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12 February 2010 6,110 views 5 Comments


For once the spotlight has been away from Zeppelin slightly here, as I got down to initial research for the feature I am collating to mark the 40th anniversary of the Who’s Live At Leeds album.  It’s already turning out to be some story –I spoke with one of the Ents committee members at Leeds University who was involved in organizing the gigs there in the 1970s including the historic Who show on Valentines Day all of 40 years ago. He had some great tales from the times including seeing Zep at Leeds in the January of 1970 a few weeks before The Who. More on this to follow.


The kid was alright: DL’s leap of  faith-The Who Shepperton Studios May 25 1978  

All this Who research nicely coincided with their half time performance at the Super Bowl.  Their 12 minute medley hit the mark spot on and combined with some stunning lighting effects, made for a very impressive performance. An example of heritage rock at its best. And a stark reminder that The Who pretty much wrote the book when it comes to anthemic rock songs.   


With Valentines Day nigh on upon us, it put me in the mood to have a trawl through the more romantic melancholy moments of the Zep related catalogue. So much so I compiled a 40 track playlist that randomly sequences the more wistful Zep, Page & Plant moments –ie:  Tangerine, Moonlight In Samosa, Wonderful One, Greatest Gift, That’s The Way, When I Was A Child, Like I’ve Never Been Gone, Ten Years Gone, Come Into My Life, Down By The Seaside, Stick With Me Baby, Blue Train, I’m Gonna Crawl, Heart In Your Hand, Thank You, The Rain Song, Song To The Siren, Going To California, In The Light, I Believe, Ship of Fools, Sea Of Love, Please Read The Letter, Our Song, All My Love, etc etc . Late night listening with the lights laid low.   

Guaranteed to put the lady in the mood for love. If that doesn’t work I’ll have Frank Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours, Dusty Springfield In Memphis, David Bowie’s Young Americans and Rod Stewart’s Night On The Town (side 2) albums on hand – all of those rate as smooch worthy in the extreme.    

On the other hand, there’s always that incendiary Zep Nassau 1975 Valentines Day show to liven thing up…


Wolves 1—0 defeat of the not so mighty Spurs on Wednesday night was the first thing on the agenda of the Black Country musician I interviewed yesterday for the next TBL magazine. He was a happy man for many reasons. More on this to follow. 


Tonight I’ll be in attendance at the launch of my life long friend Dec Hickey’s book on New Order at the local night club The Pad.

I’ve known Dec since I was 17 and amongst many other things, will be forever in his debt for queuing all night for my Block AA, Row B Seat 8 ticket for the May 24th show at Earls Court.

His passion for the band New Order (formed out of the remnants of Joy Division following the death of Ian Curtis) in the early 80s knew little bounds and he saw them countess times before they broke big nationally with Blue Monday etc. His reminisces from that period have been compiled into a magnificent concert file diary style limited edition deluxe large format book titled  From Heaven To Heaven – New Order Live 1981 -1984.


I was not at too many New Order gigs myself, being busy at the time chasing around the country in pursuit of a certain former long haired singer, then residing in a jump suit and ballet pumps and often appearing on a stage that looked like a block of cheese. However, I was always interested in what Dec and the other members of the Bedford New Order crew were up to.


I did attend one of the first New Order gigs staged by Dec at the nearby Bedford Boys Club in March 1981. As I am quoted as saying in the book, this was a whole different ballgame to the big rock star trip I was used to. New Order’s set that night was just 40 minutes long – that was the time allocated to one number in the Zep days, and the sight of bassist Peter Hook casually hanging out by the stage before the show was also a bit shocking. I never saw Jimmy doing that! Yes the times they were a changing.


I described the show on that night as ‘atmospheric’’ and there was little indication back then that within a couple of years, I’d be racking out hundreds of copies of their monster hit 12 inch single Blue Monday in WH Smith, or that they would hold the number one spot in the UK charts with the England World Cup song World In Motion the same week my daughter Sam was born –all of which incredibly came to pass.

Today New Order take up a lasting place as important pioneers of the electro- dance movement. This chronicle of their early days limited at the moment to just 100 copies is a fascinating look at their development at very close quarters.


The book also includes a great story of when a Bedford soccer eleven went up to play a New Order eleven in Manchester in the summer of 1984. I was in goal and we lost a keenly contested match 1-0.

Here’s a team photo of what might be described now as players and WAGS (wives and girlfriends to you) from that day. Your TBL editor and newly acquired wife are squatting on the bottom right hand side. I’m pretty certain I’m wearing a Principal Of Moments tour t shirt.


There will be plenty of faces from our past at the launch tonight and Peter Hook himself will be on hand for a question and answer session and DJ set.

Hey they might even play Big Log as special Valentines weekends treat…


Cue romantic guitar opening:

‘’My love is in league with the freeway, its passion will ride as the cities fly by’’

The 1980s revival starts here…

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  • Ian Taylor said:

    Boss /Dobber… I was there too, pre WHS days. Just received the copy from Dec.. and was that how it was back then.. approaching 30 years, But now I dont look like the one fro Depeche Mode… take care Ian.

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Many thanks for those comments – fully respect your views on Joy Division who remain a very enigmatic band. Peter Hook was on great form at the book launch – he signed my book with the words ”Great days!” and seemed very proud of the legacy he and his band(s) have created. (DL)

  • Hiroshi said:

    Let me tell you this; here is another Joy Division/New Order fan in the Zepdom — Japan of all places. Being in Japan, my concert experiences of New Order’s live performances are few and far between, mere humble seven times between 1985 and 2005 (and one Revenge gig in 1991). After all, they toured Japan only twice, in 1985 and 1987, as well as two festive appearances in 2001 and 2005.

    That said, I followed them through their entire second Japanese tour (Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya). I had a brief chat with late Rob Gretton, their legendary manager, by the sound board after the Osaka show. I approached Peter Hook who, to my great surprise shared with Dave, was sitting on a floor seat before the show at the Nagoya City Public Hall (where Zep played in 1972, and Robert Plant, 1984), giving instructions to the stuff members on the stage, walkie-talkie in hand, only to be rewarded with an indifferent word, “I’m busy.” I attended one of their handful gigs in the 90’s, the MEN Arena in Manchester, Dec. 28, 1998.

    I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that, as a vinyl released in 1979, Unknown Pleasures meant much more to me than the patchy In Through The Out Door album. It still does (Sorry, Dave!).

    And of course, in 1980, Ian Curtis’ death shook me as much as John Bonham and John Lennon’s did.

  • Chris Wright said:

    Finally caught up with The Who’s half-time extravaganza. How great to see two of rock’s elder statesmen celebrating their back catalogue in such style. Their best material, and there’s a lot of it, sounds better each passing year. Inevitably, it all brings you back to wishing that Percy could be more comfortable, more of the time in his old musical clothes. But then I got to thinking a bit deeper about that. Though full of glorious and unprecedented heights, the latter Zep years were full of personal trauma and ultimate tragedy for Robert, losing his son and then a dear fellow band member in close succession. One has to wonder how much that plays a part in his seeming reluctance to revisit the Page/Plant back catalogue on anything approaching a regular basis? I’ve never seen that suggested before, but you could understand such a reaction.

  • Gary Wade said:

    yes world in motion, sam and josh can always say they were born to a great record.
    love the fashions, those vests were interesting on girls!

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