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23 December 2016 1,754 views 9 Comments

So this is Christmas…

Christmas Eve is nigh on upon us – and it’s that final rush to get everything sorted for the next couple of  days.

As is customary on Christmas Eve here – I’ll be wearing my Led Zeppelin Winterland 1969 tie bought for me by Larry Ratner in 1993 (hi Larry!).

After all the intense work on the forthcoming TBL issue 42 of recent weeks, it will be great to unwind  inthe company of visiting friends and along the way a beer or two may be drunk in one or two local pubs.

As we know 2016, with many a missed person to mourn, has not been an easy year  and it ends with more unsettling news with the demise of Team Rock (see more below). However, there have been some major highs, not least the release of The Complete BBC Sessions -for which it was my privilege to contribute the liner notes for.  Elsewhere,Robert Plant has continued to do what he does best and play to the people, be it with the Sensational Space Shifters, with Emmylou Harris on the Lumpedusa tour and recently at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday gig.

There will be time in the next few days to reflect on the events of the past 12 months before 2017 unfolds and I’ll be rounding up the year in the next TBL posting …meanwhile…

TBL 42:

There has been a very encouraging reaction to the announcement of the forthcoming TBL issue 42 – in particular the Limited  Jimmy Page Collectors Cover Edition. Pre orders are coming in thick and fast – and to ensure you obtain of these converted items -I would suggest you pre-order as soon as possible.

All the ordering details are below.

May I take this opportunity to offer sincere thanks to Nick Anderson, Ian Dixon,  Cliff Hilliard,  Richard Grubb, Scott Heck , Stephen Humphries, Krys Jantzen, Dave Linwood and Paul Sheppard for their superb contributions to this issue, Robert Ellis for the front cover photos, Mike Tremaglio for overseeing the text, Gary Foy for the TBL admin, Nick Carruthers for his support and last but not least, Mick Lowe for another classic TBL design.

TBL issue 42 due early 2017 – including a Limited Edition Jimmy Page Collectors Cover Edition!

The new issue of the long running Led Zeppelin magazine is due out early in 2017. It’s another packed edition with some 40,000 words of news, views and features. All subscribers will receive the standard edition with a great Robert Plant photo by Robert Ellis from the Led Zeppelin Royal Albert Hall performance on June 29, 1969.

I am also making available a special collectors limited edition featuring a superb photo of Jimmy Page again by Robert Ellis from the 1969 Royal Albert Hall gig. This is being produced in a run of just 300 individually numbered copies.

This can be pre ordered now at the link below. Pre orders will be allocated the lowest numbers as received. Note the content is the same as the standard issue – the collectability is in the unique cover – and when it’s gone, it’s gone! Keen collectors I am sure will want to own both editions!

Both TBL 42 cover images are in keeping with the monochrome style of The Complete BBC Sessions cover design and indeed feature photos from a concert staged two days after the Playhouse Theatre One Night Stand BBC recording.

Pre-order your copy as an extra Christmas present now!

TBL 42 –with two vintage cover images – pre – order now and get ready for some essential Zep reading in 2017…

The Limited Edition:

The TBL 42 Robert Plant standard edition single issue can be pre-ordered at this link:

TBL Subscriptions:

You can also subscribe to the TBL magazine to receive issues TBL 41 (which will be sent immediately) the forthcoming TBL 42 and 43 ahead.

All subscribers receive a 10 x 8 John Paul Jones photo perfect for framing.




Team Rock in Administration:

It was distressing to wake up on Tuesday to the sad news that the Team Rock company that runs  the Classic Rock website and publishes Classic Rock, Prog and Metal Hammer magazines, had gone into administration with the loss of many jobs. I have been buying Classic Rock since it’s inception in the late 1990s when Mick Wall was editor. I have also contributed a fair few features over the years working with the great Classic Rock team including Dave Ling, Sian Llewellyn Dave Everley, Fraser Lewry, and Ian Fortnum. My heart goes out to them at this unsettling time.

I remember only too well, the impact of being made unemployed at Christmas as it was on December 25, 2008 that Zavvi formerly Virgin Megastore called in the administrators without any prior notice -ending my 35 year career in music retail.

There has already been a huge reaction to the news of the collapse of Team Rock and the subsequent demise of the radio, station, website and magazines. Classic Rock is a huge brand and for it not be out there bringing the news and views will leave a huge void in the publishing world. Here’s hoping that a buyer can be found and the three magazines re surface at some point – a world without Classic Rock is just not right at all…. DL Dec 21,2016


LZ News:

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

The complete Led Zeppelin News email goes out every weekend. To receive it each week sign up here:

Sorry for the lack of an email last week, we had to skip it due to illness. We’ve included all of the news from last week in this email so you get an extra long pre-Christmas email. If next week is a quiet week for Led Zeppelin news (which it probably will be), we may skip the Christmas Day email and send another extra long email the week after.

Robert Plant’s handwritten lyrics for a live version of “Kashmir” that failed to sell at auction in New York on December 10 (Sotheby’s)

  • Handwritten lyrics by Robert Plant for a live version of “Kashmir” were offered at auction in Sotheby’s in New York on December 10 but failed to sell. The auctioneer drove bids up to $110,000, but it fell short of the reserve for the item. The estimate for the item was $120,000 to $180,000. You can find out more about the item (and see high-definition photographs of the lyrics) on the Sotheby’s website. You can also see an image of the December 10 auction here.
  • Jason Bonham has said in a new interview that “as far as I know, nothing’s gonna happen” with Led Zeppelin. He spoke to Billboard after signing a deal with UTA Music.

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

  • Robert Plant’s latest album, “lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar” is now available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Upcoming events:

March 17 – “Weightless,” the Terrence Malik film featuring Robert Plant, is scheduled to be released in the US.

Many thanks to James Cook.


No Quarter – The Three Lives Of Jimmy Page by Martin Power (Omnibus Press)

Here’s my review of the recently published Jimmy Page biography by Martin Power in the new issue of the excellent Fireworks rock magazine –more details of the magazine at the link below






TBL Retro Christmas Reflection:

 Christmas always bringing with it that air of nostalgia, so here’s a seasonal TBL retro reflection from 1972:


44 years ago today on Saturday December 23rd  1972, I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the closest gig Led Zeppelin ever played to Christmas in the UK. It was a cold  dank day and the walk up Muswell Hill to the Alexandra Palace was a bit of a trek. All worth it of course, as this very impressionable 16 year old was again in the company of musical giants.

The venue itself had not been used for a gig for years and was a little cold and impersonal – the sound also suffered a fair bit swirling around the high ceiling. Zep of course were brilliant – I had already read they were playing new tracks off of what was still being described as Led Zeppelin V (it would emerge as Houses Of the Holy the following March.) Hearing Over The Hills And Far Away, The Song Remains The Same,The Rain Song and Dancing Days was an immense thrill. The Jesus character who frequented many London gigs at the time stripped naked in front of me (ooerr!) and played a tin whistle during Jimmy’s Dazed violin bow solo. The Whole Lotta Love medley was memorable for a great Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Let’s Have A Party and a scintillating  I Can’t Quit You Baby. Zep gig number two was ticked and I wanted more…much more… though that opportunity would not come around for another two years. By then I had a new mantra..if Led Zeppelin were playing in the UK I wanted to be there…


Long time TBL contributor Phil Tattershall was also at the December 23rd show – here are his memories of his first Led Zeppelin concert…

The announcement of Led Zeppelin’s 72/73 UK tour was incredibly exciting.  I’d had a copy of the double LP, Live On Blueberry Hill for a while and I’d captured their 1971 BBC radio performance as it was broadcast using our family reel-to-reel tape recorder.  Both had been played to death.

I was 18 in 1972 and I’d recently started work, but my old schoolmate Dave* was still job hunting.  He had a bit of spare time, also a motorbike, which meant he was just the man to journey into London in the vain hope of securing tickets for one of the Alexandra Palace shows from Harlequin Records.  Unbelievably, he was successful and managed to buy three tickets, the third being for another schoolmate, Neil**.

I proudly announced to my colleagues in the office that I was going to see Led Zeppelin, but being much older than me, they didn’t share my excitement.  I was shocked to learn that none of them had even heard of Led Zeppelin!

My first wage packet had been spent on a battery-powered cassette recorder and I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to try concert recording for the first time.  Dave was a keen photographer and thought he’d try to take some pictures to complement my efforts.

The week before the show, we went for a ride on Dave’s motorbike to Alexandra Palace, to make sure that the ancient machine was capable of completing the 45 mile round trip.  It was a curious hybrid vehicle, self assembled from parts of two other bikes dating from 1936 and 1948.  It would need to transport three of us on December 23rd, so Dave had bolted an old sidecar to it.  I remember that reconnaissance expedition well; it was freezing cold and I sat in the sidecar listening to a cassette of ELP’s Trilogy album on both legs of the journey.  (I learned later that the sidecar was attached to the motorbike by a single bolt.  Dave was a bit of a slapdash mechanic!)

Come the 23rd, Dave, Neil and I undertook that intrepid journey from Hertfordshire to north London.  It was as cold as it had been the previous week, but the bike and sidecar served us well.  Outside the venue, I bought a show programme for 25p, which I later learned was unofficial (and is now very collectable!) and chatted to a guy from New York who had bought a ticket from a tout and was fearful that it might be a forgery.  It looked the same as mine though and I think he managed to get in OK.  My voluminous police-service surplus great coat served a dual purpose: it kept out the worst of the cold and effectively concealed my rather large cassette machine.  I gained access without hindrance.

Above the 1972 bootleg programme which I purchased outside the venue on the night – – the image is actually  Marc Bolan taken from a poster (thanks to Pete Burridge for that info).

Inside the hall it was apparent that there had been problems during the soundcheck and curtains had been hung from the ceiling in an attempt to tame the cavernous venue’s wallowing acoustic. It was an all-standing event and I was surprised that the hall was nowhere-near full, probably little over two-thirds of the floor space being occupied.  I later learned that fire regulations had limited the number allowed to attend.

There was no support act, just a children’s cartoon shown on a small screen above the stage.  I remember the cheer from the audience when one of the cartoon characters swallowed the contents of a bottle labelled ‘Super Speed Pills’.  Hmmm… that certainly wouldn’t be allowed in these days of political correctness and child protection.

The lights dimmed, I pressed the record and play keys of my cassette machine and hoped for the best.  As the band took to the stage, the bloke standing next to me was hit on the head by a beer can thrown from behind, prompting a stream of foul language from him and his companions.  The can’s impact and the subsequent profanities are perfectly captured on my tape.  Sadly the music, at the time the loudest noise I’d heard in my life, is less well preserved.  The poor cassette machine was overwhelmed by the volume and the recording is hopelessly overloaded.   The tape tangled 25 minutes into the show anyway, so it’s hardly an indespensible document.  Dave fared little better in his efforts to capture the visuals and his pictures were disappointing too.

The show itself was astonishing.  Of the songs from the yet-to-be-released Houses of the Holy LP, I remember being particularly impressed by Dancing Days, while friend Neil, a guitar player himself, was blown away by The Song Remains The Same.  The high point for me was the violin bow sequence in Dazed and Confused.  Thanks to my bootlegs, I was very familiar with the live version of the piece and always imagined each “da-da da-da” element being generated by a bow strike.  When I witnessed every other ‘da’ blasting out as the bow hit thin air, I genuinely thought some sort of sorcery was afoot.  (It wasn’t magic, of course, but an Echoplex unit.  I was so disappointed when I found out.  Jimmy was a mere human after all!)

Luckily, another amateur recordist was on duty that night and his results were infinitely better than mine.  My first experience of Led Zeppelin live was preserved for posterity and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.  One thing the taper missed as he flipped tapes was Robert’s “Goodnight – we’ll see you next year”.  I remember it well, because I was thrilled that it wouldn’t be too long before I could see them again.  As it turned out, I had to wait until May 1975, but I’m sure Robert’s intentions were honourable when he gave me what seemed a personal assurance.  I also recall narrowly missing out in the scramble to grab the tambourine he threw into the crowd at the end of the Whole Lotta Love medley.

The motorbike journey home in cold rain was deeply unpleasant, but we didn’t care; we’d seen the greatest band in the world.

When safely home, I extracted the tangled mess of tape from my recorder and reassembled it into a spare cassette shell.  As already described, the sonic results were disastrous, but, forty years hence, I still have that souvenir.

A couple of days later, back at work, the office manager, who was ten years my senior at 28, asked, “How did your pop thing go Phil?”  “Pop thing!??!!”, I thought to myself.  This wasn’t a “pop thing”: this was Led Zeppelin.  But there was no point in entering into lengthy discussion on the topic.  The older generation would never understand.

*Dave had another go at photographing Led Zeppelin in 1975 and was rather more successful.  The photos can be seen in TBL issue 15.

**Those familiar with one of the better audience recordings of the first Knebworth show will have heard a voice loudly proclaiming  “I can’t hear the bass, can you?” during The Song Remains the Same. That’s Neil.

Phil Tattershall.



Here’s the Alexandra Palace lowdown via Mike Tremaglio’s concert logs  which appeared in TBL issue 30.

Friday, December 22nd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 130 & 58 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Mellotron Solo/Thank You

 Once again, Chris Charlesworth of Melody Maker reviewed the concert in the “Caught in the Act” section of Melody Maker (January 6, 1973).  Charlesworth praised the group as “about as perfect a band as you could hope to hear.”  He wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about the venue, saying it was “never built to rock” and that the “atmosphere inside this giant hall seemed cold and forbidding…there was a diminishing sound that flew up into the rafters and returned as a disjointed series of echoes.  My guess is that only about half the fans heard the music as it should have been heard.”

Saturday, December 23rd, 1972 Alexandra Palace, London, England

Setlist (from 131 & 28 minute audience recordings):

Rock and Roll, Over the Hills and Far Away, Out on the Tiles (Intro)/ Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Dancing Days, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, The Song Remains the Same, The Rain Song, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco),  Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love Medley (incl. The Crunge, Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Boogie Chillun’, Let’s Have a Party, Heartbreak Hotel, I Can’t Quit You Baby, Going Down Slow), Heartbreaker

 The band played the second of two shows at the “Ally Pally.” The setlist is virtually identical to the prior evening, except the Immigrant Song, mellotron solo, and Thank You were all dropped from the set.  The Crunge, which had typically been played during Dazed and Confused, was incorporated into the Whole Lotta Love medley.


More Nostalgia -the way we were in 1971 – The Christmas Charts:

Here’s the UK and US charts as published this week in 1971. A double top for the new Led Zeppelin album. My, there’s some amazing albums lined up here… Imagine, Electric Warrior, Rod, Santana, ELP, Isaac Hayes, Wings, The Who and many more – I have a fair few of the albums on this chart in my collection for sure!









Dave Lewis Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn – Marc Bolan /T.Rex The Main Man compilation white label pressing on the Cambra label – very nice. A more appropriate find might have been All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth as last Thursday, a crown filling in my front teeth decided to fall out and a visit to the dentist on Friday duly followed (see below). There was an extra Vinyl Barn on Wednesday where a 1966 Patti Labelle album on the Atlantic UK orange and plum label and the Jethro Tull 1968 Love Story single backed with their A Christmas Song was duly purchased. You gotta keep it festive out there!

TBL 42 is a design wrap – we did the final corrections last Friday  and it now goes off to the printers – it should be ready to distribute in early to mid January. Many thanks again to Mick Lowe for bringing it all alive at StudioMix. We started on it in late September and it’s been full on in between one or two other things since then. 40,000 of text –if you love Led Zeppelin you will love this magazine. After this pic was taken it was a trip to the dentist and thankfully my filling and crown is back in though it needs some work on it ahead in the new year…so anyway – I am a bit more Brad Pitt in appearance than I was – sort of!


To the fine city of St Albans last Saturday  – and a bit of a story:

I called in at the always excellent Empire Records where it was great to see TBL product in such good company. Whilst in St Albans, the good lady Janet and I visited the St Albans Christmas market. Janet purchased a candle from one of the stalls. Alas, on Sunday afternoon when she opened it, the bottom part of the candle where the batteries insert was missing. The market seller had forgotten to put it in the bag. With the market finishing on Sunday we had no time to go back. However, in a real long shot, I called Empire Records and spoke to Eddie, one of the staff. I explained our predicament and asked if there was any way he could nip to the market and visit the stall we purchased it from and explain to the stall holder the problem with the hope he would remember us. This was asking a lot on a busy pre Christmas Sunday for the shop. Eddie very kindly said he would do that. An hour later he rang to inform us all had gone well. Eddie had found the stall, the guy remembered and promptly handed over the missing part of the candle. Result! Eddie said he would leave a note for manager David to post it on to us the next day. It arrived on Thursday. Now that is what I call the spirt of Christmas…

Empire Records…not just a great shop but pretty wonderful staff too… if you are in the St Albans area – be sure to check it out.

The last few days have been taken up with keeping up with pre Christmas orders, frequent trips to the post and generally getting things organised in preparation for the next set of TBL initiatives. There’s a lot to get stuck into in the new year with January already looking well busy with TBL issue 42 to get out on the streets. More on all this soon…

On the player this week – Phil Spector’s Christmas Album, The Beatles’ Christmas Album, Motown Christmas (thanks JP!) George Martin Across The Beatle Track ( superb 1964 orchestral album of Beatle hits) Bob Dylan The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert, The Rolling Stones Lonesome And Blue plus The Rolling Stones Stray Cats compilation – this is a special double album of Stones odds and ends  – it’s part of the recently released mega expensive Rolling Stones Mono vinyl box set – I managed to acquire just the extra album in a split box via eBay- top result!

Also on – Led Zeppelin Southampton 73 (remembering that second memorable viewing of them at Ally Pally 44 years back) plus Slade Sladest and Mott The Hoople Greatest Hits the latter pair guaranteed to brighten any seasonal party -you know it!

So this is nearly Christmas Eve…

santa one NEW2

As ever, it always has that air of expectancy around it as we all get ready to bring the draw bridge up and retreat for Christmas Day. We will all be all here on Christmas Day with nary a thought for this thing called Led – at least for a day!  Sam came back from London on Tuesday and is with us until next Tuesday. We then see her off from London on January 2 when she travels to Sydney that evening commencing a six month secondment wit her job.

Adam is already back from Uni until early January – so it’s very nice for us all to be back together for a few days. Here’s a pic of a fairly relaxed TBL editor with the good lady Janet attired in our Christmas jumpers…you gotta love’ em!

Christmas is always a time for reflection and I am sure like me, you’ll be remembering loved ones not around to share the Christmas season. That will be particularly poignant this year for us here as we will be greatly missing Janet’s mum Betty who sadly passed away earlier in the year.

As I always observe at this time of year, amongst all the commercial hype – this is the season’s true meaning. Reflecting on those no longer around for whatever reason and seeing and thinking of family, friends and people who make our respective lives revolve in the way they do.

For me, that includes many of my very good friends here and a whole host of people from far and wide, who once again over this past year, have given time and support to make TBL what it is –and of course the subscribers and purchasers of the TBL magazines and books these past twelve months.

I’ll be raising a glass or two in the coming days in acknowledgment of the amazing and inspiring community that surrounds the Tight But Loose magazine, books, web site and Facebook/Twitter pages…

I wish you all a hopeful, peaceful and Merry Christmas.

Dave Lewis – December 23, 2016

Until next time – have a great Christmas …

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:
The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out.

And follow TBL/DL on Twitter.

And finally..

YouTube clip:

A Led Zeppelin Christmas:



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  • Byron Lewis said:

    Phil Tattershal’s experience of trying to capture for eternity a one off event is a joy to read. There are lots of stories in past editions of TBL relating to efforts to capture on film/tape which I find fascinating. Too young to catch the ’75 Ealrls Court gigs, I recall the Pink Floyd 1980 gigs and by that time there seemed to be a death sentence hanging over anyone who even considered the thought of “stealing” an image or soundbite. Fast forward to this year and not many people in the audience of David Gilmour didn’t have their iPhones trained on the stage. Robert Plant at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham was spoiled for me by the guerilla actions of the ushers screaming at people to switch off their phones. Perhaps the most harrowing experience was seeing a chap manhandled out of a Van Morrison gig at Hay on Wye by Vans own security staff.
    Lets hope we all get an opportunity to ‘steal’ images/sounds of Jimmy et al in 2017.
    Thanks again Dave.

  • Peter said:

    I don’t do FB anymore but I was always blown away that you’d wish me a Happy Birthday, meant a lot G’vnor 🙂 You’re a shimmering star in the cosmos of Zep, important in your writing as gravity, fusion, and light… I better stop now with the platitudes otherwise I’ll post The Galaxy song… too late… have a wonderful one friend 😉

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Very sad news indeed…

  • VHP said:


    its Christmas Eve and I am really sad to hear that Rick Parfitt died today. Some of the first records I ever bought were there singes by Status Quo such as Down Down & Caroline.

    Condolences to his wife, family, friends and (like me) Quo fans everywhere.

    I was lucky enough to meet Rick at the Le Mans 24h race about 15 ish years ago. I apologised for bothering him, thanked him for the music and asked him for his autograph for a lady who I worked with back then as she was a huge fan of the Quo. He was a perfect gent and duly obliged. I shook his hand and thanked him. He gave me a lovely smile and said no problem.

  • Bill Highland said:

    Merry Christmas Dave, thanks for the great work throughout the year

  • Graham Rodger said:

    Merry Christmas to you and the family Dave, thanks for putting-in so much hard work this year for the benefit of the Zep community, we really appreciate it..!

  • Mark Williams said:

    All the best for Crimble Dave. Thanks for the continued superb coverage. Let’s just hope for some JPJ and/or JP action in 2017 !

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Peter many thanks!

  • Peter said:

    Thank you Dave for everything you do. Happy belated Winter Solstice and here’s to a pantheist future

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