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23 January 2014 9,002 views One Comment

early tbls

Tight But Loose at 35:

35 years ago this month I was busy scribing away quite literally on what would become the first issue of the Tight But Loose magazine. I had been harbouring the idea of a Zep type fanzine (as home made publications were known) for the past year – an early proto- type was mocked up in December 1977. Inspired by the do it yourself tactics of the punk rock fanzines such as Sniffin’ Glue and Ripped & Torn, I set about laying out the content in a somewhat chaotic but very enthusiastic manner. I’d informed Swan Song of this plan to a most positive reaction.

With no access to a type writer (not that I could type!), I decided to hand write the first edition.  Further inspiration came from the reaction to the Sounds tenth anniversary of Zep series I worked on with Geoff Barton published in September. I was also massively thrilled and inspired by getting to speak to Robert Plant at the Goaldiggers five a side football tournament he took part in at the Empire Pool Wembley on November 5th. I was able to hear from the man himself that they were flying to Sweden the next week to record their new album.

So the time was more than right for me to get this platform of communication between fellow likeminded fans underway. The first adverts for details of this venture ran in the small ads column of Sounds and NME in late 1978 and the orders began coming in – I then ran another round of ads in early 1979.

The response was pretty instant. I suddenly had first-hand evidence that there were many similarly enthused fans who were just as keen as me on reading, listening and following this band in depth.

During January, I worked on the refining of the text – a long rambling piece on my Earls Court experiences (surprise!) complete with Plant between song transcribes first written in 1975,  a report of the aforementioned meeting with Robert at the Goaldiggers football, a very passionate review of the then latest bootleg LP title from the TAKRL label titled Ballcrusher – which had good quality extracts from the April 1st 1971 BBC In Concert recording, reviews of the Robert Plant solo single Long Time Coming and the UK Trampled Underfoot promo and there was a Led Zep quiz which if my memory serves me was won by Mick Humphries who has been a subscriber ever since.

News wise I was able to relay that Zep had nigh on completed recording of a new album reported to be tentatively titled ‘Look’ and due in the spring. There was no word on any gig activity but surely that would all follow. We all know how that all panned out!

Just prior to completing issue number one and getting it printed, there was another major happening that spurred yet more revival in Zep interest. On the evening of  February 2nd 1979 Tommy Vance aired two of the BBC sessions Zep recorded in 1969 on Radio One’s Rock On show. Now I had long since had these recordings on lo- fi cassette dubs but hearing them in this quality was an absolute revelation. The reaction to that broadcast was overwhelming and it was clear,despite all the lay offs, Led Zeppelin’s audience had remained very loyal.

The airing of those sessions provided the lead content to the second issue of the TBL magazine which appeared in May – by which time I’d enlisted a typist.

I’d also sold out of the 200 copies I had printed of issue number one published n February 10th. They were printed by Jaycopy a local print shop in town – that month of Janaury 1979 was well cold with frequent bouts of snow and I can vividly remember trudging home in the snow with the first box of the magazines weighing me down…the first and certainly not the last of many obstacles I would encounter and overcome in getting the TBL word out there. …

early flyer

I have huge affinity for those innocent early days – creating  what might be termed now a central hub for fans to interact and feedback was hugely rewarding. It was the beginning of something that would define much of my life in the ensuing years to come. Here’s the first hand written flyer plugging issue number one.

I do plan to get around to re issuing that humble first edition at some point and in the coming months I’ll collate further TBL at 35 reflections. 35 years on…well it’s more of the same with work on going on TBL 37 talking of which….

TBL 37:

In progress now and due late March this is the final issue of the TBL 2013 subscription –so if as a current subscriber you have received TBL 36 published late last year –  –don’t worry you have one more issue to follow before you need to re subscribe for the three 2014/5 magazines.

TBL 36:

Meanwhile if you have missed out on TBL 36in the pre Christmas rush – single order copies can be obtained from this link:

TBL 2013 Subscription:

You can also still subscribe for the three 2013/4 magazines to receive issue 35 and 36 immediately and 37 to follow –and qualify for the exclusive 10 x 8 Kezar ‘73 print that comesas a bonus for all subscribers.

Here’s the order link:

Ordering links to pre order TBL 37 and sign up for the the 2014/5 TBL Subscription will be up on the site next month.

Led Zeppelin Then As It Was  – At Knebworth 1979 book:

Again if you have missed out on this over the Christmas rush copies are readily available – the book has been massively well received – here’s some feedback comments from satisfied readers:

 An outstanding achievement. The Zeppelin Knebworth saga is finally immortalized in the form of this beautiful book, a craft of knowledge, passion and dedication. This is how the legend lives on…Hiroshi.

 I can’t put this book down. The muse, the photos, the fan’s stories and the layout exceeded my every expectation. Every page is optimized. My advise to any Zep fan who has not purchased this breakthrough piece of work is to “Bring It On Home”! Wools.

 Then As It Was undoubtedly contains a comprehensive perspective unavailable anywhere else of Led Zeppelin’s final concerts on British soil and their last ever large scale concerts. The book is an absolute triumph. Michael Rae.

 Wow. First glance it’s amazing…one for the ages. Another perfect portrait of England and Led Zeppelin, the culture, the back stories as Dave’s personal intimacy, passion and love drips from every page and pixel. Paul Macfarlane.

  Another masterful book. It provides a wonderful insight from the fans who attended these last magical UK shows. The book is truly a thrilling read with so many interesting photos and stories.. May I please pass on my thanks and congratulations to all who took time and contributed. The Bootleg / Memorabilia and In Through singles and albums add a wonderful finishing touch. All in all another triumph! Cliff Hilliard

 What can I say about the book to do it justice.The colour images are just overwhelming. It is indeed like being back there. Loved the first book, but this is just taking things to 11. A unique event in rock history and, I think as time has gone on, maybe one of the top five dates anywhere ever, including Woodstock and Isle of Wight and Bath. As Bonzo has shown us so often, timing is everything. Thanks for the time machine. Chris Wright

Brighten up the early months with a time trip back to that field just outside Stevenage during an English summer in 1979 – here’s the ordering link:


Robert Plant in Birmingham Post Rich List:

Robert was placed at 38th in the Birmingham Post Rich List 2014 – see details at:


Atlanta ’73 Footage:  

Mike Tremaglio has flagged this brief but amazing footage of Led Zeppelin’s appearance in a the Atlanta Braves Stadium on May 4 1973 via the Walter J. Brown Media Archive Newsfilm Database. This was sourced from the local WSB –TV station. Two short clips to view that really illustrate the mass appeal Zep had in the US at that time…


Los Angeles Forum:

Quick update from Larry Bergmann re his report on the recently opened Los Angeles Inglewood Forum:

Here’s a photo of the entrance to the new Forum Club inside the Fabulous Forum:

LA forum

and more details here:
DL Diary Update:

Firstly, there’s been some great response to the announcement of the Earls Court book project – with various contributions lined up. The esteemed Robert Godwin author of the pioneering Collectors Guide to Led Zep books, has already filed an extensive piece on his EC experiences –simply superb stuff.

Don’t forget if you were at one of the Earls Court shows – I would very much like to include your memories in the book – email me at the usual address.

The Hi Fi Lounge day due to be staged on March 8 has also created a lot of interest- here’s the gen via the Hi Fi Lounge website.

In London on Monday I paid a final visit to On The Beat Records in Hanway Court – this is the store that was put up for sale on ebay with alas no takers and now looks set to close in the next two weeks.

On a brighter note,  I picked up a great vinyl find at Sister Rays in London namely the double album sampler  The Guitar Album on Polydor Records circa  1974. Superb cigarette card cover and performances  from the likes of Mick Taylor, Roy Buchannan, Leslie Harvey,  Rory Gallagher Albert King, Duane Allman, Rory, Eric, Jimi etc. A bargain five quid oh yes!

While in London I met up with Manique Baker who was over from Nashville.  Manique worked at the Swan Song office circa 1978 -1980 and I often saw her in on my visits to the office back then –it was great to reminisce about those memorable days down at the Zep HQ at 484 King s Road…

Manique DL

I rounded off a long day meeting Dec at the Euston Flyer where we toasted our much missed friend Alan Johnston two years to the day of his passing….

Back here it’s been full on with post duties, TBL 37, EC initial research and various other projects kick starting the year. Playlist wise it’s been more of the Zep 1975 Nassau Throwing the Wilds Seeds set and the One More Night Live at Southampton vinyl set . A couple of 60s retro things have been on – The Move CD compilation which highlights what a great writer Roy Wood was back then – I am on the look out for The Move’s Something Else EP recorded live at the Marquee… and The Small Faces Best Of vinyl which also sent me on a trawl through Steve Marriot’s early Humble Pie recordings. The forthcoming Small Faces box set looks pretty amazing.

I’ve also been getting into the recently released Eric Clapton Give Me Strength 74/75 Sessions 2Cd set –this covers his comeback period that includes the 461 Ocean Boulevard and There’s One In Every Crowd albums –I’m not big on anything he has done in years but love the whole post Cream Blind Faith/Eric/Derek  1969 – 1976 period and these two albums were both much played during the pre and post Earls Court period and very much carry the vibe of the time which of course is no bad thing in my book….


And finally yet more goings on in 1975 possibly……now here’s an interesting clip live at the Rainbow? – perhaps an early April fool or maybe not…but as the singer repeatedly put it ”Does anybody remember laughter?!”

Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading…

Have a great weekend…

Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – January 23rd, 2014.

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One Comment »

  • Richard Grubb said:

    From tiny acorns mighty oaks will grow! It would be great to have some reprints of the early TBLs available to those of us who weren’t aware of its existence in the early years.

    Really looking forward to the Zeppelin Day at Hifi Lounge in March…should be a great day out.


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