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27 October 2016 3,191 views 2 Comments


Led Zeppelin II at 47…TBL Archive Special

On the occasion of its 47th Birthday…

A Kind Of Rock…. Still Flying

In the same way Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue defined the jazz genre, the second Zep album well and truly encapsulated rock music as we know it.

Here’s a re appraisal of Led Zeppelin II on the occasion of its 47th anniversary.

In reappraising the second Led Zeppelin album forty seven years on, it occurred to me that a parallel with the jazz giant Miles Davis is evident.
In the same way that Miles Davis Kind of Blue was the jazz album of choice for those who thought they didn’t like jazz, Led Zeppelin II became the rock album for those who thought they didn’t really like rock.

After Kind Of Blue, Miles Davis went on to make continuing adventurous music (witness In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew), Zeppelin also would push the boundaries of creativity with the likes of Zep IV and Physical Graffiti. Neither artist though, quite replicated the sheer shock element of intent so apparent on Kind Of Blue and Led Zeppelin II. These are both works of massive influence that grew their respective audiences manifold.
Having recorded the album in a variety of locations as they toured relentlessly that year, Jimmy Page admitted to having lost a bit of confidence by the time the album appeared in October 1969 accompanied by an advert that proclaimed it be ‘’Now flying’’. He need not have worried. By the beginning of 1970, Led Zeppelin II had dethroned The Beatles Abbey Road at the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It marked the beginning of the band’s world domination. It registered over 130 consecutive weeks on the UK chart and remarkably was still holding court when Led Zeppelin III appeared a year later.

So what inspired this sales longevity normally reserved for the likes of The Sound Of Music or Bridge Over Troubled Water? Put simply Led Zeppelin II defined the rock genre in a way that Cream and Jimi Hendrix had hinted at. Here was a seamless forty one minute experience as track merged into track and sledehammered the listener into submission. At the helm of it all was Jimmy Page. If the first album had laid down the foundations of what this quartet were going to be about, Zep II extended the notion with a brain crushing display of dynamics. And it was Page’s precision production that gave the record its real character, a standard he would uphold on successive Zep albums.

It was also his ability to adapt to the varying studio conditions they found themselves in that gave the album its distinctive sound. Page’s experiments in distance miking, a trick he picked up during his session days considerably enhanced the effect of John Bonham’s straight from the wrist drumming and Robert Plant’s wailing vocal. When it transferred to disc, it reproduced an air of electricity you could almost touch.
This was best personified on Whole Lotta Love, the catalyst opening track and smash US hit single. The lyrics may have been the work of Willie Dixon but the sound was pure Page/Zep. The swirling white noise middle section being the result of a weekend mixing session in New York with Eddie Kramer.
This second Led Zeppelin album also marked the emergence of Robert Plant as the group’s lyricist. He offered up compositional strength that would further flower on subsequent albums. The dreamy What Is And What Should never be ,the emotional love song Thank You with John Paul Jones excelling on organ and the Tolkien inspired Ramble On all sound as fresh today as they did four decades back.
Chris Huston was the studio engineer at Mystic Studios in Los Angles where some of the tracks were cut. ‘’It was such a small studio’’ recalls Huston. ‘’I was very impressed with Jimmy’s ability to double track and create the sound he wanted first time every time. What you hear is the product of a lot of spontaneous chemistry in their playing’’.

Examples of that spark of chemistry can be heard in the smash and grab solos that light up The Lemon Song and the closing track Bring It On Home- the latter highlighting the band’s controversial practice  for taking unaccredited old blues tunes (in this case Sonny Boy Williamson’ s song of the same name) and respraying them Zep style. Derivative as this tactic appeared, such arrangements always emerged unmistakably as their own.
Led Zeppelin II also contains one of the finest and few listenable drums solos committed to record in Moby Dick and a kitsch rocker Living Loving Maid that they always said they disliked, but actually packed a tight incisive punch. Another winning factor: The album made memorable use of the newly found freedom stereophonic sound offered, making it an early hi buffs delight.

It would of course been easy to replicate this formula on their next record but that was never an option. As the gold and platinum albums began lining their walls, Page and co had already moved on. Stedfastedly refusing to stick to one particular groove, with their second album they had already made the definitive hard rock statement. Mandolins, Martin acoustic guitars, Mellotrons and a date with ‘’A lady whose sure’’ now beckoned.

The intervening 47 years have done nothing to diminish the startling air of tension that signifies the opening cough and riff of Whole Lotta Love and the commencement of an album that continues to defy the wrath of time.

It a kind of rock…and a kind of legend and it’s still flying.

It’s Led Zeppelin II – go and wish it a happy 47th birthday and play it right now …
Dave Lewis, October 22, 2016.



Robert Plant Lampedusa Tour:
This one via The Washington Times:

By Erica Bruce — Special to The Washington Times –  Monday, October 24, 2016

Photo from left) Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle  (photo by Erica Bruce)

All they want, the rockers said Friday, is a home.

The Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees at the Lisner Auditorium in Northwest Friday benefitted the Jesuit Refugee Service’s Global Education Initiative, but it was also a celebration of community: one of music lovers, of friends, of influences and those who seek to help those less fortunate. Friday was the last night of the 11-city tour, and featured Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Robert Plant, Buddy Miller, The Milk Carton Kids and the comedic song stylings of Nancy and Beth.

The Jesuit Refugee Service’s Global Education Initiative helps displaced people heal, learn and thrive by providing educational opportunities for refugees living in camps and urban settings in 45 countries.
Over the two-plus hours, the musicians took turns playing their own songs as well as covers. While it was a benefit, for the majority of the night, the musicians didn’t proselytize much. Whether it was The Milk Carton Kids and Miss Harris on the Everly Brothers’ “Sleepless Nights,” Mr. Plant and Miss Harris on another Everly Brothers’ song, “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On),” The Milk Carton Kids’ own “City of Our Lady” or Miss Harris and Mr. Earle on “Goodbye,” the evening was a true testament to the vocal dexterity of the ensemble.
Cheers of “I love you Robert!” rang out for Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant. Mr. Plant, who only played a handful of dates on the Lampedusa tour, said he was invited to join the troubadours by fellow musician Patty Griffin. Mr. Plant spoke about getting to sing with other musicians for the first time in 2007, when he went to Nashville to sing with Allison Krauss and record “Raising Sand,” an album of covers from various musical influences.

Mr. Plant’s voice soared on covers “Don’t” by Elvis Presley and “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On).” But his cover of Nat King Coles’ “Nature Boy” was the goosebumps-inducing number. There was a full beat of silence between Mr. Plant finishing up the ethereal beauty of the song and the audience’s ear-shattering applause.
“It’s great to be back in D.C. I have so many fond memories,” said Miss Harris, who lived in the District in the 1970s. She related performing often at Clyde’s back in the day; the restaurant group even provided some of the funding for the Lampedusa concerts.
“Thanks, Clyde’s. What would I do without you?” Miss Harris said.
Miss Harris also shared that she brought famous counterpart Gram Parsons and his wife to Clyde’s when the latter first came to see her sing in the nation’s capital.

“Then he asked me to be on his record, and the rest was history,” Miss Harris said before singing “The Road,” a song about herself and Parsons.
The Milk Carton Kids were the youngest of the evening’s musicians, but they won the award for funniest quips of the night.
“We received a call from someone calling for Emmylou,” said MCK singer Joey Ryan. “All they said was, ‘Emmylou would like to know — ‘ and we said ‘Yes!’ Thankfully, it was just for a tour, because we’d follow her anywhere.”
Mr. Ryan said he was proud to help out the evening’s cause, and the band then transitioned into “Charlie,” a song bandmate Kenneth Pattengale wrote about how he wants to parent his child someday.
“Kenneth and I are both from L.A. Or, as Steve [Earle] calls it, ‘occupied Mexico,’” Mr. Ryan said with a laugh before getting serious about border issues. “We should approach immigration not from a place of fear and suspicion, but more from openheartedness,” he said. “My own family came to this country as political refugees a few generations back.”
“I believe we are a good country with a good heart, but we could do more,” Miss Harris said of her reason for getting involved.
“Welcome to Lampedusa, or, as Trump says, ‘Landofpusa,” joked actress Megan Mullally, one half of the Nancy and Beth duo.

The final song of the night was an old song by Mr. Earle called “Pilgrim,” originally written as a eulogy for Roy Huskey Jr., an upright bass player prominent in country music who had played in both the bands of Miss Harris and Mr. Earle.
“It was Emmylou’s idea to repurpose the song for this tour. A pilgrim is a traveler or one trying to find a home. And, in the end, we are all pilgrims trying to get home, no matter your color or religion,” Mr. Earle said. “Immigration is who are are and where we come from,” he said. “All of us are immigrants, and that’s the truth. That’s what America is all about.”


LZ News:

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.

Robert Plant

Robert Plant played the final four shows of the Lampedusa charity tour in the last week: October 16 in Boston, October 18 in New York, October 19 in Philadelphia, and October 21 in Washington, D.C.

He explained on stage at the final show in Washington, D.C. that it was his ex-girlfriend Patty Griffin who invited him onto the tour. “I got a phone call from Texas,” he said. “A little voice of Irish descent said ‘If you wanna sing with me, get on this tour.’ And so, Patty, I’m on the tour. You’d better hurry up, because we’ve only got about two hours to go.” Griffin was initially scheduled to appear alongside him, but she had to pull out of the tour due to illness. He performed a cover of her song “Ohio” in Boston on October 16. They recorded the song together for her album “American Kid” while they lived together in Texas.

There have been several reviews of the final shows of the Lampedusa tour. The Boston Globe reviewed his October 16 show, and the October 18 New York show was reviewed by both The Guardian and

Plant has kept to a small selection of songs for his contribution to the Lampedusa tour. He said on stage in New York on October 18 that he wouldn’t be performing any “hobbit songs”. See our listings below for the songs we know were played by Robert Plant.

October 16: Boston
No Regrets
Little Maggie

October 18: New York
No Regrets
Little Maggie

October 19: Philadelphia
No Regrets
Little Maggie

October 21: Washington, D.C.
No Regrets
Gone, Gone, Gone
Nature Boy
Little Maggie

Upcoming events:
October 28 – Robert Plant will perform at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday celebration in London.
November 11 – Jimmy Page will attend the Classic Rock Awards in Tokyo.

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


Bobby Vee and Pete Burns: RIP

Very sad to hear the passing of Bobby Vee. His top three 1962 hit The Night has A Thousand Eyes  this is one of the all time great records of the 1960s…RIP..

Very sad to hear the passing of Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns aged 57 -the Dead or Alive single You Spin Me Round is one of the great pop/dance records of the 80s….RIP


Carlos Alberto RIP:

Sad also to hear the passing of Brazil World Cup winning captain Carlos Alberto aged 72 – with Brazil he made the game beautiful and this fourth Brazil goal against Italy in the 1970 final is football beauty personified..I watched it live on TV the night of June 21 1970 in pure wonder..RIP

See YouTube clip below:


The Roundhouse:


Last Sunday I watched the excellent documentary on The Roundhouse venue on BBC 4. I’ve been lucky enough to see Robert Plant there three times  and  it was the scene in 2011 of a live interview I conducted with Simon Mayo for Radio Two before Robert’s Band of Joy gig. I’ve also attended various Classic Rock Awards nightsat the Roundhouse. It really is a top venue.

Here’s the programme details and link: The Roundhouse – The People’s Palace

On October 15th 1966, the Roundhouse in north London hosted its first gig – the launch of radical newspaper International Times. The audience included Paul McCartney and Marianne Faithfull, along with 3,000 others trying desperately to get in. The result was a glorious shambles. Since then, virtually every big name in rock and alternative theatre has played there. Today it’s as vibrant as ever, continuing to attract big names and full houses and running an array of outreach and youth programmes enabling young people to express themselves in the arts. Arena tells the tragicomic rollercoaster story of a unique venue.


TBL mentioned on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 show:

TBL got a quaint mention on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 show on Tuesday night. Thanks to Jerry Keen for flagging this one.

On his show Marc invites listeners to contribute their regrets at missing certain gigs.

Neil Mercer a listener from Coventry, offered his regrettable story of how being a subscriber to the Led Zeppelin fanzine Tight But Loose,img_1772 he was chosen to attend the Page & Plant 1994 Unledded filming in London. Alas, being only 17 at the time he was reluctant to attend on his own – and he said he was somewhat freaked out by the secrecy of the letter he received. It was of  course a decision he would later regret.

Here is that letter and a quick story behind it. In early July 1994 I was contacted by Robert’s management – they asked if they could have access to the TBL subscribers list – with a view to some lucky subscribers forming part of a special audience.

They were going to select 200 names from it who would be sent a letter asking if they would like to attend the forthcoming two day filming Robert and Jimmy were recording for MTV. This was of course incredibly exciting news – another occasion where I had to keep very quite about an upcoming event.

I have to say things did not go entirely smoothly in this process and it did cause me much stress at the time – it will all be in the memoirs! Anyway, it all turned out very fine in the end and I was able to help many TBL subscribers attend this very memorable occasion.

As for Neil Mercer – apologies mate for the secrecy of the letter – but as you now, know you should have been there!

You can here the story at 1 hour 40 on this Marc Riley show Listen Again link…



DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday vinyl treats at the Vinyl Barn –some beauties last week including Cat Stevens Mathew And Son UK original on the Deram label, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds original UK mono pressing which I’ve been looking for and a very nice Atlantic French pressing of Led Zeppelin II inscribed Vol 4 Rock Super- Group – I haven’t seen that before – top stuff Mr Darren Harte.

We had a fantastic time at Michael and Bob’s wedding reception in Milton Keynes – the disco was a very rock orientated affair ( as it would be being Michaela!) and we out there throwing shapes to the likes of Rock And Roll and Black Dog. I was a little bit achy in the morning – I’m 60 now you know!

Thank you Mr and Mrs Tait for a great evening!



Here’s a pic With the lovely bride and her son Charlie at the wedding reception last night – the pic I am holding in front of them is of a much younger Charlie around the time I first met Michaela Finegan at a TBL gathering…he has grown a bit since then!

I would love to have caught one of the Bad Company shows and this Friday’s Bill Wyman Birthday featuring Robert Plant but we have too much on here right now – with the sorting out Janet’s mums bungalow full on and the very much work in progress TBL 42 big on the agenda. Long term TBL contributor Krys Jantzen will be reporting for TBL on the Billy Wyman show.

I’ve been wading through the new Jimmy Page biography by Martin Power – most enjoyable it is too – high on detail and musical coverage, it flows really well – more on this soon.

On the player here – quite a bit from the year 1968 as I’ve been researching some stuff on that particular era so it’s been Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland , The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet , Simon & Garfunkel Bookends and Cream Wheels O Fire. That year really was something of a watershed year for the rock LP.

November is nearly upon us and it’s another packed month ahead with a lot to move on with – not least the aforementioned TBL 42. I’ve just had in the text for Nick Anderson’s Top 100 Rarities listings and they make for fascinating reading. There’s some surprises in there for sure – more on all this as it unfolds.

Dave Lewis – October 27 ,2016

Until next time – have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis
with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:
The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

And Finally..

YouTube Clips:

Robert Plant – sublimely brilliant…

Carlos Alberto – making the game beautiful with Brazil ’70:




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


  • VHP said:


    That 1970 Brazil team were just a class act. When Pele passes the ball to his right, just for an instant you think where is that going? Then Carlos Alberto steams in & scores this amazing goal.

    One of footballs true iconic moments.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    So Robert’s management contacted you ten years before the taping of Unledded..? Wow, that’s organised (just teasing, you put 1984 intead of 1994).

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