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31 May 2014 5,305 views 2 Comments

bonzo may 31

Today (May 31st) marks the 66th birthday of John Bonham.

With the first three Led Zeppelin Reissues nigh on upon us, his legacy once again will be very much to the fore – this recent quote from Jimmy Page sums it all up…

’I just marvel at John Bonham’s technique and his attitude. His playing was absolutely wonderful. Hearing him now brings a smile to my face. This feels like a celebration of his playing and his music. His contribution to the band was unparalleled.’’

Jimmy Page talking to Simon Cosyns  for Something For The weekend May 2014


I recently conducted an interview with Deborah Bonham for the TBL magazine. Here’s an extract in which she speaks movingly of brother John…  

DL: The first three Led Zeppelin re issues are due in June – it must be of great inspiration to the family that John’s legacy is going to be lauded all over again yet again

DB: Yes absolutely and what I love about it is that it’s also reaching new younger kids. It’s also great that it’s on vinyl too. I’m releasing the Spirit album on vinyl . I just love that the whole vinyl sound t I love the idea you have an album split in two and you can spend ages with side one and then get to side two weeks down the line. It’s like having another album. But yes it’s great that the reissues are bringing it to a new generation. John for me and my family is always there and constant through the music.

DL: Can you recall first hearing Led Zeppelin I?

DB: Yes I loved Dazed And Confused and Good Times Bad Times. My girlfriends  used to come around the house and I’d make them dance – it was always the bit in Dazed and Confused where it speeds up and we’d be going mad.!

John used to bring home a test pressing of the albums – I remember him playing Whole Lotta Love to us and What is and What Should Never Be. It had d that panned effect. John just loved the fact that it did this stereo panning from speaker to speaker at the end of the song and I remember him standing there going ‘’Listen its coming out of that speaker…oh and now it’s out of that one!’’

DL: What do you think these albums stand the test of time so well?

DB: In a nutshell – it’s incredible playing, it’s incredible writing, its innovative and its powerful and its emotional. The moment you put on a Led Zeppelin song and an album like Led Zeppelin 1..the drum pedal and everything – it’s just incredible.

DL: What made John such a special musician?

DB: I think you are born with it. It’s about the soul and the passion and you’ve got to be able to bring that to the stage and to the instrument you are playing and that is what John did. I’ve seen technically brilliant drummers and singers who can hit it note for note, and guitarists too …but where is the passion? Where is the soul? I would rather here a bum note if I know they are going for it and there’s the passion and excitement in the playing.

That is what Zeppelin had and it was never a dull moment. It was never so perfect – it’s what is within you that allows you to bring that passion and emotion  to the instrument – be it drums, guitar, bass. It was the four of them and they were all individually stunning musicians.

DL: Which Led Zeppelin track most reminds you of John?

DB: It has to be Kashmir in a lot of ways because when I saw him perform that at Knebworth , well he just had the biggest smile on his face… but then In My Time Of Dying – when I hear him play that –  I mean Physical Graffiti is just the greatest of albums and Good Times Bad Times and that drum pedal. John did not need any double bas set up or anything. Like I said –  it was the soul and passion in his playing…

The full interview with Deborah is featured in the new TBL issue 37.  

John Bonham 1948 – 1980 …..always remembered …always loved…

Dave Lewis – May 31st, 2014


Deborah Bonham for Redditch gig in support of the John Bonham Memorial Fund:

And with appropriate timing  – this news came through yesterday :

deb mk stables 3

THE SISTER of the late Zed Zeppelin star John Bonham is set to play a special gig in Redditch to help raise funds for a memorial in his honour.

Deborah Bonham will perform a one-off acoustic set at St Stephen’s Church on Saturday, August 2 in support of the John Bonham Memorial Fund. It will also form part of the three day Redditch Music Festival being held as part of the town’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The fund was set-up over a year ago inspired by an idea by Sam and Clem Dallaway to recognise the achievements of the legendary drummer and Redditch as his birth place.

For Deborah it will be the first time she has played her home town and she said it would be a ‘spiritual’ occasion.

“It’s really exciting. When I was younger we used to walk from Hunt End to the church and my brother Michael was married there and John went there so it seems the perfect place,” she told the Standard.

“It will be different to what I normally do, it will be an acoustic set and we’ll be picking the more ballady songs. I’m really looking forward to it, it will be quite spiritual.

“I hope the people of Redditch turnout and support something that will be fantastic for John’s memory but also for the town as well. He was born and bred in Redditch and achieved an amazing amount in his short life so it would be lovely to have that honoured by the town.”

The fund-raising campaign will be officially relaunched tomorrow (Saturday) from 2pm on what would have been John’s 66th birthday, with performances by local musicians at Cafe Mambo near to the bandstand where it is hoped the memorial will be installed.

Organisers hope fans will donate and help them raise at least £50,000 to produce the memorial, which has still to be designed.

John Bonham is arguably Redditch’s most famous resident having been born, bred and educated in the town.

Tickets for the Deborah Bonham gig cost £10 in advance and will be available shortly at where donations can be made. They will also be sold on the door at £12 subject to availability.

Visit for more information.


Led Zep UK Friday Media Blitz:

Reissues pic 3

Excellent coverage in The Sun, The Times and the Telegraph yesterday –boy has Jimmy worked hard promoting these releases…I always find it quite captivating when they hit the press like this –and a deep sense of pride when the press catch up with what we already know – they are, were and always will be the best… (DL


Led Zeppelin Reissues: Initial Reaction:

Yesterday fans across the world began to receive the long awaited first three Led Zeppelin Reissues.

European countries seem to have got in on the act first with the official release date coming forward to May 30th. Here in the UK we await  deliveries for the June 2nd official release. …my order via Amazon for the three super deluxe box sets via Amazon is now confirmed as being despatched. I anxiously await….

I could not resist something of a delayed April Fools joke when I posted this pic yesterday on the TBL Facebook page with the words ‘’Amazon seem to have got my order mixed up…’’.


It was of course some light relief and as the singer put it ‘’Does anybody remember laughter?…!  I did actually receive these cassettes from fellow fan Dave Hill this week . Thanks!

It was exciting watching the TBL facebook page for the first reviews to come through – and here’s some initial reactions.

Review by Marcel Gootjes, Schiedam Holland

Led Zeppelin I; Led Zeppelin II & Led Zeppelin III – 2-CD DELUXE EDITION

About the packaging

My first reaction is “Wow!”

Superbly done, crystal clear printing and the new photo’s make these editions a “must have” for the real Led Zeppelin fans!

My only problem lies with the Led Zeppelin III package. In this case there are no cut-outs for the CD’s, so that makes it somewhat harder to get them out of the sleeve, but that is a minor thing.

Overall: Magnificent!!

Audio Studio Albums

I have to admit that I am no audiophile, and being a musician myself I personally think that my hearing is not all that good anymore, but after listening to this master compared to the older one, I do certainly think that the bass guitar played by  John Paul Jones is, without losing the body, much clearer and pointier. For the first time I get the idea of hearing every note he played very clear. It is even more mind blowing on this re-issue than ever before!

Overall: I am so glad that I am the proud owner of these re-issues and that Led Zeppelin rules my musical experience…again, again and yet again…the song remains the same, but in a different frame!

Live at the Olympia – Companion Disc Led Zeppelin I

As a momentum in time, this is where they, the musicians, were at that time. For me personally I have a love/hate relationship with the live performances. When they were good, they were unbeatable, but when they were bad, it was very awkward…

This performance starts very chaotic, but after a few minutes they are warmed up and then, there is that sparkle, that energy that proofs Led Zeppelin was not only about entertainment, but about giving you all that they had in store, for you, the audience attending.

Great to hear such an early performance of a band that would become one of the greatest rock bands in history of music. I really do think that Led Zeppelin had the guts to make mistakes in order to improve!

Led Zeppelin II – Companion Disc

Oh my sweet Lord, this is the roughest diamond only to be polished!!

To get to the ultimate piece of art, whether it be a painting, a drawing, a book, an artist has to sketch first, so here we have the sketches before becoming the art that is called making music.

And the instrumental “La La” shows yet again the capabilities of the band as a whole…awesome!

Led Zeppelin III – Companion Disc



“two, three, four…” heard very clear now, without the tape his…wow…what a start of a companion disc…

Without the effect you can clearly hear the vocal capabilities of Robert Plant, that is what Jimmy Page and Peter Grant heard that one evening when they first saw him perform…

, “Friends” without vocals, to me it is even more dramatic, very touching and what a musicianship…if you can play like that, indeed, you can do anything, here is the proof!

“Bathroom Sound”…oh what a dry sound on the drums, but, I love it, here you can hear that John Henry “Bonzo” Bonham was a groover and to me it proves that Led Zeppelin was ‘Tight But Loose’ because of Bonzo..

A band is as good as the drummer behind the band…enough said!?

“Jennings Farm Blues” and “Key to the Highway/ Trouble In Mind”, well what can I say, I understand that these songs were disbanded for release, but it shows that true musicianship does not come easy, you have to study, rehearse and perform to get better, and man did they get better and better at doing what they had to do!

Although I am skeptical about new remasters, because I often see it as a new way to sell records, I am glad and proud of these purchases and of the fact that  Jimmy Page gives us, the fans, a new glimpse in the world that Led Zeppelin was…and is!

Marcel Gootjes, Schiedam Holland

Any late night parties in the Nthn Hemisphere rockin out to the new releases? Just back from the record store with my purchases. Initial reaction? Jimmy has out done himself here. The sound is incredible. Cruising back in the car on a warm Saturday afternoon with Since Ive Been Loving You in the player and it sounded like Plant was sitting in the back seat singing. Brilliant stuff. Can report that my mate at the store had put mine aside for me which was lucky as everything had sold out. Its 1970 all over again!

Andrew Johnson New Zealand

Here Is My First Impression about this splendid 2014 Led Zeppelin Celebration:

I purchased the trio from Levykauppa X (internet and Finnish fabulous on-store record store).They send the records always when they get released! Dragged them off my mailbox with shivering hands! Ran to my flat and first goes the first!

John started to pummel! I really didn´t find any difference compared to the earlier remaster. I Was hearing my way through the first half, not much sonic improvement(we have a non hi-fi sound system! Something clearer, dynamics getting better all the way. How Many More Times was great again! My wife told me not to play them records loud!

The first album was pretty much the same as the earlier remasters, maybe a bit louder. The live show was splendid. Lots of energy!

Led Zeppelin II , Now we´re getting to the core and bone! Brilliant stuff , wonderful Thank You and Living Loving and Whole Lotta Love

Led ZeppelinIII, a lot of sonic clarity, quite a few  guitar bits I´ve  never heard?

Since I´ve Been Loving You. Otherwordly!

Jarkko Laatikainen, Finland

At 3pm in Dallas Texas I bought the deluxe box sets for 1 & 2. 3 is not in yet. I have confirmed that the two copies I just bought are literally the only two deluxe sets for sake before the American street date of Tuesday. The store had second copies of neither.

Also bought the standard CD of Zep 2 and the deluxe CD of Zep 3.

I am too intimidated to even open them yet. So I will speak to the exterior design.

I was thrilled and elated to see that all barcodes are affixed to the shrink wrap on the CDs, and printed on the removeable paper info sheet for the boxes. Barcodes don’t belting on album covers and especially not on Zeppelin album covers!

The CDs use the original paper stock and textures of the old LPs. I am so glad that all aspects of the original design have been honored.

The box sets seem heavy, durable, and of high quality.

Each copy of the box set is shipped to stores in its own sturdy box, padded on the inside by foam strips. Such packing materials are disposed of by stores. I requested mine from the pile for trash behind counter.

One of the labels in small print if the content as the specific album and date of packing, so worth keeping for collectors. Few will survive.

Outer box for Zep II is oversized, very sturdy, with great durable texture for cover. All spines of titles use matching style and placement for type with Swan Song logo.

reissues bucks

It was a thrill to buy two of the three early. I’m going to have to somehow summon the courage to open them.

Vinyl copies of original and companion disc on vinyl. Numbered print.

New Zeppelin hologram enlarged. Smaller than postage stamp on back of every piece of product.

I laid the two vinyl’s side by side for the fun collage.

Back cover of alternate is blue with white text and info; no art or gatefold.

All text on the inside cover tomb has been completely rewritten era arranged and is now in a markedly different font.

Alternate vinyl cover is extremely gorgeous when viewed in person.

No corners have been cut in any aspect of the design and production of these sets.

It’s as if a decision were made to actually spend every penny possible to maximize the quality of all covers, printing, binding, etc.

So just in the initial examining of only the Zep II deluxe box

I can report with joy and confidence that disappointment with the packaging and design is simply not possible.

I am low income and sold and traded in things to get two box sets today. Honestly I would redo slider the status of any serious Zeppelin fan or collector who does not make every attempt to secure one or more volumes in the box series. It is the greatest and grandest presentation each album is likely to receive, ever.

What a joy it has been to open just one if the two sets I purchased today 4 days ahead of release schedule.

photo 5

I scoured and contacted several Dallas stores; these were the only two confirmed copies in Dallas stores today. Both are now in the witness relocation program, in secret hiding in my house.

Plugging in headphones and opening book now. …

Bucks Burnett  Dallas, Texas


Many thanks to the above for relaying their initial thoughts … 

As previously mentioned, to celebrate the milestone release of the first three Led Zeppelin Reissues, I am throwing open the various TBL channels to attain your views and feedback.

In effect, the next few days will be TBL Led Zeppelin Reissues Forum Week on TBL Facebook and Website

Upon their release, I would very much like to receive your initial thoughts and feedback. Tell me what you think about the remastered albums, the Olympia Paris 1969 show, the companion audio discs, the outtakes, the packaging, the de uxe books, etc – positive or negative I want to know your views on it all. I’d also love to receive photos of you unpacking the sets and revelling in the moment and the experience.

This initial feedback can be as short or as long as you like.

Send it as soon as possible!

Note -this feedback applies to all formats not just the deluxe box sets -whatever version you buy I’d love to hear what you think of it!

Send it either on the TBL Facebook or to the TBL web site comments section or direct to my email

So, get ready to engage with TBL and air your views in celebration of the monumental occasion of the arrival of first three Led Zeppelin reissues.

On the strength of that initial feedback above.. we all in for an awesome experience…

Dave Lewis – May 31st 2014. 

…I hope to be unboxing mine soon…


Led Zeppelin III Unboxing

And finally…

John Bonham remembered on the occasion of his 66th Birthday:

Until next time…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – May 31st, 2014.

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To view additional photos and TBL info be sure to hook up with the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at!/profile.php?id=1611296783

Also follow Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter – LedzeppelinTBL



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  • Dave Morton said:

    Great work, as ever, by Dave Lewis in the magazine and on the website as another key episode in Zeppelin history unfolds.

    I’ve listened to Zep I, II and III countless times and, as the years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the remarkable quality of the work put together by four guys in their early twenties over four decades ago.

    Can’t wait for the new versions.

    On the subject of the John Bonham memorial, I’d like to think his former band mates – all regular entrants in the Sunday Times Rich List – might quietly help the £50,000 target get over the line.

    Not only is Bonzo, without argument, the greatest rock drummer who ever lived – he was utterly integral to Led Zeppelin’s sound and huge success.

  • andrew R said:

    Dave i foolishly went for the cheapest delivery possible….
    Mine have definitely not been despatched and there is no way to upgrade!!!
    By the time mine arrive we will be on HOTH!!
    A case of Tight with loose (change)
    All the best

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