks at Island then we went to Headley Grange, a place we had rehearsed at. We took The Stones’ mobile. It was ideal.  As soon as we had an idea we put it down on tape.”

Headley Grange, a largely derelict 18th century manor house, was situated in deepest Hampshire. A three-storey stone structure built in 1795, it was once a workhouse known as Headley Poor for the aged and infirm, and in 1870 it was bought by builder Thomas Kemp who converted it to a private residence and. renamed it Headley Grange.

In the wake of the ‘getting it together in the country’ trend that acts such as Traffic had pioneered in the late Sixties, the place  began to be used as a rehearsal venue for the likes of Fleetwood  Mac and Genesis. It was Fleetwood Mac who suggested the premises to Page.

Plant reflected: “Most of the mood for the fourth album was brought about in settings we had not been used to. We were living in is falling down mansion in the country. The mood was incredible.”

So on a cold January morning early in 1971, accompanied by a handful of roadies plus engineer Andy Johns (brother of noted producer Glyn Jones who had worked on the first Zeppelin album), Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham convened on the old workhouse to set up and record material for their fourth album. Parked outside was the Stones’ mobile studio looking not unlike some vintage army intelligence unit.

Engineer Andy Johns recalled the idea behind going there in an interview with Guitar World: “I had just done Sticky Fingers with the Stones and we’d used the mobile truck on that. So I believe 1 suggested using the truck to Jimmy. We had used Mick’s house at Stargroves but Jimmy didn’t want to stay there because Mick wanted too much money. Then Jimmy found this old mansion so we brought the truck there.” They did eventually record at Stargroves the following year for the Houses Of The Holy album.

John Paul Jones has less positive memories of their stay at the Grange. “It was cold and damp. I remember we all ran in when we arrived in a mad scramble to get the driest rooms. There was no pool table or pub. It was so dull but that really focused your mind on getting the work done.”

On hand to monitor the recordings was Ian Stewart. Stu, as he was affectionately known, was a long time backroom associate of The Rolling Stones – and had even been in an early line up of the group prior to Andrew Oldham grooming the younger band members for success. Stu was an accomplished jazz and blues pianist, and his battered old upright piano was packed alongside the Zep gear in preparation for the likelihood of a jam session or two. The relaxed nature of the whole set up deemed this inevitable.

zep 1971 photo call

Early on during the warm up sessions, John Bonham began banging out the cymbal led introduction to Little Richard’s ‘Keep A Knockin”. Ian Stewart joined in the fun, adding a Jerry Lee Lewis barrelhouse piano backdrop. Jones and Page picked up the mantle, adding Scotty Moore-like guitar runs from the, golden era of Sun Records. Plant soon cut in with a vocal line, but instead of tripping effortlessly into one of the many rock’n’roll standards that they performed live on stage he screamed out nondescript lyrics built around a chorus of “It’s been a long time since I rock-‘n’ rolled”. Within minutes they knew they had something, as Page remembers: “We were doing something else at the time but Bonzo played the beginning of a Little Richard track. We had the tape running and I started doing that part of the riff. It ground to a halt after 12 bars but we knew we had something – Robert came in with the lyrics and within 15 minutes it was virtually complete.”

Dave Lewis


LZ News:

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.

Jimmy Page with Jeff Beck and Joe Perry at the Classic Rock Awards afterparty in Tokyo, Japan on November 11 (Instagram/disvicious1)

  • Jimmy Page gave an interview to Rolling Stone Japan, which you can read here (if you can read Japanese, that is). There were also two new photos of Page taken for the interview. Page said during the interview that he intends to focus on his “guitar project” next year, and he also said that he would have supported Bernie Sanders if he were a US citizen because Sanders got young people involved in politics. Page previously supported the Conservative Party in the UK, and said in an interview with NME in its August 4,1979 issue that he voted for the Conservative Party that year.
  • John Paul Jones
  • sara-watkins-1Pic by Niall Kelly.

Sara Watkins and John Paul Jones performing in London on November 10 (YouTube/Alan Halford)

  • Jimmy Page didn’t perform this week, but John Paul Jones did. He made an unannounced appearance at Sara Watkins’ show in London on November 10. He joined her for four songs. Click on the links below to see videos of each track:

November 10: London Jefferson Take Up Your Spade Long Hot Summer Days Your Bright Baby Blues

Many thanks to James Cook.

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


Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters UK tour dates: 

Below is the press release for Australia’s extremely successful concert event ‘Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters’. The tour arrives in the UK for the first time in April 2017. Long time TBL Australian subscriber Michael Rae strongly recommends this show.


Tickets go on sale on Friday, 18th November.


Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin Masters will crash the UK with a limited eight-date UK #tour in April 2017! Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Vince Contarino and bolstered by the breathtaking might of the thirty-five-piece The Black Dog Orchestra, Led Zeppelin Masters is one of the most ambitious concerts ever to meet the stage. TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 18th NOVEMBER! Way, way down inside, you need it!

#music #ledzeppelin #rock



The Glasses Remain The Same: This one from Ken Winovitch:

If you’re old enough to remember your U. S. concert experiences from back in the 70’s,  then you may remember wasting money on those opera/sports/theatre glasses. These cheap metal fold-out ‘binoculars’ gave you a whopping 4X view of all the action!  Yeah, sure.  They even came in an assortment of colors – black, brown, red and navy to name a few (nothing more than a ‘simulated’ leather-looking decal).  Getting them to even focus was a real chore.  The larger front lenses folded out after you pressed the open button.  You had to then squeeze down on the foldable lid a touch or two and then your ‘double image’ would finally merge into one AFTER you struggled to get the image into focus.  Nevertheless,  I wasted the money getting one of these at my first concert, which turned out to be Kiss on September 4, 1976 at Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena.  That first concert was supposed to have been Led Zeppelin on February 1, 1975,  but I was grounded by my parents!  But if you watch Led Zeppelin’s concert film ‘The Song Remains The Same’,  you can see a guy selling the ‘concert’ glasses along with 8 x 10 black and white bootleg photos of the band right after the song ‘No Quarter’ finishes.  Led Zeppelin’s concert film premiered in Pittsburgh at the Stanley Theatre on  November 20, 1976 at Midnight.  I attended the very next two showings which were at 2:30 PM and 5 PM on Saturday November 21st since I loved the film so much.  It was the first time I ever saw Led Zeppelin ‘live’ and every year since,  I watch the film that weekend and I still get a good chuckle when I see that scene!  Having wasted money on those opera/sports/theatre glasses myself,  I have to side with Peter Grant and Zep on that one. You get what you pay for!   Ken Winovich


Leon Russell:

it was very sad to hear the passing of Leon Russell aged 74 – I always loved his contribution to The Concert For Bangla Desh – the version on the YouTube clip below of  George Harrison’s Beware Of Darkness has Leon singing a verse at 1min 45…RIP



A Very Special T-Shirt:

A very special original Led Zeppelin T shirt sent to me all the way from Los Angeles by Luke Bossendorfer and passed my way via Guy Griffin of The Quireboys and his brother Dan. I’ll be treasuring this one you lovely people…

Luke and Guy played in various bands in Bedford during the 80s and early 90s and during my time writing a column for the local Bedford newspaper the Beds Times Citizen I covered some of their early gigs – it was Luke’s way of saying thanks – how nice is that!


DL Diary Blog Update:


Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – some single delights last Friday including Atomic Rooster Devils Answer in pic sleeve, Jethro Tull Witches Promise/Teacher in pic sleeve plus America by The Nice and The Small Faces Tin Soldier on the Immediate label- seven inch beauties – thanks Darren.

On Saturday, there were some very nice finds at the Bedford Pop Up shop – including Otis Redding Otis Blue on the US Volt label and The Beatles Yesterday and Today album on coloured vinyl, not quite original but very nice to have! I was also well pleased to find the man From UNCLE soundtrack album – actor Robert Vaughn was another sad passing last week.

In the evening we attended Michaela Tait’s 50th birthday party in Bletchley.  A great night with Zep tribute band Coda turning in a highly entertaining set. Here’s the birthday girl adding a bit of theremin to a stomping Whole Lotta Love! You rock at 50 Mrs Tait!michaela-theremin


On Sunday we attended the annual Remembrance service at the Embankment – earlier on the morning bike ride I captured some Autumnal beauty at the same location. The service itself was very moving and poignant…

It’s been another week of intensive work on TBL 42. A fair bit of text has slotted in but there’s a way to go yet. Health wise – still not been feeling great to be honest – the anxiety attacks are still causing some distress and I’m trying to keep a positive attitude on dealing with various stuff that has led to that situation.

On the player: Robert Plant Fate Of Nations, Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks ( what a record) and Phil Collins Face Value. The latter artist may be much maligned but that album still sounds very impressive and the themes of love and loss still resonate. For all the Live Aid controversy, I have a lot of time for old Phil – a great drummer (his work on Robert’s Pictures At Eleven is exemplary) and I’ve just started reading his just published autobiography, he tells it like it is – it’s a very honest account. He has certainly had his problems but I am glad he is back to form and judging by the very buoyant ticket sales of next year’s comeback gigs, his reputation is back on the up.

We were due to be attending my good friend Phil Harris’s 60th birthday party on Friday but Phil has been poorly and has had to postpone it for awhile. Get well soon Mr H…

Dec was coming over for Phil’s party back from Ireland and having booked early is still making the trip and it will be good to see him. The VIP Olympia Music Mania Record Fair is also upon us this weekend and I am aiming to be there Saturday. It’s the biggest fair of the year and the presence of several US and overseas dealers always makes it a very worthwhile and interesting event. More on all that and progress on the forthcoming TBL 42 next week.

Dave Lewis – November 17 , 2016.

Until next time – have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis
with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:
The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

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And Finally…

You Tube Clips

John Pau Jones with Sara Watkins:

George Harrison with Leon Russell – Beware Of Darkness;



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One Comment »

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Dave… Where do you find room for all this stuff…!?! Did you have an extension built to house your LP collection…!?! I recently purchased the incredible 27-disc Pink Floyd Early Years box set and that alone feels like it occupies one quarter of my entire living space.

    I saw Jimmy Page at Newcastle City Hall on Nov 23rd 1988 as a 16-year old (my first ever concert) and I relate entirely to your sentiments. My ears are still ringing.

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