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HIPGNOSIS PORTRAITS BOOK/EARLS COURT THE FINAL GIG/JIMMY PAGE CLASSIC ROCK INTERVIEW/ THE FIRST REUNION 1981/DL DIARY UPDATE

19 December 2014 2,718 views 6 Comments

hipgnosis

With Christmas nigh on upon us – here’s a Zep related book that comes well recommended:

Hipgnosis Portraits: Aubrey Powell – Foreword by Robert Plant (Thames and Hudson)

The Hipgnosis design team of Aubrey ‘Po’ Powell,  Storm Thorgerson and Peter Chrstopherson were responsible for countless iconic album sleeve designs and posters. In this weighty hardback volume, Aubrey Powell narrates the story of how they came to produce this starling body of work.

Aubrey was working on this book when I interviewed him back in the spring of 2013. The end result is a fascinating snapshot of in progress sketches, working documents, photographic portraits and memorable sleeve designs.

Led Zeppelin of course were a very important Hipgnosis client and they are represented here with the story of how the Houses Of The Holy sleeve design and Knebworth 1979 out in the field poster came into being. The latter is another opportunity to tell the story of how a certain female intrusion assisted in setting the right tone for that particular  session. There’s also a great previously unpublished  photo of Robert on stage at Brighton Dome on the 1972/3 UK tour. Post Zep there are several outtakes from the Principal of Moments sleeve (which I helped source). Indeed Robert himself contributes a very perceptive foreword explaining the Hipgnosis strategy of  ”Linking beautiful images to working titles and music, back when the album cover transmitted the earnest flippant sometimes hedonistic image the musician wished to ally with his project.”

Alongside Zep, there are further insights on the artwork Hipgnosis produced for the likes of Pink Floyd, The Pretty Things, Bad Company, Peter Gabriel ,Paul McCartney ,Genesis and many more.  With the vinyl sales enjoying a renewed sales spike, Hipgnosis Portraits is a timely reminder of how visually effective the album sleeve design was and is – and how innovative the Hipgnosis team were in designing so many memorable creative images in the process.

Here’s an extract from my interview with Aubrey Powell in March 2013:

DL: So how do you look back on the Houses of The Holy album sleeve?

AP: Over 40 years on from completing this album cover, I’m very proud of it. It’s one of the best works that Hipgnosis ever produced and it’s stood the test of time. Everybody still talks about it. You see in those polls of top ten album cover of all time , where Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon is always jockeying for a top three position with Houses Of The Holy.

I think the reason why it’s stood the test of time is that not only are Led Zeppelin the greatest rock band in the world but because the image is stirring.

People look at it and really wonder what it’s about. There’s a narrative in there …what are these children doing? Where are they going? What’s caused this? What’s this huge glow on the horizon? What’s the story with this? Then the inner cover the image of the guy holding the girl above his head – that also has that sort of fairy tale quality about it. It just grabs people’s imagination and it’s very unusual for an album cover. It’s very different and people seem to admire that image.

At Hipgnosis, we never felt that the work we did would go beyond the year that we did it, possibly because we were always so busy – we were probably doing three album covers a week for various different bands for 15 years. During the time I didn’t really have an opportunity to say ‘oh isn’t that great, you know in 40 years time people will look it and say gosh that was an extraordinary piece of work.’ All I know is that I just worked very hard and loved what I was doing and I enjoyed the people I worked for.  I thank Led Zeppelin for giving us the opportunity to do these designs, because without them we would not have been able to so.

In my heart of heart of hearts, it very much represents that vinyl period of time – those 15 years of top quality vinyl graphics that we produced.

So yes…Houses Of The Holy all these years on, is a piece I’m particularly proud of.

Hipgnosis Portraits (Thames & Hudson) is out now – and is currently on offer at a very good price on Amazon.

More details see link at:

http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Hipgnosis_Portraits/9780500517635

History of JB’s Club :

I’ve also been wading through this book which tells the story of the famous Midlands venue – more on this to follow.

……………………………………………………..

Earls Court – the Final Gig:

earls court sam

This was the scene outside the Earls Court Arena as taken by our daughter Sam who attended the final ever rock gig at the venue by Bombay Bicycle Club-  the venue is due to be demolished next year. I was of course at the venue nearly 40 years ago for the five appearances of Led Zeppelin attended – I also saw memorable shows at the venue by The Rolling Stones (’76), David Bowie (’78) and Rod Stewart (’98). The Lewis affinity for this landmark venue upholds to the end…

The surprise guest appearance by Dave Gilmour with Bombay Bicycle Club at the final Earls Court gig was a fitting emotional end …Led Zeppelin/Pink Floyd/The Rolling Stones/David Bowie.etc.. they were all here once…but never again…

Peace the support band to Bombay Bicycle Club fittingly covered Since I’ve Been Loving on the night  – incidentally a number that Led Zeppelin did not perform during their Earls Court shows in May 1975.
“This morning I woke up at 7am and watched Led Zeppelin playing here in 1975,” said frontman Harry Koisser. “It looked great, so we decided to cover them, which I know you’re not supposed to do…”. At the end of the set he again paid tribute to Earls Court, commenting: “What a fantastic venue. It’s a shame.”

………………………………

 Jimmy Page Classic Rock Interview:

See the YouTube clip below for another interesting interview.

……………………………..

The First (non playing) Led Zeppelin Reunion – Golden Lion Fulham December 15th, 1981. 33 years gone…
.
33 years ago this week – on December 15th 1981 , I was lucky enough to be in the company of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Peter Grant and various other guests at a special charity night at the Golden Lion Pub in Fulham London..it was their first public reunion since they announced they could not continue as they were.

Here’s the story of how this all unfolded.

Back in the early months of 1981, Lynn Sizemore who was PR to the Golden Lion Roadies Charity For Children Association, the charity formed from the Fulham pub often acquainted by the Zep / Swan Song entourage, approached me to publicise in the next issue of TBL, a children’s charity raffle being held in December – I was only too willing to help and we began planning how this would all work. The raffle was duly featured in TBL issue 6 which came out in the late summer of 1981. I had a few meetings with Lynn during this period including one memorable occasion at the Golden Lion pub in Fulham. Robert’s sound man Benji Lefevre ( who I saw a few weeks back at Robert’s Roundhouse show) was in attendance and I was introduced to John Bindon the notorious London character who had been with the Zep entourage on the 1977 tour and involved in the infamous Oakland fracas. Robert and John Paul Jones had already promised to attend and give prizes out on the night set for December 15th so it was always going to be a special evening.

Even more so after the call I made to Swan Song the week before the event. Sian at Swan Song informed me that Jimmy was also due to attend. It duly turned into something of a grand Swan Song reunion in true Zep style.

golden lion 1

On the night itself, Peter Grant arrived with Jimmy around 8.30. A combat attired Robert and smartly dressed JPJ were already in tow. Various roadies and Swan Song employees were there as was John Bindon again. Cozy Powell was also in attendance .Tom Locke and I spent a memorable night in the pub as Jimmy, Robert and JPJ mingled by the bar and duly got up on stage to present the prizes of Jimmy’s Yamaha acoustic guitar (wonder where that is now?) and a set of personally signed albums. The main winner was an American guy while runner up was, Steve Simmons a TBL subscriber from Bristol. The pic shows Steve on stage receiving his prize.

During a conversation with Jimmy he informed me he was making excellent progress the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. As a Christmas present, I gave Robert a copy of a large format History Of The Blues book (wonder if still adorns his book shelf?) to which he acknowledged with the classic “Eye Thank yew” catchphrase so prevalent on the Over Europe tour. I took the opportunity to tell Peter and Atlantic’s Phil Carson of my plans to write a major reference work on the band’s music though it would be another eight years on in the Marquee (at a Jason Bonham gig) when I was able to tell the pair of them that the book (Led Zeppelin A Celebration) was soon to be a reality.

It may have been a strictly non playing role, but this unexpected Led Zeppelin reunion was full of warmth and good cheer. Underlying all that though was the definite feeling that they now all had separate plans – Jimmy with the soundtrack, Robert with the in progress recording of his debut album and Jonesy who wryly informed someone at the bar that he was now on permanent school run duty for his daughter’s back in Devon. It would be another eleven years before all three appeared in public together in the UK again to attend the 1992 Q Awards to collect the outstanding achievement award, and another 26 years before they played together on that night of nights in December 2007.

Fast forward to August 29th 2013 and the Colston Hall Bristol.

golden 2

As we were making our way into the arena for Robert’s Sensational Space Shifters show on August 29th 2013 amazingly enough I bumped into Steve Simmons for the first time since that night at the Golden Lion back in 1981. Steve was carrying a photo book of the pics he took back then – we had a good old chinwag about how he had been the runner up in the competition and the signed albums he was presented with on that night all of 33 years ago. See pic from that night.

DL, December 15th 2014.

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Dave Lewis Diary Update:

As mentioned above, Bombay Bicycle Club staged the last rock gig at Earls Court  before it’s demolished next year…it was therefore fitting that our daughter Sam was in attendance -keeping up a tradition that commenced nearly 40 years ago…a part of rock heritage is fading away. It was a pretty special send off with the appearance of Dave Gilmour for the version of Wish You Were Here – see the YouTube clip below – very moving…

It’s been another week of preparing for Christmas and packing up last minute orders. I did plan to catch The Who’s O2 appearance last night (Thursday) but due to Roger Daltrey’s throat infection, their 02 gigs have been postponed to next March. I was in London anyway for a TBL meet to discuss one of a fair few projects that are mulling for next year. More on this soon.

santa one 2014

On the player: Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti as I’ve been busy researching a feature for the next TBL on that hallowed album. Peter Frampton’s Frampton album, The Faces Long Player, The Beatles Revolver, The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (I caught the Stones Hyde Park film on BBC 4 – a tremendous performance – we should have been at that one!) and a bit of seasonal fare (thank you John P) including The very quant Spotnicks In Wonderland and a Christmas Crackers compilation that has Marvin Gaye’s Purple Snowflakes, The Ronettes I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Dickie Valentine’s Christmas Alphabet and The Cocteau Twins Frosty The Snowman. All top seasonal stuff.

And finally:

Just another TBL service: The above all got me right in the seasonal zone as I did my Father Christmas stint on Wednesday, handing out the presents after the nativity at the pre -school the good lady Janet is deputy leader at. All went very well though one little lad did keep saying ”Youre not the real Father Christmas are you?”. Of course I am..at least for 20 minutes! I hope the kids enjoyed the copy of TBL 38 in their goodie bags…!

Dave Lewis – December 19th 2014

 

 

YouTube Clips

Peace covering Since I’ve Been Loving You – Earls Court December 13th 2015

Wish You Were Here – Bombay Bicycle Club with Dave Gilmour – Earls Court December 13th 2014:

Jimmy Page – Classic Rock interview:

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great weekend

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – December 19th , 2014.

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6 Comments »

  • Kurt said:

    Yes, I agree about the endless speculation about whether Jimmy will or will not get out there again is a bit tedious. Media partly to blame, but Jimmy does keep dropping hints too. Of course, the Man himself can do whatever the hell he wants, obviously. I stand ready to see what he does with never ending anticipation. Glad to see the flurry of activity this past 10 years from Jeff Beck, Robert continues to do his folky thing, and JPJ is always doing something, although I would love to see him rock it out with those two albums he did Zooma and Thunderthief again. My point being, that if Jimmy is planning something around his playing again, he might as well get after it. Certainly all the projects he has been doing are much appreciated, and must take large amounts of his time, but he can attend to those later, when his playing days finished. I just re watched the Might Get Loud film, wow, to see Jimmy playing so beautifully, fantastic! cheers!

  • Richard Willis said:

    Its great to know that Jimmy has so much energy and poise toward the past. He is more like a man half his age. Plese, please keep up the great work. I so look forward to what comes next!? Tour? Yes please

  • Wools said:

    Dave,
    Great story of the charity event at the Golden Lion! That must have been a very exciting evening anticipating the unfolding of possible events! I would have enjoyed being there; great story!
    Well, it seems as all things appear to be go for Jimmy Page fans to hear that famous Les Paul Custom again in 2015. I for one will be lining up to listen and enjoy the next chapter of Jimmy Page’s journey.
    Lastly, Happy Holidays to you and the entire TBL family. Thank you for keeping our community alive!

    Wools

  • Mark James said:

    I love Zeppelin so much and the music still shakes my soul and feeds my senses but over the years since the end of the band Robert Plant has continued to move forward and inspire us all with his musical invention. It has been a long time waiting for Jimmy to showcase his talent so hopefully he will take a leaf out of Robert`s book and surprise us all. I just hope he can perform at some of the smaller venues where Robert has played.

  • Dave Linwood said:

    Sorry folks, I will not shed a tear to see the concrete dump known as Earls Court torn down. I saw many shows there over the years – and unless you were in the first 20 rows (which I was for a few of the shows) the boomy sound was terrible.

    That and the poor catering, merchandising and sight views in some places upstairs means that consigning this venue to rubble is a good thing. Zep or not. Good riddance!!

  • Stephen said:

    Man, I hope Jimmy’s not bluffing with this new musical project. We’ve had a lot of false starts from him over the last few years. I remember Plant saying that Jimmy told him to hold information back in interviews to create a mystique. That was okay in the 70s, pre-social media, etc, but now his reluctance to say in plain English what he’s doing, or at least what he plans to do, is infuriating. He’s either bluffing and has nothing up his sleeve, or wants to maintain the “mystique” and keep us guessing. In my opinion, the “game” has become tedious for fans and the serious music journos like Classic Rock, Q and Mojo.

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