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25 September 2015 4,211 views 13 Comments

bonzo five glorious

John Bonham remembered 35 years gone….

Once again on this date, along with millions of fans worldwide, today I will have some quiet reflection on the passing of John Bonham , all of 35 years ago on September 25th 1980 …

Since that fateful day, so much has gone but so much remains…

And what remains most importantly of all is the everlasting love for a husband, father and brother.

As previously reported,  to mark the 35th anniversary of the passing of John Bonham there’s a Memorial Weekend being  organised by The John Bonham Memorial Fund and Steve Barnes of Redditch Music Festival.

Tonight September 25 , a candlelight vigil will be held from 8pm in The Rose Garden, Birchfield Rd (next to Vintage Trax record shop) where people can gather quietly to pay their respects, and leave tributes to John.

This will be followed tomorrow September 26 by a mini-festival to commemorate John’s short but impactful life with music and words from local musicians, friends and fans. Free to attend, the event will run from 11am – 5pm.

bonzo memrial

“35 years on, music fans worldwide still talk about John Bonham and his unique and hard hitting drumming style. We want to ensure he is never forgotten here in Redditch” says Ros Sidaway, Treasurer of the Fund “We invite local people and fans of Led Zeppelin from further afield to join us to remember John and celebrate his life. “

For further information and to donate to the fund please visit

It is always was both heartwarming and moving to hear this outpouring of love for John Bonham in the area where he was born. As I have said before, somewhere out there  John, Mick, Joan and Jack Bonham would be very proud…

You can support the John Bonham Memorial Fund via these links:

That outpouring of love will extend throughout the world as we remember John on this 35th anniversary…

That love of course naturally also extends to his vast influence as a musician.

It’s always a difficult day when September 25 looms around and for me It’s hard not to recount the events of that fateful day.

I was just turned 24 years old and so far 1980 had been a rollercoaster year for me for many reasons.

Back in the early autumn it’s fair to say Tight But Loose, the Led Zeppelin magazine I had established in late ’78 was on something of a roll. It was turning into a very exciting year on all things Zeppelin. Issue 4 had been issued in April – the first A4 size issue with professional printing. I’d built a strong rapport with their Swan Song office managed by Unity MaClean and in the summer I’d been lucky enough to view five of the Over Europe shows at very close quarters.

I’d spoken to John Bonham a few times during the tour – and on our last night in Munich as we all revelled in a night club, John wrote down his phone number and told me to call him when we got back in the UK (That piece of paper written on a German hotel note pad page with his name and number on remains one of my most treasured possessions). I remember vividly him giving us an affectionate big bear hug as we left the club that night.

On Thursday July 24th I phoned him at Cutnall Green. We had a long conversation. John was very happy with the way the Europe tour had gone and was now looking forward to a holiday. He told me there was a group meeting due the next day to discuss what was to happen next. He said to call during August for more news. During that second call in late August, John strongly hinted they would be returning to America in the autumn.

When the first dates were announced in early September I’d already made up my mind to go. I was planning on the Landover/Philadelphia dates. I was constantly in touch with Swan Song that month and on Thursday September 18th I visited the office to take in some early text of the forthcoming Tight But Loose issue. Jimmy Page was at the office that day and I spent over half and hour with him one on one in the inner sanctum of their plush interview room. He talked enthusiastically of their plans and showed me a model set up of their new lighting and stage rig. The model was complete with a miniature representation of each of them on stage. I asked him about the ongoing chronological live project and he told me he had been looking at some footage to go with the tracks. He also said that the outtakes from the last album were still under consideration to use in some format. An album and UK dates in 1981 were also planned.

I wrote down hurriedly the content of our conversation that early evening and one quote stands out: ”I feel there is a lot more to do simply because this band thrives on a challenge – you’ve only got to look at Presence for that”

The following Tuesday I phoned Unity at Swan Song for the latest news. Unity informed me they were commencing rehearsals in Bray Studios later in the week. Excitedly I took down notes on a piece of paper as she told me all this. I still have that note – a reminder of the optimism of that time. Unity told me there may be a possibility for me to attend rehearsals the next Tuesday. Now that would be something very special.

Tight But Loose 5 was to be an Over Europe special with a 10,000 word report of the tour formulated from the five gigs I’d witnessed. I’d been working on it fairly non stop since August and it was nearly complete. I spent the next two days finishing up the lay out – these were the days when I cut it all in myself scrapbook style to be printed. On Thursday September 25th (with huge irony) I finalised the opening editorial which I’d written on September 22th – it was the last piece of the magazine. ”By the time you are reading this” it stated, ”Zeppelin will be mid way through a 4 week trek across the US” It was all ready to go. I was ecstatic and with good reason.

The mag was ready to print, there was a chance I may even get to see them in rehearsal the next week and America beckoned in October.

All that optimism and hope would evaporate over the next few hours…

The first call came just after 7pm. Carolyn from Newcastle, one of the initial Tight But Loose subscribers told me the shocking news she’d just heard. John Bonham had been found dead at Jimmy Page’s Windsor home. I refused to believe it. ”How can it be?” I explained ”They are in Bray rehearsing” .

I said I’d make some calls. I was in my bedroom so I turned on the radio and waited for the 7.30 news on Radio One. Surely if it was true it would be a lead item. It wasn’t and for a few seconds I hung on to the hope it was all a mistake. Then it happened:

”This news just in. Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham has been found dead….”

I just couldn’t believe it. I rushed down to my Mum and Dad in a state of shock.  The phone was constantly ringing from other fans and even a couple of radio stations in America wanting confirmation.  Later I met up with my fellow Bedford Earls Court vets Dec and Tom also both shocked and stunned. I spent the night at Dec’s finally going to sleep around 4am.

In the morning in a daze I walked the two miles home stopping in a newspaper shop (further irony – the shop is a stones throw from the house where years later I would move to). There in all the papers was the devastating news in cold hard print. The Daily Mail had a picture of Bonzo on stage at Earls Court on the front ….

I sat on a nearby bench and cried.


There was no way it could continue without Bonzo. I did not consider them carrying on from the moment I heard the news. I rang Unity at Swan Song on Monday. She was very supportive and informed me they all felt the magazine should go out as soon as possible. I wrote a new editorial which was one of the most painful things I’ve ever written.

They were dark days but eventually there was some light…though things were never going to be the same.

On the anniversary it’s always cathartic to recall those events – and then count the blessings for what remains…

To mark the 35th anniversary of his passing, I’ve rounded up 35 examples of his percussive perfection. Along with countless fans around the world I will be indulging in many of these remarkable performances as we remember the man who still remains at the heart and soul of Led Zeppelin…

John Bonham 1948 – 1980:

Always loved…Always remembered… Always played…

Play these today and over the weekend and remember him this way…


For What it’s Worth  Band Of Joy (1967)

* One of  the earliest recorded remnants of the teenage Bonham with the Band Of Joy and fellow Midlander one Robert Plant.

Robert Plant said: ‘’You can hear Zeppelin in there. Bonzo’s doing a lot of those drum figures and fills which were quite popular with drummers like Carmine Appice all that virtuoso drumming. It was like ‘’Here I am everybody: somebody get me in a really big band quick -I want to get away from Plant!‘’

Hear it: Robert Plant – Sixty Six To Timbuktu (Atlantic)

Good Times Bad Times (1969)

*From the dramatic two beat opening, John Bonham puts the whole kit through its paces. That pioneering use of bass drum triplets heralded the arrival of a very special drummer.(DL)

Jimmy Page said: ‘’In terms of John’s playing, a big point of reference is Good Time Bad Times. He’s playing brilliantly on everything else but this is right out of the norm – playing a bass drum pattern that no one else has ever heard.’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin (Atlantic)

Communication Breakdown ( BBC Session 1969 )

* This take from their first John Peel session cut on March 3 1969 sizzles along -and Bonzo’s right at the heart of it. Unwisely omitted from the official BBC Sessions album.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 2 minutes 22 seconds the point were it veers off and the drummer free falls across tom tom and snare of the much employed maple Ludwig kit.

Hear It: Complete BBC Radio Sessions (Empress Valley bootleg)

 How Many More Times (Live BBC Playhouse Theatre 1969)

* An early live fave of course with that stimulating Gene Krupa inspired jazzy opening.

John Bonham said :‘’Gene Krupa was the first big band drummer to be really noticed. He came out and played the drums much louder than they ever had before. People didn’t take notice of drums until Krupa came along’’

Hear It: BBC Sessions (Atlantic)

bonzo may 31

Whole Lotta Love (1969)

One of one of their most potent studio moments and perhaps Bonzo’s best studio performance.

Clock the percussive perfection: Where else but that battering ram snare roll at 3.02 that leads into Page’s solo

Hear It: Led Zeppelin II (Atlantic)

Ramble On (1969)

* The pitter patter of bare hands against drum dominates throughout.

John Bonham said: ‘’You get a lovely little tone out of the drums that you couldn’t get with the sticks. You get an absolute true drum sound because there’s no wood involved’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin II (Atlantic)

We’re Gonna Groove (Live Royal Albert Hall 1970)

* Simply Devastating. From the moment Bonzo warms up the kit through the frenzied opening and ride cymbal onslaught. Definitive John Bonham.

John Paul Jones said: ‘’I’ve seen all three James Brown drummers stand around him at the Newport Festival in disbelief wondering how one guy does what all three of them did’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Vision)

Moby Dick (Live Royal Albert Hall 1970)

* Yes seeing is believing – superbly restored for the 2003 DVD this is 15 minutes of sheer percussive brilliance. Bonzo clatters, rattles, shakes and bangs his way into percussive immortality.

John Bonham said: ‘’My son Jason plays. I’ve got a kit made to scale for him. He’s got a great sense of time- even when we go out in the car he takes his sticks to bash on the seats.

Before the end of Led Zeppelin I’m going to have him onstage with us at the Albert Hall’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Music Vision)

Since I’ve Been Loving You (1970)

* Proving there’s no sin in omission, Bonzo’s sparse incisive back beat allows the rest of them to build the tension.

Clock the percussive perfection: 48 seconds in with that positively nuclear cymbal crash over Page’s Gibson squeals and Plant’s instinctive shout of ‘’Oh!’’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic)

Bathroom Sound (1970)

Not so much out on the tiles as inside the drum heads…and what an instrumental percussive feast…

Hear It: Led Zeppelin III Companion Audio Disc (Atlantic)

Gallows Pole (1970)

* Clock the percussive perfection: The tension builds and then blam!-  he’s in at 2.04 to gallop amongst the gallows.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic)

 Poor Tom (1970)

* An invigorating New Orleans jazz straight eighth shuffle opens and carries the track throughout. An absolute masterclass of controlled percussion.

Hear It: Coda (Swan Song)

Rock And Roll (1971)

* Guaranteed to cause severe outbreaks of air drumming from the moment that cymbal crashing intro commences.

Clock the percussive perfection: It has to be that final flurry at 3.25. The most concise percussive statement ever committed to tape.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic)

Four Sticks (1971)

* Yet another remarkable percussive statement. Bonzo tears along with a four stick attack clicking the rims of the drums in the process. Innovative and totally infectious.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin IV (Atlantic)

 When The Levee Breaks (1971)

* One drum kit, one stairwell, one microphone over the banister…a thousand samples…and the greatest of beats.

Robert Plant said: John always felt his significance was minimal but if you take him off any of our tracks, it loses it’s potency and sex. I don’t think he really knew how important he was‘’

Hear It: Led Zeppelin IVv (Atlantic)

Dazed And Confused (Live LA Forum 1972)

* A 25 minute tour de force with Bonzo in the middle of it all guiding them through early stabs at Walters Walk and The Crunge in the process.

Hear It: How The West Was Won (Atlantic)

The Crunge (1973)

* Talking of which – the boys get off on the good foot and Bonzo applies a ridiculous 9/8 time. Could anyone do The Crunge..?

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic)

D’yer Ma’ker (1973)

* Less reggae, more 50’s fun time led all the way by Bonzo’s huge upfront wide screen playing -leading to a deserved lead song writing credit.

Hear It: Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic)

The Rover (1975)

* First tried for Houses, it’s eventual release three years later was worth the wait. Bonzo’s machine gun snare torrents subside for  Page’s melodic embellishments.

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

No Quarter (Live Madison Square Garden 1973)

* Clock the percussive perfection: From 9.01 as Bonzo plays behind Jimmy’s wah wah solo displaying a hi hat syncopation favoured by the likes of 70’s funkateers Sly Stone and Tower of Power

Hear It: The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack (Swan Song)

The Ocean (Live Madison Square Garden 1973)

* Totally uplifting. This is mid period Zep in all it’s unchained unabashed carnal glory. Via the DVD we can vividly see Page playing not only to an ocean but right off the drummer’s cues and shouts.

Hear It: The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack (Swan Song)

In My Time Of Dying (1975)

* Perhaps their most intense and brutal performance – and it’s Bonzo constantly underpinning it all.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 7.12 and those four military barrages of power shared by Bonham and Page before Robert comes in with the line ‘’And I see it in the streets’’

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Kashmir (1975)

* Led Zeppelin in full splendour  and yet another masterful Bonham contribution. There’s no doubt that the economy in his playing gave the song it’s vastness.

Robert Plant said: ‘’A lot of Kashmir was done to Bonzo. He was a real thrifty player. It was often what he didn’t do that made it work.’’

Hear It: Physical Graffiti (Swan Song)

Over The Hills And Far Away (Live Earls Court 1975)

* Always a live favourite – the studio version was merely the starting point for the tangents within the framework.

Clock the percussive perfection: From Plant’s shout of ‘’Acapulco gold’’ at 2.35 as Bonzo drives the rhythmic experiments of Page’s solo with a two hit snare run not dissimilar to that employed on Candy Store Rock

Hear It : To Be A Rock And Not To Roll (Watch Tower bootleg)

Achilles Last Stand (1976)

* The chemistry of all four perfectly in sync to pull off perhaps their most inventive composition.

Clock the percussive perfection: So many to choose from – how about 1.17 and the first fill ,then again at 2.29 and another burst of power, or there’s the point at 4.08 when the first machine gun rally with Page kicks in.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

Royal Orleans (1976)

* Bonzo cleverly plays against the riff with a funky edge on another of his co compositions.

Clock the percussive perfection: 1.56 and the interjection of bongos with the main drumming. A deft touch.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

Hots On For Nowhere (1976)

* As Charles Shaar Murray noted, what the Glenn Miller orchestra would have sounded like had they been a murderously heavy four piece rock band. This one swings along with some incredible fills.

Clock the percussive perfection. At 4.01 through to the finish as he clatters around the spiralling Page runs.

Hear It: Presence (Swan Song)

Bonzo’s Montreux (1976)

* Enter the John Bonham orchestra. Bonzo had long harboured a plan for a dramatic new solo piece and the period in tax exile gave him the opportunity to experiment in Mountain Studios. The result -another percussive landmark.

Hear It: Coda (Swan Song)


The Song Remains The Same (Live LA Forum 1977)

* Despite all the off stage lunacy surrounding them now, Bonzo came through when it mattered. It certainly mattered any time they played Los Angeles and this opening night in LA was a triumph.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 1.25 to 1.36 a ten second torrent of furious snare attack as the song builds.

Hear It: Listen To This Eddie (Empress Valley bootleg)

Fool In The Rain (1979)

* On this outstanding Bonham showcase we can hear the fusion influence of jazz players such as Benard Purdie and Alphonse Mouzon.

Clock the percussive perfection. Firstly at 2.25 when the whistle blowing ushers in a Latin samba delight, then to the dexterity of his playing from 3.32 to 3.50 and the entry of Jimmy’s solo.

Robert Plant said: ‘’If you listen to Bonzo on that album -things like Fool In The Rain ,well he was weaving with as much dexterity and finesse as on the early days. One or two of us might have been struggling at that point but Bonzo still had it‘.’

Hear It: In Through The Out Door (Swan Song)

Wearing And Tearing (1979)

* He’d mixed it with the punks down at the Roxy club in ‘77 so attacking this track with Rat Scabies like vigour was chicken feed. Fast and loose and then some…Punk rock? Never ‘eard of it…

Hear It: Coda (1978)

Sick Again (Live Knebworth 1979)

* Knebworth was a triumph for Bonzo -his playing throughout was exemplary. One of the surprise highlights of the set was this   stand alone version of Sick Again – and he is just phenomenal all the way.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 3.44 and onwards as he puts the metallic kit through it’s paces and whips up a storm right through to the stop gap ending at 5.07

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

In The Evening (Live Knebworth 1979)

*More magnificence as Bonzo builds the drama with that phased tympani intro.

Clock the percussive perfection: From 7.10 onwards as he compliments Plant’s pleading and Page’s Stratocaster strut with a tribal tom tom assault.

Hear It: Led Zeppelin DVD (Warner Home Vision)

Stairway To Heaven (Live in Berlin 1980)

An extraordinary performance. Page’s solo on this last ever Zeppelin delivery meandered to take the track to nearly fifteen minutes in duration. Bonzo’s task was to intrusively follow the guitarist lead which he does with deft skill.

The camaraderie of recent weeks seemed to will them on to keep the flame burning for as long as they could on this final night.

A little over 80 days later Led Zeppelin were no more

Robert Plant said: ‘’The band didn’t exist the moment Bonzo had gone to me. Sometimes I still shout up there at that mass of blue and go ’’That was not a very good trick’’

Hear It : Last Stand (Toasted Condor bootleg)

And finally…

”Listening to John Bonham, well that always  makes me smile ”- Jimmy Page Olympic Studios Led Zeppelin Reissue playback March 2014

Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix)

The recently discovered outtake from the Presence sessions as recorded in November 1975. Mournful, forlorn and reflective, it creates a beautiful atmosphere. Jimmy drifts in at 2mins 39 with some minor descending electric strumming, quite possibly courtesy of the Telecaster B bender. Behind all that there’s an acoustic guitar – all very autumnal and Ten Years Gone- ish. Then John Bonham enters at 3 mins 01 and like Jimmy says, it will make you smile – it might even make you cry…

Hear It: Presence Companion Audio Disc


John Bonham 1948 – 1980 Always loved…Always remembered…Always played…

Dave Lewis – September 25th, 2015


Robert Plant and The Sensational Spaceshifters US Tour:

Robert and co have been back in the US for some very well received performances – the New York and Boston dates going down a storm. The performance of The Rain Song as captured at the Boston gig via the YouTube clip below – is just utterly awesome.

Here’s a review of the Boston show via Jed Gottieb -The Edge/Boston Herald:

Yes, Robert Plant pioneered heavy metal. But Led Zeppelin’s Golden God also reworked Celtic folk, repurposed Delta blues and made world music rock music. He has always been in the mood for a melody. As long as it’s not the same melody he’s sung for 40 years.

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday March 21, 2013, Robert Plant, lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin, performs during the Timbre Rock and Roots concert in Singapore. In a statement released from Plant spokesman Ken Weinstein, on Wednesday Nov. 12, 2014, Robert Plant says there is no truth to reports he turned down a lucrative offer from Virgin boss Richard Branson to play Led Zeppelin reunion shows. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, FILE)

Pic Associated press

While I would have liked for him to traverse more ground with his outfit Band of Joy, he told me ahead of his last trip to Boston the group had too much talent to stick around — “They were all virtuoso songwriters and musicians. Everyone had to go and do what they had to do. They had records to produce or write or play on,” he said.

Thankfully his sonic travels with the Sensational Space Shifters have proved even more interesting.

Last night at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, the Mighty Rearranger showed off his skill for twisting tunes. Plant doesn’t only voyage from song the song. He embeds epic journeys into each number. For just over an hour and a half, in front of a Sunday packed house, he and his band of six merry men rambled. And we rambled on with them.

Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” started with EDM, slid into acid rock and landed in rural Africa. “Dazed and Confused” felt as raw and evil as ever until the band flipped the song upside down and suddenly transported us to a Gambian street party — thanks to Juldeh Camara and his one-string fiddle. “Little Maggie,” a traditional American song Plant learned from hanging out with his friends in Texas and Tennessee, featured a breakdown of new wave synthesizers and barn dance clapping.

But nothing wandered like “Black Dog.” The legendary war horse crossed the Atlantic bridging urban British and rural American blues; it leap over the Strait of Gibraltar linking Moroccan folk and shimmering Ibiza discotheque grooves.

Whether it was led Zeppelin classics (and there were a lot of those — Trampled Under Foot! The Rain Song!  Whole Lotta Love!) or new stuff (which nearly got the cheers the old material enjoyed), the band kept trekking, kept evolving.

I’ve seen Plant play with three different bands in the last decade. This one explores like no other. And unlike so many of his peers, Plant moves forward artistically with every tour. Anthony Bourdain, you’re a novice, come ride shotgun with Robert for a while and experience expeditions like nothing you’ve seen before.

See link at:

New York review at:


Absolute Radio Led Zeppelin Bring It On Home:

This one was flagged on Mick Wall’s blog and looks well worth a listen – two parts with the first aired this Sunday September 26 and part two next Sunday October both at 8pm

This preview via Jane Anderson in Radio Times:

To acknowledge the launch of Absolute Radio in the West Midlands on 105.2 FM, rock author and broadcaster Mick Wall visits the venues, mainly in Birmingham, where Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham had their first inspiring experiences of live gigs. First-person accounts from people who saw their early musical ventures in local pubs, mixed with rare archive recordings of American blues players, make for a fresh understanding of a band who have been done to death.

See links at :—the-led-zeppelin-story–part-one


Alex Ferguson – ”Karel Poborsky came to Manchester United from Slavia Prague in 1996, looking as though as he was going to play for Led Zeppelin rather than United.”

Had to laugh at this one reported in The Independent:

Sir Alex Ferguson was well known for wanting his players to have short and sensible hairstyles (David Beckham never played under him with a mohawk), so it was no surprise that he made Karel Poborsky trim his shaggy locks when he signed for Manchester United from Slavia Prague back in 1996.

In his new book, ‘Leading’, Ferguson reveals that he could not fathom why a player would have long hair.

“I never understood why players would want to have long hair. Anything, even a few extra locks of hair, just didn’t seem sensible.

“I had my first issue with a player on this topic when Karel Poborsky came to Manchester United from Slavia Prague in 1996, looking as though as he was going to play for Led Zeppelin rather than United.“I did manage to persuade him to trim his locks but even so, they were always too long for my tastes.”


DL Diary Blog:

There have been a couple of nights out here…

Firstly -here’s some thoughts on the excellent T.Rextasy gig we attended last Saturday.

T Rextasy – 02 Academy London September 19 2015:

Great night at the 02 Islington at the T.Rextasy gig. The good lady Janet and I saw them last year and this was even better. The playing of Robert Plant’s Burning Down One Side and Zep’s Achilles Last Stand (they must have known I was in!) over the PA before the band appeared, put us right in the mood.

The crowd was made up of many a seasoned Bolan fan plus a good proportion of new generation fans making for a great atmosphere. We were wondering how many in attendance had seen Marc live back in the day – I missed out on that but my good friend Dec behind me saw him at St Albans City Hall in 1976.

danielz sept 19

The pacing of the set was well thought out – opening with the less high profile but excellent Raw Ramp before introducing the big hitters – come in Children of The Revolution, Metal Guru, Telegram Sam, Get It On etc to much acclaim. There was also a couple of welcomed nods to the Tyrannosaurus Rex era with King of The Rumbling Spires and One Inch Rock.

All of this was performed with immense passion and panache by the band led by the captivating front man Danielz – he brings much dignity and reverence to the role relaying affectionate tales of Marc- noting at one point that Joey Ramone had been influenced by the punk paced Solid Gold Easy Action (all together now ‘’hey,hey, hey!). Elsewhere in the set, I detected a little bit of the old Boogie Chillun Jimmy Page riffing during I Love To Boogie.

A final double wammy encore of 20th Century Boy and Hot Love was a suitably uplifting ending to a joyous celebration of the life of Marc Bolan. T.Rextasy know exactly how to put a little Marc in your heart…and we felt a whole lot better for it. A splendid evening …(DL)

and then there was a date with David Gilmour…

Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and me…

First things first. I have a long standing appreciation of Pink Floyd and David Gilmour. In the early 70s they were often on around our house and have been in my musical psyche for over four decades.

However, my all encompassing Led Zep passion did sometimes make it difficult for me to fit in following some of the peer bands of the day  – Black Sabbath and Deep Purple came under that rader – whilst I knew these bands were quality in their field, somewhat snobbishly in hindsight, I deemed them well beneath the mighty Zep and never got into their records.

Pink Floyd was a always different case as they were all around me and I genuinely admired their music – not least in the record shop retail days. We sold a mountain of Pink Floyd records. In fact I can still vividly remember the deep musky smell that black shrink wrap gave off when multiple copies of Wish You Were Here were all piled together. Of course, I wish I had invested in two or three of these shrink wrapped original albums as boy they fetch a price now.

I was well into Meddle (that one is very much a rites of passage record with many a teenage memory),The Dark Side of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. I lost it a bit with Animals and The Wall but I was well pleased when Another Brick in The Wall was a surprise Christmas number one in 1979. Can’t say I kept abreast of the 80s and 90s Floyd or Roger Waters solo stuff though.

In recent years,my upturn in vinyl collecting has added a few Floyd gems including a Dark Side pressing on Japan Toshiba/EMI and only recently I added a French sleeved version of Meddle to the DL collection. I loved the 2005 Live 8 reunion which was done with immense dignity – the performance of  Wish You Were Here was very emotional.  I’ve seen a couple of very good Floyd tribute bands locally and as for the real Pink Floyd, they are on the playlist from time to time.

Up until this week though, I have never seen Pink Floyd or a member of Pink Floyd perform live. I nearly went to the Knebworth appearance in 1975 with my then girlfriend of the time and 15 years later in 1990, I was actually at Knebworth for their Silver Clef appearance but still never saw them. Yes I know that sounds a little ridiculous but let me explain…

Totally reeling from seeing Jimmy step up with Robert in the afternoon with that run through of Wearing And Tearing and Rock And Roll, Mr Foy and I took leave of our senses a little as we decided to head home soon after Jimmy and Robert left the stage. Thus missing out on Genesis, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney. This is a decision that baffles me to this day but plainly we had seen what we had come for and nothing else was going to follow it. Floyd or no Floyd.

I do rate David Gilmour as artist and guitarist very highly,though again have not followed his solo offerings too much.

In fact, I will state for all his many Floyd contributions, my favourite piece of Gilmour music is his guitar solo on the outro of the 1984 Paul McCartney single No More Lonely Nights – a simply blistering array of guitar control and technique.

So I guess I was coming from something of a rather passive angle in my Floyd kudos compared to many fans attending the David Gilmour Royal Albert Hall show on Thursday September 24.

I can say I was certainly looking forward to it. I knew Gilmour was doing a set of highly in demand London shows and was suitable intrigued. When at fairly short notice, the opportunity of a ticket for the show via TBL subscriber Joe Galanick , I jumped at the chance.

This is after all a member of Pink Floyd carrying all the legacy that goes with it. I did invest in the new album Rattle That Lock  – the highlight of which is the moving tribute to Rick Wright A Boat Lies Waiting – with some affecting backing harmonies from David Crosby and Graham Nash. Overall the album is a slightly uneven affair but it contains some typically Floydian sweeping soundscapes and it’s been fun to re connect with earlier Floyd and Gilmour works – his 2008 Live In Ggansk is a full on live adventure.

gilmour albert one

It’s always refreshing for me to be attending a non Zep related gig. It comes with none of the pressures of organising pre gig TBL meets, reporting back to the TBL website/Facebook etc. I can just turn up and enjoy the show.

That’s how it played out last night – it was great to meet with Billy & Alison Fletcher before the show and Joe and his wife Jendy. They were fantastic company and we had amazing seats.

As for the show -an absolute masterclass in how to preserve your legacy and celebrate it with style, dignity and finesse. The lights were pretty good too! Watching it all, I did feel that this is a path Jimmy Page could admirably follow …

More words and pics on the TBL/DL Facebook page.

Update: Here’s my thoughts on the gig:

So the Royal Albert Hall Thursday, September 24:

The crowd – it’s immediately apparent the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd has galvanised the Floyd community tonight. Average age here must be mid 40s to 50. Predictably a mature audience. Many a T shirt being worn like old battle dress – from all eras of their history. It’s a heart-warming site because this is our generation flexing their heritage status for something that has been loved and converted over many decades.  Many have travelled from a far – a guy in the queue behind me tells me he is here from Austria for all the Albert Hall gigs and has already seen the show in Europe.

Show time. David Gilmour and the band saunter on as the lights go low. The plaintive strains of the instrumental  5Am from the new album open proceedings. And there he is an ageing bloke in a dark t shirt – despite the low key attire and presence Gilmour is oddly charismatic and boy can he play guitar. 5Am consists of the first of many sizzling solos he will effortlessly reel off tonight.

From there it’s a romp through Rattle That Lock , the title track of his new opus – all bouncy in a Brick in the Wall like manner and thoroughly enjoyable.

Ah yes the new album and he serves up plenty of it. While a majority of the assembled are here for the Floyd fix, David is obviously keen to sell up his latest musing. Most of it works well. The doomy Face Of Stone s up next. The Richard Wright tribute A Boat Lies Waiting is performed with deep emotion. Before that Diamond Dave has given the audience the first taste of what they really came for. An equally emotional rending (can it be anything else?) of Wish You Were Here.

After the well received The Blue from the Living On An island album, there’s more nostalgia. Money and Us And Them played back to back and of course we all back in our bedrooms headphones on ,tuning in and dropping out as we gaze at that mysterious prism sleeve. Both are peerlessly performed and this might be a good time to mention the lightshow – David has brought back the Pink Floyd circular backdrop screen and it works a treat reverberating with colour from every angle mixed with typical Floydian obscure footage.

In Any Tongue from the new album all mournful and moody precedes the Division Bell’s High Hopes which is accompanied by ,well appropriately enough a bell, which is chimed to perfection.

End of part one – so far, so compelling.

A word about the very competent band – long serving bassist Guy Pratt (who put in a stint with Coverdale Page way back) is very prominent and up front adding a verve and passion to proceedings while to the far left , Phil Manzanera is a more understated presence but quietly adding undercurrents of electric and acoustic guitar. Drummer Steve Distanislao serves up a suitable percussive kick.

The second set commences with the psychedelic freak-out that is the Syd era Astronomy Domine. All shrilling vocals and mind bending visuals.

Fat Old Sun from Atom Heart Mother receives the first standing ovation. On An Island is also enthusiastically received.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond is simply sensational. The beautifully poised ringing guitar lines at the intro engulfing the entire hall.

David drops a bit of a clunker next with The Girl In the Yellow Dress a cocktails style jazz number from the new album that seems well out of place.

The momentum is quickly restored with Today a far better representation of the new album and then Sorrow with it’s snarling In the Evening like intro.

Run Like Hell is a visual and musical feast, the band all in shades to cover the stunning strobe lighting effects.

gill 3

That concludes the main show -they are soon back on for a majestic Time that leads into an utterly glorious Breath (reprise). By now the whole of the Albert Hall is up and grooving and ready for a rousing anthem like Comfortably Numb complete with the expected but no less effective extended guitar pyrotechnics – all wrapped in a blaze of dazzling flickering laser beams.

Like I said, this was an absolute masterclass in how to carry the legend with dignity and style.

So here’s the thing….although I was having a Zep day off, I could not help thinking as I gazed down on a 69 year old musician in his absolute element, that this is exactly what Jimmy Page should be doing. Celebrating his vast catalogue with a hot band and with an effective light show, throwing those shapes we know so well and dishing out the required guitar genius riffola as only he can…

All in the confines of this wonderfully stately venue which he knows so well – and would not have too walk far to reach.

Like I said earlier, Gilmour’s appearance’s have galvanised a whole army of Floydian followers. In fact, I felt quite envious how much these fans were enjoying this opportunity to share with the artist some utterly golden moments.

I want to feel equally as galvanised by a Zeppelin like audience (that’s us) – ready to cheer Jimmy Page on every step of the way…in this wonderful setting.

Here’s hoping….

As for David Gilmour – well (thanks to Joe), I have finally seen what it is all about….he may be a somewhat unassuming guitar hero – but guitar hero he certainly  is.

Long may he shine on….

Dave Lewis  – September 25 2015.


gill 4

Pic here – outside the Royal Albert Hall last night with Joe and Jendy Galanick over from Virginia USA for the David Gilmour show – Joe is a TBL subscriber – they were both fantastic company and it was great to meet them.

Last Saturday’s T. Rextasy gig also provided the opportunity to hook up with the visiting Dec over from Ireland plus Jenny and it also fantastic to see  our Sam. All in all, a top night out.

There’s been more progress on TBL 40 text and design this week, with more work on the Top 40 Bootleg CD sets feature contributed by Paul Sheppard, a great analysis of Achilles Last Stand by resident TBL musicologist Rikky Rooksby and the transcribing of the Chris Dreja interview conducted at the Led Zeppelin From The Beginning exhibition launch night at the Proud Gallery Chelsea in August.

On the player – plenty of Pink Floyd appropriately enough including Meddle, Wish You Were Here and the new David Gilmour album Rattle That Lock. Plus a couple of vinyl acquisitions from last week -namely Jimi Hendrix Loose Ends – this is an outtakes compilation from 1973 that I had at the time but lost somewhere along the line so it was good to spot a very good condition copy in Reckless Records in Berwick Street London. I also picked up the excellent double set of Yes BBC Recordings 1968 – 1970.

Ahead there’s more work on TBL 40 plus various other projects to move along.  This weekend Adam goes back to UNI at Eastbourne for his second year so I’ll be watching the erratic fortunes of Spurs on my own in the coming weeks.

Have to say I’ve not been feeling on top form health wise – the strained thigh I’ve had for a while is not really improving and a there was a trip back to the docs yesterday to sort one or two things and medication has been duly prescribed.

Anyway, despite some health niggles, I’m getting on with stuff as you do – I cannot be at the Redditch John Bonham Memorial event much as I’d like to be but I’ll certainly be having my own thoughts today.

Talking of Spurs, Adam and I had a last father and son bonding at the local Fox & Hounds last Sunday as we watched Surs overcome Crystal Palace 1-0 last week – a result that would not have pleased ardent Palace fan and legendary rock scribe and Classic Rock news editor Dave Ling – despite that result he did wade in with a very courteous piece of feedback on his excellent blog as follows:

Many thanks to my old mate Dave Lewis for sending the latest issue of his fine Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose, which focuses on the final batch of the reissue campaign, the albums ‘Presence’, ‘In Through The Our Door’ and ‘Coda’. Dave had a chat with Jimmy Page at Olympic Studios, there’s a really nice vibe between the pair, and it’s nice that Pagey closes with the words: “Thanks, Dave – keep flying the flag for us.” Mr Lewis is alright… for a Spurs fan!

See Dave’s blog at

Thank you Mr Ling!

Dave Lewis – September 25, 2015



YouTube clips:

Remembering John Bonham – Moby Dick Royal Albert Hall 1970:

Remembering John Bonham – The Ocean Madison Square Garden 1973:

Remembering John Bonham – Fool In The Rain Polar Studios 1978:

Remembering John Bonham – Sick Again Knebworth 1979:


Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters – The Rain Song Boston: Sept 20 2015:


Until next time…

Have a great  weekend

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy –  September 25  2015. 

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1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Paul said:

    Great review of the Gilmour show! Thanks…I’m a huge fan!
    would have loved to see him with Crosby and Nash at RAH.
    I do have the privilege to see him at the Hollywood Bowl next year! Can’t wait!

    I was lucky enough to catch Robert on his last night in Chicago, and it was truly
    sensational. First time for The Rain Song for me and I was in tears!! A simply
    magnificent performance. I had seen him in Chicago in 1983 and many solo shows
    thereafter, but this was the best!

    Looking forward to the milestone TBL #40

    gotta go hear Moby Dick….RIP Bonzo!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks Dave

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    A pleasure Danielz!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    thanks Jez!

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    I second the thought that Jimmy Page should be doing something along the lines of the Gilmour presentation. However, its worth remembering that David Gilmour’s 80’s Floyd succeeded precisely because he held such an enormous musical claim to their legacy, and his soaring guitar and smooth voice were so much a part of the Floyd’s warm appeal (Water’s sardonic worldview notwithstanding).

    I fear that Jimmy Page’s reluctance to return to the stage is wrapped up in having to present Zeppelin material without Robert Plant. Even post-Crows and Coverdale, the O2 and the re-issues were a massive reminder of how great Led Zeppelin truly was and how massively difficult it is to present Zeppelin music without Zeppelin.

  • Jez said:

    One of your best ever posts Dave simply sensational.

  • Danielz said:

    Thanks for such a great review!

  • Frank C said:

    I was on my way home from high school when I heard the news. I raced home to see if it was true. When the radio announced it was true I was crushed. My friend that I had been planning to go to the Philadelphia show with came over my house and I broke the news to him. I still picture him leaning into my front fence head down in disbelief.
    What a loss of an incredible drummer and amazing band. Every Sept 25th since, I play Moby Dick as a tribute to Bonham.
    RIP Bonham. You will always live on through the great music you left us with.

  • Stephen said:

    The studio would be the best place for Jimmy now, in my opinion. I want to hear some new material. The songs he premiered in It might get Loud were pretty cool, especially the acoustic song. I would love for him to do something a bit more experimental, go right back to his art school roots, and produce a quasi-soundtrack album, with lots of textures and moody dark pieces. I loved the synth stuff he did on Death Wish 2. Leave the classic rock behind. You’ve made your mark in that field, and will never surpass what you did with Zep.

  • Dave M said:

    I was in 6th form and my mother woke me for school with the bad news.

    It feels a long time ago. Bonzo was just 32 when he died – and I’m 20 years older than that now.

    The greatest ever rock drummer – for fans and players alike.

    Spot on with the David Gilmour comments, Dave.

    It really is time for another certain legendary rock guitarist to do something new.

  • Peter said:

    I too enjoyed last night’s RAH concert and briefly wondered about Jimmy in the same venue. There are a number of his guitar contemporaries enjoy a renaissance right now. I saw Eric at the same venue back in May and he was in excellent form. Right now, Keef has a new album out that has everyone talking. All these guys ( even Keef!) sing and that’s sadly where the comparison ends. Jimmy has played barely 10 concerts in the last 15 years and it seems I’m just as likely to see Jimi on stage these days as Jimmy. Happy retirement James.

  • VHP said:

    Hi Dave,
    Again a nice bit on John’s untimely death 35 years ago. I remember seeing it on the newspaper sellers boards as I travelled home from work in Birmingham. A sad day indeed.

    Re David Gilmour, I was lucky enough to see Pink Floyd on their Division Bell Tour in 1994 and then see David Gilmour on his 2006 On An Island Tour at Manchester. They are amongst some of the best gigs I have ever been to! (Yes I did go to the O2 Zeppelin gig and that is also up there with my list top gigs.)

    There is a Zep connection for me regarding the Gilmour Manchester gig as my friend back then knew Jonn Lionall Ward – Jimmy’s long standing guitar tech, and he got us 4 tickets for the gig. Thanks Lionall.

    Anyway, yes regarding your comments regarding carrying the legacy with dignity & style. Come on Jimmy, do it. You have been away from the stage for way too long.

    But I fear we may still be in for a long wait as its now nearly October and no sign of any Jimmy Page dates as yet! But when – and if – he does, I hope he remembers there are other places around the UK other than London that would like to see him play.

  • Larry said:

    Hard to believe it’s 35 years…I was at work when the news came over the radio in the early afternoon…the emotion was welling up and I made an excuse and went home…the local rock radio station played Led Zeppelin music all night and I numbly listened to it.

    My friends and I had been making plans to somehow secure the tickets and go see all 3 gigs at the Capital Centre in Landover which were just a few weeks away…but of course it was not to be.

    All these years later, thinking about his passing is still so painful. He was too young and there was and is no sense to be made from it.

    Plant has forged on, but Page and Jones seem to have drifted along musically thru the years without their drummer. I like the juxtaposition you made Dave, regarding David Gilmour’s concert and how this is what Jimmy Page should be doing now. I’m sure Bonzo would agree if he were here to weigh in on the topic.

    RIP Bonzo. You are still missed.

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