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TBL Archive Special: Led Zeppelin II – it was 51 years ago today…October 22,1969…

Led Zeppelin II – A Kind of Rock

To celebrate the release of the Led Zeppelin II album this week back in 1969 – some thoughts 51 years on…

Led Zeppelin II:

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. Dave Lewis re appraises Led Zeppelin II on the occasion of its 51st anniversary.

In reappraising the second Led Zeppelin album 50 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), Led Zeppelin also would push the boundaries of creativity with the likes of Led Zeppelin 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.

The album came together in a most haphazard fashion as they toured the UK and US during 969. From April to August they stopped off to record and overdub this second album at no less than eleven studios as follows:

Olympic Studios London, Morgan Studios London, A & M Studios Hollywood, Mystic Sound Hollywood , Mirror Sound Studios Los Angeles, R & D Studios Vancouver, A & R Studios New York, Groove Studio New York, Mayfair Recording Studios, New York Juggy Sound Studio New York and Atlantic Studios New York. Two others -Goldstar Recording Studios in Hollywood and Quantum Recording Studios in Torrence were visited but proved fruitless. It says much for Jimmy Page and Eddie Kramer’s production and engineering skills that the finished album sounded so cohesive -despite being recorded in so many different studios.

It’s also worth noting that During that five month period they made 78 live appearances. In fact, during the whole of 1969 they performed a total of 149 gigs – almost as many as they would play in the next three years.

Put simply, during the early part of their career Led Zeppelin’s work ethic was second to none and it was this desire to be seen and heard wherever they could, that really forged their legacy.

Perhaps surprisingly 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 sledge hammered 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 five decades back.

Chris Huston was the studio engineer at Mystic Studios in Los Angeles 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 somewhat dubious 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, Heartbreaker – plus a riveting Page guitar virtuoso piece 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 fi 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 who’s sure’’ now beckoned.

The intervening 51 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’s 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 51st birthday and play it right now …

Dave Lewis – October 22,2020




TBL Archive:

The Led Zeppelin Reissues: Now And Then

Dave Lewis offers some personal recollections and current thoughts on the first Led Zeppelin reissues…

The Led Zeppelin Reissues Then And Now: Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin II: A kind of Rock then – a kind of rock now …even more so…


Led Zeppelin II came in to my life very soon after the release of Led Zeppelin III. I had initially been alerted to the sound of Led Zeppelin a year previous when DJ Alan Freeman played Whole Lotta Love on his Pick of the Pops Radio One show –the effect was to be a lasting one.

As I eagerly devoured any news about Led Zeppelin via the weekly music papers, hearing and acquiring their music as a 13 year old was not so simple.  They were rarely on the radio and the necessary funds to invest in an album was not forthcoming – I was a singles buyer and guess what? Led Zeppelin did not release UK singles…

However, after the watershed of hearing Led Zeppelin III, my mission was to acquire Led Zeppelin II as soon as possible. It was duly purchased from Braggins department store in Bedford for two reasons – I was able to hear the opening track on their in store record booths (you may recall in my Zep I tales, the store’s policy for youngsters was to be able to listen to track one side one only) and Braggins sold their LP’s in very nice pvc covers. Result!

This copy was on the German Atlantic label for some reason although given the timespan (November ’70), with the album at the top of the charts it may well be that demand had forced Atlantic in the UK to source copies elsewhere.

Anyway, the fact was I had the album with its imposing fold out cover and grandiose inner cover with their names emblazoned across the sleeve like royal headstones.

The following 12 months my listening pleasure was divided by Zep 1 and II and later a reel to reel recording of their BBC Radio One In Concert show broadcast in April 1971.

Upon the arrival of the fourth album, the first two Zep albums did take a back seat and not long after that I commenced my mission (on LP and cassette) to hear as much live material by this extraordinary group as possible.

There was one other Zep II related initiative –and that was to acquire the US single of Whole Lotta Love backed with Living Loving Maid. This challenge was eventually met via an advert in Sounds for US import singles. So it was in early 1972 that I sent off a postal order to a guy in Newcastle for the princely sum of £1.25 to invest in this hallowed piece of vinyl imported all the way from the USA. Eventually after weeks of waiting (no predicted arrival dates ala Amazon in those days!), this seven inch single in a very attractive Atlantic Records sleeve arrived. It was the beginning another love affair – the collecting of all manner of Led Zeppelin vinyl be it on 7 inch or 12- an obsession that is still rife in my life over 40 years on.

Unsurprisingly I have a variety of Zep II pressings – the original brown bomber with the Lemon Song credits, the rare UK pressing that lists Living Loving Maid as Living Loving Wreck – and a very nice US pressing on thick cardboard acquired earlier this year from a local charity shop. It remains an iconic piece of Zeppelin art.

As for the listening credentials of the album – again in my scheme of things I tend to play it less than some of the later albums – however I can say I have experienced notable moments when I have completely lost myself in its greatness. Again unsurprisingly this has been when I have immersed myself in writing about it – notably on the 35th anniversary back in 2004 when I did extensive retrospective features on Zep II for both Record Collector and Classic Rock. Five years later I celebrated the 40th anniversary of its release with a major feature in TBL 25 which coincided with me meeting and interviewing the director of engineering on the album Eddie Kramer.

In reappraising the second Led Zeppelin album forty years on, it occurred to me that a parallel with the jazz giant Miles Davis was 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 2 was 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 4, Houses Of The Holy and Physical Graffiti.  Neither artist though, quite tapped in so effortlessly again with a statement of intent absolutely and completely of its time as they did with Kind Of Blue and Led Zeppelin 2 respectively.

Here’s how I re- appraised the album back in 2009:

Led Zeppelin II was an instant success going on to spend 130 consecutive weeks on the UK album chart and was still riding high in the top 20 when Led Zeppelin III was released.

So back in 1969 what inspired this sales longevity normally reserved for the likes of The Sound Of Music or Bridge Over Troubled Water? Led Zeppelin 2 defined the rock genre in a way that Cream and Jimi Hendrix had hinted at. Here was a seamless 41 minute experience as track merged into track and sledgehammered 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 2 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 his ability to adapt to the varying studio conditions they found themselves in that gave the album its distinctive sound. Pages 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.

Another winning factor: The album made memorable use of the newly found freedom stereophonic sound offered making it an early hi-fi 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. Adamantly 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 40 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.



So the shadow of Led Zeppelin II has loomed large for decades around these parts. The long awaited arrival of this newly remastered version with companion audio disc is most welcome.

As with Zep I the sound just takes over the room from the start. I’ve played this album countless times but hearing it blaring out on a mid week early June morning, the clarity and sheer sonic thrust of this second Led Zeppelin album ensured yet another memorable listening experience.

For example: the delicate bongos behind the beat on Whole Lotta Love, the always impressive stereo panning of the outro of What is and What Should Never Be, Jonesy’s bass throughout The Lemon Song, the delicacy of Jimmy’s acoustic picking on Thank You.

Over on side two and at this point it’s worth mentioning the sheer mastery of Jimmy’s sequencing of the album as one performance crosses into another – Heartbreaker kicks in  vibrantly, then there’s the precise backing vocals on Living Loving Maid and then the sheer beauty of Ramble On…

Oh yes Ramble On – signifying a complete lump in the throat tears welling up moment here as the sheer enormity of their achievements just engulfed me.

Another point of reference: listening to these remastered albums I am constantly reminded of the quality and deftness of that heavy chorus technique they applied to so many of their songs – the aforementioned Ramble On being one such delight.

On the home straight, Moby Dick still sounds like the best drum solo ever committed to record, while Bring It On Home is yet another revelation –  the pure blues of the intro never sounded so pure and when the riff kicks in …well it’s a  majestic moment.

The Companion Audio Disc: The embryonic version of Whole Lotta Love  is just stunning in its sheer naivety and sparseness. This tells us so much more than we already knew about the Zep II opener, and as I predicted, has elevated this early Zep anthem to even greater status (also aided by the Dior Homme advert).

Thank You- It’s wonderful to hear the precision of Jimmy’s chiming Vox guitar. The acoustic picking has yet to be overdubbed on this version. On Living Loving Maid the spaces in between where the vocal should be are marvellously offbeat. It’s worth noting that these backing tracks are much more than mere ‘karaoke’ fodder- they genuinely bring it out the instrumental nuances in a way we haven’t been privy to before. Ramble On has that  delightful ‘’I ain’t telling no lines ‘’adlib from Robert in more clarity. The fade is a simpler mix with again a few overdubs yet to be applied notably the ‘’Bluebird ‘’ insert. It fades to a full ending.

La La –totally nonscript in a quintessentially Jimmy Page manner. Like I said before,  La La is what the phrase ‘tangents within a framework’ was invented for…

Summary: In short, peering into the portal of where Led Zeppelin were at during 1969 opens up a whole new perspective. Led Zeppelin II is still a very special Kind of Rock and now there’s even more of it to enjoy…the phrase ”embellishment of riches” springs to mind…yet again.

DL – June 18th, 2014.     


The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack at 44:


44 years ago, on the afternoon of Thursday October 21 1976, I anxiously tore open the box marked Warner/ Elektra/ Atlantic Records at the WH Smith record shop where I worked to reveal for the first time the gatefold sleeve of, as the label spine gloriously put it ‘’The Soundtrack To The Film The Song Remains The Same‘’.

Yes the only official live album released during the band’s life time is 44 years old.
I have much affection for that original double live album – it captures a certain era of innocence when we knew a lot less about the actual construction of such things and just enjoyed it for what it as – four sides of live Zep to accompany the release of their long awaited film The Song Remains The Same. Whilst the on stage experimentation of their 1972 US tour had levelled out, these New York ‘73 concerts a year later capture all the swagger and verve of a band in the throes of conquering the world.

In those innocent days I was completely immune to any criticism of the boy’s work. I was therefore absolutely incensed with Nick Kent’s less than complimentary review of the film in the  NME. So much so that I wrote a letter to the paper the next week pointing out an inaccuracy on his part. This was duly printed – I used the pseudonym ‘Ace Wallbanger’, a reference to the soccer team I played in, the infamous and much feared in a keystone cops sort of way Wallbangers FC.


Left: Angry Ace Wallbanger of Bedford has the right of reply…

Thanks to the esteemed Eddie Edwards we now know a whole lot more of how the live set was assembled via Eddie’s amazing Garden Tapes analysis.
of a few years back

See link at
I know Eddie was far from happy with the revised version of the album that was issued in 2007. It cooked up a lot healthy debate at the time.

I was actually ok with Kevin Shirley’s mix. He cleverly kept the excitable crowd reaction high in the mix which adds a real ‘right there’ front row authenticity heard to great effect on the opening blast of Rock And Roll, Celebration Day and Black Dog. In extending the original double album, the six previously unreleased performances included a very fluent Over The Hills And Far Away, the riotous The Ocean and of course it finally gave a home to the brilliantly sublime recording of Since I’ve Been Loving You –always a stand out performance in the film and one of their best ever live moments.

I’ll be  playing  through both versions of the album over the weekend –and there is much to admire – pull them out yourselves for a nostalgic blast of prime era Zep on this 44th anniversary.

Dave LewisOctober 2020


Jimmy Page Esquire interview:

Jimmy is featured in an interview in the new issue of Esquire magazine – see link below:


LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

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

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

  • A preview of Jimmy Page’s new interview with Classic Rock Magazine is now available to read online. The full interview appears in the new November 2020 issue of the magazine.

John Paul Jones

  • Full pro-shot footage of Them Crooked Vultures performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 22, 2010 was livestreamed on YouTube on October 16. The performance was only available to view that evening to support Teenage Cancer Trust.

Upcoming events:

October – The limited edition, signed prints of Jimmy Page’s guitars will be dispatched by Genesis Publications.
October 20 – The affordable version of Jimmy Page’s Anthology book will be released in the US.
Late October / Early November – Empress Valley’s soundboard bootleg of Led Zeppelin’s March 24, 1975 show will be released.
January 15, 2021 – The 7-inch vinyl reissue of “Immigrant Song” will be released.
June 18-20, 2021 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.
September 25, 2021 – The 2021 John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.

Many thanks to James Cook.

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out periodically. To receive it sign up here:

Led Zeppelin News Website: Check out the Led Zeppelin news website at


Here’s a great story via long time TBL contributor Simon Cadman…


Celebration Day for record dealer as Zeppelin compilation signed at 1992 Q awards ceremony is unearthed from a plastic bag. Simon Cadman talks boots with one very lucky crate digger…

‘He’s like a record hunting machine,’ says one fellow-dealer in awe. When Sunday comes, James Smith is up early with the birds. And what an exceptional Zep worm he caught during one car boot foray this summer in Surrey as the machine kicked into high gear.

Unearthing a decent copy of any Zeppelin album counts as a solid hit in James’s game, but this find was different. Considerably so. A signed copy of Remasters by all the surviving members of the band, plus Bonzo’s son, Jason. How do we know for sure? All be revealed, as someone or other once sang.

But first, picture the scene (and remember, you need sharp elbows in this highly competitive game). It’s seven in the morning, and James is second to a car where a woman is unloading plastic bags full of vinyl. Breaking the boot code, the first record hunter to the stall is gathering bags between his legs as he rifles through the albums. He tries to claim more, but James pushes back and digs into the others, reminding our friend of the etiquette of the field. No quarter given. And so the karma of this fraught situation unfolded. Greedy guy misses the big one. And James gets a pocket full of gold (enough Zep references for you yet?).

‘To be honest, I was more excited by a triple album by Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, which I knew would fetch at least £60,’ says James, initially unfazed. ‘You can never really be sure about the authenticity of signed copies, so I just hoovered it up with the rest of the haul. There were about a hundred records in all.’

That haul included the aforementioned reggae banger, plus a good early copy of Astral Weeks, originals by Dr John, and, oh yes, a test pressing white label by Santana. Asking price? £2 each. Yes, you did read that correctly. ‘But the seller wanted a fiver for the Zeppelin because it was signed,’ says James, sounding pretty pleased as we talk on the phone about the ‘Hersham Hoard’. As you would. ‘The woman clearly wasn’t the collection’s original owner and didn’t really know what she was selling.’ Really, James? You don’t say!!!

So how much is it worth? The penny only started to fully drop later when closer examination revealed a note inside the box from one Danny Baker, a well-known UK radio presenter and music geek – vouching for the authenticity of the autographs being signed at the prestigious Q Awards Ceremony at the Park Lane Hotel in 1992. As anyone in the serious collecting game knows, provenance is all; absolute proof of an object’s history. But anyone can sign a note, right? However, when James Tweeted images of the signed Remasters, followers pointed him to a section of a book by Baker, the third in his series of memoirs, ‘Going on the Turn’. Over pages 64 to 67, he recounts the whole story, in considerable detail, of how he got the band to sign two copies of the, then, recently released compilation, the compilation which triggered renewed interest and respect for Led Zeppelin. This involved Baker running to a nearby record store to buy the albums, and being invited by an exuberant Robert Plant to join the band at their table at the swanky London ceremony. Baker’s major claim to fame from this episode is being introduced to a curious throng of international journalists by the ever-playful Plant as ‘our latest drummer’. And as for the two copies of Remasters? Without being asked, Plant said to Page, Jones and Bonham, ‘Come on. Sign these for Danny, please.’

So how the hell did one of these signed copies end up in a plastic bag in field in Surrey? Here, the picture gets murky. What we do know is that at least one of the copies was auctioned for the BBC charity Children In Need, as mentioned in the note by Baker inside the signed box. So it would seem the lucky winner wasn’t much of a Zep fan and it’s suffered the indignity of becoming car boot fodder. Unless you know different?

The box itself is pretty battered. In fact, James concedes, ‘It doesn’t really function as a box anymore.’ But there they are, those four magical autographs, big, bold and clear. Jimmy orders us to ‘Rock On’, as he often does when signing things. What’s more, and this is pretty unusual in collecting circles, we have the full back story of the actual moment Bonham (junior), Jones, Page and Plant signed the artifact. A moment in the band’s history which was truly pivotal, marking their return to mainstream credibility and presaging the Page and Plant reunion (while Jonesy ‘parked the car’. Ouch).

How much will someone pay when it hits a certain online auction platform? I suspect my wallet won’t cope. Maybe James considered keeping this totemic Zep collectible? ‘I’m not a massive Zep fan. If it’d been a Fela Kuti, now that would be a different matter.’ Happy bidding!

Of course, one big question remains. Whatever happened to that other signed copy?

Simon Cadman



To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin III here’s the third part of the making of Led Zeppelin III feature I wrote for Record Collector in 2010. 

The making of Led Zeppelin III Part 3:

Back in August 1970 initially dates for their sixth US trip were unavoidably affected by the death of John Paul Jones father resulting in various tour revisions. They also got involved in a number of would be festival bills that through local authority resistance were cancelled. Billed appearances at the Strawberry Fields Festival in New Brunswick Canada, the Eagle Rock festival in Boston and the Spoon Festival in West Finley Township Pennsylvania all fell victim under such circumstances. Once in their stride though, this tour saw them elevate to a new level of on stage excitement. They added the newly recorded Bonham led rocker Out On the Tiles to the set and in the acoustic section Page showcased an instrumental composition Bron Yr Aur. Plant often used the tuning up of Page’s acoustic guitar to explain the group’s intentions with this material.

“It gives us great pleasure to hear that. We’ve had a bit of abuse in the Mid-West, every time you sit on a chair and pick up a mandolin.” he told the audience at the famous September 4th Los Angles Forum date – a performance famously captured on the bootleg Live on Blueberry Hill. Introducing page’s acoustic new showcase he added ‘’This is a thing called ‘Bron Yr Aur’. This is the name of a little cottage in the mountains of Snowdonia near Wales, and ‘Bron Yr Aur’ is the Welsh equivalent of the phrase ‘Golden Breast’. This is so, because of its position every morning as the sun rises and it’s a really remarkable place and so after staying there for a while and deciding it was time to leave for various reasons, we couldn’t really just leave it and forget about it. You’ve probably all been to a place like that, only we can tell you about it and you can’t tell us’’

During the tour Page took time out in Memphis to add a final mix the record employing the talents of Terry Manning an engineer at Ardent Studios.

Terry had befriended Page in 1966 when he supported The Yardbirds while in a band called

Lawson & Four More on a Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tour. He saw Zeppelin perform many times with them in the US and went onto get involved in studio production. Jimmy had asked him to be involved in the recording of the album and there was talk of him coming to England to engineer. ‘’Jimmy asked me if I could finish the mixing editing and mastering in Memphis’’ he told Phil Sutcliffe. ‘The band had a major tour going on but the album still wasn’t finished.’’

I was delighted to do this. I was working at the old Ardent Studios on National Street. Most of the drum and bass work was already done. Page came with Plant sometimes and several times on his own – aside from Peter Grant who was always with them.

I was totally blown away by the music itself. I already loved the first two albums The switch to adding more acoustic music worked really well

Since I’ve Been Loving You was done in one take through a forgotten brand amplifier that belonged to what ever group had been previously recording in the room. No no knobs, tones, sounds etc Truly plug in and play. That’s how good Jimmy Page was’’

‘’After all the mixes were chosen, Jimmy and I took the tapes to Mastercraft, a Memphis disc mastering facility where I mastered the album alongside the resident technician . I wrote the Alistair Crowley inscriptions by hand on the inner groove ‘’Do what Thou Wilt’’ on side A and ‘’So mote it be’’ on side B. Jimmy wanted the inscription.

Jimmy had to leave after the first bit of mastering so I finished up and boxed the actual acetate disc master parts and drove them to where they were playing I handed them over and Peter had them sent to Atlantics pressing plant. The now famous cover had been prepared in advance and an initial run had been printed. But Jimmy held up production of the whole album when he found out that a credit for me had not been included and had everything run again. I thought that was extremely kind of him’’

Page and Plant also made sure a statement regarding their trip to the Welsh mountains was added to the sleeve. It said ‘’Credit must be given to Bron Y Aur a small derelict cottage in South Snowdonia for painting a somewhat forgotten picture of true completeness which acted as an incentive to some of these music statements-August 1970.’’

This mixing period would lead to the delay of the record – a worrying situation for Atlantic Records anxious to cash in on the band’s touring popularity. It let to a curious news story that appeared in the UK trade press stating that distributors Polydor had been forced to postpone the release to October due to ‘’Non- availability of tapes from America’’. Page and Manning certainly knew where the tapes where and by the end of August the completed the banding and mixing of the album. It would feature ten songs from the pool of seventeen recorded. . In September the US tour wound up with memorable performances in Hawaii and finally with two performances – afternoon and evening ,at New York’s Madison Square Garden – the beginning of a long association for Zep would enjoy with the celebrated venue. Those dates occurred the day on the day after the death of Jimi Hendrix. During the evening Madison Square show Plant made reference to this – after performing Bring It On Home he told the audience ”Before we go any further …yesterday a rather uncomfortable thing happened yesterday for everybody and a great loss for the music world…and we’d like to think that you as well as us are very sorry that Jimi Hendrix went…I spoke to a close friend of his about half an hour ago and he said probably he would have preferred everybody to get on and have a good time rather that talk about it.So we’d like to get on and try and make everybody happy”. The pair were also gave a press conference before the gigs which can be seen on the 2003 official DVD which also discussed the guitarist sudden death.

In between the final dates of the tour the band flew back to England to accept their awards at the then prestigious Melody Maker Poll Awards . They were voted the Worlds Top Band by the papers readers bringing The Beatles dominance to an end. Robert Plant was also voted Top UK Vocalist. Page, Plant and Bonham were in attendance at the Awards ceremony held at London’s Savoy Hotel on September 16th A photo session saw them line up with fellow winner Sandy Denny who would later duet with Plant on the track Battle of Evermore on their fourth album. Their success in the poll was deemed important enough for the day’s BBC TV Nationwide show. Reporter Bob Wellings interviewed Plant and Bonham in their London studios following the ceremony. The interview footage surfaced a few years ago and is a much watched Zep You Tube clip.

“Zeppelin Topple Beatles: Pop Poll Rocked!” was the Melody Maker headline the following day. “Thank you for making us the world’s top band” read the full page ad taken out by Peter Grant, followed by the illustration – “I . . . II . . . And Soon III” depicted the ad with a sneak preview of the third album sleeve.

By that time the album had racked up over 60,000 advance orders in the UK alone. “The heaviest pre-sale demand of the year” as distributors Polydor announced in the trade paper Music Week. In the US Atlantic informed Billboard that Led Zeppelin 3 had stacked up the highest pre orders of any album in the labels history. Grant plus Page, Plant and Jones were back at the Savoy in London for another awards presentation a month later. They were there to be honoured by the Atlantic label for sales of the phenomenal sales of the Led Zeppelin 2 album and Whole Lotta Love US single. The gold and platinum discs were handed out by Mr Anthony Grant the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of State. He praised their “substantial contribution to the country’s healthy balance of exports”.

       Led Zeppelin 3 was finally released in the US on October 5th. It entered the Billboard chart at number three and by the end of the month had toppled Santana’s Abraxas album to take the top spot. In the UK it was released issued on October 23rd -the distinctive circle wheel sleeve qualified it for Atlantic’s Deluxe series with an expensive price tag of £47 shillings and 6d . This did little to deter the record buying public of the day and it entered the UK chart at number one.

Unlike the previous year, Zeppelin did not support the album with any session appearances on BBC radio, however the album did garner some surprise pre release airplay from Alan Freeman. There had been talk of issuing Immigrant Song as a single and prior the album’s release Freeman played that track plus Out On The Tiles and Celebration Day on his weekly Radio One Sunday afternoon Pick Of The Pops programme – usually dedicated to the run down of the nation’s best selling singles.

Atlantic again made provisions for a UK single and Immigrant Song did make it onto a UK acetate but a full release was once again shelved. .(See Sidebar)

In the US and many other territories Immigrant Song was released as a single coupled with a left over from the Led Zeppelin 3 sessions – a semi acoustic number titled Hey Hey What Can I Do. The track was later featured on the 1972 New Age of Atlantic sampler.

The press reaction to the album was decidedly mixed. Disc and Music Echoes headline of ‘’1,11,111- Zep weaken’’ was typical of the stance taken by many journalists who could not get their head around the fact that Zep had avoided the trap of recreating Zep 2. An indigent Robert Plant went on record in the following week’s Record Mirror and under the headline ‘’ . “Plant Slams Zep 3 Critics” he vehemently defended the album.

“You can just see the headlines, cant you” Robert remarked. “Led Zeppelin go soft on their fans’ or some crap like that. The point is that when you begin a new album you don’t know

how it’s going to come out. When we conceived those numbers at Bron Yr Aur we started to see what we wanted to do with this album. It was obvious it was going to work and it just grew from there’. Now we’ve done Led Zeppelin 3 the sky’s the limit. It shows we can change and .it means there are endless possibilities and directions for us to go in. We wont go stale and this proves it’’’

Mixed critical reaction or not, Led Zeppelin 3 was a very strong seller throughout the next six months but perhaps a combination of it’s eclectic content and the lack of a massive US hit single prevented it from repeating the sales longevity of their second album either in the UK or US. Not that it bothered the principal players too much. As a creative exercise the album had been a unanimous success.

‘There is another side to us’’ Page said soon after the album’s release. ‘’Everyone in the band is going through changes. There are changes in the playing and the lyrics. Robert is really getting involved in his lyric writing. This album was to get across more versatility and use combinations of instruments. I haven’t read any reviews yet but people have got to give the LP a reasonable hearing.’’

Page’s subsequent response to the criticism was simple. They needed to further expand their musical vision. ‘’The next one will be one long track with these combinations of instruments, mandolin, banjo and so on It would last about 25 minutes with instrumental sections. It’s still in the planning stages’’

He had long since harboured the opportunity to create a lengthy track that went from acoustic to electric and speeded up in the process. In November Page and Plant made another return to Bron Yr Aur. In December 1970 he began recording initial ideas at Island Studios for their fourth album. It didn’t quite last 25 minutes, but one song which began slowly with an air of tranquility and building to a crescendo was, at eight minutes one of their longest tracks to date. They would name it Stairway To Heaven.

It’s more than evident had they not undertaken the period of transition that mirrored the diverse contents of their third album, such achievements would not have been possible.

Whilst never attaining the sales success of Zep 2 or the critical acclaim of Zep 4, Led Zeppelin 3 remains perhaps their most important work. It was the album that proved that Led Zeppelin could encompass many different styles within their rock mode foundations.

Over the intervening 50 years its influence on them has constantly been felt.

In August 1994 when Page & Plant reunited for the MTV Unledded filming ,Friends, Since I’ve Been Loving You and That’s The Way were part of the set. In revisiting the Snowdonia area to record some of their MTV Unledded tracks in, Page & Plant repeated the sleeve credit that had adorned the Led Zeppelin 3 album for the accompanying No Quarter Unledded album. Before introducing a version at the MTV filming of That’s The Way Plant told the audience ‘’This was written on the side of a Welsh mountain in a cottage about half an hour before the young lady furiously taking pictures in front of me was conceived.’’ He was referring to Jimmy’s daughter Scarlet now a photographer and another precious remnant for that trip to Bron Yr Aur

Page & Plant They also performed Hey Hey What Can I Do on their subsequent 1995 US tour. In 1999 John Paul Jones sang a version of That’s The Way on his solo dates supporting King Crimson. Since I’ve Been Loving You was performed at the 02 reunion concert and Tangerine and Gallows Pole are staple parts of Robert Plant’s current Band Of Joy tour.

Plant has also drawn a parallel between his new eclectic Band of Joy album and the mood captured on Led Zeppelin 3.   ’’I think of the Led Zeppelin 3 era. ’There was a dynamic about the Zeppelin 3 period where we could go from reflective acoustic stuff to some heavy shit … “Hats Off To Harper, Gallows Pole … I’m not interested in doing late-middle-age cabaret. I want it heavy and spooky. There should be some mystery, big and deep, that makes people’s skin tingle.’’

The affinity for the third Led Zeppelin record is a lasting one. It’s a trip that has had a massive impact on both artists and listeners alike. It was the true turning point in their career and four decades on Led Zeppelin 3 can rightly take its place lines up as one of the pivotal albums of the era.      

Dave Lewis from Record Collector 2010.


Led Zeppelin in Japan 1972 – one more anecdote from Hiroshi;

The Woman Who Danced With Zep

Almost everyone who witnessed the ill-fated Kyoto show vividly remembers one thing: a dancing woman on stage during Whole Lotta Love. As the group launched into the final song before the encore, a flamboyantly dressed young Japanese woman strolled out from the stage right, dancing frenetically, sometimes interacting with Plant and drawing attention from all around. Her name is Keiko Tsukioka, better known as “Peko”, her nickname, a professional dancer and somewhat of a legend in the 70’s Japanese rock scene. She accompanied Deep Purple on their 1972 Japan tour, a legend of its own, and rumor has it that the group’s 1973 hit, Woman From Tokyo, was modeled on her, although she was originally from Kobe, the port town near Osaka. Later she relocated to London, where she became the manager of the Mimosa Club, the then popular jaunt for rock stars e.g. Zeppelin and Bowie. She also released Ageso-Na-Omae (1977), a punk single as a duo Peko & Naka from Dave Goodman’s The Label. In 1983, she was married to Leslie McKeown, the ex-Bay City Roller and had a son.

Many thanks to Horishi once again.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Going back to my roots with the wonderful friend I’ve known for nearly 60 years…

A few days ago my very good friend Dave Corp got in touch to arrange a meet – Dave’s not just a very good friend, he is the friend I’ve  known longer than any other.

We first met when I was aged just 5 years old as Dave and I both lived doors between each other in terraced council houses in Dents Road in Bedford. Here we are in respective toy pedal cars in our gardens in around 1962…

Back then  around 1963 going in to 1964, amongst other things, we shared a passion for the pop music of the day. The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Freddie and the Dreamers etc and above all The Dave Clark Five. I would bash around on a drum kit of tin cans and Dave on an acoustic guitar in our gardens stomping through the eternally feel good Glad All Over. Later our passion for football would lead us to sharing many a football memory including us being part of the 63,000 in attendance at Stamford Bridge on March 21, 1970 to watch Chelsea (Dave’s a big Chelsea fan) beat Manchester United 2-1 – George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law were in the Utd line up – Alan Hudson, Ron Harris and Peter Osgood were amongst the Chelsea stars.

Dave moved from Dents Road in the mid 60s to the Northamptonshire area and we kept in touch until the mid-70s. However, as both our lives moved on we lost touch for a long time. Very pleasingly ten years ago we re- connected and have been in constant contact ever since sharing many a lovely meet up.

Dave has been very supportive of our recent issues here and we have been in touch a lot on the phone this year. Dave has recently retired at 65 and was keen to meet up – something we had not done for far too long. With my self esteem quite low and not feeling that sociable for a variety of reasons and anxious of going out with infection rates rising, I was wary of doing something but encouraged by the good lady Janet, I made the effort – and I am so glad I did.

So a week ago Dave and I took a walk over to Dents Road and our childhood homes –I’m no stranger to this area as I often bike over this way for some quiet reflection.

The pics here show Dave outside number 44 and me outside number 52 where we lived and shared many a childhood memory.

The top right hand window of my former home was where my bedroom was.This is where I researched, wrote and assembled the early issues of my Led Zeppelin TBL magazine – as can be seen via this press advert for issue number two in 1979.


I moved from Dents Road in 1984 when I married the good lady Janet. Sadly my Mum and Dad passed away within a year of each other in 1990/91.

Going back to my roots to the area where I spent the first 27 years of my life and sharing it with Dave who in my formative years was just a few doors away (as can be seen by our respective toy pedal cars) was a cathartic and emotional experience. In these strange and somewhat fearful times, it was very comforting to be in this so familiar vicinity where all those years ago, we always felt so safe.

As I walked down Dents Road again the words of the lovely reflective 1971 Faces/Rod Stewart song Love Lives Here echoed in my head…

‘’ They can tear it all down and build something new,

Then only I’ll remember what was here.

Tomorrow comes easy, just another day gone

How long will I have to keep returning?’’

I know I’ll try and keep returning, remembering and reflecting and hopefully I will do that again with Dave Corp – my wonderful friend I’ve known longer than any other…

Dave Lewis – October 18, 2020 – fittingly the date of my Mum’s Birthday.

Saturday October 17:

Saturday is platterday – on the player some early morning Page & Plant the No Quarter Unledded album released 26 years ago this week and sounding great…

Sunday October 18:

Sunday is silver CD day so loading up on the player the brilliant recently released CD compilation Tea & Symphony -~ The English Baroque Sound 1968-1974.

This is another Bob Stanley compilation via Ace Records -a definitive collection of English Baroque, the late 60s early 70s post psychedelic genre that as Bob’s excellent sleeve notes observes, replaced guitar solos with string quartets and wind wood arrangements wrapped around whimsical songs drenched in summer into autumn melancholy

It includes familiar classics such as Colin Blunstone’s Say You Don’t Mind and Honeybus’ I Can’t Let Maggie Go, alongside Vigrass and Osborne’s original recording of the Justin Hayward hit Forever Autumn plus the late great Clifford T Ward’s Coathanger and a host of lost gems from the era.

Perfect easy on a Sunday morning listening…

Monday October 19:

It’s a Bruce Springsteen playlist week here in the build up to the release of his new album Letter to You on Friday – so on the player this morning revisiting the superb Western Stars album from 2019…

Update here:

I’ve been busy working on the repackage of the Feather In The Wind book for some weeks and this project is finally nearing completion. To mark the 40th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s final tour over Europe in 1980, I am making available a strictly limited edition repackage of the Led Zeppelin Feather In The Wind – Over Europe 1980

This 40th anniversary limited edition has a glossy newly designed book jacket by Mick Lowe with exclusives on stage photos from the Over Europe 1980 tour.

Each book includes an additional separate four page insert. This features a new 2,000 word interview with author Dave Lewis conducted with Mike Trmaglio in which he discusses the making of the book and the impact of the events of that final Led Zeppelin in the summer of 1980. Each insert is individually numbered and signed by the author.

Please note the actual book content is the version published in 2011.  There is no additional content to the actual book. The repackage consists of a brand new cover and the limited edition four page interview insert.

This repackage of the book is being made available in a strictly limited edition of just 65 copies – each book is individually numbered and signed by the author. Distribution will begin in mid November – I am taking pre orders now. Lead times for the delivery of the book will be longer than usual due to the current situation. More on all this to follow

You can pre order this repackage at the link below:

Elsewhere, as mentioned above, it was real tonic to meet up with my lifelong friend Dave Corp.  Janet has been full on at the pre school and with her leg being a bit sore, will welcome the half term break. On Monday Janet and I will be saying goodbye to the already much missed Hayley at her funeral.

Some particular inspirations this past week…

The new issue of Uncut arriving with Bruce Springsteen on the cover…

Tottenham’s first half performance against West Ham (but not the second half)…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – October 22, 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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


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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks Alessandro

  • Alessandro Borri said:

    Hiroshi just find an interesting website about LED ZEPPELIN worldwide record sales (update August 2016) as follows
    Nice !
    All The Best,

  • Alessandro Borri said:

    Thanks Hiroshi !

  • Hiroshi said:

    Hi Alessandro,

    May it sound hard to believe, it is surprisingly difficult to find how many records Led Zeppelin have sold in Japan to date. I spent some time to search the internet for the figures in no avail. The qualifications given by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) to albums made by foreign artists are 100,000 sales for Gold Disk and 200,000 sales for Platinum Disk. I am certain every Zeppelin album have sold over 100,000 copies (i.e. Gold status). However, I’m not so sure how many of them have achieved the Platinum and beyond.

    Free’s 1971 tour (actually two shows in Tokyo) gave a tremendous impact to the music fans in Japan that had seldom hosted a real rock group from Britain at the time. The show was just over an hour as opposed to more or less three hours of Led Zeppelin in September. However, one fan who attended both nights (she is also a huge Zeppelin fan) recollects that Free’s performance was so intense and electric that there were some around her who rated theirs over Zeppelin’s even after seeing the latter — they were that good. In 1972, they supported ELP at two big stadium gigs. Paul Kossoff and Andy Fraser were gone. Tetsu Yamauchi and Rabbit joined instead, and Paul Rodgers sang as well as played the sole guitar. Sadly, they weren’t the same exciting act that drove the crowd into frenzy the last year.
    I’m not a Free expert thus know little anecdotes. I remember reading that, after they broke up in Australia, Paul Kossoff returned to Japan on his way back home, spending some days there. He obviously socialized with Tetsu during these times — maybe the seeds of their soon-to-come collaboration (“Kossoff Kirke Tetsu Rabbit”) were sawn then.

    Speaking of an anecdote related to Paul Rodgers, here is one that may delight Dave Lewis. On May 20, 1997, I saw him at the tiny Club Quattro, Osaka. After the show, Paul came out to the street and chatted with fans, giving them autographs. Then he spotted the book I was carrying in my hand — that was Led Zeppelin The Concert File I had purchased at the import record store before the show. He asked me if he could have a look at it. After browsing through the pages, he commented, “This is a brilliant book.” For me, that one is “the book Paul Rodgers praised in person”.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    thanks Alessandro

  • Alessandro Borri said:

    Thanks Dave for all your great reports and memories too ! Really appreciate again weeks after weeks ! A question for Hiroshi: Any idea of how many records LED ZEPPELIN sold in Japan ? Well if Hiroshis knows how many LED ZEPPELIN records gets Gold or Platinum status according to RJAJ ! Well Hiroshi did you know also anectodes about English rock band FREE who played in Japan too ? FREE played in Japan 30 April 1971 and 1 May 1971 and also 22 July 1972 and 24 July 1972. Thanks

  • Mal B said:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the review of Zep 111. It’s such a great album. It has a bit of everything. Rock, Eastern influence, Folk and Blues. And the companion album is by far my favorite of the companion releases. I just love the alternative SIBLY. Its just as good as the official release, but different. And Key to the Highway, what a find that was! An absolute gem! Great harp from Plant and it’s just a more listenable song than Hats. Should have been on the original album in my humble opinion.

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