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31 January 2020 1,470 views 8 Comments

Led Zeppelin 1 – it was 51 years ago this week.. to mark the 51st anniversary of the debut Led Zeppelin here’s some facts, figures and thoughts on it all…

January 20, 1969 – Led Zeppelin debut album released:

Despite often being attributed to either Sunday, January 12, 1969 or Friday, January 17, 1969, the correct “official” release date of the debut album might well have been Monday, January 20, 1969. As Mike Tremaglio flagged to me – this release date was referenced in an Atlantic Records memo accompanying white label advance LPs issued to radio stations by June Harris on December 30, 1968.

The album debuted on the Billboard charts at #99 on February 15, 1969 and peaked at #10 on May 17, 1969. It managed to stay in the top twenty LPs for 30 consecutive weeks, from March 8, 1969 through September 27, 1969

Many thanks Mike for that info.

Here’s one of the first reviews of the album:

January 25, 1969 – Press Review:

Go magazine (first album review):

Led Zeppelin (Atlantic): This is the new group that Jimmy Page has formed after the demise of The Yardbirds. Their first album is a blockbuster. The sound centers around hard, tough blues. You can’t help getting caught up in its excitement and drive. The one track on the album which really spotlights the group and what it’s going to do is Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. It’s a beautiful hard blues piece which has a mesmerizing quality. Led Zeppelin is something you shouldn’t miss.

Here’s my thoughts on how the album sounded on National Album Day. I selected this album as my choice to paly at 3.33pm on Saturday October 13 2018 as part of BBC’s National Album Day:



On on the player…

…thoughts on listening to Led Zeppelin I:

At two minutes, 43 seconds, this is a perfectly compact overture to set the scene. Bonham and Jones hold down a powerful and inventive rhythm section, and when the time comes, Jimmy flexes the Telecaster (played through a Leslie speaker to create that soaring effect) in a late Yardbirds-era fashion. From the onset though, it’s Robert Plant’s vocal that strikes home instantly. He executes all manner of vocal somersaults with the lyric but never loses control. Bonham’s intricate bass drum patterns, the rolling bass lines from Jones and Page’s fluttering guitar solo were all applied with a gusto that still completely overwhelms. Memories of the 02…

Within three minutes of this album playing we have an acoustic guitar – proof that this band were not going to be all about Marshall amplifiers. The tension here is tangible – the first flowering of light and shade – there would be much more to come…


Willie Dixon’s’ blues played with what was then a new found dynamism. The expansiveness of the whole sound here is still incredible. An early example of Jimmy’s mastery of the studio. From Jones’ swirling organ through Plant’s harmonica wailing to the point where Jimmy’s solo cascades around Bonzo’s stereo panned tom-tom attack, this is prime vintage Zeppelin. And the final incessant by-play between Page and Plant that leads out of the track is a another masterful production technique, and one that would be further emphasized on stage.

Straight into Dazed…based on Jake Holmes original composition. As we all know Jimmy and co were not adverse to borrowing a few licks here and there as much as they were often derivative it always came out sounding completely fresh. Again the interplay amongst them all is just breathtakingly….flippin heck they were good….

Turn over…side two…


Electric guitars, acoustic guitars and then church like Hammond organ and what an intro…

This showcases how important John Paul Jones was going to be – beautiful acoustic guitar overtones, incredible vocal, John Bonham so inventive in his playing…and that heavy chorus – not to mention some sublime pedal steel guitar – they just had everything….


The fade into this is another stunning moment. The melody on this Page virtuoso acoustic guitar instrumental owes more than a passing nod to a traditional folk song sung in the folk clubs by Anne Briggs. It was recorded by both John Renbourn, and Bert Jansch, The piece also featured a rare cameo appearance from tabla player Viram Jasani.

Bang….Communication Breakdown – the energy is just phenomenal – come on! Punk Rock before it was invented..
I will never ever forget them performing this in front of my very eyes as a surprise encore on the final night at Earls Court….

Crystal clear ambient sound here – John Bonham right upfront in the mix… Jimmy is just incredible …


That jazz intro is another moment as is Jimmy’s slashing wah wah – and then it’s off into all manner of fun…Oh Rosie ,The Hunter..phew!.


51 years on this album has lost none of its unique power. Led Zeppelin would go on to make more inventive and adventurous records but this first recorded statement is a blueprint for what would follow.

Playing it loud and proud this afternoon has been a cathartic experience – it re-emphasises why I spend so much time listening and writing about this musical phenomenon. The were,are and always will be the best. Playing Led Zeppelin I uninterrupted has been a joy and not a little moving- and that is what music can do to you..

It’s made me determined to listen to more records focused and uninterrupted…not easy of course in this mad busy old world …but as experienced in the last 45 minutes..something that is very good for the soul

Dave Lewis –

You can never have too much of a great thing:

Some of the Led Zeppelin I pressings I’ve accumulated over the years.

A truly iconic sleeve design and a truly iconic album – now all of 50 years old and sounding as fresh as ever…go and play it now and I think you will agree….

Dave Lewis – January  31.2020






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.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page

Robert Plant

John Paul Jones

Upcoming events:

February-March – Jimmy Page’s new book, “Jimmy Page: The Anthology,” will be released.
February 11 – Jimmy Page and Scarlett Sabet will be interviewed in London.
February 28 – Robert Plant’s vinyl singles box set “Digging Deep” will be released and he will be interviewed in London to celebrate its release.
March – The standard edition of Jimmy Page’s Sundragon amps will be released.
March 6 – Danny Barnes’ new album “Man On Fire,” which features John Paul Jones, will be released.
March 26-29 – John Paul Jones will perform a solo set as well as a second set as part of Sons Of Chipotle at the Big Ears music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee.
September 25-26 – The next John Bonham celebration event will be held in Redditch, UK.

Many thanks to James Cook.

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

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


TBL Archive Special: 

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot: Number Three & Four

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot Three:




Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains the Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/How Many More Times/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog/Communication Breakdown.

Something of lacklustre performance. The strain was showing with Jimmy, John Paul and Bonzo having risen very early and flown coast to coast (against the time changes) from Los Angeles to reach Greensboro in time. Robert, who flew in from Chicago, would probably have benefited from another day in bed. The show is now condensed even further by the removal of ‘The Wanton Song’ from the set list. Levee has also been dropped.

Chris Charlesworth remembers the aftermath:  “About five hundred fans attempted to storm the rear of the building, throwing broken bottles, stones and pieces of scaffolding. Three of the group’s five limousines were severely damaged, and the drivers of the other two – which were parked inside the building – wanted to take their cars away. Peter Grant wasn’t having that… oh no! He actually offered to buy them on the spot for cash, but after a ‘discussion’ the drivers had no alternative but to let him have them.

“The group and entourage had to make a very quick getaway within seconds of the final encore. Grant took the wheel of the first limo with the band and Richard Cole inside, and everybody else piled into the second. With a Police escort, sirens blazing, at speeds of up to 70 mph in a heavily built-up area, Grant led the way, driving through red lights and on the wrong side of the road.

“It was incredible to be involved in scenes like that… Peter was just unflappable. When we got to the plane he got out and kicked the car really hard. ‘Fucking useless pile of junk!’ he shouted. ‘Way off tune… my old Bently goes twice as fast!’ We all just stood there laughing… totally exhilerated by it all. Then we flew back to New York and the band checked in the Plaza. It was a very tiring day. Unforgettable!”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounded today: 

I have this recording on the Footstomping Graffiti double CD (No label). Noisy but fairly clear audience tape.

Lacklustre at times but still some inspired moments. Robert is clearly struggling which is evident in his between song patter -his voice is straining even when talking.  Jimmy takes a while to get in the swing but is well on it by No Quarter which now running at 16 minutes and heading for greatness (Jimmy’s finger is cool” says Plant defiantly at one point).

The new material goes down well with Trampled particularly vibrant. At 18 minutes, Moby Dick provides a rest for Page and Plant (”John Bonham Moby Dick – Mr Physical Graffiti!” How Many More Times has a few elements of Dazed creeping in. Stairway again proves it’s worth and is something of a saving grace. Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog and Communication Breakdown ( the latter with Jimmy thrashing the hell out of the wah wah pedal) provide a valiant encore finale…and valiant is a good description overall for another challenging performance, given the physical drawbacks they were experiencing.

TBL Led Zep 1975 Snapshot Four:




Set: Rock And Roll/Sick Again/Over The Hills And Far Away/In My Time Of Dying/The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song/Kashmir/No Quarter/Trampled Underfoot/Moby Dick/How Many More Times (inc. The Hunter – The Lemon Song)/Stairway To Heaven/Whole Lotta Love – Black Dog.

“Good evening! It’s our great pleasure to be just about back!” Plant’s opening comment sums up the gig quite accurately. The band were slowly returning to form.

”Tonight we intend to cover the spectrum of a lot of the varying music that we’ve been doing for the last seven years. As we go though this spectrum we want to include some of the new stuff from Physical Graffiti, the LP that comes out soon” (love Robert’s use of the word LP – so quaint).

Plant explains the problem with Jimmy’s finger and joked that… “The bone on his wedding ring finger is bust and that’s a real drag because if he was to get married now, he couldn’t get a ring on”. Bonzo was introduced tonight, as he would be many times on the tour, as “Mr Ultraviolence!”, a reference to the Clockwork Orange style suits that both he and his assistant Mick Hinton wore throughout the tour. This is preceded by Plant’s claim that John is ”The man who made Led Zeppelin a legend.”

Snapshot Listen – how it sounds now: 

From the double CD Just About Back – a slightly muffled audience tape but good for the time. The title deriving from Plant’s opening comments ”It’s our great pleasure to be just about back”. Just about back they are with the similar problems from Greensboro in evidence. This though is an altogether livelier showing – Page is particularly inventive on Over The Hills and despite the vocal range shortcomings, Plant attacks In My Time Of Dying and Kashmir with much verve. How Many More Times has it’s final delivery and it’s a solid free flowing performance. All roads would now lead back to the Garden as New York was the next stop off – and when it came to New York, well they were all no doubt aware that they had a reputation to maintain…


Summary: I’m with TBL contributor Andy Crofts view that the January 1975  Zep shows, though far from perfect, offer some quirky unusual set lists and performances. Here’s what Andy said in his piece on the tour in TBL 36- plus his ten notable moments listing from this period:

In my opinion Led Zeppelin’s  January 1975 performances have had a lot if unfair bad press. Musically the band  are fine, and they show us the kind of gig the band had in mind before the reality of touring the US in 1975 got the better of them. If they are rusty, they are also working hard, to put on a professional show each night. To my ear, these shows ‘cut the crap’ in the same way that they band would do – and stick to – in 1980. It makes for a refreshing listen and a fine contrast to the grandstanding that begins to take over once they reach Madison Square Garden in February….of which more next time.

Meanwhile, my advice is that you search out some of these January 1975 performances and prepare to be surprised that far from being overly sick again…Led Zeppelin were often on a very favourable night flight

Ten Notable Moments from January 1975:

Here are ten notable performances from January 1975 that demonstrate the band striving to give it their all after a lengthy period away from the stage……and despite some physical restrictions.

greens one

January 12th (Brussels): When The Levee Breaks.

Ok, it doesn’t quite work, but this is by far the best chance to hear this song live.

January 12th (Brussels): The Song Remains The Same

The drums are off at the beginning, but it soon settles down into a fast-paced and well-controlled version.

January 12th (Brussels): The Wanton Song

Another rare one. It’s a shame they dropped it. This version is strongly played and sung, and the solo – while varying from the album version – gets better the more I listen.

January 22nd (Chicago): How Many More Times

Probably the best version of this for 1975, and certainly the best sounding. Jimmy and Robert work together well here, just like the old days, a fact acknowledged by Robert at the end.

January 22nd (Chicago): Stairway To Heaven

The recording has a few glitches, but this is a fine version, with Plant making a big effort and a scorching guitar solo.

January 22nd (Chicago): Communication Breakdown

They didn’t play this much after January, replacing it with the more complex Heartbreaker. This is a strong, fun version with a funky Crunge-like middle section.

January 24th (Cleveland): No Quarter

I’ve picked this one because I really like the guitar solo; inventive and in places quite Floyd-like. The shorter versions of this song always pack more punch for me.

January 29th (Greesnboro): Whole Lotta Love/Black Dog

I couldn’t resist one from Greensboro. Whole Lotta Love is still a mere intro, but Black Dog is well sung, and Jimmy’s guitar is spot on.

January 31st (Detroit): Over The Hills And Far Away

Any version of this from 1975 is on the money, to be honest. I like this one for the solo; Jimmy isn’t flawless but he is energetic and inventive.

January 31st (Detroit): The Rain Song

A beautifully clear version, well played and sung.

Sources: these are the underground titles used as sources – note there are a fair few variations and differing versions of these dates on CD.

January 12th (Brussels) :  Belgian Triple

January 22nd (Chicago): Windy City Tapes Vol.3

January 24th (Cleveland): Ultravilence

January 29th (Greesnboro):. A Quick Getaway

January 31st (Detroit): Tune Up

Compiled by Andy Crofts – extract from TBL 36.

TBL Led Zep ’75 Snapshot – To be continued…


TBL Archive Special:

Seven nights with Led Zep in 1977


Led Zeppelin (on film) at the Granada Bedford January 1977.

The young DL gazes adoringly at the poster outside the Granada Cinema Bedford January 1977 – no prizes for guessing where this poster ended up – you got it – on my bedroom wall…

43 years ago this week  I was about to commence a seven night stint in the company of Led Zeppelin….or to be more specific their film The Song Remains The Same.

The newly released celluloid masterpiece was on general release and doing the rounds nationally and cue fanfare…had rolled into my home town of Bedford.

Yes Led Zeppelin alive on film in the quaint market town of Bedford for seven nights only and I needed to be there every night. Simple as that.

Now this event in the life of this then 20 year old Zep fanatic was big news. I’d already seen the film six times before Christmas, the first three nights in London including the premiere plus screenings in Cambridge.

Now I had the luxury of walking from my home in Dents Road to Bedford High Street every night for seven days to view it at the local Granada cinema. This long since knocked down theatre was a grand old building that alongside its cinema presentations was a stop off for the many pop group package shows of the 1960s. It played host to The Beatles twice and Jimi Hendrix. In April 1964 the seven year old DL witnessed his first ever gig there featuring The Dave Clark Five.

The whole week was a total blast as various friends and relations joined my then girlfriend Fiona (who I have kept in contact with over the years and met up with recently) and me in seeing just what all this Zeppelin film fuss was about. My good friends (and past Earls Court and future Knebworth companions) Tom Locke and Dec came along on the opening Sunday where we stayed for the 4pm and 7pm shows. Luckily there was no Wallbangers football match that day to get in the way.

No Monday morning feeling that week either. Absolutely not. A day in the WH Smith shop selling the records and tapes of choice to the Bedford public and then the nightly prospect of 137 minutes of Zep up on the big screen. It was pure heaven. Bedford Earls Court/Knebworth crew member Phil Harris was with us on the Tuesday night and another Bedford Zep fan and Wallbanger player Nick Crawley  came along as well. Dec was back on Wednesday and again on the Friday where we sat through the afternoon and evening screenings.

Dec was also with me a year later when we made two bus rides in driving snow to see the film at Western Favell in Northampton. Now that’s what I call comradeship!

Here’s the line up on the local cinema circuit for that memorable week of January 23,1977. With all the Zep screenings, there was no time to check out the double X sex bill!

On the Thursday my late Mum and late sister came along to find out just exactly what it was that so inspired the junior one of the family. A lovely touch. This week of weeks ended on the Saturday and not even a family marriage could get in the way. My cousin was getting married that day but we still managed to sneak out of the reception for two hours to attend the final showing (viewing number nine for the week!) By then the manager of the Granada had seen our many visits and gave us free tickets. We even made the local press putting the record straight about some errors in the local review.

It was an incredible week looking back and it set the year up a treat. I did actually go down with glandular fever not long afterwards which is another story for another day. What we all wanted of course, was to see Led Zeppelin back onstage –the nearest I got to them was the hour I spent at Heathrow Airport on May 17 as they flew out for the second leg of the US tour.

It was to be another two years before the glory of Knebworth.

In between all that I went on to see The Song Remains film around 30 times in UK cinemas from 1976 to 1979. It was the next best thing during their enforced absence. These excursions to see the film included the aforementioned bus ride out with Dec to Western Favell shopping centre near  Northampton on a snowy January night in 1978 and a late night showing in Luton when it followed a porn film – I kid you not!  I also saw it a fair few times at a small cinema near Wardour Street in London called The Essential. This was an art house cinema that regularly aired rock films of the day.

The arrival of the video age of course would soon make it much easier to view. I  invested in a bootleg copy in early 1981 – not of brilliant quality but it had to be had!

It can now be viewed at the click of a YouTube link – the thought that one day the footage would be easily accessible on a mobile phone would have seen astonishingly futuristic back in that memorable week of January 1977.

As much as it’s great to have such easy access to it – it will never be quite as rewarding or exciting as those seven trips I made into Bedford St Peters Street  during that week way back in 1977. It was like having the band live down the road available at will for a nightly fix. Seven nights in 1977…what a week that was…

Dave Lewis – January 31, 2020.


DL Diary Blog Update:

Update here: This via my Facebook page today:

I’ve not had the heart for posting much on Facebook recently – I needed some time out as we are having some tough times here.

On Monday at the hospital we saw the doctor for a consultancy. We hoped for some good news but it didn’t come. It was explained to us that Janet’s leg break at the neck of her femur bone is a very bad one and in the worst category and we face a very long and uncertain recovery over many months ahead – much longer than we originally anticipated.

The recovery process ahead is all very inconclusive – whilst we were told that things are going as expected so far, the doctor informed us there could be some other complications surrounding the break – none of this will become clear for another three months, so at the next consultancy he will tell us the progress or otherwise. This is set for late April. During the next three months Janet (as she has for the past seven weeks) cannot put any weight on her right leg. All this was a big disappointment to us and we are trying to process it all. It’s a waiting game at the moment and the uncertainty is both unsettling and all a bit frightening. It’s hard to see any light ahead at the moment.

As I said before, it’s heart-breaking seeing the lady I’ve loved so much for over 37 years not being able to do a lot of the things she loves due to her   limited mobility, not least doing the pre school deputy leader job she so loves. On the positive side, we have never been closer and we both know how much we need each other and are determined we will face all the challenges ahead with the deep love we have that gets us through the days .

My absolute priority is to do all I can to look after and care for this beautiful lady who so enriches my life –anything else is secondary. I’m so proud of how she is coping and dearly wish I could be as positive as she is – too often I get overwhelmed with it all and go into denial and I am not the man I want to be. I often feel like I am letting her and everyone else down. Janet is incredibly supportive of my issues and her understanding humbles me. She does tell me I am doing a fantastic job in looking after her.

It’s not all doom and gloom here and we do have a lot to be thankful for – we know there are many people worse off . With no bandage now, Janet can move around the house hopping on her walker frame  and we are getting through the domestic issues –I am an expert with the hoover now. We have been getting out now and then with Janet on her crutches though not far as she has to be very careful.

Janet’s upbeat attitude is infectious and we do have many a laugh out loud moment. Laughter and music has always been central in our lives and our relationship since we first got together in November 1982 (the week the Led Zeppelin Coda album was released) and despite everything that has happened in recent weeks, it still is.

We have had and continue to have, some incredibly support both close to home and far away –not least from Sam and Adam.

Unsurprisingly, this set back news has rocked my already fragile mental state. I have been really struggling these past few days. Looking beyond one day at a time is frightening and for someone who always had plans ahead, that is hard to deal with. I cannot undertake my usual TBL workload – that has all been parked and is not important as Janet’s care is my absolute priority.

My confidence and self-belief have been very low and it’s hard to face anybody. I am often in state of much anxiety. I do try so hard to be positive but I can slip back to being negative so easily, often in the space of a few minutes and it’s alarming when it happens. There’s no filter to how I react. I often over think it all and it does no good at all.

My referral for counselling at the doctors has not gone anywhere and I am as a matter of urgency, now pursuing some private therapy which I hope will help me and should commence very soon. I know some of my depression and anxiety is in deep rooted long held issues of rejection and recognition. I am trying hard to apply coping strategies to keep on track and avoid negative thoughts. I so want to regain the zest for life that I once took for granted. Doing some normal things like playing records, spreading the TBL/ music message on Facebook, updating the TBL website etc does take my mind off things a bit but having the motivation to do all that has not been forthcoming recently. I hope it will return soon to provide much needed inspiration.

Like I said, despite the setbacks, we do have a lot to be thankful for. However, the good lady Janet and I both know we need to be very patient in the coming months and hope and pray that the healing process takes its course.

So, as the inspiring Crosby, Stills ,Nash & Young song puts it ‘’We have no choice but to carry on’’ and we have to – hopefully with a strong and positive resolve to take on the coming weeks and months…

Thanks for listening…

Many thanks for all your support.

Much love from Dave and Janet xx

Dave Lewis – January 31, 2020

Until next time, have a great weekend

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

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  • Rich Farquhar said:

    Dave, took your advice on Led Zep 1, listening now and it continues to amaze, almost like hearing for the first time everytime. Could Zep 1 be the most varied of all the Zep albums? Or is it 3 or Physical Graffiti? My heart goes out to you regarding what you are personally dealing with. I dealt with something similar as I mentioned in my last message. Hang in there. I hope you can come out the other side. You seem like such and energetic, fun, positive person. I picked up the Robert Kirby Orchestrations disk, wow, what a pioneer and under-appreciated man of music and sound.

    All the best,

    Rich Farquhar
    Atlanta, GA
    T: @vinylhampton1
    Record Collector & Zep Fan for Life

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    nothing on that yet

  • Kevin Curry said:

    Hi Dave

    Do you have any information on forthcoming release of Live In Europe 1969 which is out on the 21st of February on Amazon

    Many thanks

    Kevin Curry

  • andrew R said:

    Dave inspirational words ref Led Zep 1 (Often overlooked by everything that came after
    but sonically still my go to lp whenever i need to remind myself what all the fuss is about.)
    Show that you may have doubts, it may be dark, but your creative spirit is alive and well.Janet needs you but so also does the whole Led Zep community .Keep the faith, keep the light burning, remain Tight but loose my friend.All the best going forward

  • gerald clothier said:

    hi dave,there is one thing that you have and janet have?….each other to lean on,together you WILL get through the bad times and will be looking forward to the good wishes to you both…..gerald

  • Larry said:

    Dave and Janet I’m sorry to hear that the recovery will be longer than hoped, but it’s heartening to read how you’re so supportive of one another and dealing with this as a team.

    As John Lennon sang in one of his best songs…one day at a time.

  • Hiroshi said:


    Tough times indeed. I am at a loss for words.

    Have you heard of Ren Harvieu, a young songstress from Salford? Just before her debut album was released in May, 2012, she broke her back in what she describes as a “freak accident”. After a 14-hour operation, Harvieu spent months recovering at the hospital. Despite the album reached no.5 on the British national chart, this incident had her lose momentum, along with the cancellation of her proposed Glastonbury appearance. Soon afterwords, the record company dropped her. Shit happens.

    Struggling through “some very dark years”, she has finally completed the recording of the long overdue sophomore album that is set for the release in early April, followed by the string of the UK concerts. Bad luck almost killed the career of this talented lady at the very moment her future looked all bright, but now she is standing on her feet again.

    Hopefully this could be a little comfort or inspiration for you and your good lady in the difficult times…

  • Ian in NZ said:

    I’m sure the fact it’s winter won’t be helping. Sending you sunny thoughts and best wishes from under a warm and blue sky in NZ. (Letting the sun beat down upon my face!)

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