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23 March 2016 3,695 views 3 Comments

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Jimmy Page & The Yardbirds 1966 – 1968 feature in new issue of Record Collector:

This from the new issue of Record Collector out March 24:

50 years ago this summer, Jimmy Page joined The Yardbirds for what would be a turbulent final two year spell. During that period the seeds of Led Zeppelin’s future success was already being sown as Dave Lewis reveals…

On the evening of Saturday, 30 July 30, 1966, all over the country celebrations were underway to mark England’s famous World Cup victory – that afternoon Bobby Moore and co had triumphed 4-2 over West Germany at Wembley Stadium in North London.

South of the river, ardent music fans were gathering for the sixth annual National Jazz and Blues Festival at the Royal Windsor Racecourse. This was to have included an appearance by The Yardbirds, a regular of previous festivals.

Alas, due to illness to guitarist Jeff Beck they were forced to pull out. A gig scheduled for the Isle of Man the previous Thursday was also cancelled.

Such disappointments were becoming commonplace for the once highly successful R and B outfit. Managed in their early days by Georgio Gomelsky, Eric Clapton had passed through their ranks and Jeff Beck’s arrival in 1965 signalled a run of hit singles that included Evil Hearted You, Shapes of Things and Over Under Sideways Down. They were about to release what would become a much acclaimed album, The Yardbirds (also known as Roger The Engineer – but outside the studio internal squabbles were taking their toll.


You can read the rest of the story in the new issue of Record Collector.

The feature covers the period 1966 to 1968.

It chronicles the short lived Jeff Beck alliance that resulted in the Happenings Ten Years Time Ago single and the Blow Up filming,  the December 67 Olympic Studios session with Paul Samwell Smith producing, the arrival of Peter Grant as their manager,the recording of the Little Games album with Mickie Most, their move into the prestigious US underground touring circuit, the story of how they adopted Jake Holmes Dazed Ad Confused, the US only single releases Ha Ha Said The Clown and Ten Little Indians, the recording of the ill fated Live Yardbirds album at the Anderson Theatre in New York, the last attempt at a hit single with Goodnight Sweet Josephine and Think About It – through to the final disbanding of the line up and the recruitment of a new set of players…and a new band.

Throughout the story, the seeds of what was to follow were being sown, from John Paul Jones working on several Yardbirds recordings, the deployment of Dazed And Confused in their set, Peter Grant’s shrewd move into showcasing The Yardbirds at venues such as the Fillmore East and West, the Boston Tea Party and Thee Image Club in Miami -venues that Led Zeppelin would later find much success.

Musically there are pointers to the future throughout -The riff of the Zep 1 outtake Sugar Mama nods to the incessant riff pattern  to be heard on The Yardbirds classic Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, the Zep arrangement of How Many More Times echoed how Page had introduced to The Yardbirds live delivery of Smokestack Lightning.

The old Johnny Burnett stomper Train Kept a Rollin’ which was a Yardbirds live staple was used as an early Zep set opener and made a return on their final tour over Europe in 1980. White Summer was a much played live Page/Zep tour de force merging with the similar styled Black Mountain Side from the debut album.

The solo of Think About it was replicated for the studio version of Dazed And Confused – an expansive live version of the song was performed on majority of their shows up to 1975. It was recalled to action for their one off 02 reunion in memory of the late Ahmet Ertegun in an arrangement not too dissimilar to the way it was performed by The Yardbirds back in 1968.

Listening to his work spanning the years 1966 to 1968, it’s more than evident Jimmy sowed many a creative seed that would flower into subsequent worldwide success with Led Zeppelin and beyond.

Some 50 years after he first joined the group, Jimmy Page’s work within The Yardbirds remains a vital reference point in any career overview of the guitarist and one ripe for re assessment…

That reassessment can be found in the new issue of Record Collector – on sale from March 24…


Robert Plant at ACL Live, Monday, March 21, 2016:

austin texas

This via Music Blog Austin

Robert Plant mixes old and new at ACL taping

By Peter Blackstock

When Robert Plant announced at the end of Monday night’s “Austin City Limits” taping at ACL Live that he and his Sensational Space Shifters would close with “an old English folk song,” the crowd didn’t seem to be buying it. Sure enough, the band kicked in to Led Zeppelin’s classic “Rock and Roll,” sending his die-hard fans home with one more classic memory in a show loaded with them.

Of course, at this point, “Rock and Roll” kind of IS an old English folk song. One of five tracks in the set that dated back to Led Zeppelin’s landmark first four albums, it’s nearly half a century old now. At 67, Plant has grown well beyond his rock star days, and yet those old songs seem to have caught up with him, sounding revitalized in the context he now places them alongside the more recent work he’s created with the Space Shifters.

The set drew four songs from “Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar,” the 2014 album that Plant and this six-piece crew — guitarists Liam Tyson and Justin Adams, bassist Billy Fuller, keyboardist John Baggot, drummer Dave Smith and multi-instrumentalist Juldeh Camara — have been supporting on the road for the past two years. That album’s title hinted at the show’s dynamic range, with the roar of tunes such as “Turn It Up” and the Led Zep opener “The Lemon Song” tempered at times by more acoustic fare such as “In the Mood” and “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.”

As he has done often in his solo career since Led Zeppelin called it quits in the 1980s, Plant sought to push the connections between rock ‘n’ roll and traditional African music in this performance. Adams and Camara used traditional African instruments on many songs, most notably Camara’s fiddle-like goje, while Tyson’s occasional switch to banjo underscored the African-to-Appalachian musical connection. On the recent album’s highlight “Rainbow” — which they reprised in the encore to get a better take for broadcast — most band members thumped hand-held bendir drums, kicking up the rhythmic impact of the song.

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But even when the band whirled into a maelstrom on crowd-pleasing Zeppelin staples such as “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love,” the focus was still squarely on Plant’s voice, which remains not just powerful but dominant. It’s the whole presence, really, that leaves an impression: Dressed entirely in black (as was the whole band), sometimes strolling the stage with the mic stand and sometimes just listening keenly to the detailed playing of his bandmates, Plant commands attention. And when he tells little stories between songs — whether referencing his brief stint as an Austinite a couple of years ago, or musing over what Charley Patton was writing about in the song “Spoonful” — he speaks not with a rock legend’s grandeur but with a casual, good-natured grace.

Monday’s show was the last of three appearances in Austin over the past few days, following a Sunday ticketed concert at ACL Live and Wednesday’s cameo at the Austin Music Awards during SXSW paying tribute to the late local DJ Paul Ray’s “Twine Time” radio show.

Set list:

  1. The Lemon Song
  2. Rainbow
  3. Black Dog
  4. Turn It Up
  5. Spoonful
  6. In the Mood
  7. No Place to Go/Dazed and Confused
  8. Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
  9. Little Maggie
  10. Fixin’ to Die
  11. Whole Lotta Love (medley with I Just Wanna Make Love to You and Hey Bo Diddley)


  1. Rainbow (retake)
  2. Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down/In My Time of Dying
  3. Rock and Roll

http://Robert Plant mixes old and new at ACL taping

Photo images via Ken Winovitch

Many thanks to Suzanne McElyea, Debby Thurman – Becnel and Mark Bowman for feedback, YouTube clips and photos from Robert’s US tour.

  1. ………………………………

Led Zeppelin News Update:

In conjunction with the Led Zep news site, each week I will be re producing highlights from their weekly email update news summary. This goes out every Sunday. Sign up details are below. Many thanks to James Cook.

Jimmy Page, Scarlett Sabet and Stacy Parrish at The Troubadour in London on March 7 (Facebook/Anne-Marie Fyfe)

  • A photo (above) was posted online of Jimmy Page with his girlfriend Scarlett Sabet and recording engineer Stacy Parrish on March 7 at Sabet’s poetry reading which was held at The Troubadour in London. Parrish worked on Robert Plant’s “Raising Sand” album, strangely enough. You can see the full image here.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters in Florida (Instagram/davesmithdrums)

  • Robert Plant continued his tour of the South of the US, performing in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 13, Dallas, Texas on March 15, at the Austin Music Awards in Austin, Texas on March 16, in San Antonio, Texas on March 17, and Midland, Texas on March 18. See below for setlists from those five shows. Click on the links to see videos of the tracks.

March 13 – Tulsa, Oklahoma
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Turn It Up
In The Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Communication Breakdown
Little Maggie
Fixin’ To Die
Whole Lotta Love
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down / In My Time of Dying
Rock And Roll

March 15 – Dallas, Texas
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Another Tribe
In The Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ To Die
Whole Lotta Love
Poor Howard
Rock And Roll

March 16 – Austin Music Awards, Austin, Texas
Young Blood
I’m Sorry
Let That Boogie Woogie Roll
Twine Time

(This was a guest performance at the Austin Music Awards without The Sensational Space Shifters. Instead, Robert performed with Jimmie Vaughan and Charlie Sexton. You can read reviews of this show on Austin360, Billboard and The Austin Chronicle.)

March 17 – San Antonio, Texas
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Turn It Up
In The Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ To Die
Whole Lotta Love
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down / In My Time of Dying
Rock And Roll

(Here’s a 39-minute video with clips from the entire show)

March 18 – Midland, Texas
The Lemon Song
Black Dog
Turn It Up
In the Mood
No Place to Go / Dazed and Confused
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
Little Maggie
Fixin’ to Die
Whole Lotta Love
Poor Howard
Rock And Roll

Upcoming events:

March 20 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Austin, Texas.
March 21 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Austin, Texas for Austin City Limits.
April 16 – A vinyl reissue of Jimmy Page’s 1965 solo single “She Just Satisfies” will be released for Record Store Day in the UK.
June 19 – Robert Plant will perform at the Royal Festival Hall in London with Guy Garvey, Nick Mulvey, Nadine Shah and Josephine Oniyama.
July 1 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Rock Werchter music festival in Belgium.
July 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Beauregard Music Festival in France.
July 7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the NOS Alive Music Festival in Portugal.
July 28 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Austria.
August 2 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform in Germany.
August 4/5/6/7 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Wilderness Festival in the UK.

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



Here’s a couple of TBL retro features spotlighting March 1975 and March 1998…

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot:
Prelude to Earls Court:

MARCH 21, 1975



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/Since I’ve Been Loving You/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/Dazed And Confused (inc. For What It’s Worth – Woodstock)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – The Crunge-Black Dog/Communication Breakdown – Heartbreaker.

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Background details: It was back to Seattle for another steller show with much improvisation. ‘No Quarter’ is a highlight with Jones and Bonham randomly incorporating a jazzy rhythm during the solo improvisation. ‘Trampled Underfoot’ now includes some lyrics from ‘Gallows Pole’. ‘Dazed And Confused’ includes snatches of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’ as well as ‘Woodstock’, and the longest encore section of the tour is performed tonight.

Hugh Jones of Proximity recalls: “Following ‘No Quarter’, Robert called for a change in the programme, causing a little confusion on stage. ‘There’s one song that we’ve done twice in, in… I suppose since we got ripped off for all that bread in New York, ages ago. And because we really dig playing here, and for no other reason, we’re gonna do it again now. I don’t think anybody else in the band knows about it yet, it’s a little bit of change in the… sorry about that, John! You see, right on the spot! It could be ‘Louie Louie’ but instead it’s a thing from the third album… ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’.

“Following a brutal ‘Trampled Underfoot’ and Bonzo’s marathon ‘Moby Dick’, more confusion appears to be occurring onstage. Robert shouts for an ovation for Bonzo, then asks in a casual tone, ‘Is everybody, uh, enjoying themselves?’ Jimmy is talking urgently with a group of people just off stage, and at one point seems to lift his guitar in the air as if to throw it down, obviously perturbed about something. Unfazed and still in his conversational tone, Robert observes ‘Mr Page is having a fit’. Apparently, we found out later, a local fan made Jimmy a gift of a beautiful Les Paul guitar, which turned out to be stolen from a high school music teacher. During the evening the instrument was confiscated at Sea-Tac airport as it was being shipped back to the UK (or so the story goes), and for some reason Page was interrupted during the show to be informed of this.”

Snapshot listen: How it sounded today:

Seattle 75

This Seattle show is simply one of the best gigs of their latter era.

If proof was needed then the opening segment brings it all alive – as it epitomises what a potent three pronged entrance these songs really were. Rock And Roll segueing into the new sheer brutality of Sick Again with Plant teasing ”Do I look the same”, and then the opening speech followed by the ”Beginning of a dream and it starts here (R.Plant -Earls Court May*17) or on this occasion .”What we intend to do is to relive our pent uppedness on stage, and then to relieve it later on after the gig elsewhere. Now the thing is what we intend to do is to give you a cross section of what we’ve been trying to produce and write over the last six and a half years.

As you know the material varies greatly and so you will appreciate that we take it from one extreme to the other….and what better way to start than to gaze out onto the horizon and see what tomorrow may bring”

To quote Hugh Jones ”in those last few sentences Robert Plant may well have encapsulated Led Zeppelin as well as anyone ever has. The physical, the musical, the pretension and the arrogance-all backed up with music as varied and as good as his word for the next four hours”.

So the the regal intro of Over The Hills And Far Away -the Page solo as always flickering and twisting into previously un investigated territory. Then a swirling finale with Plant crying out ”Samantha Samantha” perhaps a reference to the fun they were about to enjoy offstage as he put it And on this night in Seattle it all just burst forth with that knowing arrogance .

There is also a truly remarkable sequence to be heard during the middle section of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ on the night of March 20, 1975, at a show in Vancouver.

In the space of three minutes just before Jimmy Page’s Theremin solo, Robert Plant initially leads them through a spontaneous version of James Brown’s ‘Licking Stick’, which incorporates their own funk rhythm from the ‘The Crunge’. He follows that with a random war cry from ‘Immigrant Song’. And then with equal spontaneity the Jones, Bonham & Page rhythm section interlock for a riff sequence that would be recalled some three years later for the track ‘Ozone Baby’ which eventually saw the light of day on the Coda album.

It was this air of unpredictability within their performances, which made Led Zeppelin such an engrossing live act throughout their career.

To use that old Zep’75 maxim, it all underlined the fact that it wasn’t just a case of them being the number one band on the planet…the real point in question was just how far whoever was at number two lagged behind.




It’s 18 years ago this week – so here’s the Mad Month of March text from TBL 13 that chronicles this intensive period that saw them stage the showpiece Shepherds Bush gig plus appearances of Top of The Pops and TFI Friday.


1998 really was a fantastic year for Page and Plant activity – for some of  us in the TBL crew perhaps the last carefree period before we got a bit older and a bit more responsible (not!).

Personally looking back over this text it almost seems like another age – it was the age for me of balancing a frantic music retail job along with all the TBL capers – my I must have had some energy back then –or maybe it was the pints of fosters! I was running on adrenalin that’s for sure but it was incredibly exciting at the time…amazing to think that back then Sam was only 7 years old and Adam just over 2.

As for Jimmy and Robert …you forget how good they were together at this point – and the late Michael Lee was integral in making their performances so enjoyable – he really kicked the whole thing along…

Hello to the many TBL crew members who shared all this back then – prepare to get most nostalgic and most high in recalling the time when we were walking into everywhere with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant back in March 1998:

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 in London – 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 rock London radio 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 to London to 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 for Earls  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 form far and wide: Pat Lyons is here from Wales; Gary Woollard from the West Country; Anne Marsden from Stockport. 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!

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. or two late arrangements see old TBL stager Tom Locke in        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 where-ever 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 the Istanbul 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.

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 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 first UK 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 screech-ing 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 · la 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-ent to me. “The best since Earls 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 (no pun intended!), 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) worth-while. 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!

From Istanbul 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 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 Zepp 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 near-by 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 pro-ceedings 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 the Eastern Europe dates. “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!’’

tfi pic

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 from Manchester, 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 against Portsmouth. 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.

Dave Lewis, April 2nd 1998


So that is the way it was………..back in 1998…

Incredibly this was all of 18 years ago this week …and as Sandy sings ”Who knows where the time goes?” ……..but it goes and all too soon…

Dave Lewis – March 23, 2016


HiFi Lounge/TBL David Bowie Day  – Hi Fi Lounge, Dunton, Bedfordshire – Saturday April 9,2016:

david bowie dayTBL is teaming up with The Hi Fi Lounge dealership to stage a special HiFi Lounge/David Bowie Day.

The HiFi Lounge is a highly reputable hi- fi dealership situated in an out of town spot in Bedfordshire. It’s situated in a converted granary building in the village of Dunton –just off the A1M –appropriately enough the road to Knebworth and with good links to London and the north.

Following on from previous years, Paul at the Hi Fi lounge will be staging another special open day at the showroom on April 9 2016.

This time the playlist will be dedicated to David Bowie

I will be in attendance with the TBL crew –we will also be staging a fun /David Bowie quiz during the day

There will also be ample opportunity to view the HiFi Lounge extensive selection of high quality hi fi with main man Paul Clark.
This is of course a great opportunity to hear the music of David Bowie on vinyl on top quality kit – as Paul explains:

If you love Bowie please do come along to help us celebrate all his music, we will be getting out the PMC MB2 SE speakers along with Chord Electronic’s DAVE fed by an Aurender N10 & Chord Mono Power amps and the Michell Orbe so along with my Bowie collection of Vinyl and 24 bit downloads and anything you’d like to bring in it should be a real fun day where we can remember the amazing music of David Bowie on some great sounding kit.

All this plus records for sale!

Chris and Martin will also be coming along with their great collection of new vinyl for sale in our downstairs demo room, even if you are not the biggest Bowie fan but love your vinyl it is definitely worth coming along to see what vinyl delights you can pick up.

This has all the makings of a great day out for David Bowie and vinyl/hi- fi enthusiasts alike.

The event from 9.00am to around 5.30 Admission is free.

Refreshments will be available during the day – we look forward to seeing all that can make it along.


Stop Press: The Yardbirds live at Anderson Theatre 1968 cine film surfaces:

An excellent three minutes of colour cine footage has surfaced of The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page  on stage at the Anderson Theatre in New York on May 30 1968 – this show is notable for being recorded for a possible live album. The tapes of this show were eventually released in 1971 on the album Live Yardbirds with Jimmy Page – an album that Jimmy had withdrawn – the full story of which is (you guessed it!) is in my feature in Record Collector.

Have a look at the footage below – it’s an historic find…


DL Diary Blog Update:

Firstly, my condolences go to all the victims and families of the Brussels terror attack – there are no words to compensate but those affected by these terrible actions are in my thoughts as I am sure they are for everyone reading this….


Friday Treats at the Vinyl Barn – last Friday it had to be ELP and Keith Emerson including a great Keith Emerson with The Nice double album on US Mercury that packages the Five Bridges and Elegy albums plus The 1972 Jeff Beck Group album and a neat Yardbirds singles compilation ten inch pressing. Top stuff Darren!Barn march 19

Back in October 1970 I was first made aware of Janis Joplin when the late lamented lady was the cover subject of the inaugural issue of Sounds music paper .

Sadly she had passed away age 27 the third member of the ill fated death at 27 club that would add Jim Morrison to the list the next year. In 1972 as a 16 year old, I was going though an incredibly exciting phase of musical discovery.

Led Zep of course were firmly at the centre of my listening habits, but courtesy of the weekly music press, I was being made aware of the heritage of rock’roll and it led me on a path of immense musical exploration. In October 1972 The exploration led me to the racks of one of the local Bedford record outlets Weatherheads – an electrial and TV dealer that had a welcoming rack of LPs. On this autumn Saturday morning I took note of a bargain priced double album.

The album was Janis Joplin In Concert a doubnel set on the CBS label for just £2.99. As I may have noted before, any vinyl purchase took a hefty third of my then weekly wage so every investment needed to be a wise one.


At the time, I was going through a big live album phase having clocked up Hendrix In the West, Frank Zappa and The Mothers Live Fillmore, The Fillmore live triple album, Glastonbury Revelations and the Woodstock soundtrack.

The addition of Janis Joplin proved to be a wise one and this 16 year old was duly captivated by the sheer passion and commitment on performances such as Down On Me, Move Over, Piece Of My Heart, Try (Just a Little Bit Harder) Get it While You Can and Ball & Chain. The lady had soul and vocal vigour in equal measures.

A month or so later when I acquired my first bootleg Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill – I was struck by how at times, the young Robert Plant live performance on that epic live album echoed Janis Joplin’s vocal mannerisms – their was affinity there for sure intentional or not -though Robert has spoken of his delight at hanging out with Janis and the Airplane on those summer ’69 Festival bills.

My original copy Janis Joplin In Concert got waylaid over the years but about a year ago I acquired a fresh copy. I played it this week and it still sounds pretty amazing. My renewed interest in the lady was inspired by noticing that BBC 4 will be airing Little Girl Blue a Janis Joplin documentary film on Friday night. I’ll be checking that one out and recalling the impact her music had on me back when I was aged sweet 16.

More details on the film are here:

Meanwhile as a nigh on 60 year old (166 days to go an counting!) – the workload this week has included further focus on the Evenings With Led Zeppelin project. I’ve also been pulling together the varying strands of the content of the forthcoming TBL 41 which is shaping up very well – – and may I thank Nick Anderson, Larry Bergmann jr, Stuart Whitehead,Cliff Hilliard, Richard Grubb, Scott Heck for their contributions in advance. More on all that soon.

Easter is upon us and as the spring evenings lighten, the playlist here reflects the light and shade… here’s what’s going to be going down here in the coming days and weeks:

Presence – Led Zeppelin – 40 years gone…

Houses Of The Holy – Led Zeppelin – 43 years gone…

Anthology –  The Beatles – worthy re investigation of this set in the wake of Sir Georges passing -bit like the Zep Companion Discs, it’s easy to dismiss some of it – but on the whole there’s much to enjoy there. Early Beatles…a thing to cherish…

Little Games – The Yardbirds

Oh La La -The Faces

Songs For Beginners – Graham Nash

Blue Train – John Coltrane

Hot Rats – Frank Zappa

Blind Faith – Blind Faith

Marquee Moon – Television

Sweet Baby James – James Taylor

Cosmos Factory – Credence Clearwater Revival

And that little lot will take me nicely into the spring time with a renewed spring in the step…

Dave Lewis – March 23 , 2016


YouTube clips:

The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page  on stage at the Anderson Theatre in New York on May 30,1968:

Led Zeppelin Seattle – March 21, 1975:

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – Crossroads Top of The Pops March 26, 1998: Note your TBL Editor in camera in front of crowd at 16 and 23 seconds!

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – TFI Friday March 27, 1998:

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant – TFI Interview March 27, 1998:

Robert Plant & The Sensational Spaceshifters: The Rain Song -Dallas March 6, 2016:

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters Austin City Limits – March 21, 2016:

Until next time…

Happy Easter…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – March 23, 2016.

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  • Hiroshi said:

    The Yardbirds footage is so vivid and stunning, a real unearthed gem, although some fans argue that this actually comes from the Village Theatre, 25 August, 1967, which seems to be correct to me. If so, one of their opening acts was an “above ground” folk troubadour named Jake Holmes…The Day They Were Dazed And Confused.

  • Ian D said:

    And if you did forget check it out on Iplayer – it was a great programme

  • Mark Carroll said:

    & DON’T FORGET..Little Girl Blue about Janis is on BBC 4 TOMORROW NIGHT AT 9pm…

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