Email This Post Email This Post
Home » Dave Lewis Diary, Featured, TBL News


25 July 2017 2,179 views No Comment

Led Zeppelin Then As it Was – At Knebworth 1979

To mark the forthcoming 38th anniversary of the Led Zeppelin Knebworth concerts I am relaunching the Then As It Was Led Zeppelin at Knebworth book.

The book is available at a bargain price of £10 plus postage and packing.

If you have yet to indulge here is a full background of the contents:

Led Zeppelin Then As it Was – At Knebworth 1979 Written and compiled by Dave Lewis.


The contents…

Hardback style book in the same size as the Feather In The Wind book with full colour design throughout. 256 pages across 13 chapters and 6 Appendix sections. Over 150 colour photos throughout the book – many of them rarely seen before -including Copenhagen warm up shots, soundcheck photos, crowd views, on stage photos and many more.

This extensive visual imagery really captures the atmosphere of the event and times. 120,000 word text including: Chris Charlesworth preface, state of play overview, original Dave Lewis TBL issue 3 text, extensive I Was There first hand recollections, full on stage transcriptions, Knebworth interviews, Knebworth Showco light and sound focus, Knebworth aftermath, American view by Larry M. Bergmann, and finally the Return to Knebworth 30 Years Gone chapter bringing the story full circle

All this plus extensive and fully illustrated appendix sections: Complete Copenhagen warm ups/Knebworth bootleg analysis and discography compiled by Graeme Hutchinson, memorabilia listings, statistics, playlist and an In Through The Out Door discography compiled by Nick Anderson. This is a total overhaul of the first edition with over 30,000 words of additional text and many more rare photos and memorabilia images.

  • Foreword by Ross Halfin
  • Introduction by Dave Lewis
  • Preface: How Could They Fail? by Chris Charlesworth
  • Chapter One: Led Zeppelin 1979: The State Of Play by Dave Lewis
  • Chapter Two: Led Zeppelin In The Evenings :Back! By Dave Lewis
  • Chapter Three: Led Zeppelin – The Copenhagen And Knebworth Concert Logs
  • Chapter Four: Led Zeppelin’s Blind Date: Seeing Was Believing by Dave Lewis
  • Chapter Five: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 : I Was There: Nostalgic recollections from out in the field (and from the Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen)
  • Chapter Six: Nineteen Hundred & Seventy Nine:Secrets Revealed, Memories & Perceptions Of Knebworth. A personal view by Larry M. Bergmann Jr.
  • Chapter Seven: The Pre & Post Knebworth Radio Interviews
  • Chapter Eight: The TBL Interviews: Aubrey Powell & Nicky Horne
  • Chapter Nine: Showco Inc: The Light & Sound of Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979
  • Chapter Ten: The Knebworth Aftermath by Dave Lewis
  • Chapter Eleven: Zep on the Town – November 1979 by Dave Lewis
  • Chapter Twelve: A Knebworth Postscript: Christmas 1979 – A fictional story?
  • Chapter Thirteen: Return To Knebworth – 30 Years Gone…by Dave Lewis
  • Appendix One : Led Zeppelin at Knebworth : The Bootleg Discography compiled by Graeme Hutchinson
  • Appendix Two: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth: The Memorabilia compiled by Dave Lewis
  • Appendix Three: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth : The Statistics compiled by Dave Lewis
  • Appendix Four: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth: The Playlist compiled by Dave Lewis
  • Appendix Five: In Through The Out Door: Worldwide Rarities Discography compiled by Nick Anderson
  • Appendix Six: Notes & Sources

Every book order is individually numbered and signed by the author.

In summary: Led Zeppelin Then As It Was – At Knebworth 1979 is a landmark book in the TBL publishing series that analyses the concert history of Led Zeppelin in greater detail than ever before.

If you were there back in 1979 …you will revel in reliving the memories…if you weren’t lucky enough to be…this is the opportunity to discover the full story surrounding the final remarkable on stage performances in their homeland of Led Zeppelin with John Bonham…

Ordering Details:

To order the book priced £10 plus postage go to the link below:

To order the Knebworth book plus the Feather In The Wind -Over Europe book as a bundle price at £18 plus postage for both books – go to the link below:

Book Extracts: Taken from Chapter Five: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 : I Was There:

Nostalgic recollections from out in the field:

They we there…

The mood was very friendly and people around us were offering us all kind of drugs – cocaine, grass, and even poppers they sniffed from small glass bottles. We politely declined but Ove countered by opening a tin of Swedish snus. This is a tobacco product similar to what the English call snuff, which is in a dry powder form and is sniffed up the nose. Snus however, is tobacco in a moist form which is placed under the upper lip.

A friend called Pepe and I each put a large pinch under our upper lip, to our neighbours’ great surprise.

“What is that drug?”, asked one of them.

“It’s called snus,” I replied, “it dates from the Viking Age.”

Word spread quickly about the Swedes with the mysterious drug. Suddenly there was a line of French, British and Americans eager to try this new high.

The hours rolled by and there were many fine performances on the main stage. But I was there to see Zeppelin and when the sun started to go down I knew it was time for Led Zeppelin to take the stage. Suddenly lights came up, and there they were on stage with Jimmy dressed in a blue silk shirt and white pants. Around his neck hung his legendary double-necked Gibson SG and he hit the first chord to “The Song Remains the Same” in the exactly the same way he did in Copenhagen. Later into the concert Robert Plant delivered two Presence racks: “Achilles Last Stand” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” both of which worked better on the big stage in Knebworth.

After over two hours, they completed their set with “Stairway to Heaven.” The lights went down but the fans continued to call for more. After more than 10 minutes of this, Robert Plant could be heard singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the stage and suddenly a spotlight picks him out. Behind him is John Bonham marching with a drum major’s stick. It was a great feeling to be singing along with nearly 200,000 others.

Suddenly there is the thunderous bang of a guitar cable being plugged into an already cranked-up amp and seconds later they launched into the best “Whole Lotta Love” I’ve ever heard followed by “Rock ’n’ Roll.” Two policeman who had stood near us throughout the concert could no longer hold back as they started dancing and waving helmets.

Christer Fahlström, Sweden


All these years on from Knebworth – it seems like only yesterday.  Back then I had just turned 18 years old, was fresh out of school having finished A-levels and enduring my first summer job doing shifts in the now long-gone Smiths Crisps factory in Stockport before going on to Birmingham University at the end of that long hot summer (well at least that’s how I remember it).  I hadn’t really discovered Zeppelin in 1975 and wouldn’t have been allowed to go as far a field as Earls Court, so Knebworth was the first chance that myself and my two mates had to see the band.

The imminent arrival of Zeppelin was the cue for me to open my last remaining booze of the day – in those innocent teenage days we’d probably downed no more than a couple of cans of cheap lager each during the day but this was the cue to hit the hard stuff – a bottle of red wine – and that was the start of my chemical-induced Zeppelin experience!  Spurred on by the sheer excitement of the unfolding gig, my intake spiralled out of control and by the time Jimmy Page picked up his violin bow and began his long-anticipated laser-strewn guitar solo I was on another planet.  As far as we were concerned the critics who gave that August 4th show mixed reviews must have also been somewhere else.

As is often the case I don’t really remember particular details, not surprising really, but in my mind it is still that it was probably the most memorable concert of my life – and still the one that I get the most people saying, “Wow, you were actually there for Zeppelin at Knebworth.” But I do recall thinking that the set list was just about perfect with personal highlights being ’Nobody’s Fault But Mine’, ‘Ten Years Gone’, ‘Hot Dog ‘ (yes I mean it), ‘Achilles Last Stand’ and, of course, ‘Rock And Roll’.

By the time the final notes of ‘Heartbreaker’ had died away we were all ready to just lie down and recover but it was only then that our last minute chauffeur announced that we had to leave immediately because he would be in trouble with his girlfriend if he didn’t get back before morning.  So instead of being allowed to gently sleep off the alcohol our young bodies were entirely unused to we were frog-marched on extremely unsteady feet back to the car.  All I remember is feeling that we were completely surrounded by fire, as various campfires had sprung up on the site during and after the show.  I remember the walk back seemed to be along ridiculously narrow paths and involved crossing a wooden bridge over a river that many people just decided to wade across but really it’s all a bit of a blur.

The journey back was a nightmare with our first real hangovers kicking in but it didn’t matter – we were kicked out of the car at about 6am and crawled into bed thinking we had witnessed history.

 Peter Anderson, Stockport  UK


campsite 1

Resigned to the fact that we would be a long way from the stage, we raised our flag with pride, and shortly afterwards, one of the guys we’d met in Wales turned up as promised.  With our tiny patch of ground secured, I took the opportunity to go walkabout and inspect the facilities, which were primitive but yet to become disgusting.  On the way back I noticed that two sections of the four inch yellow hose carrying water across the top of the site had come apart.  A high pressure jet of water was spurting out and a small river was already flowing down the field towards the stage.  I looked for volunteers to help me wade in and effect a repair, but, strangely, none of the other festival-goers were interested in an early morning cold bath.  Heroically, I braved the torrent, steamed in and managed to join the two hoses. When I got back to our flag, the rest of the gang seemed less than enthusiastic about sharing their groundsheet with a soaked and bedraggled (self proclaiming) ‘saviour of the festival’.

As the opening bars of Supertramp’s ‘Take The Long Way Home’ echoed across the site ‘Charlie’ and ‘Kenny’ (not their real names) spied a transaction of questionable legitimacy taking place nearby between a couple of black guys and two Hell’s Angels.  The deal done, the Angels walked away but ‘Charlie’ and ‘Kenny’ caught the black guys and asked with some excitement ‘‘Them Angels dealing?’’  The response was positive but the uncontained delight of my two friends brought about a swift change of mind on the part of the black guys. ‘‘No, wait, it’s us’’, they yelled as C&K turned in pursuit of the grease and leather. ‘‘We said it was the Angels because we thought you were the filth man.’’  It was the first time I’d heard Authority described in this manner. ‘Pigs’, ‘Fuzz’, ‘Old Bill’ were familiar, but ‘Filth’ was a new one on me and I was a little shocked at the lack of respect afforded to the guardians of the law by the drug-dealing community.  Ah, the innocence of youth!  ‘Charlie’ and ‘Kenny’ subsequently settled down to pass the time in a zonked out and relaxed way.

The day was filled with a succession of tedious performances from bands that were of little or no interest to ninety-five percent of the crowd.  In different circumstances, I’m sure that some of the sets would have been hugely entertaining, but this really wasn’t the time or place for the likes of Chas and Dave to blossom into festival mega-stars.  I remember thinking at the time that most of the punters would be far happier listening to Zeppelin albums over the PA.

Eventually, our four lads appeared and did their two-and-a-bit hours that are too well documented to warrant further description here. (But if anyone’s interested, I thought it was fantastic.  ‘No Quarter’ was a real high point for me).  During previous twenty six hours, I’d suffered sleep deprivation, asphyxiation, sunburn, dehydration, been soaked to the skin and trodden on (trampled underfoot!).  And towards the end of the set I remember thinking that although this was a great show, I’d never do it again, well, not for anyone other than Led Zeppelin anyway.

We gathered our belongings (minus the angle iron which nobody had the energy to carry) and trudged our way back to the car which took hours to find. Worse still, it was blocked in by hundreds of other cars so another night under the stars without food or drink was enjoyed. I eventually arrived home at 7:30am on Sunday morning proudly clutching the flag, the ghetto blaster, two (no longer blank) cassette tapes, the camera and a roll of exposed film.

If anyone wants to go back to Knebworth for an  anniversary reunion, I’ll happily provide the flag and the ghetto blaster (although someone else can carry the angle iron).

Phil Tattershall,  Cockermouth Cumbria UK


The run of shows at Earls Court in 1975 was a watershed in my life and the first time I got to see the band live.  Unfortunately, I had to wait over four years before my path would cross again with the best band in the world.

Knebworth was certainly a bigger event in every sense of the word.  Anticipation for me, seemed even greater this time – having experienced it at Earls Court, I wanted it again!  The first show was on the Saturday 4th. I arrived on Friday night to find…bedlam.  What can only be described as a medieval village spread before us.

The gates were already straining under the pressure – gates that were a mile away from the main arena entrance!  There was a long queue running around the perimeter fence, intended to keep people out.  We found a hole in this fence, and crawled through it only to be faced with a massive cornfield with a path running through it, which was there for the crowd to use.  Men with dogs were patrolling this field, and searchlights from the main arena shone like in a POW camp!  We had to make sure that we had a good view for the show, so we crawled on our hands and knees through the stalks.  We would bump into people coming the other way, all with the same idea.  It struck me that it was like a prison escape, only we were trying to get in, not out!  We’d share strategies and game plans, and sometimes we had to stay deathly quiet as a man and dog approached – it was nerve-wracking, I can tell you!

At around 3:00am we figured that we were near enough to the actual entrance of the main arena and settled down for the night as the gates, some 1200 metres behind us, weren’t due to open until 9.00am.  At 4.00am we woke with a start – they had opened the gates early and tens of thousands of people were streaming towards the arena entrance!  We panicked and ran across the field in fear of losing our advantage.  In doing so, I lost track of all the people I was with, and did not see them again until early Sunday morning.

So there I was at 5.30am on Saturday  August 4th in a field.  Zeppelin did not appear until 9.40pm that night.  Can you imagine the torture?  The hell?  It took one hour just to get to the toilets!  All the support acts were superfluous to the main event.  What did break the ice was at about 1.00pm the DJ saying “…in about eight hours’ time we will hear this!”, and putting on ‘Rock And Roll’.  The whole field erupted!

By 9.30pm the atmosphere was like a thunderstorm.  At 9.40pm those familiar chords from ‘The Song Remains The Same’ rang out, the curtain went back and instantaneously we had a picture of Jimmy on the huge video screen.

The rest is history.  Most of the show is a blur to me, though I remember at one point during ‘No Quarter’ where everyone wanted to sit down, and I refused – I couldn’t see.  I turned around and shouted “If you lot think I waited four years to see Led Zeppelin and now I’m going to “sit down”, you can fucking forget it!!”  On hearing this, one thousand people promptly stood up – what a moment!  During the actual show it was hard to know what to actually look at – the band or the screen behind them. The set washed over me.  They were magnificently loud.  No one wanted them to leave.  The end was very emotional after a revamped ‘Whole Lotta Love’, and the crowd breaking into the football chanting.

Mark Harrison,  Leighton Buzzard UK


I was pissed off!  Sitting on the back of the bus on the way home from school I was a victim of parental logic.  Although acquaintances of mine were going to the Zeppelin show, my parents said that if I was to be allowed to go it had to be with someone they knew.  After all, how would I, a fifteen year old cope on his own amidst the drugs and naked debauchery that was the Knebworth Festival? (I had my own ideas!).

The bus trundled on.  I was aware of a sullen face behind me. His name was Dan and he was in the school year below mine – a mere baby!  How uncool.  I knew him mainly as a face on the bus, nothing more.  However, in a depressed mood I asked him what his problem was. “Can’t go and see Zeppelin” he said.  “Can’t afford it”.  Alarm bells rang.  I had a Saturday job, so I had the cash – in fact enough for two tickets.  I thought to myself “If I put up with this uncool kid from the year below.  I could see Zeppelin live!”  Perhaps I could swing it with my parents.  I proposed the solution to my new found friend – the collective mists of depression began to clear.  After arriving home, a few phone calls from mission control (my mum) confirmed we were clear for take off.  An hour later courtesy of Harlequin Records, Brent Cross, a Knebworth ticket for August 4th was mine!

To the big day.  I remember being outside the main entrance gates at Knebworth.  There was a police van parked, surrounded by hundreds of fans waiting for the gates to be opened.  The police got out and could be seen wandering around.  As they did a line of blokes appeared, kneeling, trousers down, waddling up to the police van – as a lookout peered around the corner of the van, each took it in turn to piss down the side of the police van. Hilarious!

About 3am on August 4th the main gates ‘opened’ – in fact they were pushed down.  We were off, marching towards the main arena.  Obviously when we got there all the turnstiles were closed.  People began to push and shove.  As more people from the back arrived the pushing got worse.  I remember a girl in front stumbling and before you knew it, she was covered by feet.  I remember her screaming and then being pulled up and carried over the crowd to safety – she had a badly hurt arm.  People were angry and frightened, the shoving and swaying continued. By now I was very hot – I remember things going very fuzzy and hearing a ringing in my ears – my mate grabbed me as I slipped down.

Suddenly, slits of light appeared in the fences, Thank God, the turnstiles were being opened.  I handed the two halves of the Zep ticket over.  Once inside we didn’t make a rush to the front, we were too shell-shocked.  There were many people just wandering around – trying to get some air, cooling out.  Looking back it was a dangerous situation.  Thankfully we all survived to see a memorable show.

Postscript: Thirteen years later on May 16th 1992 I got married.  To my right at the alter was my best man Dan – that’s right, the boy from the bus.  He even joked in his best man’s speech that he couldn’t remember whether he had paid me back for that Zeppelin Knebworth ticket.  A year later I returned the favour at his wedding.  And I still don’t think he ever paid me!

Dave Linwood, Potters Bar UK


“Do you have any tickets for Led Zeppelin at Knebworth?” I asked the assistant at Virgin Records, Coventry.

“How many do you want?” “Why do you want to see those has-beens?”

He asked as he produced a wad of tickets from behind the counter.  Unlike the drummer of the band whose ticket I now held in my hands, the drummer that I had purchased my Knebworth ticket from was the drummer in a local, soon to be big 2 tone band called The Specials. Hence his musical judgement!  And so The Special Ticket as it became known was now in my hands.  I was going to see Zep! My childhood heroes, finally.

The build up was phenomenal, everyone from school that was going spoke about it all the time and I remember listening to every album almost every day before Knebworth so that I was fully prepared for the concert I had waited forever to attend. I remember reading with increased excitement about the secret Copenhagen gigs in Sounds the morning before I was due to catch a coach with all my school mates for Knebworth and hoping/ pleading that they would play something from Presence when I saw them on August 4th.

After an early meet in Coventry on the Friday, the coach full of 16 & 17 year olds made its way to Knebworth and on arrival at the A1 site we decided to travel the rest of the way on foot as it was so busy.  We pitched our tents towards the middle of the site, made a fire and settled in to our first festival experience.  The atmosphere was incredible that afternoon, and we met loads of people anticipating this gig and one lucky school mate who had seen, met and heard them as they rehearsed earlier in the week.

I remember the merchandise finally going on sale late in the afternoon with huge queues.  Choosing the Swan Song T-shirt, buying the programme, badge, poster, anything Zeppelin that was on sale.  I don’t recall much after that until Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show filled the campsite and the cheers when anything Zeppelin related was mentioned or played. I do remember hearing everyone shouting “Wally!” and wondering what on earth this meant – was it a new drug?, a Zep reference that I had missed somewhere along the way? The title of their new album? (Editors note:The name is said to be inspired by someone calling for a lost dog at the 1971 Weely Festival near Clacton in the UK, others claim it began at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival –the tradition quickly caught on and random shouts of “Wally” would  be heard at rock concerts all over Britain during the 1970’s.)

We didn’t get much sleep that night – the atmosphere was electric and the noise was incessant.

I dropped off for a couple of hours and the next thing was being woken about 3.30am by my mates who were still up saying that the iron gates were down and everyone was trying to get in.  I remember it was absolutely pitch black, the only way of navigating was to follow the next person or voice in front through the fields until there was nowhere to go as we were outside the main gates.  It must have been 4 or 4.30am.  The crowd was heaving, squashing and it was a miracle looking back that no one got hurt. We seemed to wait for ages – more shouts of “Wally”, then floodlights, and finally a huge cheer as they let us in. I produced my ticket and ran for a spot to sit.

We were in and dawn was upon us so we claimed our place not too far back from the stage, laid down our weary heads and waited till morning.

Nicky Horne woke me to the sounds of Supertramp’s ‘Breakfast in America’ and as I awoke from my slumber I couldn’t believe the size of the stage, the fact that the sun was shining and how many people there were. It was immense.  Far bigger than any event I had ever been to.

I must admit I was not excited by any of the names on the line-up.  I was hoping that there would have been a similar sort of standard to the year before with Genesis, Tom Petty and Devo all thrown on that same bill.  Even The Who two weeks later at Wembley managed to attract The Stranglers, Nils Lofgren and AC/DC on to the same bill. How come Zep’s bill was short of a famous act or two?

Chas & Dave –“‘Gertcha” and “Rabbit” and “Last of the New Wave Riders” from Todd Rundgren are my only real memories of songs played by other artists. I even fell asleep during “Commander Cody”.  Over the course of the day, the can throwing increased and there must have been thousands of cans flying over our heads, hitting the back of our heads and none of them were full! And of course there were many, many more shouts for “Wally!”

Dusk fell.

Lynyrd Skynyrd suddenly faded out from the PA, the cans seemed to subside and with no announcement…..Page’s guitar sounding the first riff from ‘The Song Remains The Same’ announced their arrival, the live screen revealed that they were there, on stage, my ears and eyes taking it all in that finally I was experiencing Led Zeppelin on stage before me! Page smiling with his double neck, Robert’s curly locks, Jonesy’s white suit and Bonzo’s drums! It took a couple of minutes to get the sound right and then the best gig I ever have attended (until the 02!) unfolded before me…

Memories – Jones’ phone on the piano during ‘No Quarter’. ‘White Summer’/’Black Mountain Side’, the violin bow solo and its green and red lasers, Robert’s on-stage banter, ‘Kashmir’, ‘Achilles’ and ‘Nobody’s Fault’…..’Stairway’ for me was the greatest song played that night as it was the song I had waited so long to hear in a live environment.  I recall almost everyone around me singing along.  It was incredible.

The three hour set seemed to fly by and before I knew it we were calling them back for more.

I can’t recall how it started but when the crowd started singing the football anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, the experience for this 16 year old was complete. Robert joined in and even Bonzo who once commented that football was a load of bollocks accompanied on drums.  The screens showed close ups of the band, who looked visibly emotional and Robert’s thanks at the end were confirmation that this had been a truly emotional gig for everyone fortunate enough to have been there.

We sang ‘Stairway’ as we made our trip back to the campsite, talked for hours of the best moments, there were many and eventually succumbed to sleep in the early hours.

Still to this day, the best gig I have ever attended. I just wish I had seen them in Europe the next year before it all sadly came to a halt.

Mick Bulow, Bushey UK


So long ago, but it’s just like yesterday…

Tickets for the 4th were from an organised trip by Syd Booth’s record store in Mansfield.  I’d come to be given Led Zeppelin II by a mate at the Swimming Club, following my ‘discovery’ of rock via a Budgie gig one Friday night at the Nottingham Playhouse which led to me buying and seeing The Song Remains The Same.   The August 4th gig was absolute magic but alas, the girlfriend fell asleep and dumped me the day after. However I got tickets for the following week from Selectadisc in Nottingham, near what was to become Rock City.  I wanted to do it all over again (“Nottingham – you’ve got a lot going for you up there” as Plant said).

The two gigs tend to blend into one and I can still see/hear Keef getting on stage with the New Barbarians and mumbling “Hullo Knobworth”, (his emphasis not mine!).  Then there was the traffic, catching up with some sleep on the A1 on the return, the party atmosphere, queues for the loos (and that smell!), ‘ice-cream sellers’ with their trays moving amongst the crowd shouting “Hash, hash for sale!” as dusk fell, cat-calls for “Wally”…  it’s all coming flooding back – the dodgy microphone connection (“Not another one?!”), the slightly out-of-sync video (but at least we saw the band smiling), and that purest of all the magic moments that was the ‘Return of Zeppelin’ as ‘White Summer’ faded away: dum di-di-di dum dum dum, dum di-di-di dum dum dum, dum di-di-di dum dum dum …  pause… crash, ‘Kashmir’!

The memory of it still brings tears to the eyes.  For me this moment is quintessentially Zeppelin – soft, unplugged and English, segued into power, mystique, atmosphere, and a rhythm that really takes you there, “Let me take you there”… They certainly did that in that field just outside Stevenage thirty years ago.

Nigel Paling, Woking UK


I went to both the August 4th and 11th shows.  I remember a whole load of us went down to Stevenage by coach from Birmingham’s Digbeth Bus Station.  I remember it being quite a long yet enjoyable journey, singing Zep songs and drinking hard liquor!  When we arrived in Stevenage, one guy in our group known as ‘Italian Mick’, got off the coach and promptly got himself knocked down by a passing car as he crossed the road!  This happened literally as he stepped off the coach!  The lady driver (not being sexist here, just stating a fact!) got out of her car and looked completely bewildered by what had just happened, and she was extremely lucky not to have been knocked to the ground herself, judging by the verbal abuse being thrown in her direction by Mick’s Zep buddies.  The ambulance arrived, and Mick was quickly taken off to hospital with a broken leg – he missed the whole event!  It was sad, because as the ambulance guys stretchered Mick into the back of the ambulance you could hear his cries of “I wanna see Led Zeppelin…I wanna see Led Zeppelin…” over and over.

On the night before the first show, some of us set up a camp fire next to the perimeter fence.  We were listening to Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show and a huge cheer went up every time he mentioned or played Zeppelin.  Very early in the morning we tried to climb over the fence but were chased out by a couple of dogs, who were set on us by the site security guards.  The next week I decided to proceed more cautiously.  By that time, at seventeen years of age, I felt like a festival regular!

On the second week, when we got through the turnstiles into the main arena, a group of around eight of us took up our positions immediately in front of the lighting rig to the right of the stage.  As the day progressed I got talking to one of the lighting rig crew guys, swapping a few jokes with him, and he allowed me to go up and watch one of the bands perform from the platform, which was great.  I remember, he gave me one of the light blue security T-shirts with ‘Artist Services’ on the front, and I contemplated that maybe I would be able to get backstage with that shirt on.  Some hope!

A friend of mine brought along an 8mm cine camera (colour & sound) and shot Zeppelin when they came on.  He was in a bit of a state and didn’t exactly have the best vantage point, so the results of his efforts were that some of the footage he shot was out of focus.  However, three small reels survived, and luckily two of them were decent enough quality, so I arranged for them to be transferred to video tape back in 1981.  For me, when I watch that bit of distant 8mm footage of Zeppelin it transports me back to that enormous grassy field covered with a sea of Zeppelin enthusiasts, who were all there for the same reason as me to witness the gods in action at first hand.

What a wonderful coming together it was for everyone over those two glorious weeks; the two-way vibe going on between the band and the audience was just an incredible experience, and that’s something I’ll never forget as long as I live.

I still think I was the one who started the crowd singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at the first show, and I’ve not yet been challenged otherwise!

Looking back on it all in now thirty years later they may not have played perfectly, but it didn’t matter – it was still amazing (if you were there you know what I mean, right?).  Overall, it was an absolute honour to be there and to share in the emotion of it all.

Gary Davies, Birmingham UK

More Knebworth recollections to follow…


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

Part of one cover variant of issue 239 of Classic Rock Magazine (Classic Rock Magazine)

  • “Deus Ex Machina,” the upcoming Empress Valley soundboard bootleg of Led Zeppelin’s March 21, 1975 Seattle show, is now in stock with a Japanese bootleg distributor. That’s according to an email sent on July 22. However, Japanese Twitter user @yuminori0616 said on Twitter on the same day that the bootleg was not in stock at a bootleg shop in Tokyo..
  • Last week we mentioned that a mysterious image that was shared on Facebook in May included a July 17 release date. Well, July 17 came and went with no announcement. We checked with the person who first shared the image and they admitted that they had fallen for a hoax, as we suggested in May.

Jimmy Page

The 1962 Danelectro guitar previously owned by Jimmy Page that is currently available to buy in an online auction (Gotta Have Rock And Roll)

Robert Plant

One of the deleted photos of Robert Plant at a photoshoot for his upcoming album (Instagram/gidz)

  • Two photos that were posted to Instagram in June that showed Robert Plant at a photoshoot for his upcoming album were deleted after we reported on them. You can still see one of the photos in our report from June.

Upcoming events:

July – Black Country Communion, the band which features Jason Bonham, is expected to make announcements later this month.
July 28 – The auction for a 1962 Danelectro guitar previously owned by Jimmy Page closes.
Mid-September – The new Black Country Communion album, which will feature Jason Bonham, is due to be released.
Early Autumn – The next issue of Led Zeppelin magazine Tight But Loose, issue #43, is scheduled to be released.
October – Andrew O’Hagan claimed that Robert Plant’s new album will be released this month.

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


Classic Rock:

As mentioned on LZ News above – the new issue of Classic Rock has a news story about the recently reported discovery of Peter Whitehead’s Led Zeppelin at the Bath Festival in 1970. Lee Marlow’s Piece has a quote from me on the story.

This issue also has two covers – A Queen version and a Jimmy Page edition. This ties in with a feature on the making of the Presence album. The Presence piece is a lengthy dissection by Mick Wall -author of the Zep biography When Giants Walked The Earth. This excellent issue of Classic Rock also incudes a preview of the forthcoming Black County Communion album with comments from Glenn Hughes on their reformation.






Caught In A Trap: The Kidnapping Of Elvis by Chris Charlesworth:

The previously mention forthcoming book by Chris Charlesworth Caught In A Trap:The Kidnapping of Elvis is due out on August 16 – here’s the info and a second extract from the book:

Caught In A Trap draws back the veil of secrecy on the most dramatic event in the life of Elvis Presley. In October of 1975 Elvis was abducted and spirited away to a cabin in the Kentucky mountains where he was made to sing for his supper. After a week in captivity a ransom was paid to ensure his release, a bizarre episode that was hushed up on orders from the White House, no less.

This psychological thriller not only reveals the dramatic details of how Elvis was snatched but also delves into the innermost thoughts of the King of Rock’n’Roll. How does Elvis react when he is treated like an ordinary person, told to sweep floors and chop wood? How does he interact with his kidnappers? Will his songs grant him his freedom? And how do those close him, among them ex-wife Priscilla and manager Colonel Tom Parker, respond to the crisis?

Caught In A Trap is so believable you’ll be asking yourself why it has taken so long for the real story to get out.

Extract Two:

Elvis has disappeared, presumed kidnapped, though no word has been heard from his abductors. Graceland is in a flap. Priscilla Presley arrives from California and summons a police detective who, mindful of Elvis’ wellbeing, advises secrecy. She concurs but Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager, is keen to exploit the situation’s commercial potential and thinks otherwise. He flies to New York to brief the boss of RCA Records, knowing that the course of action he prefers will get a sympathetic hearing…

As the President of RCA Records, Rocco Laginestra presided over the affairs of one of the biggest and oldest established major record labels in the world. From his office high up above Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, he could make or break the careers of those artists signed to the label but deep inside he was acutely aware that the fortunes of RCA were nowhere near as propitious as those of his main rivals, Columbia and the WEA conglomerate. The principal reason for this was the innate conservatism that had prevented the company from embracing rock music with the enthusiasm and know-how of their rivals. As a result RCA was slipping and its owners, NBC, were on Rocco’s back to do something about it.

In England the company was unusually excited about their glam-rock star David Bowie but Rocky couldn’t see this fey British boy, who admitted he was a faggot, capturing America with the ease with which he’d captured Europe. And Bowie’s manager, Tony Defries, was squandering a fortune of RCA’s money on tour support and funding his huge and flamboyant entourage. In Rocco’s opinion John Denver, the guitar-playing hick from Colorado who sang songs about the Rocky Mountains, was a much safer bet. His albums were shipping gold right now, which was more than could be said for Bowie. Then there was Elvis.

In what was without doubt the boldest move in the company’s history, RCA had signed Elvis Presley to an exclusive and indefinite recording contract for $35,000 way back in 1955. At the time this seemed like an awful lot of money but the investment was unquestionably the shrewdest move RCA had ever made. Elvis proved to be far and away the biggest selling recording artist that emerged in the first phase of the rock’n’roll era, which made him the biggest selling singer in the world, and throughout most of the Sixties – despite intense competition from The Beatles and their successors – he remained a top seller. Then, just as sales were starting to dip in the second half of the decade, Elvis re-emerged after the 1968 Singer TV special and began a new career as a Las Vegas performer, the hottest ticket in town. Naturally, his new-found success on stage translated into record sales and for the next few years Elvis was rarely out of the Top 100 on the Billboard listings.

In 1972, when sales of Elvis’ Records began to dip again, RCA and Colonel Parker reached an agreement that from Elvis’ point of view was a betrayal of monumental proportions. After a bit of horse-trading, the Colonel consented to a deal in which he and Elvis would relinquish all future royalties on Elvis’ back catalogue sales up to that point in exchange for $5 million dollars in cash that was split 50/50 between Parker and Elvis. Naturally Elvis paid tax on his share – leaving him with just over $1 million for his life’s work. From RCA’s point of view, this deal was as sweet as they come – they now owned Elvis’ back catalogue outright – and for Parker the deal provided a handsome nest egg for his eventual retirement.

Laginestra and Colonel Parker enjoyed what could best be described as a relationship based on mutual respect, though a shade more respect went in the Colonel’s direction. Laginestra was wary of the Colonel’s ways but also well aware that his and Elvis’ fortunes were tied up with RCA for the duration. There was no way that any other record company could poach Elvis. He was – and would always remain – the jewel in RCA’s crown.

Colonel Parker’s flight had arrived in New York shortly after nine o’clock the previous evening and an RCA car was waiting to take Elvis’ portly manager straight to the suite he had booked at the New York Hilton. Tired after being aroused early in the morning in Palm Springs and the events in Memphis, he went straight to his room, undressed, climbed into bed and was soon asleep. The following morning he breakfasted on bacon, sausages, eggs, fried potatoes and toast, all of it washed down with sweet black coffee. By 10 am he was on his way to RCA’s offices on Sixth Avenue, sitting in the back of a black limousine smoking his first cigar of the day.

On a previous visit to RCA’s offices in New York Parker had famously become trapped in the lift doors that refused to open sufficiently to allow him to leave. When he’d stabbed the button to open them he’d become trapped, with half his immense bulk inside the lift and half outside while the doors repeatedly slammed against him. Some saw this strange incident as an augury, a sign that the RCA behemoth was somehow avenging Parker’s shifty greed, but no such unbecoming calamity befall Parker on this visit.

Rocco Laginestra ushered Colonel Parker into his office and dismissed his secretary. It was most unusual for Parker to come to New York for a meeting at such short notice and he was eager to learn the reason. The two men sat opposite each other across a coffee table strewn with music trade magazines. Parker relit his trademark cigar and settled back into the armchair. There was little need for pleasantries.

“Are you sure we can’t be overheard?” asked the Colonel.

“Quite sure,” replied the company man warily.

“Very well… first I must have your word that everything I am about to tell you is in the utmost secrecy, that for the time being you will not repeat any of this to anyone, no one at the company, not your wife, not your mistress, no one.”

Laginestra winced. How did the Colonel know he had a mistress? “Very well,” he replied. “You have my word.”

“Well then,” said Parker, lowering his voice for effect, “Elvis has been kidnapped.”

“What?” Laginestra’s voice registered the same shock and disbelief that had afflicted Lieutenant Shriver the previous day.

“You heard me… kidnapped, abducted, whatever you want to call it.”

“You’re joking.”

“No. I am being absolutely serious. Elvis was kidnapped two nights ago while riding his motorbike. The man who was with him was knocked unconscious and didn’t see the kidnappers. Eventually he came to and returned to Graceland with the news. We haven’t heard a word since from whoever took him, or from Elvis of course. We have no idea where he is.”

“How could this happen?”

“That’s what I wanted to know… lax security, stupidity.”

“How many people know?”         Colonel Parker went on to tell the RCA president everything he knew, including the visit of the police lieutenant to Graceland, the presence of Priscilla and how they were attempting to keep a lid on the story.

“If the press got hold of this….” began Laginestra.

“Exactly,” interrupted the Colonel, cutting him off to allow his imagination to run wild.

When Laginestra had fully absorbed what the Colonel had come to tell him, the pair discussed the situation at length. Like Parker, Laginestra was quick to realise that if the news were to be made public, then sales of Elvis’ records would skyrocket overnight. Neither wanted to be the first to mention this. Eventually the RCA man broached the subject. “What, if, let’s say, the news were to leak out or Elvis were to… er, come to some harm… heaven forbid.”

“Heaven forbid… that would be terrible,” replied the Colonel.


“Maybe it might not be a bad idea to press up some extra Elvis records… er, just in case… a precaution…. To cater for potential demand in the event…”

The RCA man considered the suggestion. “Well, maybe we could do just that. It might arouse some suspicion at the pressing plant but no harm in taking sensible precautions. Staff might assume that we stockpiling records in the event that Elvis doesn’t recover from his present illness.”

“Yes, that would explain it. No harm in pressing them up at all… sound commercial sense.”

“And if, er, for some reason or another, news of the kidnapping were to become public, then there might be a demand for more records too.”

“Yes, but the police have strictly forbidden it… and Priscilla… you know,” said the Colonel.

“Of course…”

“But if it were to leak out accidentally…” said the Colonel, an idea forming in his mind.

“It won’t come from me,” said Laginestra hurriedly.

“No. But if something like that does happen, I would expect to be able to renegotiate our previous royalty agreements.”

“I think we could come to some arrangement there,” said Laginestra, who had already anticipated such a request. “Let’s wait until things play out.”

“Yes,” said Parker. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Their meeting over, the two men rose from their seats and shook hands. Laginestra’s secretary showed Parker out and escorted him to the elevator.

When Parker left RCA’s offices he went back to his hotel and called Graceland, only to learn from Lamar Fike that no one had been in touch with regard to his missing client. Then he took a cab to La Guardia Aiport and flew back to Memphis where he checked into a Holiday Inn near the centre of town. He didn’t want to stay at Graceland where Priscilla and Linda and everyone else would nag him for results – but he needed to be close to the action. When he got to his room he called Lamar Fike at Graceland again to tell him where he was and settled down to get some rest. It had been another long day.


Caught In A Trap: The Kidnapping Of Elvis by Chris Charlesworth is due on August 16 – more details and extracts to follow  

Visit Chris’s excellent blog at:


TBL 43 call out for 02 Reunion show photos:

Just a reminder -if anyone has good res photos they took at the 02 Reunion show, I’d be pleased to hear from them – this is with a view to a couple being included in the forthcoming TBL issue 43 and a potential shot for the cover  – email details/jpegs to me at


DL Diary Blog Update:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn: On the occasion of his birthday, at the always excellent Vinyl Barn last Friday it was good to find a very nice copy of the elaborately packaged 1975 Cat Stevens album Numbers – top result- thanks Darren Harte! Martin’s model car stall   next door as seen in the pic is also worth a visit!

It’s been a busy July and August will be the same with TBL 43 to get well on the way with plus ongoing work on the Evenings With LZ book.

I have to say my tooth problem is persisting – after having the offending tooth out last week, my mouth is still sore and another infection has occurred leading to more anti-biotics. I am getting a bit fed up with it to say the least and really hope it improves soon.

DL Record Collecting Update:

Here’s some thoughts on my current record collecting whims and trends…

There’s been a fair few additions to the DL collection in the past weeks via Darren’s Vinyl Barn and elsewhere. It has reached a point where I often have to think twice as to wether I have an album already that I am considering investing in. Mind you, that does not always stop me buying it again as you can never have too many copies of say a Miles Davis Kind Of Blue!

The fact remains, I love looking through records, I love looking at the sleeve artwork and sleeve notes, I love playing records – in fact I’m having great fun playing my scratchy old 45’s of which I have an abundance of  – on my recently acquired all in one record player – it’s a mini juke box for sure as can be seen…

When it comes to collecting Led Zeppelin – well nothing much has changed there. Having collected their output for some 47 years I have an abundance of stuff already though I am always on the look out more. That includes obscure overseas pressings, alternate artwork etc – and there’s a few original vinyl bootleg albums I’d like to get. I also keep an eye out for anything interesting and rare on the Swan Song label. I recently purchased a UK pressing of Presence that has no title block on the cover and a US Swan Song promo copy of Bad Company’s Burnin’ Sky album. That quest goes on…

Elsewhere on the collecting front, it’s still the usual artists – Beatles, Stones, Bowie, Who, Faces, Elvis, Dylan, Bruce, ELP, Yes, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, Byrds, Doord, Bolan, Jethro Tull, Family, Mott, Nick Drake, Weller, etc etc  Apple and Island labels – 60’s and 70s artists and groups and US pressings with those hard cardboard sleeves are always welcome. That’s just the tip of the iceberg really on what I collect.

Vinyl rules of course but let’s not forget CD’s – when they are packaged well they are still very worthwhile. I’ve made a bit of a comeback to collecting CD’s, mainly CD box sets – recent examples I’ve been very impressed with being the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Platinum set, The Forever Changing Elektra label collection, Elvis Presley at Stax , The Small Faces reissues and the David Bowie box set Who Can I be Now 1974 – 1976 – all superbly packed with great inner booklets with detailed sleevenotes and retro artwork. Long may that trend continue.

Some other specific collecting areas I am well into right now includes the following:

Beatles cover versions:

Back in the day, every original release of a Beatles album spawned a variety of cover versions  – there’s some fascinating and quirky stuff to look out for – David & Jonathan’s version of She’s Leaving Home and Maxwell Silver Hammer by George Howe being recent acquisitions here. Additionally, there’s the songs Lennon and McCartney gave away to other artists – in that category, I’ve collected  singles by The Foremost, Peter & Gordon, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer and many more. In this department I recently picked up PJ Proby’s version of the little known That Means A Lot – a 1965 single on the Liberty label. The Beatles own rather turgid version is on the Anthology 2 album.

Other bizarre cover versions I’ve searched out include Beatles Cracker Ballet -an EP of Beatles songs set to a ballet movement and Eine Kleine Beatle Musik by the Barock Rock And Roll Ensemble – Beatles songs in a classical setting. You gota love ’em!

I also have a fair few Beatles related cover version albums – most recently an album by jazz singer Kelly Smith album on Reprise titled Sings The Loving Songs of The John Lennon – Paul McCartney Songbook (thanks Pete!) – top stuff indeed. I already had highlights of the album over two Keely Smith EP’s but hey I needed the complete thing!

I picked up a great book dedicated to the subject of collecting Beatles related records titled The Beatles Uncovered by Dave Henderson. So I am by no means the only one immersed in this area of collecting.

EPs – now there’s a thing of beauty to behold and talking of which – I love the UK Extended Play EP’s that were common place in the 1960s. Often a package of recent hit singles, other EP’s offer exclusive material (The Beatles Long Tall Sally, The Rolling Stones 5 X 5 etc). I love the laminated covers and label designs often using a prominent colour of the label name  – yellow for Parlophone, blue for Columbia, red for His Masters Voice and green for Stateside (I know these things!) I have over 100 EPs including about 30 Frank Sinatra and most of The Beatles EP releases.

Another are of collecting I’m well into is Demonstration singles AKA Demos/Promos. These are the singles issued in short runs in the 1960s and 70s that were distributed to radio stations, DJ’s and reviewers ahead of there release date. They can be identified by large A’s on the label indicating the side to be plugged, alternate generic label designs and some have the intended release date printed. Being in relatively low supply, such items issued by hi profile artists like The Beatles, Rolling Stones etc carry a very high price tag. However there are countless more obscure releases to be found for a mere few pounds

To date I have around 100 of these demo/promo gems including Joe Cocker’s 1968 single Marjorie (with Jimmy Page on guitar) and Jeff Beck’s You Shook Me (the latter one of my best ever bargain finds at a mere 50p!), Mott The Hoople’s Saturday Gig (with the original printed lyric insert).

What I find particularly fascinating is the printed release dates – particularly when they coincide with a landmark date such as Paul Simon’s single Still Crazy After All These Years being released listed as ”Release Date 28th March 1976” the same day the Presence album was released (though it did not make the shops until early the next week).

Of course, if anyone reading this has any Zep related, Beatles cover versions, demo singles etc to offer – be sure to get in touch…

Collecting records…it’s good for the soul…(and toothache!)

Current Playlist:

Here’s the summer TBL/DL playlist made up of some recent acquisitions and some old faves:

Led Zeppelin – Welcome Back – 1972 How The Tapes Were Won Tapes Revisited CD set

Led Zeppelin – Listen to This Eddie CD set

Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Playback CD set

Robert Plant – Pictures At Eleven LP

Carole King – Tapestry LP

Rita Coolidge – The Lady’s Not For Sale LP

Cream – Disraeli Gears – UK Reaction LP

The Beatles – With The Beatles mono LP

Canned Heat – ‘70 Concert Recorded Live In Europe LPp

Stephen Stills – Just Roll Tape LP

Chicago – At Carnegie Hall Vols I to IV CD box set

Steve Winwood – Arc of A Diver CD

Denny Laine with Paul McCartney and friends –In Flight LP

John Coltrane – Ballads  World Record Club LP

The Beatles 1967 – 1970 German Apple blue vinyl double LP

Roberta Flack – Quiet Fire Atlantic LP

Bobbie Gentry – Local Gentry LP

Keely Smith – Sings the Loving Songs of John Lennon Paul McCartney Songbook LP

Elvis Presley – Elvis In Demand LP

Nilsson – Duit On Mon Dei LP

Cat Stevens – Numbers LP

I am aiming at heading over to Harpenden on the train this weekend for the Harpenden Record Fair –  staged at the Harpenden Public Halls. I’ll be the one looking through the racks for obscure Zep items, Beatles related cover versions and demo singles…

Dave Lewis  – July  2017

Until next time –  have a great  weekend…

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

YouTube clip:

Knebworth crowd footage:


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.