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28 March 2017 1,822 views 5 Comments


TBL Archive Special 1:

Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy  TBL – 44th Anniverary Special:

44 years ago this week Led Zeppelin released their long awaited fifth album, Houses Of The Holy. Coming off the back of the hugely successful fourth album, there was much anticipation for this new record – their first in nearly 18 months. The eclectic feel good content meandered from familiar hard rock through acoustic and orchestral arrangements, to brooding synth affairs and ’50s doo-wop/mock reggae and funk pastiches. It was all performed with a joyous abundance that mirrored the positivity that surrounded them at that stage of their career. However, the reception to the album at the time was decidedly mixed and it is often wrongly deemed as somewhat of a lesser part of the Zep cannon. In hindsight, this was clearly a band that was pleasing themselves and their fans at the expense of what the critics expected.

 Then there was the sleeve design:

Along with the likes of Pink Floyd and Yes, Led Zeppelin’s album art work was almost as distinctive as the music – Houses of The Holy was no excpetion.

 The distinctive sleeve design was the product of a meeting between the Hipgnosis sleeve design team of Sorm Thorgerson & Aubrey Powell, and Jimmy, Robert and Peter Grant. Jimmy had admired the Hipgnosis design on Wishbone Ash’s album, Argus. However, the meeting got off to a bad start when Storm’s initial suggestion of a cover concept was of a tennis racket illustration. This was misinterpreted by Page as a slur on the band as to their music being literally a racket. Eventually an idea was pitched as Thorgerson recalls “Something large, strong, powerful, awesome and mythic was clearly called for but what would that be?”

Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis recalls that both the Nazca lines in Peru and the geological rock formation at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland were considered for location shooting, with the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland eventually being chosen. Powell took two children along and based his image on a science fiction book called Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, in which children climb off the end of the world.

The outer photos were shot in black and white in appalling conditions, while the inner sleeve was taken at nearby Dunluce Castle. The two child models, Stefan and Samantha Gates, (the latter would also feature on the back cover of Presence )were featured naked climbing the mountain. Remembering the shoot, Stefen (who went on to be a TV presenter of the BBC’s popular Cooking in the Danger Zone show) said: “For the Zeppelin cover we went to Ireland during the troubles. I remember arriving at the airport and seeing all these people with guns. We stayed in this little guest house near the Giant’s Causeway and to capture the so-called magic I’ve heard people saying they put wigs on several children. But there was only me and my sister and that’s our real hair. I used to love being naked when I was that age so I didn’t mind. I’d whip off my clothes at the drop of a hat and run around having a great time, so I was in my element. My sister was older so she was probably a bit more self-conscious.”

All the shots were later airbrushed, though original instructions for the children to be gold and silver were amended by accident to a more atmospheric purple. This elaborate printing technique delayed the original January 5th release date to late March. Following in the tradition of the fourth album, it was an artistic statement that gave little indication of the musical content within. This, of course, only added to Led Zeppelin’s increasing mystique. After the furor of the wordless fourth album, manager Peter Grant did allow Atlantic to add a wraparound band to the sleeve – stating the band’s name and album title. This was produced in the distinctive type script that would become synonymous with the band. Original copies with the wraparound intact are highly collectable.

Four years ago on the 40th anniversary of the album’s release I went to interview one of the designers of the Houses Of The Holy sleeve.

Aubrey Powell aka Po, co-founded the album cover design company Hipgnosis with Storm Thorgerson in 1967. Hipgnosis created some of the most innovative and surreal record cover art of the 1960s, 70s and 80s for many of the big name rock bands of the era including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Yes, Genesis, 10cc, Peter Gabriel, Bad Company, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Scorpions, Styx, Syd Barrett and Black Sabbath.

Hipgnosis were responsible for the Houses, Presence, The Song Remains The Same, In Through The Out Door and Coda sleeves. Po later moved into films and directed various Robert Plant and Firm videos –he also directed the No Quarter Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded film. He is currently working on a book of photographic portraits.

On this 40th anniversary I asked Po to summarise what the Houses Of The Holy sleeve means to him…

aubrey powell

Above -Aubrey Powell London – March 27th 2013.

”40 years on from completing this album cover, I’m still 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’”

Aubrey Powell – March 27th 2013.

In 2005 Aubrey Powell of the Hipgnosis design team (the famous team responsible for Zep and Pink Floyd sleeve designs and many others) came here to film some of my memorabilia for a Robert Plant project – part of which involved filming my copy of the Honeydrippers Sea of Love on the Dansette player I had – this was used as an house record company promo film. While he was here he kindly signed some of my albums – I particularly like this comment on my Houses Of The Holy sleeve. It’s inscribed ”My favourite sleeve of all time from the Hipgnosis stable”


It was 44 years ago…

Like countless fans across the globe on that spring Wednesday back in March 1973 ,as a 17 year old Zep obsessive I eagerly snapped up the album . I had been touring the record shops of Bedford daily for the arrival of this opus. This was in the years before I began working in a record shop myself.

At lunchtime I walked the short distance from British Home Stores where I worked to Carlows one of the seven record outlets in the town and laid down my £2.65 (it was an expensive album in the Atlantic del luxe price rang) took it out of the bag and simply gawped in teenage wonderment at the oh so remarkable sleeve.

What was all that about…?!

For me the sleeve suns up the pure mystery and evocative atmosphere of No Quarter.

My diary reveals that once home that night, I gave the album an initial blast before venturing out to play football in the local park (the clocks had just gone forward that week so it was now getting light at night). I was back in my Zep bedroom den straight after to get lost on their world in the album with the catalogue number (which I’d already memorised) K50014.

Now that is an important point –to get lost in their world…. because that is exactly what it was like as Brad Tolinski astutely noted in Guitar World

‘’Led Zeppelin were the best because they were the most exotic and imaginative of rock bands. And the fascination with the group continues because their music still sounds strange, wild and totally alien today as it did three  decades ago. Led Zeppelin music was designed to stimulate the imagination, to encourage kids to dream ,to see an open space beyond the grind of daily existence’’

That is exactly how I felt that March evening of 40 years ago. Given that my daily existence was spent in the stockroom of the aforementioned BHS and that the UK at the time was a somewhat drab place to be with industrial unrest and the threat of IRA bombing – so to be transported to California sunshine and sweet Calcutta rain, as Robert Plant sang on the still riveting opening track The Song Remains The Same…well that was some ride for this particular 17 year old.

It’s incredible to think back at how important music was then in the pre download instantly accessible world.

There was no itunes platform to preview the album, oh no – the only previews afforded was the screening of a very weird film to match No Quarter on the Old Grey Whistle Test the previous Tuesday and an airing of Dancing Days on Emperor Rosko’s Saturday morning BBC Radio One show.

You coveted every word, you gazed at the sleeve, you memorised the lyrics (and for this album  every song lyric was printed on the inner sleeve). You lived these songs –they became part of your daily life, enhancing your mood, the soundtrack of falling in love and out…you lived and breathed them.

Like every other Led Zeppelin album, Houses Of The Holy more than fulfilled that premise in the coming months and years…

There were however some issues. By and large the press hated it – how shocked was I to read the Melody Maker review the next day that proclaimed ‘’Zep lose their way’’ accompanied by a very indifferent review by the usually supportive Chris Welch.

The problems? –well we all know that well enough:

The Crunge and D’yer Mak’er…two less than serious stabs at enjoying themselves at the expense of critics and perhaps fans alike- particularly the ones groomed on the hard rock of Zep 1 and II.

My learned friend Kevin Hewick in a summary of the album he wrote for the TBL magazine, notes as a 15 year old Zep fan back then being well confused.

‘’Then came ‘The Crunge’ !?!?! Were they joking? Well yes they were but this seemed like a somewhat lame joke.

 Over on Side 2 ‘Dancing Days’ seemed a piece of poppy fluff and ‘D’Yer Maker’ was a ‘crunge too far’ for me, a somewhat limp novelty mickey-take of the Caribbean sound that was actually turning into a major force with The Wailers ‘Catch A Fire’ soon to reach our British ears.

 This rather lightweight three track sequence did them a lot of damage in my eyes. They seemed to be merely mucking about, a cardinal sin in my pretentious chin stroking world of prog meaningfulness, yet it was also lacking the thrill of Bowie’s pop art glam razzamatazz.’’

Kevin does now have a high regard for the album noting that

‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ is everything you need to know about Led Zeppelin in one song, folk and rock rather than folk rock, their diverse strands united in the same song ‘

So Led Zep II it certainly wasn’t …

As for me… well need you ask – I loved it all!

But I have to say back in 1973 I was going through an intense period of musical discovery and not long after its release, my attention to Houses was somewhat diverted by other musical goings on…

The aforementioned David Bowie whose magnetic presence you could just not ignore that year…in April The Beatles double album retro sets 1962 -1966 and 1967 -1970 captivated me –as I’d just missed their golden period being too young. Other albums such as The Faces Oh La La, Paul McCartney’s & Wings Red Rose Speedway, Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies ,The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup (I saw the latter at Wembley Empire Pool in the September) and in the autumn The Who’s Quadrophenia and Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves demanded my attention. I was at an age of discovering so much music…it was hard to fit it all in.

There was also an album called The Dark Side of The Moon released a week before Houses that would also make a bit of an impression on the record buying public.

Houses Of The Holy did not stay on the UK chart for more than a couple of months and was somewhat eclipsed (no pun intended!) at home by the abundance of fresh and vital music that year….

America as we know, had no such issues…

Overall though, Houses Of The Holy went on to become something of an underrated part of the Zep cannon. In hindsight, this was clearly a band that was pleasing themselves and their fans at the expense of what the critics expected.

The eclectic feel good content meandered from familiar hard rock through acoustic and orchestral arrangements, to brooding synth affairs and ’50s doo-wop/mock reggae  and funk pastiches.  It was all performed with a joyous abundance that mirrored the positivity that surrounded them at that stage of their career.

Back in Europe during the early spring on yet another tour, Robert Plant was quick to defend the album. In an interview at the George V hotel during their two-show residence in Paris in April 1973, he said “So there are some buggers who don’t like the album. Good luck to ’em. I like it and a few thousand other buggers too.  There’s only one way to function and that’s on stage. We’ve reached a high and we ain’t going to lose it. And no bad album review is going to change that.”

As it turned out, Led Zeppelin had the last laugh.

Following their UK and European dates that year, they embarked on  a two-legged assault on America for which No Quarter was a further Houses addition to their live set.

Zeppelin opened their US tour by playing two mammoth dates. In Atlanta they drew 49,000 on 4 May  while the next day a staggering 56,800 packed into the Tampa Stadium in Florida. This gave them the distinction of attracting the largest audience ever for a single act performance, beating the previous record held by The Beatles for their 1965 Shea Stadium show.

At the same time, the album ascended to the top of the Billboard US chart for a two week reign sandwiched between Elvis’s Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite and The Beatles 1967-1970 compilation. The US tour was an enormous success and by taking on PR Danny Goldberg this time around, they made sure the world knew about it.

By pleasing themselves, Led Zeppelin may not have pleased the critics, but they certainly pleased their ever faithful following.

After the release of Houses Of The Holy more fans than any other act in the world wanted to see Led Zeppelin play live.  It was the moment they stopped being a mere rock band and turned into a global phenomenon.

The  album that cemented that success is still held in high regard by the ex band members and fans alike. “There was a lot of imagination on that record.  I prefer it to the fourth album,’’ Plant remarked a few years back while Jimmy Page reflects “You can hear the fun we were having on and you can also hear the dedication and commitment.’’

Whilst their fourth album had been all about economy with everything in the correct place, Led Zeppelin’s fifth album was less about being perfect and more about letting loose and having fun.

Houses Of The Holy retains that pure feel good factor and 44 years on, stands as a pivotal album in the development of Led Zeppelin’s artistic growth.


Dave Lewis


TBL Archive Special 2:

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot:  

The final few dates of the 1975 US tour..




Set: 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/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog)/Heartbreaker.

snapshot 19

“Good Evening! My name is J. J. Jackson of KWLOS. We’re all here to welcome back to the LA area… Led Zeppelin!” A mass of firecrackers heralds the band’s arrival on stage.

The Forum has long been one of Zeppelin’s favourite venues and once again they revelled in the surroundings. Plant: “This is the place, this is the one. These are the last three gigs on our American tour and so we intend them to be something of a high point for us. Obviously, we don’t achieve that without a little bit of a vibe, that I can already feel, and a few smiles.”

After ‘Over The Hills’, Robert states: “A gram is a gram is a gram!” Ambiguous and humorous remarks are rife tonight. Plant continues: “Since we saw you last time there have been a few developments in the camp and a few camps in the development – Bonzo decided not to have the sex change after all!” ‘The Song Remains The Same’ is about “places where the red light still shines for two rupees, places where there’s a magical feeling in the air… rather like Paul Rodgers’ bedroom when he takes his shoes off”

Plant describes the Mellotron as “A rather cheap, nasty, improvised version of an orchestra, but unfortunately with the tax and overheads, we can’t afford to take an orchestra with us anymore.”

Plant introduces Billy Miller – “Elvis Presley’s right hand man” – and sings a few lines from ‘Love Me’. After ‘Moby Dick’, Plant comments: “What a wonderful drum solo and a wonderful head job in the dressing room… thank you Ahmet Ertegun!”

‘Dazed And Confused’ is described as “The first thing we had a go at, apart from the secretary” but is rather uninspired in places tonight. ‘Stairway To Heaven’ is dedicated to “All our English friends that have arrived at the Continental Riot House. This is for the foundations of the Continental Riot House and for you people who have made this a good gig.” The whole band performed impeccably on ‘Stairway’ turning in one of the most impressive single performances of the tour.

Plant: “Children of the sun. Good night!”

As far as the press are concerned, the new additions to the set are now beginning to steal the show. Disc reports: “All the newer material was well received, although it seems that ‘Kashmir’ is set to become the star track and another classic. It was also while the group performed this number that I think the lights and effects were used to their best advantage.”




snapshot 20

Set: 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/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Spanish Harlem – Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Lickin’ Stick –  The Crunge – Black Dog.

Yet another excellent performance – even better than the previous night.

Plant: “Last night we had a really good time. We had a great concert. It was one of the finest we’ve had in California for a long time!”

‘Kashmir’ is outstanding tonight and Plant describes it as being about ‘the wasted, wasted lands… and it’s not the lobby of the Continental Hyatt either!” ‘No Quarter’ is extended to truly epic proportions, lasting nearly 27 minutes with Jones and Bonham again favouring the jazz improvisation they adopted in Seattle four days ago.

‘Trampled Underfoot’ is dedicated to… “All the good ladies of America who’ve helped us get rid of the blues from time to time on the road… that boils down to about two!” Page’s solo is masterful and commanding. Plant ad-libs “drive on – feels pretty good” and again extends the number with lyrics from ‘Gallows Pole’, even throwing in a few cries of ‘Hangman’.

Bonham is introduced tonight as… “The man who broke every window in room 1019… the man who smashed wardrobes… the man who set fire to his own bed… the amazing man with only two cavities… Mr. Quaalude!”

‘Dazed And Confused’ was another stand out extended to 39 minutes. Page inserts a gentle Spanish sounding passage which leads into Ben E King’s ‘Spanish Harlem’ before running into ‘Woodstock’. ‘Stairway To Heaven’ shines once more. Page’s playing is sharp and decisive as the tension builds with each note. John Paul Jones is superlative.

‘Whole Lotta Love’ once again includes a snatch of James Brown’s ‘Lickin’ Stick’ and Plant ad-libs “Like a sex machine!” Page even includes a few riffs from the never performed ‘Nightflight’ prior to the Theremin section.

Plant: “People of the Forum. We’ve had a good time… It is the summer of our smiles…”

Indeed it was…




Set: 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/Since I’ve Been Loving You/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. Loving You) /Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge – Black Dog.

Deep Throat porn star, Linda Lovelace introduces the band for the final show of the US tour. Plant returns the compliment: “I’d like to thank Linda Lovelace for coming on and making an appropriate speech about our presence, and we’d like to apologise for being late, but one of the cars didn’t crash!”

Bonham and Page are outstanding during ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, and although the band seem a little tired in places, overall the concert is a triumph. Plant comments that he’s glad the final show is in LA, because last time the tour ended in New York which is… “not the most pleasant place to be. There’s some nice ladies on 83rd Street. But the rest of it… no!”

During ‘In My Time Of Dying’, Plant ad-libs “please Lord, don’t leave me dazed and confused!” and then adds some of ‘You Shook Me’ before the number falls apart. He speculates that they may end up in the Fall doing a gig in the Sahara desert, due to their love of the East, and ‘Kashmir’ once again is spectacular.

‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ is a late addition to the set and is warmly appreciate by the crowd.  ‘Trampled Underfoot’ is now referred to as ‘Trampled Under Gallows’ due to Plant’s persistent injection of lyrics from ‘Gallows Pole’. ‘Dazed And Confused’ is one of the longest of the tour tonight, with a very spacey middle section as Plant repeatedly ad-libs ‘Loving You’.

This show clocked in at  nearly three and a half hours long and completed a  run of some  of the finest in the history of the band.

“Led Zeppelin At Its Peak In L.A. Forum” reports Billboard. Bob Kirsch writes: “‘Zeppelin has two major strong points. It has mastered the technique of combining musical excellence with mind-boggling volume. And it is able to operate either as a unit or each can move into a subordinate role for whoever happens to be soloing at the time.

“Zeppelin has long been the target of critical barbs for crashing volume and the seeming sameness of its material. Yet in an age when headline acts are often boring, sloppy and create no excitement at all, this British quartet stands out as a masterful example of what rock and roll was meant to be.”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounded today:

The final riot night of the US tour was a mass celebratory affair with the band fully aware that with this tour they had turned adversity into triumph. From the moment Linda Lovelace cutely introduced them onstage to Plant’s ”We’re coming back baby” this was a true prelude to what the UK was about to be served.

They even gave a hint of Earls Court fashion by introducing his Miss Selfridge cut off shirt and Page wearing the Dragon suit trousers that would become such a visual imprint of May 1975.

Their confidence was subsequently overflowing as they attacked In My Time Of Dying, Plant throwing in a few lines of You Shook Me.

”Anybody remember?” he asks at the end as he would a month later in SW5.

The version of Since I’ve Been Loving You was a real bonus and something sadly that Earls Court did not receive.

”A change in the programme- we were gonna do…..but this is a blues and I think this is where we first came in”. An impromptu set revision that delighted the LA audience.

A rare latter day stand alone delivery (in ’72/3 it had been segued with Misty Mountain)) recalling the majesty of Blueberry Hill at this very venue five years back. Rarely played in ’75 they ached their way through the old Led Zepp III standard -Page’s solo as precise and inventive as that night back in September ’70.

On the home straight it was nothing less than a victory stomp. Stairway played as was the case as Earls Court as though Plant believed every word, and the final incendiary Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog medley with the added visual spectacle of that neon lit sign. Images and sounds that London would soon delight in.

Acknowledging their enthusiasm,  Plant told the final LA audience ”It’s really nice to know that we’re giving you what you are giving us because after tonight I think we’ve got three gigs in England. I don’t believe well work again for quite a long time, so this has got to be good”.

That last night in  LA  was indeed good…very good ….and Earls Court awaited…



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.

Led Zeppelin:


Jimmy Page

A section of the cover art for the upcoming release of “Live At Jones Beach” (Record Store Day)

  • The lineup of Record Store Day 2017 releases was officially announced on March 21. As we reported previously, a 10″ marbled black and white vinyl release of Jimmy Page performing with The Black Crowes at Jones Beach on July 10, 2000 will be released on April 22. It’s going to be a three-track release, featuring “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Bring It On Home,” and “In The Light.” “Misty Mountain Hop” and “In The Light” were previously available on the Japanese release of “Live At The Greek,” however. The EP will be limited to 3,000 copies worldwide.
  • Another record being released on Record Store Day is a 1966 recording of a track by Beverley Martyn which features both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The single includes two tracks: “Picking Up The Sunshine” and “Me & My Gin.” It’s limited to 500 copies, but the full previously unreleased album will be released in the future. Find out more about the release here.

Robert Plant

  • The free CD that comes with the latest issue of Uncut magazine includes “Jesus On The Mainline,” the track from Fairport Convention’s new album that features Robert Plant. Find out more about the issue here.

Upcoming events:

April 5 – John Paul Jones’ band Tres Coyotes will have their debut performance in Helsinki, Finland.
April 16 – John Paul Jones will perform at the PRÉSENCES électronique music festival in Paris as one half of the band Minibus Pimps.
April 22 – Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes’ “Live at Jones Beach” and Beverley Martyn’s “Picking Up The Sunshine” will be released on vinyl for Record Store Day.
April 30 – Jimmy Page Records will release “The Beginning…”, a 1961 Chris Farlowe studio session produced by Jimmy Page
May – The March 21, 1975 Seattle soundboard bootleg “Deus Ex Machina” is rumoured to be released this month.
May 23 – A photo of Jimmy Page appears in the new photo book by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, which will be released today.
May 27 – Unrestored footage of Led Zeppelin performing at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 will be screened there as part of an event about the director Peter Whitehead.
June 23 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.
June 24 – John Paul Jones will perform at the Sun Station Vadsø festival in Norway.

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


Danny Baker receives a fine JPJ related album! 

Long time TBL supporter  John Parkin attended the Danny Baker gig in Scunthorpe last week. The veteran DJ and writer ( and big Zep fan) is on his Cradle To The Stage tour.  John took the opportunity to hand over to Danny Baker the 1968 Graham Gouldman solo album ‘The Graham Gouldman Thing’  – as Danny had commented he couldn’t find one. This very fine album was co-produced by John Paul Jones.

”He was well chuffed!” reports John – Nice one mate!



Mr Declan Hickey at 60!

Another 60th birthday amongst my friends is upon us, as my very good friend Dec Hickey joins me in the 60 club his Friday March 31.

I’ve known Dec since he was 17 and our shared love of music has cemented a lifelong friendship. I’ve also shared many a gig going experience with him. He sat next to me in the second row in the Earls Court Arena on the evening of May 24 1975  (he queued  for the tickets for that one)

Dec is second on the left in this pic taken in front of the stage next to me.

Dec was also with us  over the weekends of August 4 and 11 in that field just outside Stevenage.

Aside from Zep, there’s been many other gigs we’ve attended together – Dec was right next to me ( well actually bundled out the way!) when I made that leap of faith onto the stage at The Who’s Shepperton filming and back at Earls Court in 1978 to witness a memorable David Bowie performance.


Dec has always been ensconced in music – promoting many a local gig including the Teardrop Explodes and New Order. He has also ran his own record label.

More recently he published the book New Order – From Heaven To Heaven  – New Order Live The Early Years 1981 – 1984 (designed by TBL designer Mick Lowe)- this was a key influence on my own Led Zep Feather In the Wind book. He is also a massive fan of the Grammy award winning blind Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano -becoming a personal friend of the singer over the years.

There will be a lot of people converging on the Three Cups pub on Friday to share in Dec’s 60th birthday.

Suffice to say a bulk of Dec’s  60 years have enriched mine considerably – and long may they continue to do so….

Happy 60th Birthday Declan Hickey –  May you Ramble On…for many more..!

DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn –at a very busy (and packed with great stock) Vinyl Barn last Friday  the acquisitions included the excellent Chairman Of The Board album Give Me Just A Little More Time on the US Invictus label and a rather splendid Elvis That’s The Way It Is box set…the weekend playlist was more than sorted thanks Darren Harte !

On Saturday we took part in the annual music quiz at Old Warden village hall – our team with Lisa, Paul, Yvonne, Terry the good lady Janet and myself came a credible third (we were on top until the noughties round!) – pictured here with our Easter egg winnings – a most enjoyable evening.

In amongst all that, there has been more work on the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book and I’m pleased to report we are now in 1970… a long way to go but we’ve been on it..

I’ve been suffering a bit these past few days with the old hay fever. I get it early (something to do with the trees!) and I have to say it’s been particuallry  bad – I’ve also felt a bit of a cold coming on. I need to shrug that all off as there is a very busy few days ahead.

As mentioned above, Dec is over from Ireland tomorrow (Wednesday) to celebrate his 60th birthday and is staying with us until next Tuesday. It’s going to be a very full on few days and on the big night of his birthday on Friday as mentioned above, we will be converging on the Three Cups pub in town – with Dec’s family and friends due from all over the globe it’s going to be a very busy night for sure.

Dec’s birthday, as it always does, coincides with the our wedding anniversary and in amongst Dec’s birthday celebrations, the good lady Janet and I will be toasting that we have been spinning along for 33 years – hey and never a cross word (ish!) Happy anniversary to us…

Dave Lewis – March 28 , 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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  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    My earliest listening of Houses came in a friend’s basement down the street, and it remains a vivid memory because the first line I heard was Plant’s joyous “Dancing Days are here again”, which captured the moment for me.

    Of course, as with any Zeppelin album, each song brought its own mood and structure. Jimmy Page’s playing in particular is just so original on this record.

    I was always taken by their ability to sound like themselves so differently each time. And this one shimmers with boldness, brightness, murkiness and delicacy.

  • Allen said:

    I have always had a great affection for HOTH, how could I not given the circumstances under which I heard it all those years ago. Let’s just say that until you heard TSRTS while enjoying a mind altering chemical 😉 Exotic journey’s apart though I have long considered this album to be the most ‘authentic’ of LZ works, the songs virtually all fresh and crafted from their own cauldron, rather than the heavy ‘borrowings’ and ‘reworkings which saturated a lot of output on previous records. I enjoyed too at the time that HOTH was dissed as being Zep going’Prog’ in 1973 that for me was a major compliment to the band 🙂 The playing on the album is to my ears some of their finest, the drumming is stunning. JPJ reveals why he was racing up the keyboard players nomination in the musical press (there was some competition back then!) Plant’s voice too was evolving, more thoughtful, considered I’m not sure how to phrase it but it was a masterful performance (the speed’ed-up tape on TSRTS notwithstanding). Was this the year after which it’s been claimed his vocals started to decline with various issues? Page’s playing is stunning, as his choice of instrumentation, but what really gets me most about his contribution is the Production. In my view I think this is most deliacte and finely detailed of Zeppelin productions, check out his use, placement and recording of various sub-sonic sounds during ‘No Quarter’ or the closing chordal sequence to OTHAFA. Pure magick. I remember people wincing when DYMKR or The Crunge played, sometimes there would be a slow-motion scramble (it was the early Seventies man) to lift off the stylus before those tracks kicked in. For me though they were very much part of the experience, a glorious Spring album, full of sunlight, yet hints of the darkness and mystery. A gem!

  • Andrew said:

    Wow Dark Side and Houses at the same time. I was 13 and bought those along with Alladin sane.
    Cheers to you and Janet Happy B Day to Dec. I live in New Jersey USA and always look forward to your posts and still have my old hard copies of TBL.
    Cheers and thanks for waving the glorious Zeppelin flag. It is appreciated.

  • Larry said:

    Another nice post, Dave. HOTH…that was the last Zep LP that I missed out on when it first came out…that was rectified a couple of years later after I heard Kashmir on the radio for the first time and my life was changed forever. I always loved Houses, and I think the Brad Tolinski quote is a perfect delineation of why I loved it, and all of the band’s music.

    TSRTS and OTHAFA are two of the finest compositions the band ever recorded. The structure of those pieces are absolutely masterful. The Rain Song, another triumph. No Quarter, simply stunning and mesmerizing. The playing is magnificent, and Robert’s singing throughout the album is impeccable.

    Agreed on how important the music was back in those days…you could gaze at the album cover and as Aubrey Powell envisioned “wonder what it’s about”. And the music took you places, the only limits were one’s imagination.

    It’s also amazing to realize the impact of critics back then, good and bad. The slagging of things like The Crunge and D’yer Mak’er seem to have been accepted by many over the years as some sort of “conventional wisdom”. I can safely say that D’Yer Mak’er in particular still goes over well here in the States, you can still hear it regularly on the classic rock stations. And really, what’s not to love? An UNREAL tour de force by Mr. Bonham, a wink-and-nod yet gutsy vocal by Plant, and an engaging solo by Page.

    I never realized HOTH and Dark Side of the Moon were released within a week of one another! Maybe it’s fortunate for me that Zep and Floyd weren’t yet on my radar screen in March 1973. That undoubtedly would have been too much!

    And of course HOTH coincided with (what is to my mind) the last superior touring period for the band. Europe and US 1973 was the final run before things began to get a bit stickier.

    Nice advert for the 1975 Southern California shows. Thanks to your comments, I’m going to give those LA 75 shows a spin soon. Despite the wonderful Mike Millard recordings, those shows have never been among my favorites, but I’ll give them another run thru. My fave shows from SoCal 75 are the first night in San Diego (not a great tape, but a wild performance with plenty of atmosphere) and the two Long Beach gigs (especially the audience recording from 3/12).

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Excellent overview Dave. I remember the excitement of dropping the needle on Houses Of The Holy as a Zep-obssessed 15 year-old back in 1987. I always think about Jimmy’s soaring guitar lines during the opening song, it’s such an exuberant and euphoric track… the chord changes are just sublime.

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