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14 December 2012 7,010 views 7 Comments

It was sad to hear of the passing of Ravi Shanker age 92, the virtuoso sitar player who influenced so many Western musicians most notably George Harrison – Jimmy Page was also an early convert of Indian musical instruments .

As Jimmy revealed on his official website on the this day entry for 4 Feb 1967:

At the end of the Yardbirds tour of Australia, there were two options to return to England: one, which was chosen by the rest of the band, was to route through San Francisco; but I chose to travel to India instead. The plane arrived at 3 in the morning and the interior of the plane was sprayed with insecticide while the passengers remained seated. Then it was time to disembark. I realised I was the only passenger getting off the plane.

Having made no previous internal travel arrangements, I jumped in a taxi and I guess the driver was quite relieved because behind him there was a line of taxis that appeared to stretch back to the city centre. He asked me what hotel I was staying at, to which I replied ‘You show me a hotel’ and I eventually arrived at the Airline Hotel (it was a much shadier hotel than it sounds!) in the centre of Bombay. This hotel had been closed down by the time I made my visit to Bombay in Led Zeppelin times in 1971.

I had been told that Ravi Shankar had been putting royalties into his Bhulabhai Institute, a centre that would concentrate on Indian classical music, dance and theatre that would have one floor dedicated to each and I wanted to see how it was getting along. In fact, I did see the foundations of the construction.

I came from India with a set of Tabla drums and a Tanpura – a drone instrument used in Indian classical music – this one, however, was an oversized version. Being a fragile instrument it was awarded three complimentary seats by the airline on the plane to enjoy the journey from Bombay to London. As a result of this visit I recorded White Summer on my Simon home recorder playing and overlaying the instruments.

As Mark Harrison noted on Facebook, Jimmy used the sitar on the Muareeny Wishful album he cut with John Williams around 1967.

Ravi Shankar was of course a huge influence on George Harrison who brought sitar arrangements into The Beatles work notably on Norwegian Wood,Within You Without You and The Inner Light. Traffic’s 1967 hit Paper Son was another composition that employed the sitar. In 1971 Ravi helped George stage The Concert For Bangla Desh -the first multi artist charity event of it’s kind. I vividly remember buying the 3 LP set when it came put in January 1972 with it’s opening side of Ravi’s set. He was an artist of great humilty who did much to bring Eastern music into Western rock and pop culture.

Here is Jimmy’s Indian influenced arrangement of White Summer from 1967.  RIP Ravi…

Here’s a couple of You Tube clips of sitar arranged Led Zeppelin covers:


Plenty of news agencies picked up on Jimmy’s quotes in the recent Guitar World which stated his intentions to work on new projects ahead.

Contact Music reports as follows: The Led Zeppelin guitarist originally wanted to go out on the road this year but following the release of the group’s DVD Celebration Day – a concert film of their one-off reunion show at London’s The O2 in December 2007 – he had to push his plans back until the tail end of 2013.Page said  “This time last year I intended to be actually playing by now in a live outfit. So that will have to be postponed now into sort of next year, tail end of next year. But I definitely want to be doing that.”

There have been rumours that Jimmy might be added as a guest to one of the Rolling Stones US gigs –however they have announced that Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga and the Black Keys will join the band on stage for their final 50 & Counting concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ this Saturday, December 15th.

ROBERT PLANT NEWS: This via K-Earth 101

Between reuniting with Led Zeppelin, collaborating with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and doing a covers album (2010?s Band Of Joy), it’s been a busy few years for Robert Plant. And despite the news that he has written one new album with his backing band The Sensational Shape Shifters and another with singer/songwriter Buddy Miller, Plant says he’s going to take it easy for a while.

“I think I might just chill for a while, to be honest,” he tells CBS Local. “I’m enjoying life and spending more time in America now. I really enjoy it. I’m becoming way more aware and opinionated and stimulated by these new adventures. Everybody says I’m workaholic, and I just keep going and going. And I will do that (again). But I want to explore more. When I think about how I was writing when I was a kid, when I was 20 or whatever, it was all about travel and journey and stimulus. I’m getting on a bit now, but I have to look at more stuff to be able to write cohesively.”

One reason that he’s spending more time in America is his relationship with singer/songwriter Patty Griffin, who was part of his backing group on his Band Of Joy tour. He joined her onstage in October at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival for a new song. He confirmed that he has contributed to her next record. “It’s a brilliant record. It’s produced by Craig Ross. I just joined her on a couple of songs, which we wrote together. It’s great stuff, it’s really good.”

Griffin was Plant’s date at the Kennedy Center Honors, where Led Zeppelin was feted alongside Buddy Guy, David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and ballerina Natalia Makarova. He said that he was particularly happy to receive the honor from President Obama.

“I think the world held it’s breath a couple of weeks ago, and what a fantastic result,” he told CBS Local, referring to the recent election. “What a charismatic guy, and what a job he’s got to do.”

While the President doesn’t speak at the actual Kennedy Center Honors ceremony (which airs on CBS on December 26 at 9 p.m. ET), he spoke about the band at a dinner at the White House before the ceremony, talking about their wild lifestyle in the ’70s, quipping that, “It’s fitting that we’re doing this in a room with windows that are three inches thick! And Secret Service all around… so guys, just settle down! These paintings are valuable.”

Plant added, “His humor, relating to our career a while back was very, very funny. He’s got us down!” Watch the President’s full speech here.

Meanwhile, if Plant doesn’t do much performing in 2013, you can check out two recent live releases. One, Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters, is available as a download, and features his latest backing band. The other, Live From The Artist’s Den, features him with his Band Of Joy, including Patty Griffin. (Thanks Stephen Humphries)

News of another date for the Sensational Space Shifters next year at the  Timbre Rock & Roots Festival 2013 in Singapore.


Supergroup Them Crooked Vultures will return at some point in the future, Dave Grohl has vowed.

And the drummer says it was a “huge deal” to hear bassist John Paul Jones compare the band to his previous outfit Led Zeppelin.

The Vultures, complete with frontman Josh Homme, released a self-titled album in 2009, the undertook a world tour and won a Grammy for their track New Fang.

Grohl – who’s poised to release his Sound City documentary movie – tells CBS: “It was one of the highlights of my life when John Paul said, ‘Now I’ve been in two great bands.’ That was a huge deal for me.”

Discussing a reunion he says: “We’ve talked about it – I know that someday we’ll get back together and do stuff, because we love playing with each other.”

Meanwhile, Grohl has ruled out touring with Homme’s band Queens of the Stone Age, despite having recorded the drum tracks for their next album. It’s also set to feature former QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri and Trent Reznor


If you still haven’t sorted that Christmas present idea – or need to add something to your own Christmas wants list, there are plenty of TBL goodies on offer – here’s a guide to the last minute TBL Christmas gift ideas –all orders will be processed as received for the fastest delivery possible.



The book that takes you up close and personal to Led Zeppelin on their final tour – now at a bargain low price – order at this link:


For fans old and new, this is the definitive compact companion to their music. Order at this link:


This is the Led Zeppelin story from the place where they functioned best – live on stage. Order at this link


The recent issue  includes Celebration Day – Press screening preview and press conference report/Nick Anderson’s Illustrated Guide to Led Zeppelin UK Singles/ Mike Tremaglio chronicles Zep on tour in the USA 1972–The ‘Forgotten Giants’ tour log and much more.

Order at this link:


A TBL 2013 Subscription –the perfect Christmas gift which ensures you keep up to date with every issue of the essential Led Zeppelin magazine.
We are now accepting subscriptions for the 2013 TBL magazines.
If you are a current 2012 subscriber your subscription will end with issue 34 due early February -. so you need to re subscribe to receive the 2013 TBL magazines
There’s another action packed line up of Zep related news, views and features ready to provide you with an ongoing Zep fix through the year.

To order the TBL 2013 Subscription go to the TBL 2013 Subscription link here


If you are new to TBL or have missed out on previous issues, now is the opportunity to catch up. The Five Issue TBL Starter Pack for just £8 –plus postage and packing. This is a great value way to get acquainted with the TBL magazine – 160 pages of prime Zep reading all for just £8 plus postage – Another great Christmas gift too -even if you have them yourselves, why not pass them on as a great Christmas gift idea?

Hurry as this is a limited offer about to end.

Here’s the ordering link:

One satisfied buyer of TBL product:

Hey Dave just got my copies of TBL magazine! In one word “Killer!’ The book is also awesome. Keep up the incredible work you’re doing! Vincent Allen Polselli 

So there are some last minute gift ideas. If you are buying from the UK, if you order by Monday I would hope (Royal Mail permitting) that your order will arrive pre Christmas. All orders are despatched as received.

Many thanks for all your support of TBL products.


It’s been full on here this last week packing and sending out TBL products. I am also wading through the writing of Christmas cards and other domestic seasonal activities such as ordering the turkey etc – you know the score this time of year. The good lady Janet also informs me I may be needed on Father Christmas duties next week – more on that as it evolves…

Had a great day in London last Friday – we clocked a look at the Rolling Stones pop up shop in Carnaby Street and it’s pretty impressive though predictably full of high end priced items. A similar Zep Celebration Day unit would have been most desirable…hey and I could have got back behind the retail counter!

Above: At the Rolling Stones Pop Up shop Carnaby Street London December 7

On the player lots of good old rock vinyl to keep the cold at bay :Stephen Stills first album, Nils Lofgren Back It Up, Humble Pie Performance Rockin’ The Fillmore, Joe Walsh So Far, So Good, Led Zeppelin Shepperton Rehearsal and to ease into the festive season, Cool Yule,The Swinging Sound of Christmas CD compilation (thank you John P). While we are on Christmas cards and festive note, on my way to town on Wednesday morning I took a few shots of the Bedford Embankment in all it’s frosty winter glory. You can see them on the TBL Facebook – this one below was pointed out to me as being an ideal Christmas card design -hey that one might add to the TBL product offers next year!

Bedford Embankment on the morning of 12 – 12 – 12. The TBL future Christmas card design?

And finally…

A recent JBLZ Experience clip here via Front Row Dave

 Have a great weekend

Until next time… keep reading -keep listening

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

December 14th , 2012.

Don’t forget that you can follow Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter – LedzeppelinTBL

and view additional photos etc at the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at!/profile.php?id=1611296783


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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Michael thanks for the CBS Morning info

  • Mark Williams said:

    Thanks for the great updates Dave – always informative & interesting.

    See Robert is dropping in on Singapore on his way to ‘chillin’ in Australia & New Zealand next Easter. Would be so nice if he remembered his loyal compatriots James Patrick & Mr. Baldwin during his 2013 ‘ chillin’ period.

    Ah well, glad to see Neil Young is back in the UK with Crazy Horse next June – that’ll be great.

  • Michael Sherlock said:

    Hi Dave,

    Thought you and your readers in the US would like to know of a DVR alert for this Sunday:

    Show: CBS Sunday Morning
    Dec 16, 2012
    9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
    An interview with Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page

  • Zoso 1 said:

    Another tentative announcement from Page on new music next year. How many times have I heard this over the last five years, only to be left disappointed? It’s a good bet that next autumn will come around and he will say the remastering project took him longer than anticipated and he didn’t manage to get round to new material.

    Come on Jimbo, put out some new music. You ain’t get any younger. Even an instrumental album would be cool, showcasing the guitar army in all it’s glory! Take a leaf out Robert’s book.

    Zoso 1

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Simon thanks for comments – Yes would be good to see the JBLZE in UK next year -here’s hoping.

    Michael many thanks and noted!

  • Michael in Melbourne said:

    Sorry to be a pedant, Dave, but the article you link to is a piece in the Straits Times, the Singapore paper. It’s about R A Pant Esq playing in Singapore on his way to Australia. Good news for Sngapore fans!

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Dave, thanks so much for the latest update – really, really enjoyable.

    Alberto Marsicano’s a new one on me – that’s got to be one of the best Kashmir covers ever.

    The Jason footage was an eye-opener. Keeping the shot consistently up close truly revealed the brilliance of his technical skill. It’s all very well guitarists playing Page solos note-for-note – but following a Bonzo solo beat-for-beat? You can hardly believe your eyes. Will the Experience EVER play the UK?

    Season greets to you and yours – and all the TBL tribe.

    Keep up the good work in 2013!

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