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14 April 2021 1,962 views 5 Comments

Led Zeppelin The Biography by Bob Spitz:

A major new Led Zeppelin biography is due out in November by Bob Spitz via Random House.

I met with Bob when he was doing research in London a couple of years back – his past credentials look good and his Beatles book was well received.  It will of course be interesting to read his take on the Zep saga…

Here’s all the info:

From the author of the definitive New York Times bestselling history of the Beatles comes the authoritative account of the group Jack Black and many others call the greatest rock band of all time, arguably the most successful, and certainly one of the most notorious.

Rock stars. Whatever those words mean to you, chances are, they owe a debt to Led Zeppelin. No one before or since has lived the dream quite like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. In Led Zeppelin, Bob Spitz takes their full measure, for good and sometimes for ill, separating the myth from the reality with the connoisseurship and storytelling flair that are his trademarks.

From the opening notes of their first album, the band announced itself as something different, a collision of grand artistic ambition and brute primal force, of delicate English folk music and hard-driving African-American blues. That record sold over 10 million copies, and it was the merest beginning; Led Zeppelin’s albums have sold over 300 million certified copies worldwide, and the dust has never settled. Taken together, Led Zeppelin’s discography has spent an almost incomprehensible ten-plus years on the album charts.

The band is notoriously guarded, and previous books shine more heat than light. But Bob Spitz’s authority is undeniable and irresistible. His feel for the atmosphere, the context–the music, the business, the recording studios, the touring life, the radio stations, the fans, the whole ecosystem of popular music–is unparalleled. His account of the melding of Page and Jones, the virtuosic London sophisticates, with Plant and Bonham, the wild men from the Midlands, into a band out of the ashes of the Yardbirds, in a scene dominated by the Beatles and the Stones but changing fast, is in itself a revelation. Spitz takes the music seriously, and brings the band’s artistic journey to full and vivid life. The music is only part of the legend, however: Led Zeppelin is also the story of how the 60’s became the 70’s, of how playing in clubs became playing in stadiums and flying your own jet, of how innocence became decadence. Led Zeppelin may not have invented the groupie, and they weren’t the first rock band to let loose on the road, but they took it to an entirely new level, as with everything else. Not all the legends are true, but in Bob Spitz’s careful accounting, what is true is astonishing, and sometimes disturbing.

Led Zeppelin gave no quarter, and neither has Bob Spitz. Led Zeppelin is the full and honest reckoning the band has long awaited, and richly deserves.

Bob Spitz is the award-winning author of the biographies Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child and The Beatles, both New York Times bestsellers, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay. He helped manage Bruce Springsteen and Elton John at crucial points in their careers. He’s written hundreds of major profiles of figures, ranging from Keith Richards to Jane Fonda, from Paul McCartney to Paul Bowles.

More details at this link:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

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

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

Upcoming events:

June 12 – Robert Plant’s Knebworth 1990 performance will be released on vinyl for Record Store Day.
June 18 – The remastered box set of Yardbirds aka Roger the Engineer, featuring Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, will be released.
June 25-27 – Robert Plant will perform as part of Saving Grace at the Black Deer festival in Kent.
August – Ross Halfin’s book “Led Zeppelin Vinyl: The Essential Collection” will be released by Reel Art Press.
September 9 – The revised and expanded edition of “Evenings With Led Zeppelin” will be released.
September 25 – The 2021 John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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

Stop Press:

Robert Plant & Saving Grace two more dates:

Robert Plant & Saving Grace at the Exmouth Pavilion, June 24 , tickets already on sale – and in Poole June 25 – more info at links below:


Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin:

The Record Collector Presents Led Zeppelin special is out on the streets and should be in WH Smith and the larger supermarkets – if you cannot find it the ordering link is below.

I am very pleased with the end result – I spent a lot of time liaising with editor Jamie Atkins on the content and contributing my pieces and it’s all been well worth it –it’s a 114 page Zep visual feast and essential reading for Zep fans everywhere…let me know what you think of it…


My thoughts on Led Zeppelin Live At The Forum Inglewood March 27 1975 – a 4 LP set on the Iron Eagle label

On Friday I took receipt of  my pre ordered copy of the Led Zeppelin Live At The Forum Inglewood March 27 1975 – a 4 LP set on the Iron Eagle label.

This is a new 4 LP Led Zeppelin bootleg album which showcases the LA Forum March 27 1975 performance.

Produced by the Iron Eagle label. It’s in a run of just 240 copies

80 Copies in Black Vinyl.

80 Copies in Silver Vinyl.

80 Copies in Gold Vinyl.

My copy is in the gold run and looks great


The front cover is a little beguiling to say the least. It has a colour photo of ‘Jimmy Page’ in the dragon suit circa 1975 – however he is playing left handed – a mistaken mere flip of the photo one would think.

On closer inspection this to me is not Jimmy at all – but a photo of Raff Achour of the long running UK tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin.

Having seen them a few times I can vouch for the fact that Raff is indeed left handed – quite how or why he has landed up on this bootleg package I do not know – and in the grand misleading bootleg  tradition it’s all very bizarre…

The back cover does have some genuine authentic 1975 era photos. The source tape used is described as a mix of soundboard and audience recordings.

Bizarre front cover aside, it’s a very nice package in a very low run

So what’s on offer?

First thing to state is that the sleeve note claim that this is a stage mix recording – ‘’a perfect combination of both soundboard and audience recordings’ is entirely false. To these ears there’s no soundboard recordings involved and what we have here is the familiar audience source tape – a clear and lively one for the time.

The entire set with Linda Lovelace’s introduction and Plant’s between song spiel is spread over eight sides –and the longer numbers ie In My Time Of Dying, No Quarter, Moby Dick and Dazed And Confused are split into two parts.

Truth be told, vinyl was never a great format for the ever lengthening post 1973 Zep performances.

Hence the popularity of the CD format with its 70 minute playing time – which is where the bootleg market headed in the 1990s.

On this listening occasion. having to get up and flip the vinyl over four times has done nothing for my creaking knees .

The good news is that this final Zep LA Forum gig of a three night stand and final night of the 1975 US tour is a bit of a corker. All the marathon numbers are maxed out with No Quarter nigh on half an hour and Dazed clocking in at 45 minutes –the latter includes the one off insert of Love’s Old Man. In My Time of Dying has You Shook Me lines added in, Trampled Underfoot morphs into Gallows Pole and there’s a rare for the time delivery of Since I’ve Been Loving You. So the performance and set list for me clocks in at a good 9 if not 10.

Summary: This is a distinctly ‘for vinyl addicts only’ release and those who fall into that category (and no surprise – yes that’s me) will enjoy the novelty of this epic Zep performance unfolding across eight slabs of coloured vinyl – in my case a shiny gold.

The fact that it appears in a very low run of a mere 240 is also a big collector attraction.

As for the cover – this one can line up as one of the most bizarre in bootleg history. In place of Jimmy Page of the real Led Zeppelin read Raff Achour of tribute band Boot Led Zeppelin. An unexpected team line-up change if there ever was one…


Dave Lewis – April 10, 2021.





TBL Archive Special Jimmy Page & Robert Plant at the Alexis Korner benefit show in Buxton – 27 years gone… 

27 years ago on Sunday April 17th 1994, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant performed together for the first time in four years at a special memorial concert for Alexis Korner. This was the first sighting of the newly reunited Page & Plant on stage -they were already rehearsing  for their MTV Unledded project which would eventually see them perform two special shows at the London TV Studios on August 25th and 26th. Robert Plant had initially been billed to appear but the rumour mill was soon in overdrive that he would be joined by Jimmy.

alexis 1

I had already cleared the way to attend when it was announced in early March Robert would be performing. Even up to the day it was uncertain to what was actually going to happen but when the TBL crew of Gary, Kam and I we arrived at the venue in the late afternoon there was no doubt that Jimmy Page was going to be in the house.

So it was in the unlikely setting of the Buxton Opera House we watched in some wonderment as Bob Harris introduced the pair and the long awaited reunion of the pair was on. They kicked off with a cover of Them’s Baby Please Don’t Go and then on to a very authentic I Can’t Quite You Baby ably assisted by Charlie Jones on bass and the late great Michael Lee on drums – my review of the time noting that he ‘’crashed and clattered in all the right places’’ –something he would do throughout the P & P re-alliance between now and 1998.

Ah the review…Alongside feeding back for TBL, I was reporting in it for Kerrang !then the main rock music paper and  given the low key nature of the event I was billed as an ‘’undercover Big K! reporter’ – ooerr!

My review went on to reveal they then played an up-tempo blues jam built around Don’t Stop Me Talkin’ and then a loose instrumental work out with definite Crunge like leanings.

Here’s some extracts from my review:

alexsis 3

And finally ’’At least two people haven’t played this song before’’joked Plant as Jimmy stepped on the wah wah pedal and teased out the intro to the classic Train Kept A Rollin’, a track Jimmy used to play with The Yardbirds before he formed Zeppelin and the same number that Zep used to open their set on their last tour in Europe 1980. Inevitably this one was met with a huge roar of appreciation and was performed with an irrepressible swagger that recalled so many past glories. And with that Page and Plant were gone..

This comeback proved conclusively that Page and Plant are more than happy to be back in each other’s company rekindling a partnership that was responsible for so much great music in the past. And judging from a delightful telling moment when Jimmy skipped around the stage chugging out a fierce blues riff against Robert’s incessant scat singing – the potential for this new alliance is awesome. Buxton might just have signalled a whole new beginning for the post –Zep era’.

Pleasingly that latter statement proved to be somewhat prophetic. By the end of August the pair had recorded in various locations and performed the memorable Unledded concerts which formed the contents of the No Quarter Unledded film aired on MTV in October and accompanied by the release of the soundtrack album.  The next year they hooked up with the Egyptian Ensemble and orchestra for an ambitious world tour that delighted audiences across the globe.

The initial spark of all this reunion activity occurred on this remarkable Sunday evening in the Derbyshire countryside all of 27 years ago.

Dave Lewis – April 14, 2021 


TBL Archive 2:

TBL Archive – it was 33 years ago this week…

33 years ago this week I was very lucky to attend this Robert Plant gig during his Now And Zen UK tour
Jimmy Page joined Robert and his band for an extended cameo appearance – it was an unexpected delight for all those lucky enough to be in attendance. Originally scheduled to play on three encore numbers, Jimmy stayed on stage for half an hour, performing a stunning ‘Tramped Underfoot’, ‘Gamblers Blues’ (including snippets of ‘I Can’t Quit You’ and ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’) and ‘Rock And Roll’. It was absolutely sensational. unforgettable night when the Page & Plant on stage chemistry was right before my eyes all over again …something I did not expect to see…

DL – April 14,2021


It was 52 years ago….52 years of DL musical passion:

It was 52 years ago around the April Easter period, The Beatles released their first single of 1969. Get Back coupled with Don’t Let Me Down – these tracks had been recorded in January during the infamous Get Back sessions.

This is a significant release for me as this is the record that attracted me back to music – an attraction that has grown manifold over the past 52 years.

I say ‘back to’ as aged 7 I did have a brief flirtation with music mainly focused on The Dave Clark Five. I was pretty obsessed with Dave Clark’s drumming skills and replicated his drum kit in our garden using old paint tin cans. Glad All Over remains one of my all time fave singles. The first live concert I ever saw was a package night at the Granada Cinema featuring The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks and The Hollies and more on April 10,1964.

However this passion was eroded somewhat by other distractions such as Thunderbirds, The Man From Uncle, James Bond and from 1966 Tottenham Hotspur and football in general. My love of music took a back seat and remained somewhat dormant until that Easter of 1969.

Back then in the local café there was a juke box – sixpence for two goes. My gang were often in there and one of the records that was played constantly from the moment it was released was Get Back. Now this I liked – really liked. I liked its driving rhythm, bustling drumming ,cool vocal with talk of ‘’Sweet Loretta martin thought she was a woman’’ and Billy Preston’s rolling keyboards.

I also loved the B side Don’t Let Me Down which was also often played on the juke box. The pleading vocal of John Lennon hit the mark every time.

I was well aware who The Beatles were of course. I had been to see both the Hard Days Night and Help films at the cinema. Anyone growing up in the 60s could not really avoid them – they were everywhere. My interest in them though had been from afar.

That all changed when I heard Get Back. A little over a month after this release The Beatles had another single in the charts titled The Ballad of John And Yoko. I loved this one too.

One of the distinctive aspects of these Beatles records was that the label depicted a green apple, while the B side was the core of an Apple. I quickly learned that the Beatles now released records on their own Apple label. I thought this design was a deft touch – it ignited something in me that would lead to a deep fasciation for actual record labels, designs and sleeves. It all went hand in hand with the affinity I developed for the long playing record and 45 RPM single.

I could not get enough of all this. As the song goes music was now my first love – big time. I wanted to hear it, read about it, and talk about it. Remarkably, in a matter of five years I would be selling it.

From that moment of hearing and admiring Get Back grew an intense passion. I avidly read the NME and other music papers, I listened to Alan Freeman’s Pick of the Pops chart show every weekon Radio One. I kept right up to date with all the weekly chart happenings and my appreciation of so much music grew and grew – The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, The Who, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Free, Family, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, Jethro Tull to name but a few, all appeared on my musical radar during the next few months – and stayed there.

Of course there was one other act  of much importance as all this would lead me to the biggest passion of all – Led Zeppelin. And anyone reading this will realise the immense consequence of all that. For me, this was not just a band…it was a way of life.

When I could afford it I began buying singles and albums – The Who’s Pinball Wizard and the Island Records sampler LP You Can All Join In being amongst my first purchases in this new era. Many more would follow.

The Beatles Get Back single was announced via a very clever press advert. It described this new record with a series of incisive phrases.

It carried the headline The Beatles as nature intended. It read as follows:

‘’Get Back’’ is The Beatles new single. It’s the first Beatles record which is as live as can be in this electronic age.

There’s no electric watchamaclit.

‘’Get Back’’ is a pure springtime number.

On the other side there’s an equally live number ‘’Don’t let me down.’’

Paul’s got this to say about Get Back…

‘’we were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air. We started to write words there and then …when we finished it we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to rollercoast by’’.

P.S. John adds its john playing the fab live guitar solo.

An now John on Don’t Let Me Down.

John says don’t let me down about ‘’Don’t let me down’’

In ‘’Get Back’’ and’’ Don’t let me down’’ you’ll find The Beatles as nature intended.

I could easily apply my then new found enthusiasm with the same statement because it rely did feel like I had found redemption in music – as nature intended.

52 years on nothing has changed – music is the DNA that defines who I am and what I do. In sharing it over the years, it has built lasting friendships and created much camaraderie. As of now I am officially celebrating 52 years of music passion.

So thank you dear Beatles for opening the music floodgates for me that Easter all of 52 years ago.

Oh and John…I did not let you down about Don’t let me down – and you never let me down either….

Dave Lewis – April 14, 2021


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday April 9:

Incredibly moving watching all the tributes on the passing of HRH Prince Philip today…

When the Queen and Prince Philip visited Bedford on May 11 1976, I was working at the WH Smith bookstall at Bedford train station.

I saw the Royal Train pull in and the staff including my friend and colleague Phil Hills, lined up as they walked by.

It was very exciting to be so close them. A lovely Royal memory…

Prince Philip was truly a great Briton….RIP Sir….

Saturday April 10.

Saturday is platterday – on the player the brilliant Five Leaves Left feels like a Nick Drake sort of day….





Saturday April 10:

Saturday is platterday – on the player –some more Nick Drake – the superb Bryter Layter and let’s hope it will be as it’s rainy out there now…

Sunday April 11:

Sunday sounds on CD – loading up some  early morning Cat Stevens –the excellent Tea For the Tillerman 2 CD remastered reissue suitably easy on a Sunday morning….

Sunday April 11:

Sunday sounds on CD – loading up the brilliant 2 CD reissue of the John Lennon Imagine album – one of his finest…

Sunday April 11:

It’s a Happy Birthday to the great legendary DJ and broadcaster Bob Harris.

Through his long running stint on the Old Grey Whistle Test BBC2 TV show and his many radio programmes, Bob has been a constant pioneer of so much great music and of course a big supporter of Led Zeppelin and in particular Robert Plant.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet Bob and interview him on numerous occasions and over the years he has been a great help to me with all things TBL.



Bob contributed the notes to the 1994 Zep convention programme that Andy Adams organised with my help and I appeared on Bob’s GLC radio show a few years back. I also interviewed him for TBL issues 16 and 29 and sat in the same row as Bob at the Led Zeppelin 02 reunion show in 2007.

He is an incredibly warm and affable personality with a music knowledge that crosses so many genres. The other pic here was taken at the Robert Plant Band Of Joy launch gig at Mayfair One in London on September 1 2010.

Happy Birthday Bob…

Monday April 12:

After a day spent scribing away on the latest TBL Zep project here, tonight with lockdown restrictions lifting to allow pubs to open outside, I decided to venture out to our local The Fox And Hounds for a pint – something I once took for granted and haven’t done for over six months so I was very nervous about going

For someone who has often been racked with anxiety and depression for a good while it was one small step…caution will be required ahead of course for us all but here’s hoping some sense of normality can return…and as somebody once sang… it’s been a long time…

I had to laugh at this comment on my Facebook page by an eminent rock journalist who with tongue firmly in cheek amended the words of Rock And Roll to read as follows:

It’s been a long time since pints of beer

It’s been a long time since my mates said cheers

Ooh let me get it back, let me get it back to the Fox & Hounds

Let me get it back, baby, to buying rounds

It’s been a long time, been a long time

Been a dry, dry, dry, dry time

Yes, it has

It’s been a long time since the pub closed down

I can’t count the days without a night on the town

Carry me back, carry me back

Carry me back, baby, to where I belong

It’s been a long time, been a long time

Been a dry, dry, dry, dry time

Oh seems so long since we walked to the Fox

To get my ration of yeast and hops

Open your throat, pour it down

It’s been a long time, been a long time

Been a dry, dry, dry, dry time

Yes it has

Tuesday April 13:

My first over the counter physical record purchase in what seems like an age has finally occurred…

At the Slide Record shop in Bedford this morning I was well pleased to find a copy of The Beatles Let It Be –this one a rather splendid Portuguese pressing with non glossy sleeve plus the 1973 Al Stewart album Past, Present and Future which for a bargain one pound, I could not leave in the rack

Many thanks to Nerys and Warren who have done a great job in keeping things going in the past difficult few months.

It felt very good to be in the shop again buying records – and as somebody once sang ‘’it’s been a long time’’

Wednesday April 14:

The first Vinyl Barn visit in four months has occurred…

So, Wednesday treats at the Vinyl Barn…

At the always excellent and much missed Vinyl Barn this morning I was well pleased to find the 1980 Laura Nyro CBS compilation Impressions.

I am a big fan of the late singer songwriter and I had never seen this one before – great track listing and sleeve notes.

This is what record collecting is all about and why it’s such a joy – wading through the racks and stumbling across an unknown gem and Darren’s Vinyl Barn constantly fills that role for me and many others.

Also great to find the excellent double album compilation on the Harvest label The Best And The Rest Of Be Bop Deluxe – another beauty… thanks Darren!

Flippin’ heck it’s good to be back buying records and as somebody once sang…’’it’s been a long time’’

Some particular inspirations this past week:

A chat on the phone with Richard Cole…

Catch ups with Andy Adams,  Richard Grubb and John Parkin on the phone…

The new issue of Uncut dropping through the door…and it looks a bit of a corker –the Bob Dylan 80 Birthday celebrations get under way – the free CD looks good plus features on Stephen Stills, Marianne faithful and Paul Weller. Essential reading all-round…

Watching the YouTube clip of the new Mick Jagger with Dave Grohl track Eazy Sleazy…..

Some great CDs of the Welsh band Man sent to me from my lifelong Zep comrade Russ Rees…

Update here:

A very busy week with text ongoing on the next TBL project. Some highs and lows – some emotions to temper and as can be seen above, quite a bit of activity of the nature I used to take for granted.

The good lady Janet has been back at pre- school and has at last had a proper one to one physiotherapy session. This has highlighted some issues with the strengthening of her leg that needs working on – there was some much welcomed clarity on the exercises Janet needs to do to help the weaker areas of her leg where the break occurred and we hope ahead that will begin to help improve things.

The partial easing of lockdown has offered some choices that have not been possible in the past few months. Non essential shops are back which for me opened up the possibility of visiting the Slide Record shop and the Vinyl Barn – as did a visit to the pub with pubs allowed to operate outdoor services.

In recent months I’ve been fairly racked with anxiety and low self esteem.  This has developed into a fear of going out. These past few days I began facing up to these issues – it’s not been easy and it took a lot of self belief and motivation but pleasingly, I have managed to do those things above which used to define who I was and what I did.

In doing so, I have gained a greater sense of wellbeing and my self esteem has also been helped by the success of the Record Collector Zep special. It’s the first tangible work project I have been involved in for a good while and as mentioned previously, I am not sure I could have had the focus to pull something like that off last year given my mental state.

Caution of course is much required as we step carefully back out and like us all, I am hoping these small steps will offer some semblance of normality – and we can all keep as safe and well in trying to do the things we have all dearly missed in the past few months.

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

Dave  Lewis – April 14 , 2021

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

TBL website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Mal that was some night

  • James Mason said:

    Does the world REALLY need another Led Zeppelin biography? I think not. Is there a good reason to buy this book?

  • Mal B said:

    Hi Dave,
    I remember that night at Hammersmith in April 1988.One of the biggest thrills of my life. I had been to quite a few of Robert’s solo shows up to that point in the vain hope that Page might turn up. Sadly not. It had been an interesting gig as I remember. Plant, I think, for the first time introduced some Zeppelin songs into his set, In the Evening, Black Country Woman and Immigrant Song. But to be honest apart from that and a couple of other songs it was just a bit of a lame gig. Also it was surprising that he only did one encore, then said “well thanks very much and goodnight” started to walk off stage, Oh we thought, that’s odd, then came back to the mic and said “Oh, just one more thing… Jimmy Page. The place erupted, I recon you could of heard the raw in Twickenham. Half an hour they played for, Trampled, Misty, Gamblers Blues medley, Rock and Roll, Jimmy on great form,just stunning! The bootleg is on youtube (sure you’ve heard it) well worth a listen.
    Nice to see Robert’s releasing part of the Knebworth 1990 set. Again I was there. Shame its not the whole set, probably a contractual reason, but again all the show is on YouTube with Jimmy on three songs. Ah, heady daze…

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Thanks John

  • john morrison said:

    cracking issue . nike drake . not played those lps in a long while . good shout . will dig them out and give them a spin over the weekend . my copy of the latest la forum lp boot also arrived . delighted to read your comments about the front cover . I spent a while looking at it saying to myself this is not right … but unlike you couldnt work it out . and I wholly agree that that source is not a soundboard . why advertise as soundboard when it is not . particularly when the sound quality is stellar . only criticism I have – well at least on my copy – is the somewhat jarring running of the song remains the same into the rain song . I know what you mean about requiring to get up to turn discs over but as I prefer to play vinyl I enjoy the ritual . I think this is a tremendous boot .
    delighted to read you made it out to the pub . cheers . wee jimmy sturgeon , up here beyond the wall , relented somewhat and removed travel restrictions so am able to visit old haunts . all the best dave

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