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16 May 2014 6,970 views 4 Comments

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Led Zeppelin Companion Disc Audio Olympic Studios Playback:

Here’s some further extracts from the TBL 37 feature on the Led Zeppelin Companion Disc Audio Olympic Studios Playback

Now I’ve been very lucky and privileged to experience many a thrilling Zep related happening. From that initial night of Electric Magic back in 1971, through five legendary nights at Earls Court, The Song Remains The Same London Premiere, Knebworth, Over Europe 1980, the 2003 DVD film playback sessions, that night of nights at the 02 and more recently the Celebration Day press screening, press conference and Hammersmith premiere, to name but a few. Well, the Led Zeppelin Companion Audio Playback Event at Olympic Studios on a grey cold March afternoon can now line up with the best of them.

Hearing extracts from the first three releases in the Led Zeppelin re issue programme in the company of the man (nay genius) who has brought all this fresh music to the fore… well, you can imagine. It was simply pinch me, I’m dreaming time.

Be prepared then for some DL hyperbole scribing in the grand rose tinted tradition. Except of course there’s nothing rose tinted about what I was so privileged to hear. I know what I heard and I know what I felt hearing it. As you will also do very soon.

So, firstly I need to quantify some things and paraphrase something I wrote at the time of reviewing the Celebration Day film:

Yes I’m a massive Led Zeppelin fan – fundamentally above everything else, a massive fan – there’s a writer, author and publisher in there for sure because that is the job I do for a living, but you can’t ever take the fan out of the man…not after 45 years of devotion.

Like everybody reading this, I have been affected, inspired and influenced by the music and world of Led Zeppelin since I was in my teens. The most affecting music has always been about emotions and the ability of the listener to connect with the artists on that level.

Led Zeppelin’s music has always done that for me – and of course countless like minded souls feel the same.

Thank You, That’s The Way, Down By The Seaside, Ten Years Gone, All My Love etc etc – this music has resonated throughout my life, often intuitively sound tracking it, being played through love affairs, marriage, births and deaths – highs and lows. It continues to act as a template for my every mood. And anyone who knows me well, will know I tend to live my life very heart on the sleeve and I am not one to hold off emotion, or relay the passion and zest I have for things that are special to me.

I was therefore not at all embarrassed again when there were a few tears welling up moments during what I was hearing that memorable afternoon at Olympic Studios.

The monumental effect of hearing songs I’ve heard a thousand times and more before, completely revamped and stripped back… well, if you can’t get moved by the sound of an impromptu ‘’I’ve been yearning’’ from Robert Plant, a dexterous bass line from JPJ, the finesse of a John Bonham drum pattern or the sonic guitar thrust of Jimmy Page – all as never heard before – to coin a phrase, ‘’you ain’t coolin’.’’

So, let’s get to it. After weeks of keeping this all under wraps – at last it can now be told…

Jimmy set the scene by explaining some of the performances had taken place right here in this very room. He was keen to explain the process of the coming together of the companion audio discs. ‘’What you are about to hear is a mirror image of the tracks as you know them… some were reference mixes for us at the time, others completely different in approach. That’s quite tantalising isn’t it? Enjoy.’’

Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown

(Live at the Olympia, Paris, October 10th, 1969)

Immensely powerful intro (my initial reaction – said quietly to myself – was ‘’Fuckin’ yessss!”) and as the vocals come tearing in there’s a shrill of energy that is just palpable. Much more bass in the mix than on the bootleg and generally sharper and more alive.

You Shook Me

(Live at the Olympia, Paris, October 10th, 1969)

Again I was just struck by the sheer power coming out the speakers. Classic live late 60s Zep blues. This faded after about three minutes.

Heartbreaker (Rough mix with vocal)

Right… here we go. The first thing to notice on this mix is that Bonzo is right up front and you can hear the hi hat jigging along with immense clarity. His ride cymbal parts are equally to the fore. The guitar has a real crunchy sound and you will know what I mean by that when you hear it. I would say the vocal is very similar to the released version other than one or two ad-libs such as a ‘Give it’ before the solo – different from the Zep II version and laid down with typical Page authority. Again, there’s a clarity about the whole thing as you here Jimmy’s delicate string work, then it’s into the fast solo with Bonzo back to fore? the chorus… and blam ‘’Heartbreaker, Heartbreaker …Hert!’’

Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind (Rough mix)   

And finally… something off beat and playful. An amalgamation of Key To The Highway, the old blues standard, recorded by (among others) Big Bill Broonzy, Little Walter and Eric Clapton, with Trouble In Mind written by jazz pianist Richard M Jones, and again widely recorded, notably by Dinah Washington and Nina Simone.

This is just Jimmy on acoustic guitar and Robert singing and blowing the harp through a small Vox amp. Performed in the vein of Hats Off To (Roy) Harper. The much bootlegged, so called Blues Medley (which incorporates That’s Alright Mama and Fixin’ to Die) is also in a similar arrangement.

This feels like a cleaner mix than the aforementioned Blues Medley and again I noticed the stereo panning with harmonica and vocals on the right channels and Jimmy’s acoustic coming in on the left. There’s some occasional reverb on the vocal. The spontaneity of the performance is evident – Jimmy plays some classic blues lines (not dissimilar to the slowed down section of the Stones Ya Ya’s version of Midnight Rambler) and Robert ad libs a few stock phrases (“moon keeps on shining, oh lawdy mama”) and they ease from Keys into Trouble In Mind. There’s a final harmonica and guitar merging on the coda and it ends.

Playback 3

After the playback, Jimmy returned to the stage to take questions from the audience– concentrating mainly on the subject of the three initial releases.

The first question came from Warner exec Robert Hurley , who asked what the Led Zeppelin archive comprises of. “Well, we have the masters on quarter inch tape,’’ Jimmy replied. “For the Olympia performance – which is from a radio broadcast – we worked from the radio station file. Often it was a case of systematically going through everything that was there and looking for things. Often things were marked with working titles, such as The Immigrant Song which was also listed as Bali Hi (a reference to the West Side Story soundtrack, which has a similar vocal refrain to Robert’s) and Overlord.”

There was a question about Whole Lotta Love from a BBC journalist.

“You can hear the minimalism of it all in Whole Lotta Love, but there’s still the undeniable power of the band. We rehearsed it first at my house in Pangbourne. It’s really stripped down and that is the way it was initially recorded, in the very room we are in now. We added the middle section in New York and hoped it would get played on the radio, not expecting it would!”

Asked if any of the other members had contributed material, Jimmy revealed, ‘’Robert sent down some tapes and they were very interesting. There were things that I was surprised to find – like on the end of reels, that is where Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind was. That is just me and Robert in this studio making it up as we were going along. That vocal effect – there’s a real intimacy about it all, so that was a very nice find.

I asked Jimmy how it felt going back and revisiting the past in this way – there must have been some emotional moments… He replied, ‘’It was, of course, very emotional. And listening to John Bonham, well, that always makes me smile. These versions are designed to complement the version we put out – not to replace them in any way. On Gallows Pole, you can hear us seeking out the arrangement and shifting it around as we were going along. Since I’ve Been Loving You is just so raw – the energy is again undeniable and quite moving… For anyone who knows what made Led Zeppelin tick…they will absolutely get it.”

Just prior to leaving the guys at Olympia asked him to sign the giant turquoise Led Zep I that was in the entrance to the cinema and he duly obliged. This is going to be framed as a permanent reminder of the day Jimmy returned to what is (in recording terms) perhaps his spiritual home.

To say it was a pleasure and privilege to be there on this day is a vast understatement. It was pretty wondrous… and to paraphrase Pete Makowski,  well, this playback will be ingrained on my brain for ever. I stepped out into the March evening sunlight with a sure spring in my step, I can tell you – just as the car Jimmy was in car passed by through Church Street.


The complete feature is one of the highlights of the new TBL magazine  -TBL 37 which is out now.


TBL 37 Feedback:

Sincere thanks for the many feedback comments that have come in from those who have received the magazine – this really does make it all worthwhile and is such an inspiration – here’s some examples: 

I was pleasantly surprised to find the latest issue of TBL in my mailbox yesterday. I didn’t expect to receive it so soon! Your detailed coverage of the Led Zeppelin companion audio disc playback at Olympic Studios was very informative and made me feel as if I was there. Now I’m having a difficult time putting this issue down especially with the great interview with Glen Hughes about his exciting new band California Breed, the TBL poll results, Session Man vinyl box set review and all of the other Led Zeppelin related articles. Thank you for putting out the ultimate Led Zeppelin fix!!!  Kim Rasin

You did a great job ! I have started to read your report at Olympic Studios in Barnes ! Simply fantastic !  You did a great report ! Led Zeppelin were and are musical legends indeed and your love for their music and your passion to report all Led Zeppelin related things has reached a new high ! Alessandro Borri

Dave, your review of the LZ companion songs was awesome…I felt what you felt in that listening room, and it moved me to tears!  Great job!! Debbie Bright Ladner

Got mine too! Wife totally miffed as I’ll be reading it over the weekend. All the scheduled “jobs” have been postponed! Gary Holroyd  

 Really loved the new issue. Particularly Mike Tremaglio’s piece. I always enjoy is stuff but I’m really fascinated by their early years and the breakthrough . I came home at lunchtime and couldn’t put it down. Geoff Adamson

Got mine and you can’t beat sitting in the sun reading about Zep’s 1st US tour. Joe Jammer interview was good too. Robert Broadhurst

All I can say is ” Wow!!”, Dave – you have excelled yourself, along with your great team ….folks get this one!! John Denley

If you have yet to enter the printed world of TBL…there’s no finer issue than TBL 37 to do so.

You can order the new issue at a bargain price here…but hurry it’s already selling fast…here’s the order link:


 Jmmy Page Led Zeppelin Reissues interviews and media frenzy:

Jimmy’s visit to America has spurred something of a media frenzy – he conducted a variety of interviews on the subject of the forthcoming reissues – garnering much coverage. Jimmy also recorded an appearance on the Tonight TV show which is due to air on May 21st. He was also seen out and about in Boston notably paying a visit to a local record store.

Here’s a round of blog reports and media interview links:

Record shopping blog:

New York Times interview:

Music Radar interview:

Soundbard interview:

Guitar World:

This one via Classic Rock:

bbc coverage

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page says he took on the task of remastering the band’s catalogue because it was the right thing to do – and he refutes the suggestion that he’s obsessed with his own past.

The first three titles, complete with companion discs of previously unreleased material, will be released on June 2.

In the first part of an exclusive interview with the Classic Rock Magazine Show, broadcast tonight on TeamRock Radio, Page says: “I pay attention to what’s going on in the world of Led Zeppelin. It’s not that I’m obsessed by it. But I sort of started the band, I produced the band, and I like to see how things are going along the way.

“It’s magic that it’s sustained a serious popularity and a serious fanbase from 1980 all the way through. It’s fantastic.”

The guitarist believed it was necessary to embark on the project because a great deal of live recordings had been released over the years, and it was necessary to match those with relevant studio material.

He says: “You know instinctively when something is right to do and you just jolly well do it. You put everything you’ve got into doing it. It was an epic task – I knew that – but it’s right that it should be out there.”

Asked by presenter Nicky Horne how he felt about delving into his own past, Page replies: “When I started what became this project, what I was doing was going through my whole archive. It went back to me being a teenager with a tape recorder at home, doing what a lot of musicians did, writing songs – really embarrassing stuff!

“I wanted to hear them; I wanted to see what they were; I wanted to make an inventory of them. It goes through all of that to the Yardbirds, and my contribution, and then it gets to Led Zeppelin. I was listening to all of this stuff. You can listen to it – but not have any idea of the things that are really important.”

He says of the remaster series: “There’s so many treats. People who love Led Zeppelin, who listen intently, are going to get so much out of this.”

The first part of the exclusive interview will be broadcast tonight (Wednesday) on the Classic Rock Magazine Show, which airs on TeamRock Radio every weeknight from 6pm. The full interview will be featured in an hour-long special on May 26.


 Jimmy Page interview on Vic Morgan Late Show on BBC Radio Devon:

On Wednesday’s edition of the Late Show on BBC Radio Devon, Vic Morgan aired an interview he recently conducted with Jimmy Page –Vic’s affable style  made for a very entertaining interview which Jimmy clued in on – there’s a You tube clip below of the interview.

DL Interview on Vic Morgan Late Show on BBC Radio Devon:

The next night, Vic aired an interview with my good self-talking about the Led Zeppelin reissues. You can hear it on the link below  -my part runs at 01.10 to 01.28


Robert Plant on new album:

This report via Rolling Stone

Robert Plant Says Gritty New LP Will ‘Sound Right at a Jamaican Party’

Singer also reveals he’s talking to Alison Krauss about a possible follow-up to 2007’s ‘Raising Sand’

Andy Greene

Led Zeppelin fans may be bummed by the fact that another reunion of the group remains an extremely distant possibility, but they can take solace in the news that Robert Plant recently wrapped up work on his first solo LP since 2010’s Band of Joy. The disc (which has yet to be titled) was largely recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios and hits stores on September 9th.  “It’s really a celebratory record, but it’s very crunchy and gritty, very West African and very Massive Attack-y,” Plant says. “There’s a lot of bottom end, so it might sound all right at a Jamaican party, but I’m not sure it would sound all right on NPR.”

new o susan one

Many of the musicians on the disc played with Plant on his 2005 LP Mighty ReArranger, including keyboardist John Baggott, bassist Billy Fuller and guitarist Justin Adams, who has previously worked with Jah Wobble. (Contrary to a story in our print issue, Wobble himself isn’t on the disc. We regret the error.)  “I’ve also got this Fulani guy from Gambia [Juldeh Camara] playing one-string ritti,” says Plant. “And I’m singing and wailing on top of everything.”

Plant will be on the road with the Sensational Space Shifters throughout much of the summer and his future plans are unclear, though he has been talking with Alison Krauss about recording a follow-up to their 2007 disc Raising Sand. “Alison called me six weeks ago,” he says. “She said, ‘Should we make a new record?'”

Plant was stunned by her initial idea for the project. “She keeps saying, ‘Now we’ve got to do it like Daft Punk,'” says Plant. “I said, ‘Alison, get a clue. We’ve got great voices. We need to be getting ourselves around some really pretty songs if we sing together.’ And Daft Punk? We can go out for dinner with Nile Rodgers, but that’s about it.”

This won’t be the first attempt to record a Raising Sand follow-up. After they wrapped up their tour in 2009, Plant entered a California studio with producer Daniel Lanois and attempted to write material he could sing with Krauss. “We walked away from that and took our toys back,” says Plant. “Dan and I wrote about five songs in two or three days up in Silver Lake. They were pretty good, but they didn’t really lend themselves to a vocal collaboration, so I took them away. And then Alison went back to the fat guys with beards [her longtime band Union Station] and she made a pretty good record within that genre.”

Many fans were surprised that Plant opted to work with Lanois on the (ultimately discarded) album instead of T-Bone Burnett, the producer and guitarist of Raising Sand. “I remember that guy,” says Plant, with more than a touch of sarcasm. “He’s very elusive and incredibly hard to find. I love him desperately. He’s an allure to himself, and for that reason he has his own record label. He’s also a very tall guy. I think we have to do 12 rounds in the boxing ring first.”

Does that mean Burnett won’t produce the possible next Plant/Krauss album? “I don’t know,” says Plant. “I don’t think it would be a bad idea. We’re all crazy. We can’t have long memories about things that we didn’t think were quite right or wrong. It’s live and let live


John Paul Jones on stage with Nick Lowe:

jpj nick


John Paul Jones joined Nick Lowe for his performance last Friday night at Union Chapel in London


For further news info check out


 DL Diary Update:

Another very full on week here – with many a trip to the post office to distribute TBL 37 – and it’s a great feeling to know they are all out there in transit. The initial feedback has been simply amazing and very humbling. May I again thank designer Mick Lowe, plus Mike Tremaglio, Andy Crofts, Nick Anderson and Gary Foy for their vital contributions to this issue.

In terms of media activity there really has not been a period like this past week for years – with Jimmy’s Honarary Docterate and countless media interviews to soak up. It’s worth mentioning just how hard Jimmy is working to do all this – and his enthusiasm for it all is of course infectious.

I have to say it was quite  quite an emotional outpouring relaying the TBL 37 playback preview story once the embargo had been lifted on Wednesday morning . Particularly after keeping it all under wraps for seven weeks…thinking about it all, one thought that occurred to me was that dear Howard Mylett would have loved all this…RIP the much missed Brighton magpie and original LZ author.

There’s not been much time to fit in anything else these past few days though we did get to check out the excellent Bedford Pop Record store that was staged here for one day only last Saturday  – vinyl was purchased as can be seen – Tom with the still sealed Mothership box set – me with an excellent Bobby Darin compilation and Great Movie Sounds of John Barry with a very nice CBS insert -we of course toasted the day later at the Bedford Bamberg beer festival – applying stamps on envelopes is thirsty work….!

pop one

Playlist wise – well it’s been Led Zeppelin -simple as…with the Acetate Masters CD on in the car, and on the deck, plenty of vinyl including Earls Court Vol 1 and 2 (more on that below!), Dazed And Confused BBC Sessions vinyl, and Houses Of The Holy which always sounds great when the sun comes out…

Ahead there’s more marketing of TBL 37 and more countdown to the Led Zeppelin Reissues with 16 days to go…meanwhile 39 years ago today, life was about to get very good indeed for this particular then 18 year old Led Zeppelin fan…


Earls Court Revisited: 39 years gone…

It’s that time of year again…

As the 39th anniversary rolls around….the DL reflections…which grow ever stronger and ever precious with each passing year…and it was 39 years ago today…


ec mm 75

SATURDAY MAY 17th 1975

Ticket: Gallery Block 72 Row L Seat 34- Ticket price £1

May 17th a dull rainy Saturday. Left Bedford around 4pm on the train and met my Earls Court companion Fiona in London for the long awaited return of Led Zeppelin. I’d been counting the days down since March and now here we were hours from seeing and believing. We were inside the arena from around 7pm and the next hour was a slow one – I’d brought a programme and t.shirt. The programme with the illuminating text from Tony Palmer really whetted the appetite and had some amazing photos.

Finally when the stage burst into action following Bob Harris’s intro just after 8pm, well it was the moment my life switched into colour after the previous 18 years had been viewed in grainy black and white.

We had a good view high up to the right looking down towards Jimmy’s side. They were a little nervous and it was evident Jimmy was having lead trouble in Rock And Roll, but once they settled in it was all and more I’d hoped for. The video screen high above the stage was something I’d never seen at a gig before and I found myself gazing in awe at the memorable images flashing on screen- and wishing it was going to be broadcast on TV. I’d played Physical Graffiti non stop since it had come out so seeing and hearing In My Time, Kashmir and Trampled played live was just awe inspiring. Tangerine was an unexpected treat as was the whole acoustic interlude. Having no idea what the set list would be only added to the pure wonderment of seeing Led Zeppelin live before my very eyes.

Initial opening night impressions: Bonzo’s incredible drum sound, Robert’s warm rapport with the crowd and the way he totally dominated the stage. The marathon Dazed and the laser lights shooting through Jimmy’s violin bow. They were gods!

We got back to Bedford at 2am and I was already counting down the hours to when we would be back in their company again. There were just 18 hours to tick off.

The Led Zep Earls Court experience was underway…and boy life was good…


SUNDAY MAY 18 1975

Ticket: Gallery Block 70 Row E Seat 17  Ticket price £1

Woke up around 10am with the prospect of the second Zep gig ahead. In the morning I brought the Sunday Observer with the colour suppelment magazine that carried a major Tony Palmer feature –parts of which were in the official Earls Court programme.

”Led Zeppelin bigger than The Beatles?” proclaimed the front cover. What a compliment.

On the train at 5 in the afternoon with fellow fan/Wallbanger player Nic and his girlfriend. Hung outside Earls Court amongst the programme sellers and poster stalls before the show -bought a bootleg badge which was as nearly as big as a dinner plate. Wore it with pride for years.

Improved view tonight lower down -same (Jimmy’s) side. Three performances stood out -a chugging Over The Hills with that meandering Page solo, an intensive and incessant In My Time Of Dying (Robert’s pleading ”I believe I did somebody some good ‘’ line resounded in my ears all the way home) and a wonderfully relaxed No Quarter led by Jonesy’s virtuoso piano. That performance made me realize how important he was to it all. No major changes in the set list but that did not seem to matter. Each song was welcomed like an old friend by the appreciative audience. There was a real sense that Led Zeppelin were coming home as true champions.

We just managed to get the last train back and in for 2.30am. I was off work behind the record counter at WH Smith on the Monday and it was a lovely sunny day. We sat by the river reading various national newspaper reviews and the Observer supplement again.

‘’Statistics are always misleading’’ wrote Tony Palmer. ‘’With Led Zeppelin, statistics are irrelevant – except that they are truly astonishing. Last night they gave the first of five concerts at London’s Earls Court, total seats around 85,000. The 51,000 seats for the first three concerts originally planned sold out within two hours of going on sale. The 34,000 seats for the extra two concerts sold out over a weekend. No pop group in history, no entertainer, no film star, no opera singer has ever attracted such an audience’’

That was the quote I memorized word for word to relay the lovely elderly ladies I worked with at WH Smith or anyone else for that matter!. The Sun newspaper also did a fantastic spread on them. Suddenly Led Zeppelin were being talked about outside of the rock media.

I felt a real sense of pride – and throughout the week I kept smiling to myself – safe in the knowledge that though we were two gigs down, incredibly…there was three still to go! To be continued…

Dave Lewis May 17th 2014

 And finally…

 Jimmy Page BBC Radio Devon Interview with Vic Morgan:

 Jimmy Page Speech Honorary Doctorate speech :

Led Zeppelin At Earls Court:




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  • andrew R said:

    Ref Plantys new album,how about “I’m not bored but Jimmy’s fed up!”
    In a seperate aside how come Jimmy is carrying the weight of the press
    promotion solo? There are 3 surviving members the last time i counted
    They should all have an equal interest in the reissue of their back catalogue
    shouldnt they? Any ideas anyone?

  • Rick Willis said:

    Has anyone got the date of Robert’s new album?…… A name of it perhaps?….. Waiting with baited breath

  • Wools said:

    Dave, well done and hats off to you for keeping your meet with JP under wraps! I am very happy for you being extended the opportunity to experience the time and hear directly from the source, Jimmy Page. What an fabulous day it must have been, I am sure the ale afterwards never tasted better!
    Well done and thank you for a great Saturday morning read.

    Las Vegas, NV. USA

  • andrew R said:

    Dave latest Tbl just outstanding as previously commented only you can correctly emote how important these 40+year old recordings still are! Only dipped in but the 75 american tour details have me hooked already! Bravo mate

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