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20 June 2014 8,839 views 6 Comments

reissues and zep 2

Led Zeppelin Reissues Feedback: here’s my thoughts on the Led Zeppelin II reissue vinyl release: 

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.

Dave Lewis, June 18th, 2014.     


Exclusive TBL Led Zeppelin Reissues Competition:

zep one reissue

There’s still time to enter our exclusive TBL Led Zeppelin Reissues competition – here’s the details:

To celebrate the release of the Led Zeppelin Reissues, we have teamed up with the good folks at Rhino Records for an exclusive competition to win a special Led Zeppelin reissues pack:

The pack consists of the following :

Deluxe 2CD editions of the first three Led Zeppelin reissued albums

Deluxe remastered vinyl editions of the first three Led Zeppelin reissued albums

A Led Zeppelin remasters T-shirt

A set of litho-prints featuring negative artwork form the first three Led Zeppelin reissued albums.

All you have to do to enter is follow the link below and submit your answer and details.

The first all correct answer drawn out after the closing date will be deemed the winner.

The winner will be notified by email.

Closing date is Monday June 30th, 2014.

Here’s the link to enter:


Jimmy Page for Silver Clef Award:

Another award for Jimmy – here’s the story:

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will be honored at the 02 Silver Clef Awards in London next month. The July 4 event at the London Hilton will see music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins present Page with the 02 Silver Clef Award for his outstanding contribution to UK music.

Other artists set to be honored at the 02 Silver Clef Awards include Black Sabbath, Sir Tom Jones, Giorgio Moroder and Pharrell Williams. “A big thank you to Nordoff Robbins and everyone involved in awarding me the Silver Clef Award,” said Page.

“Ask anyone ‘Who is the greatest guitar player of all time?’ and it wouldn’t take long before you hear the name Jimmy Page,” adds Emma Banks, Chariman of the Noroff Robbins 02 Silver Clef committee. “Truly a legend, we are deeply honoured that Mr Jimmy Page will join us to receive the O2 Silver Clef Award.”

See more at


Jimmy on BBC 6 Radio:

Jimmy Page The First Time With airs on BBC 6 Music on Sunday June 22nd at 1pm. This one looks to be essential listening.


John Paul Jones on tour with Dave Rawlings:

jpj bonnaroo 2014

After performing with Seasick Steve last week at the Bonnarooo Festival (see great clip below -photo here by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)  JPJ is now on tour with Dave Rawlings – tour dates here

Thanks to


Howard Mylett: Three Years Gone:

Three years ago on June 19th 2011, Howard Mylett, the legendary Led Zeppelin collector and original author sadly passed way.

When I think of Howard, I think of that wry wit, his incredible enthusiasm for collecting all things Zep, and above all, his generosity in sharing that passion and those packages postmarked Brighton that so fuelled my own enthused for our shared love of this band, some 40 years ago.

For it was back in 1973 when I first began corresponding with Howard  after seeing a ‘’Zep Photos wanted/for sale’’ ad in the NME.  My collection of photos and cuttings improved manifold thanks to Howard’s generosity. For a mere few pence he would send me batches of cuttings. I can still recall the thrill of seeing a package postmarked from Brighton landing on my doormat. I knew it would bring forth more unseen Zep images and foreign and overseas cuttings from the likes of the US Circus and Creem magazines and French magazines such as Rock And Folk. Howard also had unimpeachable Japanese contacts and it was through him that I first obtained the series of rare Japanese photo books.

Howard’s enthusiasm was infectious. He was a massive influence on my desire to put words into print about Led Zeppelin.

Since his passing, it has become even more evident how important Howard’s pioneering work was to me as a young impressionable fan.

hm 7

Howard would have course loved all the current Led Zeppelin Reissues activity  and there have been plenty of moments when I wished Howard was still around to share it all…

When I met up with Andy Adams and Eddie Edwards at the recent HMV London playback we  paused for some thought on dear Howard and had a toast to his enthusiasm which inspoired us all along the way.

He will always be a much missed part of the Zep fan fraternity.. but never forgotten and there will be countless fans across the world today thinking of him on the third anniversary of his passing…

DL June 19th


DL Diary Update:

Let’s get this out of the way…England were beaten by some world class finishing – simple as that…and I have to say TBL US contributor Stephen Humphries was quick off the mark straight after the match sending me a link to the You tube clip of South Bound Suarez….oh the irony….

Outside of World Cup dramas, there was a trip on Monday into London…

As Cameron Crowe once wrote: ’’To any band who ever needed a sure-fire cover song, or any musician looking for clues on how to mix textures, cross musical boundaries or just plain rock, there’s no substitute – play Led Zeppelin’’….at the Borderline Hats Off To Led Zeppelin did exactly that and most effectively.

borderline 3

This was a special digital launch with the gig being recorded and filmed. Highlights included a laid back Lemon Song, a delightful romp through Bron Yr Aur Stomp, a hybrid encore of Whole Lotta Love and Dazed and a frantic Wearing And Tearing. The boys are off to Cyprus for three gigs this week and are set for UK performances in July and August. Catch them when you can…details at

On the night it was great to catch up with Hats Off manager and all round top man Warren Grant along with his lady Karen and daughter Tiffany. Being in the company of the Grant’s is similar to the Bonham’s. That sense that they really were part of the Zep extended family  –in Warren’s case of course it was his father Peter who really was the man who Led Zeppelin…

Another key figure in the history of Zep, the always legendary Richard Cole was in attendance at last night’s Hats Off To LZ gig. Talking about the early days of Zep on the road, Richard recalled how it was just him and a couple of roadies that got them through the first US tours.  ‘’I went to see Metallica once and they had about 60 in the crew –what the f*** do they all do!’’ he laughed.  Pic here with Richard and Warren -note Richard is either checking to see if my kneecaps are intact or making sure I don’t escape!borderline 1

Of course while in London there was a quick record shop visit with Reckless Records providing a suitable vinyl fix – a couple of mind 60s original Dave Brubeck albums on the CBS label complete with authentic inner sleeves promoting the CBS catalogue. Very nice indeed.

Reasons to be cheerful: I always enjoy the next few days of June as the dates reflect the six nights Led Zeppelin performed at the LA Forum in 1977.  Outside of Earls Court and the Japan 71 shows ,these six nights might just be the best run of concerts Led Zeppelin ever performed.

In fact I’d say there is no finer example of the sheer out and out onstage excitement Led Zeppelin were capable of attaining than the opening minutes of their performance at the Los Angeles Forum on the night of June 21st 1977. I’ve just listened to it again and from the moment  Jimmy slays across the double neck and they break into the intro of The Song Remains The Same and that stupendous percussive flurry from Bonzo through to Robert’s entry…well it just doesn’t get any better.

Subsequently the playlist here over the next few days will be reflecting Led Zeppelin at the LA Forum 1977. Six of their very best nights from Listen To This Eddie to Badgeholders Only and more…and thanks to Mike Millard’s remarkable tapes from the time we can relive that week for Badgeholders – six nights at LA Forum where Led Zeppelin reigned supreme.

badge one

That has been and will be the playlist here over the next few days and this 1977 LA Zep blast is sure to act as a suitable vibrant backdrop to the current TBL matters in hand – which includes the initial collation of content for the next TBL mag, the marketing and selling of TBL products ongoing, some ideas for future TBL merchandise and branding and the assessing of book projects ahead. A lot of plate spinning as ever as the summer rolls along.

DL – June 20th 2014.

And finally a You Tube clip round up:


John Paul Jones with Seasick Steve at the Bonnaroo Festival:

Interview with Howard Mylett at the Led Zeppelin UK Convention 1992:

 Jimmy Page Interview on BBC Radio 2 Johnny Walker Sound of The 70s show:

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters Gothenburg including The Enchanter and new song Rainbow:

Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters Live In Tallin – new song Rainbow:

Until next time…have a great weekend…

Keep listening, keep reading…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – June 20th , 2014.

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Ed I’d say a cough!

  • Stephen Christensen said:

    I’m personally disappointed in the new re-issues. The Paris 69 show is longer on the illegitimate releases, cuts in Heartbreaker and White Summer are notable. The sound quality is basically boot quality, certainly there is a better sounding concert in the archives. The LZ 2 extras are not as good as some illegitimate versions available. Disappointed that WLL from the multi track mix tapes wasn’t used, very unfortunate only a 1000 or so people get to hear the stunning version of WLL represented on the illegit. Which begs the question, why worry about something already having been released illegit if only a few thousand people have heard it, the masses should have been exposed to the best versions available, even if they have already been booted. Sorry but karaoke versions should have been left for the illegits to release, full outs including vocals should have been used. LA LA is a bit of pure pop heaven however, very nice. LZ 3 has some nice outs included, Immigrant, Thats the Way and Since are good and Jennings Farm being included is nice. Overall a bit non plussed by these releases and don’t know if a non collector would dig these outs very much. Haven’t listened to the remastered legit discs yet. Just my personal opinion.

  • Larry said:

    LA June 21, the highlights are endless in that one. Right from the opening, they are just BRINGING IT.

    My favorite moments from June 22 are what to my ears are the greatest ever IMTOD, an absolutely wild and woolly take from beginning to end, and the off the cuff inclusion of OTHAFA late in the set. The long, intense and spectacular solo Page unleashes on this is jaw-dropping, and I think the only reason it possibly goes underlooked is because it’s not a Millard tape and the recording is a bit rough.

    June 23 boasts another wonderful Over The Hills, one of the great Since I’ve Been Loving Yous, one of the all-time great No Quarters, an epic Ten Years Bonham, and what might be the best Stairway ever (although the one from 5/24/75 and original Song Remains The Same soundtrack album are hard to beat too).

    Late June 1977 was a good time to be a Zeppelin fan in LA and having some tickets to The Forum!


  • Jim Long said:

    Wow! Just listened again (for the umpteenth time) to night 2 in LA and noticed on Stairway that Jimmy goes right into the solo like on the album, skipping that extra bar of chords they inserted for live performances. This is the only time he does this other than at the 02 thirty years later. Could I be dreaming?

  • Mark Williams said:

    Hints of Mr.Page activity happening……..Something Wicked this way comes ? (hopefully – been a long time).

  • Ed Bliss said:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Led Zeppelin’s second album begins with a LAUGH and not a cough? I might be wrong but a laugh fit’s better as bookend to the very end of the album: the cheeky little harmonica blow.

    What does everyone else think?

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