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28 March 2018 2,560 views 18 Comments

Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy  – TBL 45th Anniverary Special:

45 years ago this week Led Zeppelin released their long awaited fifth album, Houses Of The Holy.

Here’s a round up of  House Of The Holy coverage collated five years ago for the 40th anniversary:

March 2013 TBL Archive:

We have been counting down to this milestone anniversary and the TBL website and Facebook page will be celebrating the album’s release over the next few days.

I myself have been getting intensely re acquainted with the Houses Of The Holy album since January, as over the past three months I’ve been collating a major feature  for the new issue of Record Collector – that issue is now on sale

It includes the full story of the making of the album, an extensive worldwide album and singles discography compiled by Nick Anderson and we also answer the question whatever happened to Rosie and The Originals as well as spotlighting a rare cover version of D’yer Ma’ker and discussing that elaborate sleeve design and more.

This issue of Record Collector is the perfect guide to have next to you as you re discover the album…seek it out today!Here’s the ordering info link:


rc coll houses

 Talking of the sleeve…

Yesterday in London I  conducted an exclusive interview for TBL with 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.

I met with him yesterday nigh on 40 years to the day of the releases of what he considers one of very best designs they created. This exclusive interview with Aubrey Powell, in which he discusses his working association with Led Zeppelin over the years will be one of the highlights of the next TBL magazine.

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.


Houses Of The Holy will certainly be on the player here today to mark its original release 45 years ago today. I purchased it on the day from Carlows record shop in Bedford. The sleeve of my original copy was signed by co- designer Aubrey (Po) Powell when he came here to film some Robert Plant memorabilia in 2005 – it says ‘’My favourite sleeve from the Hipgnosis stable’’

Back to the story….

Like countless fans across the globe on that spring Wednesday back in March 1973 ,as a 16 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 £2.59 (it was an expensive album in the Atlantic deluxe 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 sums 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 British Home Stores and that the UK at the time was a somewhat drab place to be with industrial unrest, the threat of IRA bombing,  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 16 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 radio 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 has written for the next 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 – more of his perceptive musings in TBL 35.

So Led Zep 11 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 Of The Holy 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 all these  years on, stands as a pivotal album in the development of Led Zeppelin’s artistic growth.


I will certainly feel good when I spin this album today, just as I felt good back in my Zep bedroom den 45 years ago.

And I’m sure  you will feel good too….

And there’s more…



Houses of The Holy

Companion Audio Disc

The Song Remains The Same (Guitar overdub reference mix) 5.30

All instrumental and you can plainly hear the guitar army unfolding and it’s total invigorating. The overdubs at 1min 03 and 5.02 are previously unheard. Listening to this epic opener in all its instrumental glory, it’s clear to detect that this was a forerunner for the similar guitar army assault on the senses delivery of Achilles Last Stand. A prime example of the guitar compositional skills of Jimmy Page. Just incredible.

The Rain Song (mix minus piano) 7.45

Slightly different vocal effect and the drums more prominent in mix at times. The piano is in there but buried deep within. John Bonham’s contribution – simply a revelation.

Over The Hills And Far Away (guitar mix) 4.22

Backing track instrumental. More echo on the guitar and JPJ bass is well up in mix. At 3mins 58 where the treated guitar section comes on the official album, there is a totally different acoustic guitar complete ending. The point where you expect the treated guitar part to come, in only for it to switch to an acoustic ending is wonderfully disorientating.

The Crunge (Rough mix) 3.16

Count in as on the album. Vocal and keyboards up in the mix

Dancing Days (Rough mix with vocal) 3.46

Noticeable for the a more heavy reverb on the vocals which reminded of Lennon’s work with Phil Spector’s on Instant Karma.

No Quarter (Rough mix with JPJ keyboards – no vocals) 7.03

Another standout highlight. Instrumental mix with JPJ piano prominent – theremin prominent and the drums crystal clear. At 4 mins 07 the Page solo has yet to appear and JPJ extends his keyboard input on grand piano sounding superb. His input here has the feel of the 1973 live versions. More keyboards overdubs as it fades. An enlightening mix that highlights John Paul Jones immense musicianship.

The Ocean (working mix) 4.28

No count in -cleaner solo at 1.45 leading into the -backing vocals down in mix. The ‘’la la la la la ‘’ vocal more pronounced in mix at 2.09. Robert’s addition ad-libs on the do-wop speeded up finale are slightly clearer.


Houses Of The Holy –  Happy 45th Anniversary…

Dave Lewis

March  28, 2018.


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

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant performed in Sydney, Australia on March 23. See the setlist below:

March 23: Sydney, Australia
New World…
Turn It Up
The May Queen
That’s the Way
All the King’s Horses
Please Read the Letter
Gallows Pole
Carry Fire
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
Misty Mountain Hop
Whole Lotta Love

  • Robert Plant has announced two new US festival dates: He will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, which takes place on September 14-16 in Telluride, Colorado. And he’ll also perform at the KAABOO festival, which will take place in Del Mar, California from September 14-16. It’s currently unclear exactly which dates Plant is performing at each festival.

Upcoming events:

March 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 27 – Robert Plant will perform in Sydney, Australia.
March 30 – Robert Plant will perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia.
April 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 2 – Robert Plant will perform in Melbourne, Australia.
April 5 – Robert Plant will perform in Adelaide, Australia.
April 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Perth, Australia.
April 21 – Led Zeppelin will release a vinyl single for Record Store Day.
May 17 – An updated version of Stephen Davis’ Led Zeppelin biography “Hammer of the Gods” will be released.
May 26 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bearded Theory Spring Gathering Festival in the UK.
May 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Bath Festivals in Bath, UK.
May 31 – The statue of John Bonham in Redditch is planned to be unveiled.
June 8 – Robert Plant will perform in Atlanta, Georgia.
June 10 – Robert Plant will perform in Richmond, Virginia.
June 12 – Robert Plant will perform in Columbia, Maryland.
June 13 – Robert Plant will perform in Forest Hills, New York.
June 15 – Robert Plant will perform in Toronto, Ontario.
June 17 – Robert Plant will perform in Chicago, Illinois.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform in Vail, Colorado.
June 21 – Robert Plant will perform in Berkeley, California.
June 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Stateline, Nevada.
June 24 – Robert Plant will perform in Pasadena, California.
June 26 – Robert Plant will perform in Troutdale, Oregon.
June 27 – “Led Zeppelin Live,” a photo book edited by Dave Lewis, will be released and Robert Plant will perform in Redmond, Washington.
June 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in Canada.
July 22 – Robert Plant will perform at the Vielles Charrues Festival in Carhaix, France.
July 23 – Robert Plant will perform in Paris, France.
July 25 – Robert Plant will perform at the Festival de Carcassonne in France.
July 27 – Robert Plant will perform at the Milano Summer Festival 2018 in Milan, Italy.
July 29 – Robert Plant will perform at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach, Germany.
July 31 – Robert Plant will perform in Pardubice, Czech Republic.
August 1 – Robert Plant will perform in Dresden, Germany.
August 11 – John Paul Jones will perform as part of Snoweye at the Varangerfestivalen in Norway.
September – Official celebrations of Led Zeppelin’s fiftieth anniversary are expected to start this month.
September 14-16 – Robert Plant will perform at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado and the KAABOO festival in California.
October – The official Led Zeppelin photo book will be released.
October 16 – “Bring it on Home,” a new biography of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant, will be released.

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


Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters in Australia:

Robert Plant is showing Australia what it truly means to be a legendary frontman

Written by Brandon John on Mar 26, 2018

Robert Plant’s message to fans several days back gives all the insight we need into the mind of a man whose worshipped back-catalogue of hits could easily become an albatross around his neck: “Man’s real home is not a house, but the road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.”

A quote from writer and countryman Bruce Chatwin, it sums up the feelings he’s expressed to every interviewer who, for almost four decades, has been compelled to ask the ‘reunion’ question: Plant has no interest in stoking the embers of a lifetime ago, instead carrying his fire as he keeps pressing forward. He hasn’t forgotten the past, he just won’t be chained to it – a sentiment that carries right through his live show.

With a stick of incense burning away in his stage monitor, his promise to Sydney’s State Theatre of a glimpse into the “past and present” is certainly delivered on by a smattering of solo work to open the set, and our first gentle nudge into Led Zeppelin territory comes five songs deep in the form of acoustic number ‘That’s The Way’.

See more at

Great review of Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters Sydney Opera House show – many thanks to Michael Rae

and more:


How The West Was Won: the grand unveiling:

I don’t know about you but I had a fantastic time getting intimate again with the contents of How The West Was Won last weekend.

I was in London for a meeting last Friday – the day of the release and it was a chance to see some How The West Was Won in store presence and there was plenty of it. As you can see via the pic it was trending in HMV Oxford Street.

It’s also been very encouraging to read so many positive comments on my Facebook page for the sound quality and general thumps up for this release all round. Many fans who were reticent about this remastered How The West Was Won release wisely changed their minds and took the plunge. As I stated shortly after this release was officially announced in January:

”It’s a brilliant live Led Zeppelin album due to be released on new formats – and call me a fool, but that to me is something to be celebrated.”

Plenty of fans across the globe have been doing just that these past few days

Here’s an excellent review of the How The West Was Won album that appeared in Classic Rock magazine when it was originally released in 2003…it sounds even better now…


Here’s a review by Ken Winovich

Review of ‘How The West Was Won – Remastered

This super deluxe box set is just super clean.  Maybe it’s because I’m comparing it to the first two 2014 remastered studio album Super Deluxe Box Set groupings (I-II-III  &  IV & Houses) which had some minor irritating manufacturing plant issues. First off,  it’s finally remastered. Not only that,  but released for the first time on 180g vinyl.  These vinyl discs were so hard I could have sworn they were 200g! They were an absolute pleasure to hear for the warmer tones and other niceties only vinyls provide.  I can’t wait to get a hold of a tube stereo to listen to this monster as well.  Suffering from the chills,  I got under the covers and decided to slap the DVD into the Blu-Ray player to start.  Fantastic!

You’ve got two audio options in the menu – Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound or PCM.  The DVD has the entire ‘show’ setlist (culled from two separate gigs) from 1972 and the action is non-stop.  So you can listen to it as an entire concert straight-thru with no interruptions if you like (rather than CD/vinyl side swaps) and it was fantastic! Can’t wait to get the Blu-Ray! The audience is turned down very low and that’s understandable due to all the obscene what-evers.  But sound wise.performance-wise.…it’s fantastic. Comparing it to the 2003 release,  it has much more clarity and focus with the 2003 release sounding muddier (and I used the 5.1 OLD DVD for comparison).  Likewise with the CD’s – which I played next.  And while you’re diggin’ the grooves, photos change on the screen as each song passes.  The only short-coming…if you could call it one…was that there were no end credits after the last track ‘Bring It On Home’ finished which I expected to start scrolling up the screen.  But we’re not talking video here and I easily got over it. Looks like they forgot to place the bands name and album title on the spine of the CD jackets the way the albums were done.

The booklet was fantastic,  filled with rare photos,  cool poses, original master tape box photos,  16-track layouts to all the instruments plugged into the console (for Eddie Kramer – no problem!) and even some rare memorabilia pix. Credit details are given for each track and which of the two venues it was recorded from.  Page has mixed both shows so well you can hardly detect a difference to both concert halls’ ambience, space, etc. The LP, CD & DVD decals are cool and this time they got rid of the ‘L’ shaped back-of-the-box slick and sized it so it fits neatly into the Box Set lids! Thank You guys!!!!

So really…how good is it?  Darn good.  So good it’s got me thinking 1972 really was the start of the years Led Zeppelin reached their peak zone.  That’s what Page has told us. Their playing is unmistakably tight and fast. But we won’t really know until Earls Court ’75, Seattle ’77 (or other ’77 show they may have in the can) and Knebworth ’79 are all officially released in complete show format just like this one. So this remastered release has me trying to decide….should Zep’s peak include the year 1972?  After hearing this remaster,  it should. Although the setlist from this era still did not include ‘The Song Remains The Same, ‘The Rain Song’ and ‘No Quarter’ (shows you just how good the album ‘Houses Of The Holy’ was!), it’s still impressive.

The last tour to feature a good sampling of music from albums ‘II’ and ‘III’. They didn’t quite know back then where to place ‘Stairway To Heaven’ in the setlist but that was all about to change real fast after it became the number one requested song on FM radio of all-time. As with all the remasters, this release puts every bootleg in the shade. But bootlegs are still cool to hear the raw audience reactions and on that note I’ll end,  giving this one a 4.9 out of 5.0!


A review here of the new remastered version via the Daily Mail and a pic of  me toasting the release in the Spice of Life pub in London on Friday: I had to laugh at Richard Cole’s comment on my Facebook page when this pic went up ”Dave, I get drunk just looking at your posts…” It’s always in moderation of course Mr Cole!


TBL Archive: Jimmy Page & Robert Plant in the mad month of March 1998 – 20 years gone…

It’s incredible to think that it’s now all of 20 years ago that we were experiencing a real hive of activity from Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

So here’s a TBL archive feature from back in that era – as initially published in TBL issue 13.

This chronicles an intensive period that saw them perform in Istanbul, the showpiece Shepherds Bush gig plus appearances on Top of The Pops and TFI Friday. Looking over the typically passionate heart on the sleeve DL prose re-presented here, this really was a joyous period. It’s also hugely nostalgic reading on many levels and is a stark reminder of the exitement that was to be had as we revelled in Jimmy and Robert working together. Can it really be all of 20 years ago…? It’s been a lifetime …but a second…

I am not sure I’d quite have the energy to go through all this now…or maybe I would have!

Hello to the many TBL people who shared all this back then – this is how it was when we were walking into everywhere back in March 1998:

I’d like to dedicate this to the late Michael Lee – a brilliant drummer who played a vital role in ensuring this unit worked so well on stage, the late Paul Kelvie, another much missed drummer – and of course Howard Mylett.

The DL retro diary picks up the events as they announce the Shepherds Bush gig.

Wednesday, March 11 1998

There have been rumours of a special Page Plant launch gig for the album happening in London for some time. They did attempt to book the Shepherds Bush Empire back in January. Locations in Islington and Kilburn have also been checked out in recent weeks. An early morning fax from the PP PR office confirms that on March 25 they will be playing a special gig at a London venue.

Tickets will be made available on a first come first served basis from 8am on Saturday at the Virgin Megastore inLondon- limited to just two per person. The London Forum (formerly known as the Town And Country Club where Plant played in the late ’80’s/ early ’90’s) is named as the venue – but this is quickly retracted by mid day when it becomes official that the gig will now take place at the popular Shepherds Bush Empire. Jimmy and Robert announce the fact during an excellent early afternoon live interview on the alternative rockLondonradio station XFM. For me this kick-starts a hive of TBL activity as I speedily mail out a stop gap Newsletter Extra and inform many others by phone. It’s soon becomes apparent that to ensure entry it’s going to mean an early morning trip toLondonto buy tickets. Fellow TBL crew member Gary Foy and I plan our strategy. Only 1,000 tickets are going to be sold and as the news spreads it’s evident that many fans are making a big effort to get in line.

Saturday, March 14 1998

Well I really thought my queuing days were over! Overnight stays for tickets forEarls Court, Song Remains Premiere, Knebworth etc. were all part of the game, way back. (Trivia note: It’s 23 years, almost to the day, that tickets went on sale for Earls Court; and 3 years since the tickets were released for the ’95 UK tour.) The advent of credit card bookings had rendered that method all but redundant. Not today. Luckily it’s a very mild mid-March morning as I leave Bedford on the train at 5.30am I must admit my heart was beating pretty fast as I ventured up the tube steps at Tottenham Court Road – just how long was this queue going to be and were we in with a chance? Well the queue was certainly long, with about 150 already in line, but it looked as though we would be OK. Many at the front of the queue had camped out all night

The atmosphere is really excellent – something of a Led Zepp Convention reunion as many TBL subscribers and faces come over to say “Hi”. Many have travelled overnight from far and wide: Pat Lyons is here fromWales; Gary Woollard from the West Country; Anne Marsden fromStockport. Phil T, Eddie, Andy A all queuing by the sick as Phil T observed! By 8am the queue is moving forward into the Virgin Megastore. (Incidentally this is a place I know well as I’ve attended many meetings here for work – though I never thought I’d end up queuing to get in!)

It’s a funny old feeling to shuffle by a display of Zeppelin titles CD’s and books including Concert File and Celebration. Finally at 9.15 we get served and the tickets are in our hands. The tickets themselves sport the new Page and Plant logo script writing. Myself and Gary celebrate with a McDonald’s breakfast, a quick look around the record stores and a couple of lunch-time pints. Then it’s home to watch the Most High video which has been aired that morning on the Chart show. The job is done. Next stop Shepherds Bush.

Wednesday, March 25 1998

As usual before a period of PP activity the days leading up to the events had been a little fraught. In fact I have to say for me personally it was a real strain that often had me wondering if all this was worth it. (at least for two minutes anyway).

Trying to arrange everything at work so I could get away was a constant pressure – the previous week I’d put in a 66 hour week (I kid you not -this retail manager lark is hard work!) .Then there were the many arrangements to make for the next three days and the repeated phone calls for tickets info etc. The night before the show I took 14 calls in two hours including one when I was in bed! (Does anybody remember phone calls!? No emails and Facebook back then – was there really a time when we didn’t have that! DL)

There’s no doubt that this particular show has spurred a huge wave of interest and the desire to get tickets is quite staggering. I do my best to help all those I can which does begin to cause concern when one or two options don’t go as planned As well as the gig, other events have unfolded: they are recording a Top Of The Pops segment at Elstree tomorrow night; and a live appearance will follow Friday on the popular Channel 4 show TFI Friday. Days of worry over gaining entry to the latter (and ensuring as many other key fans could gain entry as well) have ensured – not least being the little problem that TFI’s regulations adopt an 18 to 30 age limit! A call from their office asks me just how old those wanting to attend really are. I manage to convince them that we are young thinking thirty something’s (nearly).

But first there is the little matter of the first proper Page Plant show in London for three years. The gig itself is being used by Mercury as something of launch for the new album – with over 800 tickets being made available for European press and media. In the delightfully titled Moon On The Green on a grey March afternoon, it’s very apparent that this is a real hot ticket. Touts are asking, and it would seem selling tickets for up to £200. It’s great to hook up with the Bedford TBL crew including Tom,Terry,Kam etc plus many a fellow fan including Billy and Alsion from Scotland, TBL web master Dave Linwood, Steve Way etc etc.

There’s a real buzz in the air, this one really does feel like an event.

I’ve already seen Luis Rey and Howard Mylett, but to complete the Zep author line up it’s great to bump into Robert Godwin, coupling some London business to catch the show. The venue itself is excellent – a real theatre (it was formerly owned by the BBC and used for countless TV variety and music shows) – while the downstairs area is very intimate and in close proximity to the stage whereever you are. The TBL crew decide on a down the front strategy and within minutes I’m in a superb vantage point in front of the stage to the left by the PA.

This is going to be very exciting indeed. And sure enough the excitement mounts as the lights go down ,the spotlights flash on the assembled and that Egyptian music (boy how I love than tune!) signifies the beginning of the Page Plant return to London.

From my view I can clearly see Jimmy Page with Gibson strapped on in the darkness at the far side of the stage waiting for the cue and for Robert to fly on as is the custom as they hit the intro of Wanton Song. And fly on he does, dressed in identical garb to theIstanbul second night, black leather trousers tucked in the boots, dark rimmed T-shirt. And we are off. Bring It On Home, Heartbreaker and Ramble On follow in quick fire succession. Plant may not be quite as immediately vibrant as he was in Istanbul, pacing himself maybe for what’s to come. Page though is already lighting up the stage – seemingly lost in the noise of his own creating.

“Well the old devils are back,” laughs Plant. Walking To Clarksdale featuring Page on the new PRS guitar with McCarty neck follows, complete with that supercharged tempo change and then it’s into No Quarter. Here Page drifts through the solo, eyes closed, slightly leaning back and oozing out that much missed solo.

Page And Plant At The Shepherds Bush Empire, London, Britain – 1998, Robert Plant And Jimmy Page (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

So far so good. Then an early magic moment. It occurs when Page lets out a couple of heavily reverbed tremolo chords, and those in the know can tell what’s coming. It’s the world premier of the new ballad When I Was A Child. This is masterful as Plant unfolds the reflective tale with ease. It’s always a real privilege to witness a piece of Page Plant history unfolding and that’s how it feels as they delicately offer up this new one. There’s a great moment right at the close as Robert goes into the final lines “When I was… when I was a…’’ stepping back from the mic each time as Jimmy’s final chords echo around the theatre.

Robert has a humorous running banter with our own resident TBL barrack boy( Mr Foy!) responding to a shout of “California’’ as they take to the chairs. “No it’s Birkhamstead actually!” Memories swim before us as they deliver a wonderfully melodic Tangerine, causing instant Earls Court-retro lump in the throat for this particular viewer. An urgent stomp through Gallows Pole follows.

From there the on in they can really do no wrong. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You enjoys it’s firstUK live airing by the pair for some 29 years. Burning Up is dominated by Page scrubbing out that repeated riff and How Many More Times is just outstanding. I have a perfect view of Page leaning back and step-ping on the wah wah for the intro – an image that I will retain and store alongside other great visual moments in their history (such as the same guitarist stepping on the wah wah for Trampled Underfoot down the road in Hammersmith ten years back). The violin bow episode is greeted by huge cheering and the moment it all speeds up is another great one with Michael Lee proving his worth yet again. Most High is next as we hit the home straight. This month’s signature tune as I stated before that really brings the best out in Plant. A cocksure Whole Lotta Love signals the end of the main proceedings.

Then they’re back on and it’s another premiere – an incessant drum track booms out and then Page holds down the most delightfully grunge like wah of wah of House Of Love. This one really swings live with Plant screeching out the chorus line “It’s just a little too much,’’ and Page hitting those descending chords. A Sick Again for the millennium.

“So this is the alternative to Radio Two,” laughs Robert. “It’s been great, thank you!’’

They’re back on again and Page begins pumping out some fast urgent lines. For one minute I thought this was going to swing into Sons Of Freedom from the new album, instead it heads into a blistering rendering of Crossroads performed ala the Cream version.

Finally we get an emotional (can it be anything else?) Thank You which has Page again taking on the solo in his own time and Plant commenting at the close “Just some silly old buggers singing some love songs!’’ Rock And Roll then proceeds to inspire the best reaction from a London crowd I’ve heard since… well you name it… They take a bow and exit right.

The aftermath glow as we slowly disperse soars through the atmosphere. By coincidence, or maybe not, a couple of long tern fans Dena and Nigel D joyously echo the same state-ment to me. “The best sinceEarls Court.’’ Now that is some accolade.

It’s easy to get carried away with the sheer presence of the occasion. But let’s not beat about the bush, this really was a special occasion. A real intimate reconciliation with their audience. Let’s face it for the paying fan this was an audience that really wanted to be there, given the effort needed to get tickets.

For me personally it’s been a real revelation to be in such close proximity to it all. To experience once again that feeling that makes everything (including all the negativity and stress running this thing causes) worthwhile. This has been a very memorable evening. Best since Earls Court? Well I have to say for pure out-and-out enjoyment this one will take some beating.

Thursday, March 26 1998

A day of drizzling rain brightened up by several excited calls from those in attendance last night.

Then it’s to Elstree, which handily isn’t too far down the Bedford Thames link train line. A dull and wet Elstree 7pm on a Thursday night inspires the usual “What the hell are we doing here’’ cry amongst Mr and Mrs Foy and myself. What we are doing here is getting ready to line up in the queue to gain entry to the special recording of Page and Plant for BBC’s Top of The Pops. That’s right, Top Of The Pops, the programme Led Zeppelin stoutly refused to appear on, and by default the programme Whole Lotta Love (in a big band rock version) became the signature tune of throughout the ’70’s.

They are filming tonight for what will be an exclusive live performance insert in the coming weeks of their new single Most High. Radio One gave out a phone number to ring last Friday to ring for tickets. Luckily the TBL crew have been on the case (Thanks Rob D and Mr Linwood), and here we are in line. The regular Top Of The Pops has already been filmed earlier in the evening, we now wait to gain access to the studio. We are let in out of the rain at 8.30 and ushered into a cloak-room area. The crowd does seem to be an odd bunch. Around 20 or 30 are known to me – the rest seem to have jumped on the Radio One ticket bandwagon – I’d love to have asked a few of them the depth of their interest in Zeppelin/Page and Plant.

Anyway, after nearly 3 hours of waiting – at 10pm we are led into the small studio. A small stage set up with a cut down Page amp run (one Fender amp, two cabs and oddly, the Theremin set up) features a large Jimmy Page Robert Plant logo on the actual floor which will no doubt be captured by the overhead camera.

A pair of warm up announcers relay the instructions “We want you to make the most amazing noise possible when they come on.’’ To get us in the mood, the studio version of Rock And Roll is given a playback. The rent-a-crowd behind me push forward giving me a rather splendid vantage point right in front of Jimmy. Last night was close, but hey, how much closer can you get?

Rock And Roll fades and on they walk – Robert wearing the long sleeve shirt he had on at the first Istanbul concert. Jimmy has his first noticeable change of clothes on the tour – pin stripe trousers and a nice dark silk shirt sensibly worn outside the strides. They move forward shaking out stretched hands at the front. I had wondered if they were going to do a mime playback to Most High. From the moment Jimmy slugs out the opening chords I know I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is most definitely live and we are most definitely high!

FromIstanbul via Shepherds Bush to Elstree. Most High has travelled a bit in the last few weeks and now, here at 10 past 10 on a Thursday evening, not far off the East Enders set, well it sounds a very British experience despite the ethnic feel. To the left Phil Andrews adds the oriental keyboard solo as Jimmy turns to Michael Lee to add some rough-shod rhythm. Its all over too soon, and what we want is a little bit more. Robert looks over to Jimmy and nods – a guitar change ensures as the familiar Gibson is brought on. A smiling Jimmy straps on – “Here’s a new one from our latest tablet of stone’’ laughs Robert. The backing drum track of House Of Love duly rolls out but hold it- Jimmy has a problem. He waves his arms “No hold it – I can’t see my cue!’’. It would seem the cameramen leaping in and out of them has covered the cue sheet that rolls on one of the monitors. Second take and they’re off. This is turning into a great live number with Robert’s “It’s just a little too much” refrain’ incessantly hitting home.

Is that it?… More milling around on stage ensures… will they or won’t they? They will! Jimmy goes off to change his sweat soaked shirt. He returns wearing an Abbey Road T-shirt. Meantime, Robert enjoys some banter with the crowd. “Wolves for the cup’’ shouts one wag, “’You don’t mean that!’’ he laughs. “Where’s Pans People?” (a reference to the old all girl dance troupe the programme featured years back) is another cry that inspires a laugh on stage.

Jimmy appears and Robert explains the origins of the next number “OK here’s one that was written even before we were born’’. A compact run through of Crossroads which is fast becoming the cover version standard of the ’98 tour follows.

Right at the close Jimmy holds the Gibson aloft, and even before he has had time to finish the song a member of the audience jumps on stage to shake his hand, to be followed (a little foolishly) by a handful of others who hug Robert and add to the on-stage chaos. Fearing “Zeppelin stars in stage riot at Top of the Pops” type headlines assorted roadies and road managers disperse the crowd and Jimmy and Robert lead off. It would seem the mini invasion might well have curtailed anything else they might have been planning.

“Well that was absolutely fucking brilliant!’’ shouts the announcer back on stage. Are they doing anymore… hold on, no, that’s if for tonight. Thanks for coming!’’

It’s all happened in under 20 minutes, and no sooner than being cut off in our prime we are walking along Elstree High Street in search of the nearest chippie. (We later hear Jimmy had gone off to eat at the local Wimpey!).

Well that was bizarre. Did it happen? Well it did but the whole night holds something of a dream like atmosphere. It all happened so quickly. But yes, they were there, on Top of the Pops on a Thursday night, just like it used to be when I religiously watched it each week hoping for a glimpse of something decent… perhaps Free, or the Stones doing their new single. But never surely Jimmy Page and Robert Plant together. Surely that would be a sell out.

How times have changed. And incredibly, there’s more TV fun to come tomorrow.

Friday, March 27 1998

And so it goes on. This week really is turning into one of, if not the most, memorable Zeppelin related since Earls Court and today it’s Friday so it must be TFI Friday. That’s right, the immensely popular music show hosted by the incredulous Chris Evans and scripted by big Zep fan Danny Baker. Now I have much admiration for Evans – one of the most gifted broadcasters of the last 15 years. I also never miss the show – it’s brand of celebrity interviews, sketches and live music is never less than interesting. Page and Plant were announced for the show a couple of weeks back. Pleasingly the opportunity arose to ensure some TBL representation at the show (a situation that once again was not without it’s stress for me but I guess it was worth it in the end).

It’s nice to be taking along the good lady Janet today – it was 15 years ago in a similar TV studio setting such as today (The Tube in June ’83 – my word that seems a lifetime ago!)) that she first became acquainted with the live Robert Plant experience. So it’s fitting that we should be going back to a TV studio to see not just Robert but Jimmy too, an opportunity for her to enjoy the event and perhaps view at first hand the reason for all the endless phone calls that disrupt Coronation Street and many other things in the Totnes household.

Lunch time in Hammersmith. Unfortunately the TBL crew meet has gone a little off course. The pub we were advised to meet in has, er, well, been renamed! Luckily we all manage to catch each other in the Wetherspoons pub and from there it’s off to the nearby Riverside Studios.

Another queue begins but finally we are in (and no problems with the age situation, so Zimmer-frame rock rules after all!) Then it’s more excited waiting outside the studio and eventually we are moved in around 4pm. (Not before the strains of a Most High run-through have been heard earlier). Once in, we quickly gather around the stage that they will be performing on. Which is not too hard to decipher. Clues: Ludwig drum kit, Jimmy’s effects panel and one solitary microphone at the front (and we all know who that’s for).

A studio announcer runs us through proceedings and gets the rules out of the way. We’ve got to keep smiling and dancing throughout whichever bands on. “I know a lot of you are here to see one special act’’ says the man to a huge cheer. Before long it’s ready to roll, red light on and cue the music.

Chris Evans is giving the programme run down… he’s already making a big thing of Page and Plant being on – and as he’s doing that, it all starts happening down the front. Tim, Charlie and Michael are in position, Jimmy climbs up to the stage and straps on the Gibson. Robert hugs the mic waiting for the cue. (Fashion notes: Jimmy retains the pin stripe trousers and reverts to the black T-shirt; Robert has a similar T-shirt on to Wednesday, but opts for the baggier trousers similar to those worn early on theEastern Europedates. “They sold 100 million albums… second only to The Beatles and Woolworths! They raised rock on high, they juggled both Led and Zeppelin… and they’re here now, and now with Rock And Roll here are Jimmy Page and Robert Plant!’’

And it bloody well is – right in front of our eyes. How close can it get! Bedlam follows as we rock it up with them – Jimmy looking supremely confident as he struts around – Robert mic off within a minute – all the old poses. It’s absolutely glorious.

Three and half sweat soaked minutes later and they finish to rapturous cheers. Phew now that was pretty exiting! “Led Zeppelin!’’ proclaims Evans. “Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll by Mr Jimmy Page and Mr Robert Plant!”

The rest of the show follows – we nod along to The Smiles and Divine Comedy, cheer to a montage of Gary Lineker’s goals that are shown during his interview and also get well excited everytime Evans mentions Page and Plant – everytime he does the riff of Whole Lotta Love is played, inspiring mass air guitar movements from Evans and those in the bar. After an interview with Full Monty star Paul Barber (who says he’s a fan) it’s time to welcome Page and Plant for their interview. We see them walk along the gantry into the bar. The interview is an excellent one. Plant has a Wolves scarf tied around his wrist and dryly comments that “Old men do it better!’’ in reply to Evan’s question on how they keep it up. Evans brings in Steve fromManchester, a fan who had rung into to his radio show in the morning. (The popular Virgin Radio show had turned into a 45 minute spontaneous Zeppelin showcase.) He asks about the chronological live album “Yeah it could happen in the future” replies Page. Jimmy is really good humoured throughout the interview, another example of the fun they seem to be having. Chris manages to get their names mixed up in his own excitement (Robert Page and Jimmy Plant) and asks a question faxed by Jeremy Clarkeson: “Is it true you once cancelled a tour due to the hose pipe ban,’’ gets a hoot of laughter from Plant, “That’s a good one!’’

Plant does his own Midlands accent describing how the Wolves fans comment to him “Alright Planty, still doing a bit then!’’

Down on stage the cameras have been moved allowing us the ultimate vantage position right under Plant’s monitor. How close can you get! (again). Evans introduces the finale, “Page and Plant playing the new single Most High’’. Charlie and Michael kick into a riff as the boys climb down the stairs and up on to the stage.

Our signature tune kicks in yet again. Page’s guitar sound so pure and clear as he strikes the strings just feet away is just awe inspiring. Robert meanwhile wheels the mic stand around just avoiding the top of our heads. On the solo oriental part Jimmy crunges out the most amazing riffs leading where the oriental part usually leads. And then the finale – with Plant extending the lyrics (rolling up on the monitor in front of us incidentally) and it’s over. Huge cheers, big smiles. They’ve done it once again.

As we shuffle away from the stage I feel a real pride – the same pride I felt on the last night of Earls Court… at Knebworth when we sang You’ll Never Walk Alone… in front of the TV at 1 am in the morning as the camera panned away during Stairway at Live Aid… after they demolished Wearing And Tearing at the Silver Clef show… at Meadowlands Arena during the ovation they received after a stinging Song Remains The Same three years back… and now yet again in this little TV studio on a Friday night – 23 years to the day when they played that famous last night at LA in ’75.

It’s still valid and it still inspires and moves us. Even some of the younger fans here for The Divine Comedy picked up on the vibe. It feels so good to be part of it, knowing that a UK audience of four million are about to see it on the small screen themselves.

7pm Outside Riverside Studios. Robert comes out to applause and walks along with his five year old son Jesse. Eventually he straps into his Gold 500s Mercedes pausing to make a call on his mobile, and drives off with Jesse in the back. Bound for the Midlands and a Sunday rendezvous at Molineux for Wolves againstPortsmouth. Jimmy is in an upstairs hospitality room behind Cedrics Cafe. A swelling crowd of well wishers, press photographers and autograph hunters await. Eventually he strolls out looking very relaxed happy to sign for all and sundry -posing with a small child and parents,

Then he’s driven off in a blacked out car.

The TBL crew head back to the Wetherspoon pub for some rousing aftermatch talk passing Hammersmith Odeon (or Apollo as it’s now known)on the way. Ten years ago almost to the month it was there that we witnessed one of the major reunions of the ’80’s when Jimmy joined Robert for that famous segment. They played Rock And Roll that night too. Back then in our wildest dreams we could not have predicted the remarkable series of events we’ve witnessed these past three days. Around the Hammersmith flyover railings there are already poster flyer boards advertising the new single (though not as many once Mr and Mrs Foy and Rob D have been passed). Once in the pub the ale flows. I feel a huge relief that the last three days have gone so well – and at last it’s a time to unwind. Many a beer is drunk in celebration. Luckily the good lady Janet is around to ensure the train doesn’t keep on rollin’ when we head back.

Saturday, March 28 1998

It’s back to work with a predictable hangover. However it looks as though TFI Friday has had the desired effect. “When’s the new Led Zeppelin album out?’’ asks a genuinely interested punter “Weren’t they great on TFI last night’’!

Page Plant, Led Zeppelin… I guess now it all blurs into one. Watching the video on Saturday night brings it all back. Catching ourselves on camera and many other familiar faces. One clear fact emerges from this very special TV appearance – it was a real Event with a capital E. To his credit Chris Evans played it up appropriately knowing he was in the presence of men with a legendary past – and a great future. Once again it was a real privilege to have been luckily enough to witness it all. It brings to a close a week that really does in hindsight rank alongside those heady days in SW5 23 years back.

Final Reflections – Three days After:

Once again Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have exceeded my expectations. These past three days have produced so many highs, so many moments of absolute pure musical magic.

Can it ever be this good again? Has it been this good before in recent years? Who knows. Perhaps not, but the fact I was able to witness it all is a major triumph and relief. A triumph and relief that for me personally succeeded in successfully re-evaluating the reason why I devote so much time and passion to this thing, and put it all firmly back into focus.

The memories that I and all those that shared in it can now be stored- taking their rightful place in the category marked “Unforgettable’’. Because this mad month of March really was, and is, as good as it gets.

Most high? Most definitely. And it’s a very high place to be.

Dave Lewis – April 2nd, 1998



DL Diary Blog Update:


At the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday on the big Led Zep release day I was pleased to pick up a very good conditioned copy of the 1970 Age Of Atlantic sampler, UK original on the orange and plum label featuring two Zep tracks – Whole Lotta Love and Communication Breakdown – thanks Darren Harte !

It’s great to have our Sam back after her travels of the past 6 weeks – this included a four week Yoga course in India to be a Yoga teacher which she successfully passed and a couple of weeks in Vietnam. The Easter weekend beckons and on Saturday the good lady Janet and I will be celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. 34 years flippin’ heck!

Easter Playlist: On the player for Easter will be the following:

Led Zeppelin – How The West Was Won – naturally!

Led Zeppelin – Definitive Beach Party

Led Zeppelin – Burn That Candle

Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy

Stills & Collins – Everybody Knows

Stephen Stills 1 and 2

Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides of The Sky/First Rays Of The New Rising Sun/Valley Of Neptune /People Hell and Angels

Nick Drake – I Was Made To Love Magic

Sandy Denny – Rendezvous

Roger Daltrey – Moonlighting The Anthology (great feature on Roger in this months Mojo)

It’s well full on here right now with work on the two current book projects – and there’s now another added plate to spin as on Tuesday at StudioMix, TBL designer Mick Lowe and myself began the first layouts for the next TBL issue 44. We kicked off with Paul Sheppard’s superb Led Zep studio outtakes CD bootleg guide –which will be one of many highlights of the mag – all a long way to go yet but get ready for another TBL outpouring ahead…the quest continues…

Dave Lewis – March 28, 2018

Until next time, have a great Easter weekend

Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy, Mike Tremaglio and James Cook

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  • Ray said:

    Hi Dave,

    It looks like Empress Valley are preparing to release a Soundboard recording of the 29th September Osaka show,sometime in the future. Has you will no doubt be aware they are currently milking it for all it’s worth by releasing snippets from the show (929 UKIYO Series) so far they have put out Black Dog,Immigrant Song and now Stairway to Heaven. I think it is only a matter of time when the full Soundboard tape they have will come out, if the tape they have in their possession is the complete show who knows and do they have any of the other shows from the Japanese tours in their hands. I know a while back the Wendy label released a 6 CD set called Live in japan 1971 929, which they claimed was Soundboard & Audience source (3 CD’s each) I don’t have this release so i browsed the web for reviews and from what i have found it is not a soundboard but a good upgrade on what was known as an on stage recording. It all sounds very interesting i wonder how long EV have had these tapes in their possession and the timing of these coming out, is that because the rumour mill is in full swing for the 50th Anniversary and one of the things being touted is jimmy putting out a show form one of the Japanese tours to be called “How the East was Won” now there’s something too think about.


  • Walter Cooney said:

    Hi Dave a great read as usual, Houses of the Holy was the first Zep album I bought in 1974,I got in to Zeppelin at 6th form college in Luton, my mates were all in to rock and we all bought albums from then on after listening to SLade,Sweet,Suzi Quartro,Mud etc.The singles market did well until the rock bands diverted us to buying full albums of our favourite bands, mine being Led Zep.My friends still remind me of being the guy who always played the HOTH album at sixth form and my favourite song was Over the hills and far away.This issue of TBL remined me of those college days!Cheers Dave,keep the Zep flame alight.

  • Mike Wilkinson said:

    Is anyone else having issues with the Flac HD downloads?
    On mine, Dazed & Confused, Moby Dick & Whole Lotta Love have several approximately one second “gaps” in the music – I’m guessing this is a fault, maybe with my downloading but as they’re one time only, anyone know whether I am I able to get second attempts?

    Great to hear them in such good quality otherwise though.

  • Allen said:

    I bought HOTH the week it came out, it coincided with a very small green dot of an exotic chemical which I had. The combination of that mind-altering substance with the music on that album made a lasting impression! The tracks, production and creativity of HOTH were for me a total plus and I loved that LZ had taken a bend in the road.

  • Ray said:

    Hi Dave,

    Great summarization of Houses Of The Holy it took me right back. Just finish playing my original copy which i bought on the week of release, i think it was a Wednesday (28th ?) when it came out i didn’t pick my copy up until the Saturday. Saying it is 45 years old it still plays superb, the odd pop and crackle but still sounds good to these ears. I think this weekend will be a vinyl weekend will be playing HTWWW again can’t get enough,i keep getting carried away thinking what is in the pipeline later in the year. Have a good anniversary weekend and as always Dave thanks a million for keeping it all going.


  • Hunt Sidway said:

    Happy Anniversary Dave! Great summary to PP in 1998. I saw them a few times too on that tour here in the States… HOTH was always the favorite of my dear, late friend, Charlie Quillen. A master guitarist himself who took lessons from Chet Atkins (!) and played with jazz great Jimmy Raney, Charlie loved Zeppelin and worked out all the songs and was just blown away by the music of it: the writing and performances, the crazy time signatures, and Page’s production, which Charlie felt was so fresh and bright. When Charlie and I would get together and jam, we ALWAYS would launch into The Crunge at some point, and just collapse laughing at how fun and ridiculous it was just to play. (We’d take turns on the bass line and the staccato chords, just crazy to play and try to count out that time signature!) Charlie’s favorite was Over The Hills and Far Away, such a masterpiece that goes through its distinct movements, transporting you with the transcendent, dreamy ending section… really beautiful and original. I always loved The Rain Song; lyrically and musically eloquent, it was the one LZ song my dad (a classically trained singer) appreciated most. Finally finding a guitar tab for it (in 1994 or 95 after the Unledded special) with Page’s alternate tuning just rocked my world. Playing those huge open chords with such an economy of fretwork was a revelation. I watched the Unledded video dozens of times to get that closing guitar section down! (Glad the camera stayed on Jimmy’s hands – thanks for the lesson, Jimmy!) I think that’s when I finally appreciated the group’s jaw dropping combination of beauty, genius, and melodic/dynamic sensitivity, coupled with power and prowess. Utterly amazing and so thrilling to revisit it. Loved everyone’s thoughts and perceptions… Thank you for all this!!! — Hunt

  • Ken said:

    Hey I recognize that “The Old Devils Are Back” DVD cover. A labor of love, I have one similar in my desk draw. Great write up. We never got to see the TOP and Jules shows this side of the pond.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Spot on Larry!

  • Larry said:

    HTWWW reissue…WOW! I really think Jimmy has topped himself here…he’s put the listener down front at The Forum and the sound is so ALIVE. Of course this was a great release 15 years ago, but the improved sonics are really impressive to these ears. In particular Jimmy’s guitar (this is how his guitar is supposed to sound, reference for any prospective producers/engineers of any future Zep releases), and Jonesy’s bass are just beautiful to listen to here.

    Even dating back to when we only had the audience tape, the LA show had my favorite ever versions of Black Dog and Dazed. This release only cements that feeling for me. Black Dog in particular is just ridiculous! I must have played that track at horrific volume 4 or 5 times in a row!

    I can’t complain about what isn’t here (and it’s all there on the bootleg/fan versions). This is simply a beautiful set and I’m happy Jimmy saw to it that it was brought up to speed. He has a lot to be proud of with this release.

    Terrific review by Ken as always, however I would disagree about the peak. I think the band were at a peak from 1968-73. You really can’t go wrong too much in that time zone. My personal favorite year is probably 1971.

    The critics simply didn’t get it on Houses (shock). If the band had consciously tried to remake Zep II or IV when they were recording Houses, the critics would have slammed them for that. As time has decisively illustrated, it was never about the critics, and that’s one of the main reasons many of them didn’t like the band.

    The upgraded HTWWW is going to be getting a lot of plays in my vicinity for quite some time. And to think this is only the beginning! It’s gonna be a fun year for Zep fans.

    Happy Anniversary Dave and Janet!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Bill what a great story!

  • Bill said:

    Travelled 3,000km across Oz from the Northern Territory, with a young family, to see two of RP’s shows at the Sydney Opera House this week. They were two momentous nights and I am grateful for the opportunity. My 5th and 6th nights in RP’s audience, commencing with Page and Plant in Sydney 96’.
    My 2-yr old sparked an impromptu interaction with another young family in the hotel corridor and to my great surprise it was Seth’s! I hesitated, not 100% sure it was him on the first interaction however was convinced after the second. Unbelievable to have a band member in the room next door! I took the opportunity to pass on my praise and compliments. It was especially enjoyable to catch him at the elevator, with fiddle over shoulder, heading out for the 2nd night! A real gentleman he is too. We didn’t witness Harley Davidsons in the corridor or anything like that!
    RP and band were worth every bit of the praise that they received in the oz media reports.
    I really appreciated the minor adjustments to the setlist – adding Thank You, Satan…/ IMTOD, The Rain Song and WIAWSNB (both nights). Thank You was pretty true to the album version. The Rain Song was a little loose, as admitted by RP on channel 10 (The Project) the following day. Sensational performance of it anyhow!
    On the second night RP explained why they play ‘All the King’s Horses’ every night (because it is a f’good song). Have to agree with that!
    Great to discover Seth’s work, through his solo set. Will be hearing much more of it!
    Cheers and many thanks Dave. Happy Easter!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Hiroshi

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Bill!

  • Bill Cromwell said:

    I’ve been skimming through LZ songs on Wikipedia these last nights . . . geez, there’s such historic negativity from Rolling Stone! Diminishes the critical credibility, at least from the old days. I always knew it was bad, but wow! Like most LZ fans, and what most critics never got, is that we loved the SOUND of the band. The boys could do covers all night, and we’d love it, why? The mystery, the sound, the musicianship, the thunder, tight but loose, the aura, the mystique, and on it goes. As for HOTH, great album and I enjoy D’yer Mak’er and LOVE The Crunge! No genre that LZ couldn’t do their own thing with. Dave, I agree that HTWWW got short thrift because of the dual release. I’m guilty of not giving it its due. However, I’ve just fished out my ‘old’ copy and will be giving it a spin in the next days. By the way, say Get the Led Out (the so-called American Led Zeppelin) in Tampa, Florida last week with a flock of family. They’re a pretty good band — not an imitation, which I hate, no costumes or other ridiculousness — just trying to reproduce the songs with 6 or more musicians on stage. It’s my third or fourth time, and my younger (brainwashed) brother has seen them 13 times! My 18 year old son was also in attendance (also brainwashed), and we had a blast. Toward the end, there were 8 of us in chain swaying and singing to Stairway. Cool!

    Zeppelin forever! Cheers, mates.

  • Hiroshi said:

    Led Zeppelin’s 1972 US tour was the last hurrah of Robert’s signature high-pitched vocals that would show a catastrophic fall on their second Japanese tour just three months later. The signs were already there, though. His voices captured on the multitrack for HTWWW clearly reveal rough, gritty texture that is hardly recognizable when it comes to the audience recording sources. Sometimes it makes me feel sad to listen, as we know what would happen to him in the days to come. Taking into account the extended length of the shows and repeated encores in some of the key cities, surely they were on top of their game — but they were on the edge as well. They burned like a candle indeed.

    If the rumored Japan 1971 (HTEWW?) — at this moment, no more than a wishful thinking among the diehards — is officially materialized as part of their 50th anniversary campaign, I am almost certain it will top HTWWW.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    I have a vinyl LP picture interview disc featuring Robert Plant and John Bonham being interviewed, during which they discuss the troubled evolution of the HOTH album sleeve. From what I recall, the band were never quite happy with the designs being submitted, according to Bonham, and due to time pressures and release deadlines they had to accept the finished version that we all know and love, but which the band (certainly Plant and Bonham) felt was never quite right, never quite what they were aiming for. Strange, its almost impossible for the rest of us to imagine anything different after 45 years of living with it.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Jez many thanks!

  • Jez Firth said:

    Superb work as ever Dave, may I congratulate you both on your forthcoming anniversary. I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

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