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15 July 2021 954 views No Comment

My thoughts on…

Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection by Ross Halfin (Reel Art Press)

Some of the best ideas are the simple ones and the world renowned rock photographer Ross Halfin’s concept of photographing his Led Zeppelin vinyl collection and presenting it in book form is one such example. Simple but very effective…

First things first – this book is not intended to be a definitive guide to Led Zeppelin vinyl releases – it would take a volume of mammoth proportions to achieve that and as Ross mentions in his introduction, add in the solo years and it would end up being a 2,000 page book.

As the title implies, this is a snapshot of the essential Zep vinyl releases – the real stand outs of any collection.

Part of the book’s appeal is wading through and identifying what you might have in your own collection and marvelling at what you haven’t – because unsurprisingly, there are many ultra-rare items featured.

It comes as an appropriately LP size format with a transparent outer cover. The size of the book offers ample scope to reproduce many of the LP covers to near full length. The paper quality and general presentation is of the usual high quality Reel Art Press standard.

The book is divided into the following categories:

Introduction by Ross Halfin, The Studio Albums, Live Recordings( i.e. bootleg LPs), Singles, Promos and Rarities, and finally Catalogue Details.

The introduction hones in on the idiosyncrasies of being a record collector and Ross’s declaration ‘’Do I still need six copies of Live On Blueberry Hill? Absolutely!’’ is one that will resonate with every reader. The intentions of the book are relayed in Ross’s familiar forthright, no nonsense style.

The Studio Albums section offers alternate rare pressings of each of the ten Zep original albums, featuring over 50 variations in all. There’s some mighty rarities here including a Led Zeppelin II pressing released in Turkey with a bizarre alternate front cover image, a Led Zeppelin IV released in India with an alternate front cover design, the Physical Graffiti promo sleeve with alternate lettering, the complete six different sleeve designs used for In Through The Out Door and plenty of Japanese pressings with the all-important obi strips.

At over 90 pages, the Live Recordings section takes up a fair bulk of the book in representing the countless Zep concerts that were issued on bootleg LPs. These strictly unauthorised illegal releases were seen at the time as a stain on the music industry but in truth they were a vital outlet for spreading an act’s reputation. Zep Bootlegs – and there were many of them, did much to cement their legacy, despite the heavy handed tactics manager Peter Grant employed to block any such recordings being made.

This world of Led Zeppelin bootlegs was a secret society that was incredibly thrilling to be a part of and like Ross, I was an avid bootleg collector from the early 1970s. I purchased a lot of my Zep bootlegs on mail order from a mysterious address in Kent – and boy did they come up with the goods. Looking over the sleeves of many of the releases presented in the book is a vivid reminder of the sheer thrill of a new package turning up on my doorstep.

I’ve just had a count up and over the years I have amassed a total of 83 different Zep vinyl LP bootlegs. The likes of fabled titles such as Mudslide, BBC Broadcast, Going To California, Bonzo’s Birthday Party, Earls Court Vol I, The Destroyer, Knebworth Fair, etc., boosted my Zep appreciation manifold and it’s fascinating to look at the many bootleg LP variations – over 150 of them, that are included in the book.

As mentioned, the book size provides the opportunity for full scale reproductions and it’s great to see the likes of the rare No Quarter album on the Red Devil album and the Beatles sleeve parodies featured on the Yellow Zeppelin and Fab 4 Liverpool releases in such rich detail. The reproduction of many of the original bootleg labels and coloured vinyl pressings is also a delight.

The next section takes in Singles, Promos & Rarities. There are over 70 examples of such items – including many of the picture sleeve releases of their singles that appeared in various foreign countries. There’s some mega rarities on view here including a Led Zeppelin I from Vietnam with unique artwork, the Dusty In Memphis/Led Zeppelin I US promo LP, the 1969 UK Flying High Atlantic compilation sampler album featuring Zep’s You Shook Me, only available via a coupon in a Japan Airlines in-flight magazine, the very rare Immigrant Song/Out On The Tiles picture sleeve promo single issued in Japan in 1970, the Turkish release of Immigrant Song with a picture sleeve illustration of migrants running and the three track Physical Graffiti EP issued in Thailand.

Finally, there’s the Catalogue Details section spread across 45 pages. This is a line by line discography guide split as follows: Promo & Stock LPs (20 pages), Live Recordings ( i.e. bootleg releases) across 14 pages, a couple of pages of Outtakes & Sessions, and finally 10 pages of all known Singles releases drawn from 42 different countries. This has all been diligently compiled by Nick Anderson and Graeme Hutchinson, both massive Zep vinyl collectors – regular readers of the TBL mag and my books will know that when it comes to such matters, they know what they are talking about.

As much as this is a book about Led Zep vinyl releases, it’s also a statement about artistic presentation and design. Most of these records appeared during the glory era of record sleeve artwork. The official releases have of course long since acquired iconic sleeve design status. The various single releases from around the globe were often quirky in the extreme. When it came to the live recordings presented on bootlegs, initially these were simple designs often with a stamped title and insert, but as the market grew they became very elaborate affairs – no more so than in the hands of artist William Stout. His unique design caricatures on releases by The Who, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin are the stuff of bootleg legend – a prime example being his cover design for the Bonzo’s Birthday Party double album on the Trade Mark of Quality label which can be seen in all its glory on page 91.

To summarise:

Led Zeppelin Vinyl -The Essential Collection shines the spotlight on an aspect of Led Zeppelin’s appeal that continues to fascinate collectors across the globe – and it does so in a manner totally in keeping with Ross Halfin’s long established photographic visual flair and knowledge of the band.

If you’re like me and vinyl records and Led Zeppelin is your thing, this will be an essential addition to your ever creaking Zep bookshelf…

Dave Lewis –  July 15, 2021

Led Zeppelin Vinyl –The Essential Collection by Ross Halfin is published by Reel Art Press on August 24.

More info and ordering details at:

LZ News

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at:

It was 36 years ago …

Led Zeppelin at Live Aid – July 13, 1985:

Live Aid  – 36 Years Gone:

For all its ragged missed cues, hoarse vocals and cod drumming, I have great affinity for the ramshackle Zep Live Aid appearance. There’s little doubt that those 15 minutes on stage had a massive impact. Suddenly Led Zeppelin’s name was back in the frame and it was safe to own up to being a fan again.

Before all that, incredible as it sounds now, that early 80’s period had rendered them somewhat forgotten.

Not so after July 13th 1985. After that, all manner of bands were sighting them as an influence , the three of them even tried a reunion the following January and within two years both Plant and Page were recreating Zep songs on stage…and you know the rest.

We watched it here all unfold in some wonderment with our very good friends Alan, Steve and Coral – Coral sadly passed away earlier this year.

I vividly finally recall going to bed in the early hours of July 14th with renewed faith – Zep still meant so much to so many people and the very next day I began collating material for a reference work to their music that would eventual form the A Celebration book published in 1991. The whole Live Aid extravaganza did feel like we were watching something special and memorable unfold back then and I’m glad it’s recognised that way all these years later. I wrote a quite prophetic piece for the local paper The Bedfordshire Times on Live Aid at the time which said it would be a day to tell your children about. I wasn’t far wrong. here’s the review as published on July 18 ,1985.

live aid review

While we are on the Live Aid anniversaries –the tenth one back in 1995 occurred on the night Page & Plant played an exhilarating set at the Sheffield Arena – all of 26 years ago . That was the night they merged Since I’ve Been Loving You into Tea For One in a glorious amalgamation. It was a moment of true magic which I’m proud to have been a few feet from.

Here’s TBL contributor Larry Bergmann Jr on Live Aid:

Live Aid…it’s oft been discussed in derogatory fashion over the years, but in fact it is an unforgettable part of the legacy, and perhaps not quite as bad as its reputation suggests.

It really was a great day and it was wonderful to see those guys together again…although I recall the MTV folks raving about how PHIL COLLINS was on the stage with Zeppelin and when they put the names of the musicians on the screen like they used to do, at one point COLLINS was listed first, and Jimmy became “Jimmy Paige”…without question one of the top handful of legendary musicians to perform on the day and they didn’t even know how to spell his name.  Ridiculous.  Not to mention the superimposed photo of Collins’ latest album of the time plastered all over the screen at one point…how nice of Paige, Jones and Plant to help Collins play a couple of Led Zeppelin songs!
The performance was ragged because they were obviously winging it, Page’s guitars were out of tune (I will never understand how his guitar tech of this era constantly handed Jimmy Page guitars that were not ready to played onstage!), and Plant, who was in the middle of a solo tour and no longer used to singing Zeppelin music, sounded poorly.  The ever solid Mr. Jones didn’t seem to be suffering any maladies.
But it was still undoubtedly THE moment of the day for many viewers, and the excitement of seeing them together and the magnetism of the boys carried the day…and it was definitely what the crowd at JFK Stadium had been waiting for!  It was an absolute THRILL, unforgettable despite the mishaps…I videotaped it on my old Betamax and I watched that tape a million times.  It still holds a spot in my heart to this day, and I seemed to rekindle something within the boys themselves…there would go on to be the infamous aborted sessions with Tony Thompson, and then Plant and Page both began playing Zeppelin music in their subsequent solo tours.  The veil had been lifted.  And in that sense, Live Aid was absolutely vital.
Some years back, an FM broadcast of Live Aid re-surfaced which did not have all of the feedback issues that were coming thru the PA…someone married it to the footage and it puts the performance in a little better light.
Many thanks Larry.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – UK tour 1995 – it was 26 years ago…

26 years ago this week a fair few of you reading this were tearing up and down the highways and byways of the UK to catch the long awaited on stage return of   Jimmy Page & Robert Plant.

It was incredibly exciting few days -I was lucky enough to catch the dates in Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole and two nights in Birmingham and London. Along the way there was many a TBL meet in pubs and hotel bars as we all came out to celebrate.

So to mark this anniversary here’s a piece that I ran in the TBL mag and subsequently my Celebration II The Tight but Loose Files book…

So let’s turn the clock back 26 years….this first extract takes the story up to the UK tour – with part 2 to follow next time..

With the MTV film in the can, the next logical move was to take the show out on the road, and manager Bill Curbishley drew up an ambitious itinerary that would commence in America early in 1995.

The pair decided to extend the formula used for the MTV shows, employing the Egyptian string and percussion ensemble led by Hossam Ramzy and dubbed The Egyptian Pharaohs. Under the direction of Ed Shearmur they enlisted the assistance of local orchestras in each area they performed, thus enabling them to repeat the successful formula used for the Unledded filming which allowed fresh interpretations of the Zeppelin catalogue.

Just prior to the tour opening in February, Page and Plant reunited with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham for an appearance at New York’s Waldorf hotel to accept Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame. Jonesy’s comment – “Thanks for my friends for remembering my phone number” – during his speech was a curt acknowledgement of his displeasure at being ignored.

Rehearsals for the Page Plant tour took place in London, and a preview of what was in store occurred when the pair did a live link up for the American TV Awards, performing ‘Black Dog’.

In early April I was lucky enough to catch their two day stint at the Meadowlands Arena in America. The second night where they strolled on to the stage and moved into ‘Thank You’ remains a defining memory. Further shows in Paris, Glasgow, Sheffield, St Austell, Poole, Birmingham and London proved conclusively that despite their advancing years the duo’s ability to recreate the power and grace of Zeppelin was without question.

It was a glorious period as long time fans and those too young to have seen Zep in their prime revelled in what was all in name the Zeppelin reunion we had all hoped for. By the tour’s end it was evident that Jimmy Page was playing better than at any time during the previous fifteen years. Indeed for a project that began as a request to strum a few Zep tunes unledded style for MTV’s acoustic showcase, when played live night after night this reappraisal of the Zeppelin catalogue developed into a fully ledded experience. A trend that would continue when they returned to the live action in 1998.

The TBL coverage of the tour was extensive. Issue 11 included a gig by gig summary aided by the input of many first hand views. For the next issue I was able to reflect on the entire 115 dates coming up with the best 53 peformances that might form a definitive retrospective view of this long awaited comeback. In keeping with the imaginary Led Zeppelin Live chronological live album concept explored in A Celebration, I’ve reproduced the entire text of the Page Plant World tour overview providing a clear focus on one of their most prolific periods of the post Zep era.



The Page Plant 1995/6 world tour finally came to an end on March 1, 1996, with the 115th date of a tour that spanned 370 days. The entire trek covered five continents and 19 countries and included nearly 2,000 individual song performances.

After a 15 year hiatus it was at last an opportunity for fans old and new to witness first hand the musical chemistry that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant still maintain. A chemistry that was at the forefront of their achievements within Led Zeppelin

It was a unanimous success – not least because of the unorthodox stance the pair took in approaching their back catalogue. Never a mere exercise in nostalgia, in reinterpreting the likes of ‘Kashmir’ and ‘In The Evening’, the clever deployment of the Egyptian Pharaohs worked superbly well. Similarly, bringing local orchestras under the direction of Ed Shearmur in each location to embellish performances of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving’, ‘Going To California’, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ etc, added a fresh dimension. It was a master touch that kept the momentum flowing throughout the year long excursion.

Some admissions and conclusions: Firstly the controversy. Should they have included Jones? And should they have billed it as Led Zeppelin?

Jones’ absence remains a disappointment. Many will feel he should have at least been offered the opportunity to participate and should certainly have been informed first hand of their plans.

As for the name, well by the tour’s end they were openly projecting it on the billboards (“Playing the legendary songs of Led Zeppelin” as the Australian ads proclaimed).The heavy swing towards the Zep catalogue also made it something of a Zeppelin concert in all but name.

By not using the name they did avoid all the hype that would have gone with it and in avoiding the fully fledged reunion many felt they upheld the integrity of the group.

Whatever name it went under, when Page and Plant took flight on something like the middle section of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, well it wasn’t to hard to detect where the essence of all that had come from. The thrill of the two frontmen redefine the original Zep premise to go ever onward was undeniable.

The tour kicked off in Pensacola on February 26. The first part of the tour took in 27 dates running into April. Early set list surprises included a version of The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’ and the Coverdale Page track ‘Shake My Tree’. After a nine day break they undertook a further 27 dates in Europe including eight outdoor festival appearances. The UK dates included an acclaimed performance in the veterans slot on the Sunday line up at Glastonbury and two more intimate venue dates at St Austell and Poole. ‘The Battle Of Evermore’ and ‘Going To California’ were notable additions to the set list.

They were back in the US in the fall, kicking off with three dates in Mexico. This leg of the tour saw them reach new levels of intensity with a series of near flawless gigs on the West Coast. The US tour ended with a memorable two night stint at the old Zep stamping ground Madison Square Garden in New York.

Second guitarist Porl Thompson opted out of the line-up at this point and Jimmy took on all the guitar chores theerafter. Following four massive stadium dates in South America, Page and Plant holidayed in Hawaii, then undertook ten shows in Japan including six nights at the Budokan.

This run of shows saw them change the set list nightly, pulling out debut performances for the Zep standards ‘The Rain Song’ and ‘Tea For One’. The final leg took in five shows in Australia. They arrived on February 22, almost 22 years to the day of the commencement of Zeppelin’s only Australian visit. The final date took place at Flinders Park, Melbourne, on March 1.

Great moments along the away? So many really: Page’s nightly off the cuff riffing before ‘Black Dog’, those unpredictable medley’s during ‘Calling To You’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’, the theremin battle during ‘Shake My Tree’, that stirring intro to ‘In The Evening’ with Plant in all his Arabic vocal glory, Porl’s soloing in ‘Song Remains The Same’, Michael Lee’s drumming throughout – a key ingrediant to the success of the whole project, the joyous crowd participation in ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ ,the ‘Stairway’ tease in ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’, the interchanging set lists in Japan.

There were a few irritants: The rigid nature of the set lists during the UK tour, Plant’s general reticence to adopt his familiar mike in hand poses until the encores – his customary stances and movements that were so prominent in Zep but noticeably absent during his solo years, replaced by a sometimes stilted stage presence as he stayed glued to the mike.

Finally it all comes down to the music – and many hours of this tour has made it onto unofficial recordings. There have surely been few tours that have been so extensively chronicled. The advent of the mini DAT recorder has opened up the floodgates for good quality audience recordings.

In a move inspired by The Grateful Dead’s relaxed laissez-faire gig taping policy (that certainly would not have happened under the iron rule of Peter Grant), during the US first leg the duo allowed fans to tape their gigs in special taper sections behind the mixing desk. By making shows widely available on tape the hope was that this would alleviate the need for fans to invest in bootleg CDs. It didn’t stop something like 80 bootleg CD titles surfacing from the tour, including no less than three 20-CD box sets (the UK chronicle Get Rid of The Smoke and two Japanese tour sets Ten Days and Live legend) plus a stock of privately circulated audience shot videos.)

With so many tapes at our disposal, there is ample scope to take a retrospective view of the tour. Having listened to hours of material drawn from the many tapes of the tour, I have compiled an imaginary four-CD compilation that takes in all the major developments along the way. It includes the one-off gems slotted in, the stand-out performances, the offbeat sequences and all the historic moments building into a true overview of the entire tour. It features 53 extracts drawn from 26 different locations spread over 28 shows; nearly five hours of musical Page and Plant highlights that capture the often barely believable events that thousands of fans were privileged to enjoy during those 370 days.

So this is Page and Plant on tour together at last in 1995 and 1996. Proving conclusively that the evolution of Led Zeppelin continues…

CD1: US Tour First Leg:

Intro: Tales of Bron – Robin Williamson poem

Immigrant Song’ intro/’The Wanton Song’

(Thompson Bowling Arena, Knoxville, Tenessee, March 3 1995)

The previous date in Atlanta had seen the amalgamation of ‘Immigrant Song’

into ‘Wanton Song’ as the set opener. On that occasion they had some trouble sorting out the ending (it was after all the first live airing of ‘Wanton Song’ in 20 years!). In Knoxville it all came together with Page leading the way with some dexterous runs. The atmospheric opening introduction poem that proceeded became a familiar opening ritual to a majority of the US first leg and some European dates. The choice of the little known Incredible String Band album extract recalled Plant’s fondness for this Sixties outfit, and by the time Robin Williamson had got to the line “There is the flavoured haunt of pleasure, no haunt or threat or malediction, but sweet of music strikes the air” the fans knew what was coming next as the silhouettes on stage burst into life.

‘Wanton Song’ went on to become the favoured set opener, clocking over 80 performances during the tour.

‘Achilles Last Stand’

(The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia, February 28 1995)

‘Achilles’ was always a prime contender for reworking on this tour so it was no real surprise when it turned up in the set lists of the two opening dates in Pensacola and Atlanta. More baffling was the fact it was never played again. On the evidence of the passion they brought to this performance there appears no logical reason why. It was a more than competent display that kicked along with all the verve of the best Zep deliveries circa 1977. Robert introduced it as “One of the first songs Jimmy and I wrote relating to travel” – a similar spiel would be given over to introducing The Song Remains The Same which effectively took over the Achilles slot the next night.

Watching the video shot from the show, it’s clear they were enjoying reliving this crucial Zep track – the pair could be seen clustered together in a classic pose during the “Aha… Aha” refrain.

At times the February 28 delivery of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ recreated the spirit of Led Zeppelin better than any other single performance on the tour. Maybe that’s why they decided to drop it. Perhaps they both felt it was just a little too close to what went before…

‘House Of The Rising Son’/‘Good times Bad Times’

( UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisanna, March 11 1995)

From the moment Plant casually walked up to the mic and oozed into the traditional local blues standard ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, this second night in New Orleans was destined to be special.

They then switched straight into ‘Good Times Bad Times’, the only performance of the rarely played Led Zep I opener. And it was a joy to hear them rumble through the familiar stops and starts of the track with Michael Lee on drums proving his worth.


(UNO Lakefront Arena New Orleans Louisanna March 11 1995)

When the first set lists were posted on the Internet many presumed this was a new song and listed it as ‘Spiderman’. In actual fact it was a revivial from Porl Thompson’s Cure days. It worked as an offbeat interlude amongst the Zep numbers with Plant immersed in the lyric and Page cutting fine precise lines against Porl’s rhythm work. ‘Lullaby’ survived in the set until the early part of the Europran dates before being deleted.

‘The Song Remains The Same’

(UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Lousinna, March 11 1995)

“There’s a ….”

At the beginning of this mid-period Zep classic, Plant twice taunted the crowd with the opening line from the well known Rolf Harris cover. Instead Page led them into a powerful rendition of the Houses Of The Holy opener. This was a definite highlight of the US leg with Page and Porl Thompson trading licks most effectively, with the latter’s speed on the Gibson jumbo guitar really pushing the song along. Plant reached the high notes with ease as it led it into a glorious finale. “Can you feel it?” asked the singer afterwards. Absolutely.

‘Tangerine’/’Hey Hey What Can I Do’

(US Air Arena, Landover, Washington, March 23 1995)

Two superb performances lined up back to back during this show. ‘Tangerine’ made its only appearance on this leg performed in a full band arrangement. The crowd reaction as Page hit the familiar notes was nothing less than euphoric. Porl played some suitably laid back electric parts against Page’s Ovation acoustic strumming. A nostalgic first outing for the Zep III standard that was last performed live twenty years back at Earls Court.

The underrated Zep III leftover (and subsequent US B side to ‘Immigrant Song’) ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do’ was another revelation with the crowd egarly joining in the chorus. Videos from the tour of this track show Page beaming with pride and duck walking along the stage.

Boogie Chillun’ sequence

(Skydome Arena, Toronto, March 27 1995)

“One night I was laying down”… The John Lee Hooker standard was an integral part of the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ medley in the Zeppelin era. This was its only appearance on the tour, emerging during the ‘Calling To You’ medley. The way it developed out of a lengthy Page solo was invigorating and for those in attendance a rare revival for another part of the Zep live canon.

‘Calling To You’ including ‘Break On Through’/’As Long As I Have You’/‘Dazed And Confused’ inserts

(Brendan Byrne Arena, Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 6 1995)

‘Calling To You’ had previously been a highlight of Plant’s Fate Of Nations tour. With Jimmy on board it quickly developed into an extended piece that included a compelling guitar battle with Porl, a seminal riff exercise and then into an anything-could-happen medley sequence in the grand Zep tradition. This night in Meadowlands was exceptional for the inclusion of Garnett Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, a staple of the first two Zeppelin American tours but not performed by Page or Plant since. It followed the now customary delivery of The Doors’ ‘Break On Through’ and then merged with a few lines from ‘Dazed And Confused’. Another memorable sequence.

‘Shake My Tree’

(Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

On the face of it this was a rather bizarre choice for inclusion on the tour. A highlight of the 1993 Coverdale Page album, it says much of Plant’s compatibility with Page at the time that he agreed to sing the Coverdale lyrics, albeit in a slightly amended form. ‘Shake’ was actually a great riff exercise which allegedly was first conceived during the Zep In Through The Out Door sessions. On stage it gave Plant the chance to pull out the old “Suck it!” refrain at appropriate moments and for Page to weave those weird sounds from the theremin.


(Great Western Forum, Inglewood Los Angeles, California, May 17 1995)

When Page and Plant breezed back into the Forum some 17 years after the night of Listen To This Eddie, a tradition of spontaneity was upheld. During ‘Kashmir’ they were joined by guest violinist Lili Hayden who brought a impulsive virtuoso feel to the end section as she pitted her talents against the Egyptian Pharaohs. “Ladies and gentlemen Lili Hayden appears at the Viper Room in Holly wood every Sunday night,” Plant informed the audience at the close.


The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park -it was 52 years ago week: 

The Rolling Stones and me and a week in July 52 years ago…

I can remember quite a lot about the days that led up to The Rolling Stones performing that famous free concert in Hyde Park all of 52 years ago on Saturday July 5 1969.

On Tuesday, July 1 all our school converged on the main hall to watch the Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle in Wales. Later in the week on Friday July 4 I awoke to see the headlines in the newspapers that Brian Jones, the recently departed Rolling Stones founder member, had been found dead in somewhat mysterious circumstances in the swimming pool of Cotchford Farm home.

The Stones were due to play that massive concert just two days later. On that Friday afternoon of July 4, I walked from school into town – my destination was the WH Smith book shop in the High Street, then known as FR Hockliffe.

A quick aside – little did I know that afternoon in 1969 that in a mere five years, I would be working at this shop behind the record department counter commencing a 35 year career in music retail.

The reason for the visit was for me to select a book of my own choice as a school prize. I had done pretty well that first year in the Silver Jubilee secondary modern school and had been awarded the merit prize. I spent some time wading through the books settling on a Billy Bunter book by Frank Richards. I loved the Bunter books – whilst there I also bought a copy of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Reading was already a big passion – my regular other choice reading was the New Musical Express – aka NME – the huge selling weekly music paper.

As mentioned in a previous post, back in the spring of 1969 aged 12, I had got right back into music after hearing The Beatles’ Get Back single.

I was now immersed in the world of pop and rock and I knew from reading the NME that The Rolling Stones Hyde Park free concert was going to be a very big deal.

After buying my books at FW Hockliffe I returned home to watch the TV coverage of the Wimbledon Ladies singles final. Our own Anne Jones making it are British triumph by beating Billie Jean King 3-6,6-3 6-2. This piece of sporting history was also enjoyed by The Beatles. The July 4 entry in Mark Lewisohn’s remarkable book The Beatles At Abbey Road reveals that on that same afternoon, The Beatles were at work in Abbey Road Studios recording Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight. The studio engineers has been listening to the live BBC Radio 2  coverage of the Anne Jones -Billie Jean King final and had relayed it to the three Beatles, Paul, George and Ringo through the mixing console.

Whilst in town earlier that afternoon had I ventured to the popular local record shop Carousel ( which I often did), I may well have seen copies of the new Rolling Stones single Honky Tonk Women on sale as it was released that same day. I may also have seen the new John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band single Give Peace A Chance which also came out that day. At the time the eight shillings and sixpence asking price for a single was way out of my league. However in the coming weeks I would subsequently hear them both many times on the radio and on the local juke box at our local café.

On Saturday July 5, Radio One broadcast regular updates of the gathering crowds in Hyde Park to which I avidly listened to. Oh to be there but I was far too young. Seven years later I did make it to the free concert Queen gave in Hyde Park.

I read all about the Hyde park concert in the following weeks issue of  NME and gazed in wonder at all those amazing photos – Jagger looked incredible. In September, I watched the Granada TV documentary Stones In The Park when it was screened on ITV.

By then, I had deemed The Rolling Stones as my favourite group – just edging it over The Beatles. That would all change of course in a few months when I heard Whole Lotta Love by a group called Led Zeppelin.

I loved the Honky Tonk Women single – with its dramatic intro and bluesy chorus. I also loved the B side You Can’t Always Get What You Want. This was often played on the local café juke box. The B sides of popular singles would often get an airing on that juke box. Actually there was an exception to that. There wasn’t much call for the B side of Give Peace A Chance – Remember Love sung rather softly but not that sweetly by Yoko Ono.

Around 1973, I acquired an audience recording of the Stones Hyde Park show on a bootleg LP. Years later, when it received an official release on DVD I eagerly snapped it up. It’s a superb documentary and very much of its time and takes me right back all of 51 years to that memorable week in July when in much schoolboy wonderment, I soaked up all the remarkable events that were unfolding on the music scene.

Later in the month there would be more awe inspiring events to take in when Neil Armstrong made that first step on the Moon.

Ahead lay Woodstock and the Isle of Wight fFstivals, the release of Abbey Road and an album titled Led Zeppelin II

It was 52 years ago and my musical landscape was being broadened by the week…oh for a time machine to relive it all again…

The above thoughts are from my  work in progress DL musical memoirs book which I have began collating – more on that soon.

Dave Lewis, July 13 , 2021

RSD Drop 2 Saturday July 17:

Saturday July 17 is the second of the two drops for Record Store Day  – I am aiming to be in the queue early in the morning at our local Slide Record Shop to try and secure a few choice items including  the Bobbie Gentry – Windows Of The World  LP, Cat Stevens – Harold & Maude – LP, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu Alternates  LP, The Rolling Stones, – Hot Rocks (1971) – 2LP and one or two others. Full report on this to follow…



DL Diary Blog Update:

Thursday July 9:

DL/TBL Throwback Thursday – Retro Reviews –a splendid review on the back page of Melody Maker this week in 1980 of Led Zeppelin’s Munich concert on July 5 1980 – note a plug for the Tight But Loose mag in there – I met with the MM journalist Steve Gett before the gig and he said he would give me a plug in the review and he was as good as his word…

When I interviewed Peter Grant in 1993 he told me how pleased he was and the group were with this review – the only UK coverage of the tour at the time…good job i was on the spot to chronicle it all for the next TBL issue TBL 5 which came out in the October of that year.




Saturday July 10:

Saturday is platterday – on the player Bad Company Straight Shooter-the brilliant 2015 remaster sounding great…

Saturday July 10:

Saturday is platterday – on the player the brilliant The Art Of Chris Farlowe LP from 1966 on the Immediate label – produced by Mick Jagger..

It includes Chris Farlowe’s version of Jagger/Richards Out Of Time which was the number one single when England won the World Cup on July 30 of that year……

Saturday July 10:

Saturday is platterday – on the player The Honeydrippers Volume One featuring Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Nile Rodgers – this one a 12 inch pressing (I also have the ten inch version and one or two others) and sounding mighty fine…

Sunday July 11:

Sunday sounds on CD – calming the pre match nerves with some early morning Fab loading up the superb Abbey Road 2009 remastered CD…




Sunday July 11:

… Sunday treats at the Bedford Market…

The perfect way to calm the pre match nerves – a visit this morning to the occasional Bedford Sunday Market and it was great to see VIP Fairs organiser John at the their stall and I was well pleased to find the Little Feat Feats Don’t Fail Me Now album plus The Rolling Stones Through The Past Darkly, Soft Machine Fourth and the Rock Machine I Love You 1968 CBS compilation which you never have too many copies of…all top stuff…

John told me he and fellow VIP organiser Rob were at the Euro 96 England v Germany semi-final and of course was well pleased they went one step further on Wednesday…we are both very proud of Gareth’s boys and excited about tonight as the countdown to the final continues…

The Bedford Market is at St Paul’s Square today until 3pm and John’s VIP stall has plenty of bargain priced albums and CDs…

The VIP Fair stall is back at the Sunday Bedford Market on August 11 and the VIP Fair is at the Bedford Harpur Suite on Saturday August 21. I am hoping to have the TBL stall for that one.

Sunday July 11:

Sunday sounds on CD – as the countdown continues easing the pre match nerves by loading up the excellent Led Zeppelin III 2014 remastered CD with companion disc…rather splendid

Sunday July 11:

The Euro wall chart has been diligently filled in this past month and now there’s only one game to go…the countdown continues…two and a half hours to go…come on England

Sunday July 11:

Come on England….the lady Janet and I are ready…






Sunday July 11: 

Heartbreak but still so proud of Gareth Southgate’s England and what they have given us….

Tuesday July 11:

It was 36 years ago today…

My review of Live Aid for the local Beds Times newspaper ‘’Some have the Coronation, others the Royal Wedding” I wrote…

”But this concert for famine relief is surely the moment in television history we will relay to our children’s children’’

Looking at the many of posts about Live Aid today on Facebook, I wasn’t far wrong with that assumption back in 1985…

Thinking of the late Coral Hay who along with Steve Moore and Alan Stutz, watched it unfold on TV with the good lady Janet and I on that historic day of 36 years ago..…RIP you lovely lady…

Thursday July 15:

It’s a Happy Birthday to the great Jason Bonham – I’m pictured here with Jason at the Black Country Communion launch gig in London back in September 2010. Have a great day Jason!

Some particular inspirations these past few days…

Always a welcome sound –the new issue of the always excellent Shindig! Magazine dropping through the letter box – and with the late great singer songwriter Laura Nyro as the cover story this issue is right up my street…

Another welcome sound – the new issue of Uncut dropping through the letter box and I’ll be looking forward to delving in to The Beatles Revolver album front cover feature…

Yet more reading matter delight – the new issue of Record Collector dropping through the letter box and with The Beach Boys, Maggie Bell, Steve Miller and The Fifth Dimension all included it looks a good one…

Receiving the Led Zeppelin Vinyl – The Essential Collection Ross Halfin book…

Phone catch ups with Billy Fletcher, Dave Linwood, Ian Saikia,  Russ Rees, Andy Adams and Richard Grubb

Update here:

Well, in the end they just not quite get over the line – Sunday’s Euro 2020 final between England and Italy had all the high drama expected – it was fantastic watching it all unfold here with the good lady Janet and Adam plus Sam on speaker phone throughout – right up to the penalty shoot out.

Regardless of the end result which was so heartbreaking – this England team led by the brilliant Gareth Southgate have done us proud – they are all heroes and have given us a thrilling ride during the last four weeks – as memorable and enjoyable as any tournament I have had the privilege to watch. We will never forget this amazing month of wonderful togetherness and pride…thank you Gareth’s boys…

It was back to work this week with a lot to do – more on the TBL projects and plans ahead coming soon.

The Covid restrictions being lifted on Monday July 19 I feel are a big cause for concern as infection rates are rising rapidly.  I for one will not be reducing my mask wearing and I have been feeling very anxious about all this – as I am sure many are. The need to be careful and considerate of others remains paramount…

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

Dave  Lewis – July 15, 2021

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis


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