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MUSICARES AUCTION//LZ NEWS/DIGGING DEEP PODCAST/NICKY HORNE/IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR 41 YEARS GONE/ THE 2003 DVD/NEW MOON’S IN THE SKY/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

13 August 2020 1,225 views One Comment

GIBSON SG STANDARD ‘61 GUITAR SIGNED BY ROBERT PLANT AND TONY IOMMI AMONG ITEMS TO BE AUCTIONED FOR MUSICARES…

 Julien’s Auctions and MusiCares are pleased to present a marquee lineup of items to be sold at the MusiCares Charity Relief Auction, taking place Wednesday, September 9 live in Beverly Hills and online at JuliensLive.com with advance online bidding starting Monday, August 17.

 Included in the auction is this Classic SG Standard ’61 Vintage Cherry Gibson guitar signed by Robert Plant and Tony Iommi.

 The items offered by artists, athletes and entertainers includes Barbra Streisand, Bee Gees, Bill Wyman, Billie Eilish, Billy Idol, Blake Shelton, Brandon Flowers from The Killers, Carlos Santana, Carole King, Cher, Chrissie Hynde, Coldplay, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., Depeche Mode, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Hans Zimmer, Joan Jett, John Stamos, Ozzy Osbourne, Patti Smith, Peyton Manning, Rhett Atkins, Rick Fox, Sir Tom Jones, Robert Plant, Snoop Dog, Thomas Rhett, Tom Petty, Tom Waits, Tommi Iommi, Willie Nelson and more in a charity auction to benefit MusiCares, the charitable foundation which provides aid to artists and music community professionals in times of need.

 More details at:

 http://JuliensAuctions.com.

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LZ News:

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

http://ledzepnews.com/

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Robert Plant Digging Deep Podcast:

The third series the excellent Robert Plant Podcast has kicked off – the second podcast available now talks about 29 Palms – this is the second of the live recordings taken from the Q and A event staged at the Rough Trade East record shop in London on February 27 – an event I was lucky enough to attend

Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDAiZDZVNuo

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Nicky Horne:

August 11 – 41 years ago – the second Led Zeppelin date at Knebworth…

It was rather fitting on Tuesday to take a call from legendary DJ Nicky Horne – Nicky was the long running host of the Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It 1970s Capital Radio rock show and later on Planet Rock. He also introduced Led Zeppelin on stage at Earls Court and 41 years ago today at Knebworth.

We had a good catch up and of course those occasions were discussed – and some possible projects ahead.

It was great to talk to a man who was right there as close as can be when it was all happening on this day 41 years ago – as Nicky recalled

‘’It was incredibly exciting sitting on Jimmy’s flight case stage left for the entire gig. I’ve been fortunate by God’s good grace to be on the side of a few stages and I would say only The Who and Led Zeppelin have this magical almost mystical thing going on when they are all playing together. It’s a real tangible factor. You can feel the power of the band attaining greater heights being so close. It was certainly like that at Knebworth in 1979.’’

Here we are in deep conversation discussing the usual at the Led Zeppelin Reissues launch at the HMV Store in London in May 2015…

Nicky can be heard on Feedback Radio at this link:

https://www.feedbackradio.co.uk/shows/rock-show/

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In Through The Out Door – It was 41 years ago…

 

Led Zeppelin’s ninth album In Through The Out Door was released on Monday August 20, 1979. Here’s a Then and Now overview from the TBL archives… 

In Through The Out Door  ….Then:

The 1977 tour of America had given rise to a revival in the fortunes of the group. They were playing great, the on stage spectacle had reached new heights and plans for a new album to be recorded after the tour were in place.

The tour would subsequently be cancelled amidst backstage violence in Oakland and then the shocking news of the passing of Robert Plant’s five year old son Karac.

They were difficult days and Jimmy was at pains to explain that they would not be splitting and that Robert would work with the band again. Slowly they did pick up the pieces – though not before Robert had notions of giving it all up to go into teaching. With much support from John Bonham, he agreed to a group rehearsal  at Clearwell Castle in May of 1978.

As for me, with Zep off the road, I was busy with one or two other matters – for instance leaping up on stage at The Who filming in Shepperton. My summer was taken up writing and researching a major Zep ten years retrospective for Sounds music weekly. Working with Geoff Barton, it was a big thrill to see my work in print. The reaction spurred me on to move ahead with a long held idea to produce a Led Zeppelin fanzine. Built on the do it yourself ethics of the punk fanzines of the day such as Sniffin Glue and Ripped And Torn, I began hand writing what would become the first issue.

In the autumn rumours were rife that the group had resumed rehearsals at Ezyhire Studios in North London.

Robert 78 003

The opportunity arose for me to hear what plans the group had ahead from one of the principal players. On November 4 1978 Robert took part in the annual Goaldiggers Charity Five-a- side football tournament at Wembley Arena. I made it my mission to attend and wizzed over to the Wembley Empire Pool after playing soccer in the morning. I searched Robert out by the sidelines area and spent a memorable afternoon chatting to him and wife Maureen. Robert was more than amiable – laughing at the antics of the Page 3 ladies team and informing me that they were about to head for Stockholm to record a new album at Abba’s Polar studios. I came back from that encounter totally invigorated. This pic was taken by me on that afternoon.

By early 1979 two things had happened.

Led Zeppelin had a new album in the can (rumoured in some circles to be titled Look) and I had produced the first issue of Tight But Loose and it was already creating a platform of communication of like minded Zep fans.

Of course in true Zep style there followed a period of waiting..and more waiting..

Just as I was reporting in the second issue of TBL that there was no news of the album or any live shows, they surprised us all by announcing a comeback at  Knebworth.

It was the summer of Led Zep 1979 and what a summer it turned out to be.

Before we go any further one thing needs to be stated. The eighth Led Zeppelin album In Through The Out Door is intrinsically lined with those two Knebworth appearances.

Not least for the performances of two tracks from the then yet to be released album namely Hot Dog and In The Evening. The latter’s performance was a simply breathtakingly demonstration of their undoubted power. The still had it…and we all ready to lap it up on record.

The album was due for release in the UK on Monday August 20. I was most fortunate to find a pre release copy on cassette awaiting for me upon my return from the second Kenbworth show

Listening to it in my bedroom remains one of the most memorable playbacks of my life.

Something like In The Evening heralded a new Zeppelin with new places to go… and I intended to be with them every step of the way.

DL aug79

The next challenge was to acquire the six differing covers to the album. The problem was that as the sleeves were pre packaged with the distinct brown paper bag, the purchaser therefore would not know which cover he had invested in until the album had been bought. Luckily I worked for a record shop -on Monday August 20 I duly waded through a fair few copies of the album unsealing them and sealing them back up until I had been through about a 100 to narrow down the six sleeves. Mission accomplished. This pic shows me on my bike outside Dec’s house on the afternoon of Monday August 20 – the HMV bag contained my six LP’s as purchased from WH Smith where I worked.

The press reaction to the album was unsurprisingly somewhat mixed.

As Plant commented somewhat cynically from the stage on the August 11th show, “You’ve probably read the reviews it’s tremendous.’’

Writing in Sounds , Geoff Barton went for the jugular. The feud between Swan Song and the paper probably did not help matters. A two star review (poor) had Baton summarizing, ‘’On this album Zeppelin sound like a band that hasn’t played together for three years. I feel no elation. I don’t wish to gloat. I’m sad, disillusioned, downhearted it’s the end of an era. The dinosaur is finally extinct.’’

Over at the Melody Maker there was no respite. ‘’Whole Lotta Bluff’’ read the headline as Chris Bohn stated, ‘’Led Zeppelin are displaying the first intimations of mortality and it’s time they accepted their fate like men. They squeezed their lemons dry long ago’’

Rolling Stone predictably waded in with a negative review. ‘’Sad Zep’’ headlined Charles M Young’s review. ‘’With the paucity of good music to work with Plant fails to create phrasing good enough to disguise the lyrics which are horrible.’’

In Creem magazine there was a more upbeat reaction. John Swenson observed, ‘’Led Zeppelin have never made a bad album and In Through The Out Door is no exception. You can call them stupid, you can call them wimpy, you can call them stupid, you can call them gimpy. Just don’t call them late for breakfast, because these guys bring home the bacon every time.”

The more no frills prose of Record Mirror were highly complimentary. ‘’Zep Zap the faithful’’ it stated and Robin Smith concluded that, “This album is for kids like you and me.’’

Finally to Nick Kent –in the past a loyal Zep supporter though now trying to run with the new pack of hot new wave hip journo’s dominating the NME. His review was not the hatchet job expected. ‘’They were so much older then’’ was the headline for what was easily the most balanced and perceptive review of the album ‘’In Through The Out Door’’ is no epitaph. When it’s bad as on the downright clumsy ‘Hot Dog’ its very bad but when it shines, it does so brightly enough. It only remains to advise the gentlemen involved to get back on the road and really start working at being a band again. Three year stretches of indolence are simply not on in rock’ n roll terms. More to the point there are potential points of departure on this album that deserve following through. The doctor orders a period of intense activity.’’

The next six months contained many an Out Door thrill. Hearing the Radio One UK chart run down where it was announced that the album ahd entered the Uk chart at number one (fending off Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming in the process)…the US reports of the sales of the album being a saviour to the US record industry – as all Zep albums went back on the Billboard chart…collecting the various configurations of the single Fool In the Rain/Hot Dog.

Bonzo 6

On November 28, I was also lucky enough to attend the Melody Maker Poll Awards at London’s Waldorf Hotel. Robert, Bonzo and Jonesy plus Peter Grant, Richard Cole and various Swan Song personnel attended. They received awards for Best Band, Best Live Act, Best Album, Best Male Singer, Best Guitarist, Best Producer and Best Composers. John Bonham can be seen in this pic accepting one of the awards from Monty Python’s Michael Palin.

Then there was the incredibly exciting Over Europe tour the following summer where All My Love was a welcome addition to the set list – a final approval of it being one of the pivotal tracks on the album. I vividly remember being at the side of the stage at the Frankfurt Festhalle a few feet from Robert as he sang this emotional song with such passion.

‘’Expectations fulfilled – credibility intact’’ was how I described the album in my review in TBL issue 3.

As far as I was concerned it was job done. In Through The Out Door had in fact not been the hardest way to get back in after all…

America beckoned …

I’d spoken to John Bonham a few times during the Over Europe tour – and on our last night in Munich as we all revelled in a night club, John wrote down his phone number and told me to call him when we got back in the UK (That piece of paper written on a German hotel note pad page with his name and number on remains one of my most treasured possessions). I remember vividly him giving us an affectionate big bear hug as we left the club that night.

On Thursday July 24, I phoned him at Cutnall Green. We had a long conversation. John was very happy with the way the Europe tour had gone and was now looking forward to a holiday. He told me there was a group meeting due the next day to discuss what was to happen next. He said to call during August for more news. During that second call in late August, John strongly hinted they would be returning to America in the autumn.

When the first dates were announced in early September I’d already made up my mind to go. I was planning on the Landover/Philadelphia dates. I was constantly in touch with Swan Song that month and on Thursday September 18 I visited the office to take in some early text of the forthcoming Tight But Loose issue. Jimmy Page was at the office that day and I spent over half and hour with him one on one in the inner sanctum of their plush interview room. He talked enthusiastically of their plans and showed me a model set up of their new lighting and stage rig. The model was complete with a miniature representation of each of them on stage. I asked him about the ongoing chronological live project and he told me he had been looking at some footage to go with the tracks. He also said that the outtakes from the last album were still under consideration to use in some format. An album and UK dates in 1981 were also planned.

I wrote down hurriedly the content of our conversation that early evening and one quote stands out: ”I feel there is a lot more to do simply because this band thrives on a challenge – you’ve only go to look at Presence for that”

The following Tuesday I phoned Unity at Swan Song for the latest news. Unity informed me they were commencing rehearsals in Bray Studios later in the week. Excitedly I took down notes on a piece of paper as she told me all this. I still have that note – a reminder of the optimism of that time. Unity told me there may be a possibility for me to attend rehearsals the next Tuesday. Now that would be something very special.

Tight But Loose 5 was to be an Over Europe special with a 10,000 word report of the tour formulated from the five gigs I’d witnessed. I’d been working on it fairly non stop since August and it was nearly complete. I spent the next two days finishing up the lay out – these were the days when I cut it all in myself scrapbook style to be printed. On Thursday September 25th (with huge irony) I finalised the opening editorial which I’d written on September 22th – it was the last piece of the magazine.

”By the time you are reading this” it stated, ”Zeppelin will be mid way through a 4 week trek across the US”

It was already to go. I was ecstatic and with good reason.

The mag was ready to print, there was a chance I may even get to see them in rehearsal the next week and America beckoned in October.

What could possibly go wrong…

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In Through the Out Door Now:

in thru six covers

So some 41 years on how does it all sound on reissue…

Much has been said over the years about the less than crystal clear mix – this certainly does sound sprightlier though not radically so.

In The Evening still retains that feeling of rebith so evident at Knebworth. South Bound Suarez is another of those hidden gems – much more to this track than first meets the ears. Fool In The Rain is a magnificent Bonham masterclass -marvel at the tympani drumming during the break and the way he comes back in for the final chorus. Jimmy’s solo is so off the wall. This is the Zep of new places to go and going there with renewed confidence.

Hot Dog sounds surprisingly fresh and would have made a great UK single had that been the game.

Carouselambra intrigues with it’s JPJ led dream machine keyboard effects. The vocal do sound slightly more upfront.

I still have great affinity for All My Love. The right song at the right time and Jonesy’s solo is prime JPJ.

I’m Gonna Crawl – another revelation – the interplay of all four here is just mesmerising. Some forceful Bonham sparring with Page brings a typical dynamic quality to the proceedings, while Jimmy is at his bluesy best on the solo. A pleading Plant vocal that peaks at 4 minutes 41 with the most angst of screams brings the track to a satisfying finale.

So to the Companion Disc.

in thru image ken

In The Evening (Rough Mix) 6.54

Alternate effects on the drone intro which recalls the live Knebworth arrangement giving it a more Eastern in feel. A much cleaner vocal track with less echo – this really adds a new majesty to the piece. The guitar is also mixed higher. On the slowed up refrain with Jimmy’s guitar effects, this mix allows you to clearly hear JPJ playing that beautiful flute like keybaord motiv that could be heard on the live versions. His bass playing is also exemplary. That whole sequence from 4 mins 25 through to 5.00 is another wonderful revelation. Moving into the finale the outro sounds very live and pure – all in all, this rough mix is a total joy.The opening statement with added clarity and intent.…magnificent…

Southbound Piano (South Bound Saurez – Rough Mix) 4.14

In this mix the piano is right to the fore and the solo from Jimmy is much more prominent. Overall this mix highlights how much is going on here with the vocal overdubs and stomping piano adding to the busy nature. Of proceedings. A once underrated track that will command deserved renewed attention now.Rollicking fun to be had here…altogether now ‘’Shala lala lalla la la’’

Fool In The Rain (Rough Mix) 6.13

Not too many differences on this – the solo is slightly clearer and more up front in the mix and generally the guitar effects are more pronounced behind Robert’s vocal. Bonzo is brilliant throughout of course. Always an off beat percussive feast…

Hot Dog (Rough Mix) 3.17

A much more punchier mix with the harmonised vocals sounding less harsh. Bonzo’s rimshots at the end of the chorus are more to the fore. Overall this zips along with renewed gusto – there are some minor extra parts to be heard on the solo. Jonesy’s final piano sign off motiv at the close is slightly cleaner in the mix. Expect to enjoy this a whole lot more than before.Once maligned hoedown that works – contrary to public opinion…

The Epic (Carouselambra – Rough Mix) 10.48

On this mix the guitar is the lead instrument with the synth work further back in the mix. Bonzo is also more to the fore. The link into the slowed down sequence at 4 mins 10, has Jimmy’s guitar runs chiming away with increased clarity At 6.45 there’s a double track vocal effect on the ‘’I heard the word I couldn’t stay..another day’’ line. The vocals are slightly higher in the mix but not radically so. The fade out has differing nuances from JPJ’s GX1 synth have improved separation with the synth effects echoing away. The epic just got a little more epic…

The Hook (All My Love – Rough Mix) 5.52

Not too much to report here – a cleaner vocal track is noticeably. However this is not the much bootlegged Monitor Mix and therefore does not have the extended fade out and full ending. This mix fades as the original version. Shame the long ending was not retained…

Blot (I’m Gonna Crawl – Rough Mix) 5.31

Less sheen on the vocal here and the solo is more upfront – highlighting the sheer brilliance of something of an underrated performance which will now enjoy rightful acclaim. Jimmy’s solo is just exquisite. Far from a blot on the landscape – this is another another performance worthy of re investigation…

Summary: 

retail aug 2 one

This very welcomed reissue puts In Through The Out Door right back in the spotlight. Sprightly and full of vitality -still with new ideas and musical themes to elaborate upon. Far from the so called tired finale, it’s an album that has solid foundations to point to a whole new era…with much to enjoy, and I have certainly enjoyed revisiting it all these past few days.

I could not miss the opportunity to re-enact that 1979 photo outside Dec’s house – so here I am same place -same bag with the new In Through The Out Door reissue

Dave Lewis – July,2015.

 

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DL Greatest Hits:

The 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD

This is a piece from my book Led Zeppelin Celebration II The Tight But Loose Files published in 2003:  

In August 1981 a film director visited the Swan Song offices on the day I was delivering the latest issue of TBL. We got talking and he asked me if I’d like to view some of Led Zeppelin’s video tape archive to which he had access.

A couple of weeks later I was invited back, and sitting alone in the Swan Song interview room I experienced a kind of blissed-out ecstasy, viewing over seven hours of Zeppelin’s performances from Earls Court, Seattle and Knebworth on video tape on the old umatic video format.

Even in their unmixed state, it was evident that these performances could be used to produce some sort of official release. Over the years I carried with me vivid memories of that exclusive playback, clear in the knowledge that they deserved to be seen by the legion of Zeppelin fans.

Now, after two decades of rumours, delays and counter rumour, the deed has been done. I’m holding in my hand Led Zeppelin DVD – a two DVD set containing over five hours of digitally restored footage. Looking at the distinctive Arizona desert emblazoned cover, it’s hard to believe I can actually access and be transported back to the Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square Garden, Earls Court and Knebworth at the flick of a switch. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also a triple live CD set How The West Was Won – an accompanying release that once and for all officially captures the real deal of Zep live.

The furore behind all this activity in the summer of 2003 enabled Led Zeppelin’s profile to rise to levels reminiscent of their Seventies peak. It was a truly exhilarating time to be a Led Zeppelin fan. As Jimmy Page himself summarised recently: “People always come up to me and say ‘I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin. It’s the soundtrack to my life.’ Well I grew up with it to too. They are still my favourite band.”

The extraordinary sales of the DVD and live set would indicate that Page’s last statement also rings true for thousands upon thousands of admirers across the globe.

BRING IT ON HOME…

THE 2003 DVD… 

Tuesday November 2, 1976. BBC 2. Old Grey Whistle Test. 11.30.pm. Across the TV screen in crystal clear colour there is Robert Plant, hair flowing, bare chested, howling out the opening lines of ‘Black Dog’.

This is a pivotal moment. I’m witnessing moving images of Led Zeppelin on TV for the first time, courtesy of an exclusive Whistle Test preview of the soon to be premiered Song Remains The Same movie. This is the band that have shied away from TV aside from a few tentative moves into the medium early in their career. As Peter Grant would comment at the time: “TV just doesn’t capture the magic of Zeppelin.”

Fast forward 27 years later. I’m ensconced in the viewing room of Metropolis Productions watching similar footage of ‘Black Dog’ – this time courtesy of an exclusive playback of the soon to be premiered Led Zeppelin DVD. It’s the same viewing room that the three ex-members have sat in at various times over the past few months assessing their illustrious past.

Much has happened in the intervening years, not least the enhancement of both sound and picture quality of TV video reproduction. Peter Grant’s assumption that Zep and the small screen were incompatible can be re-assessed in the era of

Digital Versitile Disc, 5.1 surround sound and PCM stereo, all of which are able to recreate the live magic of Led Zeppelin in your own living room.

But it’s taken a long, long time to come to fruition. As the co director of the Zeppelin DVD Dick Carruthers explained to me at the playback: ‘‘This was a search for buried treasure. Once Jimmy and I had located the masters from the archive we were faced with the huge task to make it all presentable.’’

They more than succeeded.

The genesis of Page and the group’s desire to be presented on film on their own terms stretches right back to the night of January 9, 1970, when Grant commissioned noted film director Peter Whitehead, whose previous credits included The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, to shoot the band’s prestigious gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The plan was to use the footage for an intended Zeppelin documentary to be sold to BBCTV and other worldwide networks. On the night the gig was also professionally recorded on Pye Record’s mobile unit. Further filming was planned on their next American tour. The gig was filmed on 16mm by two hand held cameras, but when the band looked at the original rushes they decided some of it was too darkly lit. Ultimately the project was shelved and the film was left to languish in their archive.

In 1973 another attempt was made. Grant enlisted film director Joe Massot to shoot the final weeks of their hugely successful US tour, specifically three gigs at Madison Square Garden. This footage eventually made up the bulk of their feature film The Song Remains The Same, released three years later. In 1974, after a dispute with Massot, production duties for the film were handed over to Australian Peter Clifton. In order to assess his suitability for the job he was given access to the 1970 Albert Hall footage and asked to put together a showreel cut of ‘Whole Lotta Love’.

As the demand to see Zeppelin increased, by 1975 they were playing huge arenas. When they played five sold out dates at the 17,000 capacity Earls Court in London, to ensure fans could benefit from the best possible presentation they erected a giant eidophor screen above the stage – the first time this device was ever used. The Earls Court gigs were duly videotaped via three to four close cameras and beamed above the band as the action happened. The shows were also recorded professionally.

After the gigs, the masters were tucked away in their archive. The big screen presentation was used periodically on the 1977 US tour, notably at their Seattle Kingdome show, and again the tapes were retained by Page and Grant.

The huge scale of what would be their final two UK shows at Knebworth in August 1979 dictated the deployment of an impressively large back screen projection – a stunning visual effect that did much to enhance the grand scale of the shows.

The two gigs were filmed by a 16-strong multi-camera unit and professionally recorded. The fact that the band were asked to wear identical clothing for both gigs to aid continuity in any subsequent editing was a clear indication that the footage might be officially released.

The demise of the band following John Bonham’s death in September 1980 put paid to any such plans. In 1990 Page did allow MTV access to some of the Seattle and Knebworth footage to promote the Remasters releases and the accompanying promo videos for the project. The Aubrey Powell directed ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ and ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ were also compiled using footage from these sources.

In January 1990, BBC2 screened one of the few surviving TV appearances of Zeppelin, the March 1969 half-hour showcase aired originally on the Danish TV network, the confusing titled Danmarks Radio.

During the Nineties it became increasingly apparent that there was scope for a Zeppelin visual and audio history. Page had long harboured a plan to produce a chronological live album set from the tape sources they had logged, and tentative steps towards this were taken in 1976 when Jimmy had one of the first computerised mixing desks installed at his home studio in Plumpton. He revisited the idea in 1977 and again in 1981 when Atlantic asked for a posthumous album that would eventually emerge as the outtake set Coda. For whatever reason, he could not get the others to agree and nothing happened.

In the Nineties the idea was again mooted but Page’s indignant comment in

early 2000 seemed to put paid to such a project ever seeing the light of day.

‘‘I’ve always wanted to put out a chronological live album of Zeppelin stuff,” he said.

“There’s some incredibly good stuff but I can’t get the others to agree, so I’ve stopped trying.’’

Luckily for all concerned they finally reconciled their differences and all agreed something should be done with both their visual and audio archive.

A concerted effort to assess the extent of their visual archive was undertaken in 1997 when directors Nick Ryle and John Mayes employed a variety of clips including the aforementioned Albert Hall, Earls Court, Seattle and Knebworth sources for a promo video to support the release of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as a UK single.

Significantly, in 1999 the band secured the rights and masters of the Royal Albert Hall from sources close to director Peter Whitehead. An initial screening of the footage in the presence of all three ex-members offered ample proof that the film had both historical and artistic merit.

It was also evident to Page that the development of the DVD format,

with its enhanced sound capabilities, offered at last a real worthy medium to presenting the best possible sound and visual package. The initial idea was to present the Albert Hall show as a concert DVD in its own right but this idea was quickly vetoed when they realised the full extent of their unreleased material.

In early 2002 Page enlisted the assistance of director Dick Carruthers to begin the long trawl to a proper official document. Carutthers CV included work with The Rolling Stones, Oasis and The Who, with whom Page and Plant now shared manager Bill Curbishley. He had been impresssed by Carruthers’ direction of the DVD for The Who’s Teenage Charity Royal Albert Hall gig in 2001 and suggested a meeting with Page, after which the task began.

The first job was to search out every master visual and audio in their archives. Various UK archive storage vaults were trawled and a full inventory compiled. They then began the painstaking task of matching visuals with the equivalent audio masters and digitally cleaning them up. Page brought in sound engineer Kevin Shirley, with whom he had previously worked on the Live At The Greek/Black Crowes album, to supervise the sound.

During the search Page came across the multi-tracks for 1972 performances at Long Beach and Los Angeles. It was these tapes that would eventually emerge as the accompanying live CD set How The West Was Won.

Part of the restoration process involved having the tapes baked at 55 degrees for three weeks to ensure they did not crumble when played back. There was also the problem of locating a video machine that would play back the old two inch masters.

They began with restoring the Albert Hall film. “The Albert Hall film was all mute so we had to match the relevant visuals with the audio,’’ explained Carruthers. ‘‘All the film was cleaned up frame by frame as it had a lot of scratches on it. There was an added complication when we found some of the tracks had long gaps in where the film reels had run out, so we had those to fill as well.”

The bulk of the Royal Albert Hall performance filmed on January 9, 1970, takes up all of the first DVD. This is a vintage 102-minute portrayal of the band without the visual flash that would unfold in later years. Amid the denim, plimsolls and long hippie hair are some devastating performances and the 5.1 surround sound is awe inspiring, with Bonham’s straight from the wrist drumming sweeping across the speakers. Watching him clatter around the kit on the opener ‘We’re Gonna Groove’ and it’s immediately apparent how vital he was to the band and how irreplaceable he remains.

‘Dazed And Confused’ can be viewed at its most dark and dynamic with none of the hamming up of later years as Page reaches for the violin bow and attacks it straight off with that sequence that sends shivers every time. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is offered in the relatively compact 45 rpm format that saw them ensconced in the top five of the American singles chart that very week back in 1970.

Elsewhere we see them as unpretentious good time rock’n’rollers, romping through a remarkable back-to-back Eddie Cochran tribute that takes in ‘C’mon Everybody’ and ‘Something Else’. Page plays the rare Gibson ‘Black Beauty’ guitar that was stolen a few months later.

The second DVD opens with a ferocious ‘Immigrant Song’ sourced from the 1972 LA gig as featured on the accompanying How The West Was Won CD cut to silent super-8 cine film of the band shot by a roadie on the side of the stage in the bright open air at their appearance at the Sydney Showground on February 27 1972 during their only Australian visit. It’s the perfect linking track. Two years on from those auspicious Albert Hall beginnings Zeppelin were conquering the world.

A year later American audiences were more keen to see and hear Led Zeppelin than any other artist on the planet. They had elevated from being a mere rock group into a US institution and the following footage, taken from the filming that resulted in the Song Remains movie, is now ample proof

“Jimmy was very keen to look at the outtakes from their Madison Square Garden footage used for the Song Remains movie,” said Carruthers. “We received the Garden footage all spooled direct from Warners film archive in Burbank. It was all over the place. We had to re-join the footage to identify it all. We knew what we were looking for performances of ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, ‘The Ocean’ and ‘Thank You’. ‘Over The Hills’ and ‘Thank You’ were just too incomplete but we were pleased with ‘Misty’ and ‘The Ocean’. Jimmy also wanted to recut ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ as we had great audio of that. It took us over six weeks alone to do the four Madison Square performances.”

The care and restoration that went into those clips pays massive dividends. The 1973 extracts are now vivid reminders of the way the band swept all competition aside as they blazed across the US that summer, with a cocksure arrogance and onstage showmanship evident in every shot. From Bonzo’s hammerings in ‘Black Dog’ through the jaunty version of ‘Misty Mountain Hop’, a familiar but no less impressive recut of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and a truly astounding delivery of ‘The Ocean’ that is one of the stand out moments of the whole package – happy, smiling, gelling and just chilling out on an encore groove. This is Zeppelin in all it’s unchained, unabashed, carnal glory.

The programme now cuts to Earls Court two years later via a striking image of a young Zep fan holding aloft a bootleg scarf with the words Led Zepplin (sic). In stark contrast to the exuberance of the Garden in ‘73 we see Jones, Page and Plant relaxed and front of stage for the acoustic ‘Going To California’, all shot in crystal clear video. Subsequent intimate performances of ‘That’s The Way’ and ‘Bron Yr Stomp’ are the absolute epitome of the light and shade that set them apart from their peers.

The Earls Court 1975 footage survived on two inch vidoetape. The challenge here was to overcome the limited camera angles – most of it was shot close up to the stage and there was no luxury of multi camera tapes. What they found they had was the original footage as it was deployed on to the screens above the stage. The close proximity to the band only enhances the stark clarity of these images.

At Earls Court we see Zeppelin in all their celestial elegance. The thrill of seeing this, the most revered previously unseen footage of any band anywhere, is just electrifying. Marvel at the permanently out on the edge delivery of ‘In My Time Of Dying’, the chronically rampant ‘Trampled Underfoot’ and the emotion packed ‘Stairway To Heaven’. The latter is a key highlight, bringing renewed dignity to the once much maligned anthem, capturing Page in a thrillingly gratuitous flourish of twelve-string histrionics.

The two Knebworth gigs presented another challenge. This time they did have the luxury of multi-camera video tapes from the 16 cameras that were used – but Carruthers was keen not to oversimplify the spirit of the event with editing trickery. “There is a textual variation in how we presented the Knebworth sequence and made it look like film as opposed to video,” he said. “It gave it a slightly refreshed look. I think it adds to the narrative structure we were aiming for. It’s some of the most absorbing footage we had.”

The Knebworth sequence is an absolute revelation: brilliantly edited and with subtle cine film juxtaposed within the main footage. By selecting the very best of the performances from the first date on August 4, Page and Carruthers have rewritten history. Far from looking the tired old dinosaurs the press would label them, ‘Achilles Last Stand’, ‘In The Evening’ and ‘Kashmir’ offer vivid reminders of the band’s still impressive majesty. They may have been a tad rusty from all the lay offs but the spirit was more than willing. Further evidence is supplied by the stunning romp through ‘Rock And Roll’ and the grand finale – the revamped arrangement of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ with its extending barrage of riffs repeatedly honed by Page Jones and Bonham. “Thanks for eleven years,” is Plant’s final farewell. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ sung by the multitudes brings journey to an end.

Watching Led Zeppelin leave the Knebworth stage evokes more than a tinge of regret, not least because the rapport and chemistry we see on that stage indicated that they still had new places to travel.

Alongside the main programme are a variety of additional extras and menus. On Disc 1 we see the band in its early incarnation. All black and white posing and thrashing blues rock on the mimed promo for ‘Communication Breakdown’ shot for a Swedish TV station. Similarly we see the intense black and white live TV Byen Dansh TV performance from the same era. The advent of colour brings new life to Page’s psychedelically painted Telecaster and Plant’s hippie clothing for a compact delivery of ‘Dazed And Confused’, Zep’s contribution to the Supershow feature film that showcased a variety of blues artists shot in a disused warehouse in Staines in March 1969. Finally we are treated to the bizarre setting of Zep as the guests that spoilt the party on Tous En Scene, a French variety show that illustrates why Peter Grant was right to decide enough was enough when it came to Zeppelin on the small screen. Not before they have baffled the audience with another blitzkrieg that takes in a frantic ‘Communication Breakdown’ and part of ‘Dazed And Confused’.

On Disc 2 the extras include a 1970 New York press conference where a bearded Page and Plant hold court and answer questions surrounding their elevation to being ‘bigger than The Beatles’. Black and white Australian news footage shows a panoramic view of them blasting through ‘Rock And Roll’ and a period piece press reception where a young Germaine Greer eyes the young black country boys and Bonzo offers with some articulate observations on their fourth album.

In an interview for the Old Grey Whistle Test in January 1975 we hear

Robert Plant’s comments to Bob Harris backstage in Brussels when asked about playing in England again. ‘‘What we want to do in England if we can find the right venue and I think we possibly can, is turn it into something of an event and go to town on it in true style,’’ is a hint of the glory of Earls Court to come. The 1990 promos for ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’ and ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ with montage footage culled from Danish TV, Seattle, Knebworth etc can now be viewed as mouth-watering tasters for their archive – now finally served up to full potential on this DVD.

The menus are another treat. As Dick Carruthers told me: ‘‘The main features are the real focus – then you have all these extras that you may not notice until you’ve played the discs and menus a few times.’’

Click in the right place and there’s the band arriving in Iceland in 1970 followed by an eerie segment featuring Page wielding the violin bow on stage in Reykjavik. We see fascinating cine film shot by the roadies in a car travelling to the Ulster Hall show in Belfast 1971 – culminating in the four of them crossing the road to go into the pub. There’s atmospheric footage backstage in Madison Square Garden with Page looking every inch the quintessential English rock star.

Click the intro of the Knebworth menu to view some nostalgic cine film shot by TBL reader Andy Banks and first brought to Page’s attention via the Knebworth feature in TBL 14. Then there’s proof of Page’s amnesty with the bootleggers in the epic version of ‘The Song Remains The Same’ from LA on June 21, 1977, direct from the Listen To This Eddie bootleg synced to some powerful 1977 tour cine film images, including a great side on shot view of them slaying across the stage in Birmingham Alabama. The audio prompt menu also has some atmospheric 1975 US tour cine film form Seattle matched to the version of ‘The Crunge’ segment during ‘Whole Lotta Love’ from Earls Court May 25, 1975.

The only omission seems to be a complete lack of acknowledgement to Peter Grant. Aside from a couple of shots in the wings he is rarely seen – a menu of footage of the towering fifth Zep would have paid appropriate dues to the man who led them to so much worldwide success. From the main features it would have been good to see Jones showcased fully on a version of ‘No Quarter’, but really this is mere nitpicking.

Five and a half hours of footage is an embarrassment of riches. It may have been a very long time coming but as Zeppelin fans old and new soaked up this monumental outpouring, the massive sales and positive feedback was a clear indication that Page and Carruthers had exceeded all expectations. “I knew I had a huge responsibilty in doing this,” concludes Carruthers.’ “I had to do justice to the personalities and the canon of work, without ever losing the essence and integrity of the source material. Jimmy has applied, as only he can, his structural and sequencing knowledge of the band to present something lasting and specia.”

To support the release all three ex-members attended the Leicester Square London premiere on May 15. Prior to the screening they took to the stage for a short introduction – the standing ovation they received was as deafening as Bonzo’s opening snare shots on that introduction to ‘We’re Gonna Groove’. It was an emotional night for both the band and its guest audience. As John Paul Jones noted: ‘‘For me it was so great to see so much of Bonzo. It reminded me how much Led Zeppelin revolved around him. Sitting there watching him on the big screen at the premiere I really missed him. As people cheered at the end of his drum solo I joined in – it was like ‘Play some more’. Everything on stage revolved around him. Whenever we started to improvise or change direction musically, you’d see everyone move towards the drums.’’

Plant was equally moved. He told Nick Coleman of the Independent: “Seeing Bonzo 40 foot high and across the screen doing his magnificent thing in front of all these people while sitting next to John’s son Jason well… it was too much.”

On May 27, Page, Plant and Jones attended the New York premiere at Loew’s 34th Street Theater. They also made a joint appearance on the NBC Today talk show.

The extraordinary sales of both the DVD and accompanying How The West Was Won album was reminiscent of Zeppelin’s chart domination in the Seventies. The live album entered at number one on the Billbord chart, shifting 150,000 it its first week. In the UK it registered at number 5. The DVD quickly became the biggest selling music DVD ever, topping the DVD charts in America, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Norway and Sweden. In the US alone it shifted 120,000 copies.

During the many promotional interviews they undertook, the most-asked question was the inevitable: would all this renewed activity now lead to a full blown reunion? Page was slightly optimistic in his reply: “’None of us have actually discussed reforming. If we got back in a room and played a Zeppelin number and there were smiles behind our eyes then maybe it could be possible. Until that happens, it’s hypothetical. I wouldn’t discount it. I just don’t know.’’

John Paul Jones had this to say: “One quarter of Led Zeppelin is gone. It wasn’t just a drummer. It couldn’t ever be the same.”

Robert Plant, always the most reticent when such talk emerges, perhaps summed it all up by stating: “I don’t know if it could work in this century. You’re talking about a lot of years later. I’m sure it would be evocative for people in the crowd but I don’t know if we could do it properly. If anything the DVD really opens and closes the issue because it’s so explicit of what it was all about. It’s the epitaph of Led Zeppelin – stunning, a lot of energy, a rollercoaster ride, four guys melding in this great fusion of music… and it’s gone.”

Gone but not forgotten. Now, at the flick of the DVD scanner, we can relive so many magic moments from their history. And every time he comes into view or supplies that integral percussive groove to it all, John Bonham’s presence is a constant reminder of why it can never really ever be the same.

Reunion? Who really needs it now? The DVD is a reunion in itself – and it confirms without question that they are, were and always will be the best.

Fact.

Dave Lewis – May 2003

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TBL MARKET PLACE:

The items currently on offer at the TBL Market Place are at a set sale price – check them out at:

http://www.tightbutloose.co.uk/tbl-market-place/

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Recent DL acquisition…my thoughts on…

New Moon’s In The Sky – The British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1970

3 CD set on Grapefruit Records

1970 is perhaps my favourite music al year – as a 13 year old going on 14 it was a 12 month period of so much musical discovery. This 3 CD compilation which I recently picked up is therefore of much interest.

It gathers together a total of 70 tracks by UK acts issued during 1970 –some from familiar acts such as The Tremeloes, Status Quo, Stray, Hawkwind The Hollies, Curved Air, Atomic Rooster Marmalade and The Move – others well obscure – Cressida, Ancient Grease and Love Street to name but a few.

Along the way there are plenty of rare gems to be found –being a big collector of Beatles cover versions Penny Arcade’s version of the Let It Be track is most welcome and The Fut’s Have You Heard The Word – long rumoured to have been a Beatles recording (in fact I have it on a Beatles bootleg of the same name ) it’s actually an Australian duo Tin Tin with vocal assistance from producer Maurice Gibb. The very fine United States Of America written by Lindisfarne’s Alan Hull and recorded by Affinity on Vertigo is another highlight – I recently acquired a reissue of this rare album which has arranging credits for John Paul Jones.

This expansive musical cavalcade is made sense of by David Well’s wonderfully detailed sleeve notes which observes:

‘’The term progressive pop he rightly observes was already being used by 1967 to describe rock music that retained a pop sensibility but was more artistically ambitious than the traditional top twenty mind-set. But the beginning of the Seventies that elevated approach had been redefined as progressive rock a far broader church that housed many acts who were determined to eschew any commercial considerations.

New Moons In The sky concentrates on the more song based recordings to emanate from British studios during 1970 whether from a pure pop for the people perspective or the more concise melodic end of the mainstream rock scene’’

That is very good assessment and certainly sums up the way this 13/14 year old soaked up the music of that year. I was very much moving away from the top twenty sounds into a more challenging musical sphere but my need for melody was always present (and still is).

1970 was also the year that I really became obsessed with Led Zeppelin and it strikes me that something like Out On The Tiles from Led Zeppelin III (released in October 1970) would sit perfectly well amongst this company. Amongst all the cut and thrust of their full on rock assault, Page and co could always turn a hand to a progressive pop sound.

With every track superbly anecdote in the booklet, there is much to learn and much to soak up from a collection that defines the way we listened in a transitional year for music a year as David Wells again hits the nail on the head when he states ‘’felt like the end of something rather than the beginning.

The beginning was waiting in the wings via the likes of Bolan, Bowie and Slade but that is another story for another volume…

Dave Lewis  – August 13, 2020

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DL Diary Blog Update:

Saturday August 8:

Saturday is platterday – on the player remembering the late great Glen Campbell the excellent 2018 Glen Campbell Sings For The King album

Sunday August 9:

 

Sunday August 9:

It was 34 years ago today…

34 years ago the good lady Janet and I plus Steve Moore, Coral Hay and Alan Stutz and my sister Margaret were at Knebworth for what would be the final UK gig with Freddie Mercury – a very memorable day…

Sadly my sister Margaret and Coral have both passed away and we are thinking of them here today and reflecting on that memorable day at Knebworth all of 34 years ago…

Sunday August 9:

The good lady Janet and I with the Birthday boy Adam this afternoon – Happy 25th son!

After over 7 months on crutches, it’s very heart warming to see Janet without them…

 

Tuesday August 11:

Tuesday treats at Slide Record Shop Bedford…

At the always excellent Slide Record Shop in Bedford this afternoon I was well pleased to find a copy of the rather splendid and much acclaimed new reissue of Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 album Bobbie Gentry Performs The Delta Sweetie…superb stuff –you gotta have your little treats… thanks Warren and Nerys!

 

Tuesday August 11:

 Bedford Embankment on a clear blue sky summers afternoon remains a scene of sheer beauty…as pictured this afternoon coming back from town…

Wednesday August 12:

Wednesday treats at the Vinyl Barn…

At the always excellent Vinyl Barn this morning I was well pleased to find a copy of the Dave Edmunds & Love Sculpture Singles A’s & B’s compilation and I couldn’t leave a copy of Led Zeppelin’s Presence album in the racks – even if it was a bit worn.

I also picked up a batch of original Be Bop Deluxe singles on the Harvest label namely Kiss of Light, Panic In the World, Japan and Ships In The Night – top stuff thanks Darren…

Update here: We had a very nice day with Adam here on his birthday last Sunday. Elsewhere this week I made a visit to Mick’s to oversee the latest stage of the new cover design for the forthcoming Feather In The Wind – Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 40th anniversary repackage – more on all that soon. There’s been plenty of walks with the good lady Janet to strengthen her leg and physio exercises ongoing.

Some particular inspirations this past week:

Playing through the new Rolling Stones bootleg double album 69 RS Trax…

Chewing the Knebworth cud 41 years to the day with the esteemed Nicky Horne…

An afternoon wading through Pete Burridge’s archive with Steve L…

A visit from David Brett who I worked with in Our Price in the 1990s…we had a fab time looking back on those days of music retail frenzy…

A phone catch up with Pete Gozzard…

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

Dave Lewis –  August 13, 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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One Comment »

  • Gary Davies said:

    Hi Dave, Great that Nicky Horne got in touch on the 41st anniversary. I trust that you didn’t discuss THAT flag? Nicky didn’t deserve that label. Respect to him…he just keeps going.

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