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3 October 2012 4,307 views 3 Comments

Countdown to the Celebration Day…13 days to go.

To mark the impending momentous worldwide screening of the Led Zeppelin Ahmet Ertegun 02 reunion concert on October 17th, we are counting down to the day with a daily Celebration Day Newsletter post. This will feature relevant news and updates plus the TBL Countdown Collection – a daily celebration of Zep moments, memories and artefacts.


The excitement level of the Celebration Day film upped yet another level on Monday morning with the announcement of the four city premieres.

Here in the UK a limited amount of tickets have been made available for fans for the October 12 premiere at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. It’s been great to hear the many reports of fans across the UK who have managed to purchase tickets for this – we managed to do so here and a big contingent of the TBL crew aim to make it along – we of course look forward to seeing all that can make it along to what will be an epic evening. Details of a pre filming TBL pub meet will follow.

Prior to the debut UK screening, Celebration Day will make its U.S. debut at the historic Ziegfeld Theater in New York’s theater district on October 9. Before the premiere,  John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant will be joined by Jason Bonham for a press conference at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  If you are attending these events, we welcome your feedback reports to the usual email (

Ultimate Classic Rock have announced a competition to win a trip for two to attend the world premiere of  the Celebration Day’ concert film on Oct. 9 in New York City — complete with airfare, hotel, movie tickets and spending money — courtesy of Ultimate Classic Rock and Omniverse Vision.

Details here:


On this day in 1969 Led Zeppelin commenced a low key one-week tour of Holland and Scandinavia.

 October 3rd, 1969 – Circustheater, Scheveningen, Holland

Support Act: Steamhammer

Blues-rock band, Steamhammer, supported Led Zeppelin at this show.  Steamhammer had been Freddie King’s backing band of choice when he toured Great Britain.

 Steve Davy Steamhammer bass guitarist recalls…

”The Circustheater at Scheveningen was the first date .It was a very modern round dome shaped building which is now mainly used for classical concerts.The dressing room even had a speaker on the wall so you could hear what was going on out front. In a seaside town with a pier it didn’t seem an ideal location for a big gig and the hall did only half fill in the evening.

Zeppelin’s equipment had been set up behind a curtain on the stage to the rear of us. When Steamhammer assembled on the stage and were about to kick off the set John Bonham went behind the curtain and decided to test his drum kit. For about three minutes there was a tremendous of crashing drums as he gave a mini drum solo in his usual heavyweight style. We wisely decided to delay our start to let him finish!”

Text taken from a forthcoming feature in the TBL magazine. With thanks to Mike Tremaglio

BIG JIM SULLIVAN 1941 – 2012

All here at TBL are sad to hear of the death of legendary session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan age 71. Big Jim was a huge influence on the young Jimmy Page when he himself entered the London recording session scene in the early 60s. They were often called in to assist on the same session. He also worked on many sessions with John Paul Jones.

Big Jim Sullivan real name James Tomkins, started his career in 1959 as a member of Marty Wilde’s band.

He helped future Deep Purple icon Ritchie Blackmore learn to play guitar and also started Yes and Asia guitarist Steve Howe on his road to success. He recorded tracks for 55 number one hits, starting with Frankie Vaughn’s Tower of Strength in 1960 and ending with Pilot’s January in 1975.

In between times he worked with George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Alvin Stardust, the New Seekers, Thunderclap Newman, Angel, Love Affair, Long John Baldry, Marmalade, the Tremeloes, Jet Harris and and Tony Meehan plus many others.

He also appeared in two of the UK’s biggest-ever novelty hits: Rolf Harris’ Two Little Boys and Benny Hill’s Ernie. He was known as a technological innovator, pioneering the use of the talkbox.

Sullivan built his network of connections after being hired by Wilde at the 2 I’s Coffee Bar in London to join his backing band, the Wildcats, who appeared on impresario Jack Good’s TV show Oh Boy. He was later the house guitarist on Top of the Pops and Ready Steady Go, and gave guitar lessons on the Bay City Rollers’ series Shang A Lang.

By the 1980s he had moved into ad jingles and film music, and in recent years toured as the BJS Duo with guitarist Doug Pruden. Earlier this year he was filmed for a documentary about pop producer Joe Meek.

He recently said: “My whole life is geared to play guitar. I play what I want when I want – and I hope the listener gets as much pleasure as I get. I’m a very lucky man: I’m living my life with my hobby as my profession.”

Here’s a link to a you tube clip of Big Jim talking about his session work with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones


Number 13 in the countdown to Celebration Day:

Today’s choice in light of the sad news of Big Jim Sullivan, is the original bootleg double album James Patrick Page Session Man. I purchased this when it first appeared in 1979. I saw it at the record fair last Saturday for around £15. It’s an excellent overview of Jimmy’s early session work with a few curios mixed in. Given the somewhat vague details of who played what and when on these sessions , it’s likely that dear Big Jim is also among the tracks on this superb collection.

Until tomorrow…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

October 3rd , 2012

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  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Yes Big Jim a great guy from the old school
    Session man – a classic….

  • Gary Davies said:

    The studio managers used to refer to the two top session guitarists of the day as ‘Big Jim’ and ‘Little Jim’ so as to make it clear who they needed for a particular session. I would describe Big Jim Sullivan as an unassuming guitar legend. His contribution was vast, but being a man behind the scenes for the most part, he will probably be never truly receive the recognition that he truly deserves. RIP big man.

    James Patrick Page Session Man – I have the very same album, and I played it all the time back in the late seventies, loved it. I was later gutted to learn that it wasn’t in fact Jimmy who played the lead on Micky Finn’s ‘Garden of My Mind’ which was my favourite track on the album!


  • stewart said:

    bumped into Jim a few times down Sussex way

    lovely chap, superb musician, RIP

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