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15 September 2016 3,647 views 5 Comments


Led Zeppelin – The Complete BBC Sessions …today’s the day…

Today, Friday September 16 marks the official worldwide release date of the Complete BBC Sessions set.

My own fascination with these sessions dates back to the airing of that 1971 In Concert show. I actually taped this on the day it was first aired on Sunday, April 4, 1971 on my Grudig reel to reel tape recorder. My enthusiasm for the Zeppelin BBC sessions was further fuelled by the various BBC session bootlegs that emerged in the mid-Seventies.
During the early days of the TBL magazine, in February 1979, Tommy Vance aired some of the March and June 1969 sessions on his Friday Rock Show. This resulted in my first but by no means last detailed chronicling of these recordings in the second issue of Tight But Loose.

Tommy Vance went on to air the 1969 June 27 One Night Stand show at the end of the same year, adding to our still limited knowledge of the Zep sessions. Further enlightenment on the 1971 recordings came via the various CD bootlegs in the early Nineties, notably Thank You It’s Complete, a two-CD set on the Discurious label, and the Antrabata bootleg label’s BBC Zep, both of which contained much off mike chat and tracks not aired on the original John Peel In Concert show.


In 1990 Jimmy Page sourced the tapes of the June 1969 BBC session recording of ‘Travellin’ Riverside Blues’ for official release on the Remastered box set. Around the same period, the BBC began airing regular shows of their original session recordings from the likes of David Bowie, Queen and The Beatles. The Strange Fruit record label also embarked on a series of BBC session albums and The Beatles own Live At The BBC was a huge seller.

In the autumn of 1993, aA Led Zeppelin At The BBC hour long special was prepared for broadcast and to coincide with this, I was commissioned to produce a full length feature on the topic for Record Collector. I made contact with BBC producers Kevin Howlett and Jeff Griffin who provided me with some illuminating logs of exactly when the group’s sessions took place and when they were broadcast. This clarified several misconceptions, including details of a lost BBC session cut for Alexis Korner’s Blues Is Where You Hear , and clarification of the actual recording date of the 1971 In Concert. Previously this had been documented as March 25, but Jeff Griffin explained to me it had been postponed due to Plant’s voice problems and was rescheduled for April 1.

In 1997, the BBC sessions were finally released officially with Jimmy Page overseeing the original tapes for release on the two-CD set Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions. The set offered a cohesive, long overdue official record of the band’s legendary sessions at the BBC.

Now we have an updated and expanded version.


These vintage recordings continue offer vital aural evidence of the way the band developed in their formative years
It emphasises the importance these radio recordings had both in the expansion of their repertoire and in spreading the word in the UK. These BBC sessions as recorded in 1969 and 1971 offer a lasting snapshot of the development of the group as a sort of work-in-progress, as it happened at the time.

For me personally, It has  been privilege to have worked with Jimmy in recent months formulating the liner notes he asked me to contribute. These take the form of an extensive session by session log of all six of the BBC Session appearances. I have been working on this over the past few months and may I offer thanks to Mike Tremaglio for all his help and input. Unsurprisingly I feel a great affinity for this release.

So this is another landmark Led Zeppelin moment. This much welcomed set now newly remastered and expanded by Jimmy Page, will further emphasise the importance of these radio recordings – both in the expansion of their repertoire and in spreading the word in the UK.

It’s another period where Led Zeppelin’s status will be very much in the present tense…and as a fan, that to me is a cause for much celebration.


The release of the Complete BBC Sessions represents Jimmy Page’s desire to preserve the music and heritage of Led Zeppelin – to be enjoyed by countless millions of admirers from its release today  – Friday September 16… and way beyond.

Get ready to relive some of their greatest recorded moments…

Dave Lewis – September 16, 2016


Led Zeppelin – The Complete BBC Sessions – Listening Event, Olympic Studios – September 14, 2016: 

I was in attendance at the Complete BBC Sessions Listening event at Olympic Studios. The 45 minute presentation of tracks from the set was just awesome – all accompanied by some stunning visuals.

It ran as follows:


01 – ‘Sunshine Woman’ (02:38) 19-3-69 BBC World Service Rhythm & Blues, Maida Vale Studio#4
02 – ‘Communication Breakdown’ (03:11) 6-6-69 Chris Grant’s Tatsy Pop Sundae, Aeolian Hall Studio 2
03 – ‘Dazed And Confused’ (06:38) 3-3-69 John Peel’s Top Gear, Playhouse Theatre
04 – ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ (05:54) 27-6-69 One Night Stand, Playhouse Theatre
05 – ‘Whole Lotta Love’ (06:09) 24-6-69 Top Gear, Maida Vale Studio 4
06 – ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ (04:24) 24-06-69 Top Gear, Maida Vale Studio 4
07 – ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ (07:02) 1-4-71 John Peel In Concert, Paris Theatre
08 – ‘Stairway To Heaven’ (08:47) 1-4-71 John Peel In Concert, Paris Theatre

Jimmy Page Interview with Johnnie Walker

‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ World Premiere Video

Played over the amazing Olympic Studios PA – it sounded just incredible. There were shivers down the spine at various moments – John Bonham’s drum sound throughout, the Communication Breakdown was as Jimmy might say – totally fearless – and the 1971 extracts carried that unique Paris Theatre sound -all for of them so clear and concise in the mix. Sunshine Woman had a real momentum about it. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing all this on vinyl.

Hearing these performances  again – well you are under no illusion that these are pioneering statements from the band who were, are and always will be the best… Jimmy in conversation with Johnnie Walker was a joy to hear, upbeat proud and all knowing that the music this band created in the confines of the BBC studios was something very special. The new video for What is And What Should Never Be was also very cool….The Complete BBC Sessions are coming…and sounding better than ever…


I had a quick word with Jimmy after the presentation and he was on great form.

Jimmy Page in conversation with Johnnie Walker:

Here’s the link to watch the Listening Event conversation vis the led Zeppelin facebook page:


Thanks to Ken Winovich for feedback on the Olympic Studios Listening Event.


Jimmy Page on later with Jools Holland:

Jimmy was interviewed by Jools Holland on the live edition of the Later show on Tuesday.


Jimmy Page Interview with David Fricke for Rolling Stone magazine:

One of many that will surface in the next few days – this via Rolling

On June 29th, 1969, the British DJ John Peel opened Top Gear, his progressive-rock program on the BBC’s Radio One, by spinning the Rolling Stones’ new single “Honky Tonk Women.” Peel then introduced the first number from a four-song studio session by a rising young band, still less than a year old.

Led Zeppelin Announce Expanded ‘Complete BBC Sessions’
Band discovers 1969 recordings that include rare track “Sunshine Woman,” previously unavailable officially

“These are Led Zeppelin,” Peel announced in his hypnotizing monotone, “who played very excellently at the amazing festival in Bath yesterday, about which more later on. And this is curiously called ‘What Is and What Should Never Be’ – or something.”

It was only the second time anyone heard the song outside of London’s Olympic Studios, where Led Zeppelin – guitarist-founder Jimmy Page, bassist and keyboard player John Paul Jones, singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham – had recently finished cutting it for their second album, Led Zeppelin II. Two weeks before Peel’s transmission, the group taped a version of “What Is and What Should Never Be” for another BBC show, Tasty Pop Sundae. But Peel also had a couple of exclusives: the public debut of “Whole Lotta Love,” destined for immortality on Zeppelin’s next album, and a jubilant, acoustic mashup of Robert Johnson songs called “Traveling Riverside Blues.”

All three numbers, along with a furious tear through “Communication Breakdown” from Zeppelin’s first album, were taped for Top Gear in a single seven-hour session, in mono, at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios in London. The new songs would not appear on record until October, when Led Zeppelin II was released. The Johnson medley, conceived and arranged on the spot with Page on slide guitar, would finally be resurrected two decades later, when Page included it on the 1990 box set Led Zeppelin.

“Peel was great – he obviously did champion us,” Page says gratefully over the phone from London, a week before the release of The Complete BBC Sessions (Swan Song), a three-CD set and deluxe boxed edition of everything his band recorded for British radio in 1969 and 1971. “Because we spent so much time in the States in the beginning, we weren’t able to do so much in England. It was slower catching up. And we didn’t have radio here like what was called underground radio over there. So we got these little slots on the BBC” – almost entirely with Peel’s delighted support. Of the 33 tracks on The Complete BBC Sessions, all but seven come from shows programmed or hosted by Peel.

As Page – who recorded pivotal BBC sessions in 1967 and 1968 with his previous band, the Yardbirds, – explains below, Led Zeppelin did their radio work on the run: between their own sessions for Led Zeppelin II, when they were already a phenomenon in America but still playing clubs and ballrooms in Britain. The four studio dates on The Complete BBC Sessions were all taped between March and June 1969; one of them, a three-song set for a show called Rhythm and Blues, was only heard on shortwave radio through the BBC’s World Service. Two live concerts – “One Night Stand,” recorded and aired in June 1969; and a legendary “In Concert” from April 1971 – were widely bootlegged on LP in the Seventies and Eighties.

Page previously compiled Zeppelin’s Beeb material on a two-CD release, The BBC Sessions, in 1997. The expanded reissue rescues performances not on that set – most notably the entire Rhythm and Blues set, long thought lost and featuring the only known performance of “Sunshine Woman,” an impromptu Zeppelin original.

“It had to be included,” Page says, acknowledging the best-possible sound of that tape. “There is no point in putting out The Complete BBC Sessions and someone’s growling that you missed something.” He laughs. “I made sure they can’t do that.”

See more at:


Jimmy Page on the Shaun Keaveny BBC Music show:

Good interview with Shaun Keaveny on BBC 6 Music on Wednesday.

Jimmy talked warmly of seeing a young John McLaughlin play and on the BBC Sessions spoke of his desire to see it all out on vinyl. Describing the sessions as being The Altitude of Led Zeppelin’’, he spoke of how much they were up for the challenge of working within the BBC studios. He also commented how moving it was that Led Zeppelin’s music means so much to so many. As for playing again, he explained much of his time had been taken up with remastering the catalogue and made a reference to being in Los Angeles for a while which would have been for the Stairway court case. He said he hoped to be making new music next year and also mentioned there may well be more Led Zep releases to come…

Hear more at:



Jimmy Page at Roy Harper gig:

Jimmy was in attendance at the Roy Harper gig at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday. Pic of Roy on stage by Helena Williams


LZ News:

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.

Here are some highlights from the fifty-first Led Zeppelin News email. The complete version can be accessed by signing up at the link below. be sure to sign up for this excellent news service.

A previously unreleased version of “What Is And What Should Never Be” from “The Complete BBC Sessions” has been release online. Here’s the UK link to listen to the track.
•Previously unreleased photos of Led Zeppelin performing at Atlanta Pop Festival 1969 have been posted online.
•Led Zeppelin’s publishing company is still seeking to recoup its legal fees in the “Stairway To Heaven” trial. Warner/Chappell Music is appealing Judge Klausner’s ruling.
•Classic Rock Magazine has published a review of “The Complete BBC Sessions” which can be read here. Reviewer Barney Hoskyns says “there’s a mess of masterful blues and rock heaviness here that superbly augments the remastered Zeppelin catalogue.”

Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page has spent this week being interviewed for the release of “The Complete BBC Sessions” on September 16. September 8 was a day of radio interviews: He spoke to Daniel P. Carter from BBC Radio 1, Edith Bowman from Virgin Radio UK, Shaun Keaveny from BBC Radio 6 Music, Phil Alexander from Planet Rock Radio, and US radio station 92 KQRS. His interview with 92 KQRS has already been released, but the rest will be aired next week. Jimmy Page’s interview with Shaun Keaveny will air at 7am UK time on BBC Radio 6 Music on September 14, and his conversation with Daniel P. Carter from BBC Radio 1 will likely air at 7pm UK time on September 18.
•Jimmy Page also spoke to magazines and newspapers about “The Complete BBC Sessions.” He met with Ian Fortnam from Classic Rock Magazine and also Alex Gernandt from Der Spiegel, amongst others. Expect to see those interviews published next week.
•Jimmy Page will be interviewed live on “Later With Jools Holland” on September 13 at 10pm UK time on BBC Two about “The Complete BBC Sessions.” The show will air a live version first and then an extended, pre-recorded version on September 16 at 11.05pm UK time on BBC Two, so look out for any more comments by Page that will be shown then.

Upcoming events:
September 16 – “The Complete BBC Sessions” is released today, and the extended version of “Later with Jools Holland” will be shown on BBC Two at 11.05pm UK time.
September 18 – Jimmy Page’s interview with Daniel P. Carter from BBC Radio 1 will likely air at 7pm UK time.
October 8/9 – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters will perform at the Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles.
October 15 – Robert Plant’s “Austin City Limits” performance will be shown on PBS.
October 28 – Robert Plant will performa at Bill Wyman’s 80th birthday celebration in London.

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


DL Diary Blog Update:

As can be seen above, with all the Complete BBC Sessions activity, it’s been a very full on week.

So to backtrack:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn. The post birthday treats included the delightfully named Grateful Dead album Live/Dead, Gene Krupa Quartet album on Verve (I may need some drumming tips!), Ray Charles album on HMV ,Bobby Darin on London/Atlantic and score of the day the TV 21 Themes EP that includes Fireball XL5, Stingray, Supercar and Dr Who – result! Thanks Darren.


The post birthday TBL get together at the Victoria Fair on Saturday went very well. It was great to catch up with TBL website creator Dave Linwood, along with Paul Sheppard, Krys Jantzen , Richard Grubb Cliff the ticket man Hilliard, Ian Dixon, Marie, Ian Avey and Sue, Ian, Steve Livesley, Phil, Tom etc.

Find of the day for me at the Victoria Record Fair was a UK promo single of  You Shook Me/Ole Man River by Jeff Beck. I found this little gem in amongst a crop of singles I was wading through. 50p? I’ll take it!

It was also great to see Ross Halfin at the Fair. Ross has been a massive support to me and many TBL projects over the years. ross-dl-sept-10

It was back at the dream factory that is StudioMix this week for the first work on the forthcoming TBL 42 with Mick Lowe. There’s a mighty long way to go yet but here is what is in store : The Complete BBC Sessions – compiling the liner notes plus Richard Grubb analysis, The Tarantula Bootleg CD label Part 2 by Paul Sheppard ,Led Zeppelin Top 100 rarities by Nick Anderson, History of the TBL website by Dave Linwood, Interview wit the author of the new Jimmy Page biography ,The Song Remains The Same at 40 – the rare pressings, TBL Collector Focus –Cliff Hilliard Collection latest, Scott Heck CD release round up, Andy Croft’s 1977 US tour tapes log and much more….. it’s ever onward. It was also great to see long time TBL supporter Paul Aspey who dropped by this week.


The good lady Janet and I were going to catch  T.Rextasy at the Islington 02 Academy on Saturday -it’s the 39th Marc Bolan anniversary event. However after the busy week here we could not fit that one in. That’s age catching up – but it sure has been a hectic three weeks here and somewhere this weekend I need to have the grand unveiling of the holy grail that is the Complete BBC Sessions… I’m building up to it…

Dave Lewis September 17, 2016

Until next time – have a great weekend…

TBL Website updates compiled by Dave Lewis

with thanks to Gary Foy and James Cook

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Regular updates and photos.

Follow TBL/DL on Twitter:




The Holy Grail that is The Complete BBC Sessions out on the streets in London…

Today I took a trip into London to see for myself The Complete BBC Sessions out in the racks…from HMV through Sister Ray Records to Fopp in Covent Garden I soaked up the aura of this special release. As can be seen there was a toast made in the Spice of Life pub!

I’ve lived with this project since early this year and I can vividly recall all the many hours of editing and re writing of the text for the liner notes I was privileged to contribute…so it was  a very good feeling to be standing next to this poster in St Pancras station with the finished product well and truly out on the streets….the weekend starts here – get ready to enjoy some of Led Zeppelin’s finest recorded moments…

Dave Lewis on the evening of September 16 2016…

































Jimmy Page interviewed on later With Jools Holland:

The new Led Zeppelin Video for What is And What Should Never Be -from the Complete BBC Sessions:








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  • paul aspey said:

    why has the name of the Paris Theatre been changed to Paris Cinema ? thought you might know this one

  • ANDREW R said:

    Lovely photos dave your smile says it all! By the way the big brown box?
    Did you buy all the formats? You are a lucky man if the other half allows you
    to spend all the housekeeping!!

  • Larry said:

    Dave, thanks for all your investigative and enjoyable work across the years on the BBC sessions, these amazing recordings really stand in relevance alongside the studio albums in my opinion. Can’t wait to read/see the book in BBC Sessions.

    Always great to see, hear and read Jimmy’s comments on the band, and the video for WIAWSNB is very nicely done. Interesting, strange, compelling.

    Looking forward to settling in with the new release in the days and weeks ahead!

  • paul aspey said:

    great to see you the other day , as all of this unfolds and hearing your thoughts and emotions surrounding this current release I am sure that only Jimmy has more interest than your good self , as the man says ” thanks for the continued support ”
    Keep Rockin

  • Wools said:

    Outstanding work in preparing me for another excellent surprise from the archives as I cannot wait to get my hands on the BBC Sessions. When I hear and listen to What is….; oh my I am so glad to been with the Mighty Led Zep for so long! If Plant would just……..well I am afraid those days are over.

    Hey, great photo of you and Ross, a great wise man; just don’t piss him off!

    Las Vegas, NV.

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