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27 February 2014 4,050 views 6 Comments

PG mock up

Some thoughts on Physical Graffiti at 39…

So here we are on the 39th anniversary of the iconic sixth Led Zeppelin album – Physical Graffiti. The very title indicated something mysterious and special when I first saw it announced in the NME in late 1974. Then there was the waiting. Ah yes the waiting. Initially it was set for November 29th 1974. That date passed and nothing. Then it was going to be January 10th 1975 and so it went on, until finally on a grey February morning, I took receipt of the record boxes delivered that day at the WH Smith record department where I worked. And there in a parcel marked WEA/CBS Distribution was a box full of that beautiful double album. Had it out of the box immediately –took it down the pub lunchtime to show Dec, Phil, Tom and co…oh yes this was the big one – a massive outpouring of new Zeppelin music.

The weekend prior to the arrival of the album there had been a couple of previews of what was in store. On the Friday edition of the Old Grey Whistle Test TV show, Bob Harris played Houses Of The Holy and Trampled Underfoot cut to those weird films they employed. I was actually out at the Rainbow that particular night grooving to Black Oak Arkansas (that’s another story!) I of course arranged to have it taped. On the Saturday afternoon DJ Alan Freeman previewed five tracks from the album on his Radio One rock show -. Alan aired Custard Pie, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Down By The Seaside and Sick Again in that sequence with no break. As Robert uttered the opening line ‘’I received a message from my brother across the water he sat laughing’ as he wrote the ends in sight’’ I remember exclaiming ‘’Oh that voice!’’ in excited wonderment.

It ushered in a memorable year that would peak with those five gloriousdays in May. Since then Physical Graffiti has been a constant in my life. Not long after its release, the Warner/Atlantic rep who called on our store, kindly gave me the original sleeve artwork mock up slick he had used to sell the album in to the stores. This comprises of the inner sleeves uncut and folding out – some variations on the finished photos used and a different type script of the title in red plus the outer sleeve also uncut. It takes pride of place in my collection –see pic. On holiday in Spain that year I could not resist handing over a pocket full of pesetas for the Spanish pressing. I have it on cassette and 8 track cartridge. When I first got a CD player in 1988 it was the first CD I purchased.

The emergence of the Tangible Vandalism rehearsals bootleg in the early 80’s was a shot in the arm in a less than vibrant Zep period, and the first time I heard the 33 minutes of outtakes that surfaced in 1997 remains one of my most memorable listening experiences.

Then have also been the numerous live Graffiti moments: Selections from Physical Graffiti played live over the years have provided some of my all time fave gig going moments.

Sick Again, In My Time Of Dying Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot at Earls Court Ten Years Gone, Trampled Underfoot , Kashmir and Sick Again at Knebworth Post Zep , Trampled Underfoot at Leicester University in ’88, Kashmir at MTV Unledded, The Wanton Song at Later With Jools, Night Flight at the ULU in ’98 , In My Time of Dying and Kashmir at the 02 Reunion….

39 years on Physical Graffiti still inspiress that same air of  wonderment. In today’s social media driven world of instantly accessible everything, it’s easy to forget the impact a mere record could have. A mere record? Physical Graffiti was and could never be a mere anything. It’s a living breathing, masterpiece. Playing it this past few days has been a joy…

Especially as I’ve been playing my recently acquired  version- one of my best vinyl finds in a while picked up at Spitalfields market last week – the American pressing on the US Swan Song label. Seeing it spin around on the turntable make me think this could have been one of the thousands of copies snapped up 39 years ago that ensured this album entered every US chart at number three – unheard of back then and a new highest charting album record at the time.

So happy 39th birthday Custard Pie, The Rover, In My Time Of Dying, Houses Of The Holy, Trampled  Underfoot, Kashmir, In The Light, Bron Yr Aur, Down By The Seaside, Ten Years Gone, Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Boogie With Stu, Black Country Woman and Sick Again.

These 15 performances continue to enrich my life and thousands of others across the globe. Long may they continue to do so.

DL February  24th 2014.


Physical Graffiti mixes from the Ron Nevison collection up for auction:

Staying with the above theme, Rolling Stone reports that alternate mixes/versions from Physical Graffiti album via engineer Ron Nevison’s collection are up for auction.

The sample mixes here of Kashmir, Custard Pie and In The Light appear to be the same as the bootleg tapes that first surfaced in 1997.

Here’s the story:

Listen to Unreleased Led Zeppelin Tapes for ‘Physical Graffiti’

The recordings will be going up for auction next month, along with ones by Eric Clapton, Bad Company and Ozzy Osbourne

Story by Kory Grow

Recordings Led Zeppelin made as they were composing their 1975 double-album Physical Graffiti will be available at auction next month. The Amherst, New Hampshire–based RR Auctions says that many of the songs on the tapes differ structurally from the ones that came out officially. The group re-recorded the guitar and vocal parts on many of the tapes’ songs, some of which lack vocals altogether, and, in some cases, it used only John Bonham’s drums tracks and completely redid the tracks.

The band recorded the songs at the Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio, which audio engineer Ron Nevison built in a 26-foot Airstream trailer. The tapes are part of the Ron Nevison collection, which is also auctioning rough mixes of Bad Company’s debut and four songs from Eric Clapton’s 1973 album Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert, as well as recordings by the Who, Ozzy Osbourne and Flo and Eddie.

During the Led Zeppelin sessions, Nevison recorded the drum parts for “Kashmir,” which was then titled “Driving to Kashmir.” Bass player and keyboardist John Paul Jones was late to the session, so guitarist and producer Jimmy Page worked out the song’s riff with Bonham. Nevison recorded the cymbals through a phaser as an experiment, and Page decided he liked the sound and used it on the finished version. “Driving to Kashmir,” as it appears on these tapes, is completely instrumental.

Read more at:


Minibus Pimps Cloud To Ground album pre order and interview:

Minibus Pimps - Cloud to Ground

The pre-order links for the Minibus Pimps album featuring John Paul Jones are now available: The album is released next Monday.

iTunes –

Boomkat –

Rough Trade –

There’s an excellent interview with  JPJ and Helge Sten on the Quietus website

Here’s some excerpts:

How did this project come about?

John Paul Jones: Well, it came out of Supersilent. The first time I played with Supersilent was in Kristiansand in 2010 and that was just a short solo piece that I did with bass guitar and my Kyma computer system. Helge was interested in the computer system and we just got talking about it and we found that we had quite a lot in common. I’d played with Supersilent and I’d enjoyed that immensely and we somehow made one of the top 25 jazz gigs of the year in Jazzwise magazine but we ended up talking about computer systems. But how did we actually get together for our first gig?

Helge Sten: I’d acquired a system and if you don’t put a lot of work and effort into it then it’s a waste of money. It’s really complex and you really have to learn it. But I thought it’d be interesting to hear how my programming sounded with John’s programme so that’s how the discussion came about. So we started this about three years ago.

So it’s fair to say that you view these computer systems as another instrument then?

JPJ: Yes, exactly so.

What were the objectives and motivation behind this project?

JPJ: To make exciting music and to play it. It’s one thing to do it inside the studio but the energy you can get in a live situation is quite different; you go to different places. We’d been invited back as Supersilent to Kristiansand and by that time we were already talking about Kyma and we decided to do something together with the two systems. The systems weren’t hooked up; we used them separately and we communicated on an audio and musical level. Although, actually, connecting them together could be the next step.

HS: It is possible!

JPJ: It is possible. I could process your stuff and you could process my stuff without either of us quite knowing what’s going to happen. That could be good fun.

What does using these systems give you that conventional instrumentation doesn’t?

JPJ: A wider sound palette.

HS: You can build your own processor. It’s interesting because I make different sounding programmes than John does and when that melds together it’s really exciting. And also, we can troubleshoot each other if we have a problem.

You’re both respected musicians in your respective fields but what did you bond on?

JPJ: Probably the improvisation. We’re both used to improvising on stage. I remember I used to do it with Zeppelin, apart from taking the solos, but there was a point in ‘No Quarter’ where I would go to a piano and literally have not much idea of what I was going to play and I’d just sit down and work out where I was going to go. Because what else can you do? I can’t just do nothing so I had to come up with something pretty quick! So I’m used to just doing stuff and Helge’s done that too, especially with Supersilent.

HS: Yeah, I really, really enjoy that kind of environment where you can literally compose music in real time. That’s how I see it; it’s not improvised music in a European style, it’s a different thing. For me, it’s about composing music but in a different time scale.

Now, I’ve got to ask you the obligatory Led Zeppelin question…

JPJ: Well he can answer it!

Well, it is aimed at both of you but what do you think is the most avant-garde moment in Led Zeppelin’s catalogue?

JPJ: Er, probably ‘The Crunge’! I don’t know! What do you say?

Well, if I could, I’d put the intro to ‘In The Evening’ in a 20-minute loop.

JPJ: Oh, thank you! That was me! Jimmy put some guitars on it, too, but I did that on the Yamaha GX-1. I found this programme where you have all the filters on the edge where they break up and keep trying to do something else and they keep coming back again. Yeah, that was great, that.

HS: I think there’s so much interesting stuff going on in all of their music. There’s so much variety and energy going on there and that’s what sets it apart from so much other music.

Interview by Julian Marszalek

See full interview at


Aubrey Powell and Graham Gouldman at St Pauls Exhibiiton.

This report from Colin Martin:

On Saturday February 22nd, I attended the launch of an exhibition of Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell album cover prints at St Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham.

Also in attendance was Graham Gouldman from 10cc. During a 45 minute talk Po and Graham discussed the art of album covers and the artistic freedom that groups used to have in the“good old days”. One of which was that the album covers never usually featured a picture of the group.

An interesting mention during the talk was that 10cc rejected the “Presence” art work as their potential next sleeve before it was accepted by Led Zeppelin. I was able to get several of my LP/CD covers signed by Po and asked a couple of Led Zep related questions.  On working with Led Zeppelin Aubrey said ‘’ They respected our work and did not interfere at all”

More at


Hi Fi Lounge Event:

hi fi 1

Tom and I paid a visit to the excellent Hi Fi Lounge located in Dunton Bedfordshire last Saturday – this is the outlet that deals in high quality hi fi run by Paul Clark and where we will be staging a Led Zeppelin Day On Saturday March 8th. Paul gave us a demonstration of the vinyl set up in the demo room…what can I tell you – I’ve heard Whole Lotta Love a fair few times over the past 45 years…but listening to it on this amazing equipment was like being in the control room of Olympic Studios… utterly stunning! Paul informed us on the day he will have the set up linked to the even more impressive PMC speakers – the same type of speaker playback used to master the Mothership album at Metropolis Studios –as was mentioned in a PMC catalogue on display.

On the day I will be taking along various TBL merchandise including the Knebworth and Feather In The Wind books, TBL magazines and T- shirts. The timetable for the TBL Hi Fi Lounge Day being staged on Saturday March 8thh is up now on the Hi Fi Lounge site

see –

Important – Attendance confirmation:

Given the limitations of space, it could get a little cosy in the Hi Fi Lounge, so we could really do with knowing an idea of numbers attending. To that end –  if you are planning on coming along can you please e-mail me to confirm your attendance at the usual e-mail. Or confirm your attendance in the comments section below. Many thanks.


Record Store Day – the countdown commences:

It’s coming up for that time of year when  we celebrate the sanctuary of record shops throughout the world aided by a variety of limited pressings made available on the day. I’m a big fan of this ( as is Tom, Phil and Dec) and will be counting down the days to the actual Record Store Day on Saturday April 19th. There is already much speculation of what might be on the list with a rumour of a possible Led Zeppelin limited edition being made available -though I’ve heard nothing on this myself.  Here’s  a link to a preview of what looks to be ready to be released on the day—this is all yet to be confirmed officially but provides a good idea of what to expect. More on all this to follow


TBL Introductory Offers:

gift pack 2

I’ve updated a couple of TBL offers with the limited collector’s edition of issue 35 now on offer with TBL 34

Firstly as a gift pack with the TBL T- shirt and limited 10 x 8 print -the perfect introduction into the world of TBL ….

….and then TBL issues 34 and issue 35 limited collector’s edition bargain bundle offer – another great way to sample the world of TBL….


Knebworth book review:

A review from the new issue of Classic Rock magazine:

‘Indispensable for Zep lovers”    – I could not have put it better myself!

What are you waiting for!…order at

book review


Dave Lewis Diary Update:

I’ve had better days than last Friday when in the morning, it was a trip to the docs as I have not been feeling 100% for a few weeks. Then in the afternoon it was a visit to the dentist as I could not put it off any longer  -the toothache I had endured for the past few days was raging on -turns out I had an infection and will probably need a tooth out at some point. A course of anti- biotics was the order of the day. I’m pleased to say they have certainly helped and the pain has eased considerably though it’s still a bit sore.

The show had to go though as a planned visit to the Hi Fi Lounge was on the agenda for Saturday morning with Tom. That proved to be a real tonic as owner Paul Clark demonstrated the amazing quality of the Hi Fi Lounge hardware.

More salvation was on hand from wading through some great music in slightly lesser quality on the trusty TBL deck these past few days. The aforementioned US copy of Physical Graffiti, that great Zep soundcheck where they run through Night Flight as featured on the Johnny Kidd & The Pirates bootleg LP , the new David Crosby album Coz on vinyl and the Bobby Whitlock Raw Velvet LP I got from Spitalfields market last week. I’ve also been reading the excellent George Harrison biography Behind The Locked Door – easily the best thing I’ve read about the not so quiet one’s life. This has inspired a trawl through George’s work including All Things Must Pass, the little heard Wonderwall soundtrack (thank you John P) the 1974 Splinter album he produced and Living In the Material World which I originally bought on import from Simons Records mail order company (they advertised in NME) ahead of the UK release in late May 1973. Once a fan always a fan…

Here’s another tonic:

I put the Physical Graffiti at 39 post on the TBL Facebook last night and one of the responses was from the legendary Zep press guru and vibemaster BP Fallon who wrote as follows:

’Wonderful writing Dave Lewis about a spectacular LP(s). I’m honoured to have taken some of the photos of the chaps in the windows.’’

Thank you Beep….

TBL 37 work goes on relentlessly here –this week I’ve been co co- ordinating the lay out for Mike Tremaglio’s retrospective tour log on the first Zep tour of the US. The detail on this is just amazing – Mike really gets to the heart of exactly what went down on that historic first visit. It’s an epic piece of work.  More on all this soon. There’s More TBL 37 work ahead in the coming days and preparation for the Hi Fi Lounge event.

And finally – yours truly waxing lyrical a few years back for a Zep documentary DVD on the beauty of Physical Graffiti….

And absolutely finally Physical Graffiti live in ’75…..the swagger remains the same…


Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great weekend…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – February  , 2014.

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  • Ian D said:

    PG was my second Zep album buy, on a recommendation by the manager of a certain Bedford music store. Biggest memory is being in a state of utter shock and awe on hearing “In My Time of Dying” for the first time after being used to the take by Bob Dylan.

  • Vic Morgan said:

    The Rover remains my favourite Zep track, groove and power. Dave get well soon your work is an inspiration to those of us who love Led Zeppelin

  • Paul Gross said:

    PG…”It’s a living, breathing, masterpiece.”….very well said Dave. I agree.

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Are these the same alternate versions that are mooted to appear on the remastered Physical Graffiti bonus disc(s)…?

  • Roxanne Barker said:

    Hi Dave!! Just received the TBL mags with new subscription. Thanks so much for the signed photo! “My man” in the stunning white suit up on stage looks a dish. I know he’s got the black-and-white jazzy loafers on the bottom. Ahhh, what fantasies. The content in the mags is great, as always. Love the article on the photograher who took the photo of the boys on the Jag. What an opportunity for a young person starting out. I always thought PG was a somewhat over-looked album because of all the content, but when it first came out it was such a sensation. You can play it for days on end and never get bored. Keep up the good work–we fans need TBL!!

  • Richard Grubb said:

    PG – nothing I can write here will do it any justice! In my view it’s the best of the best…I’m off to stick it on again!

    Looking forward to the HiFi Lounge event, catching up with some old friends and probably making a few new ones too…!

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