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NOW I’M 64 …ON THE OCCASION OF MY BIRTHDAY/ ROBERT PLANT/SCARLET/LZ NEWS / JOHN BONHAM EVENT LATEST/LIVE ON BLUEBERRY HILL – IT WAS 50 YEARS AGO/DL DIARY BLOG UPDATE

3 September 2020 1,295 views 18 Comments

DL NOW I’M 64 – ON THE OCCASION OF MY BIRTHDAY…

I’ve been listening to The Beatles’ When I’m Sixty Four since I was around 11 years old.

Rrecorded for the Sgt Pepper album, its repeated phrase of ‘’Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four” is a quirky lament to old age and I never gave it a second thought that one day I would reach such an age.

Well that day has come…for today Saturday, September 5 I reach the grand age of 64…  

So as is customary, firstly let’s do some timelines:

I was 7 years old when I first saw a live concert (The Dave Clark Five show at the Granada Cinema Bedford)

9 when I first saw Tottenham Hotspur play

13 when I first heard Led Zeppelin

15 when I first started work at British Home Stores (sadly now gone)

15 when I first saw Led Zeppelin live at the Empire Pool Wembley

16 when I saw Led Zeppelin perform at Alexandra Palace

18 when I first started selling records at WH Smith – a career in retail that would last 35 years

18 when I saw Led Zeppelin perform five times at Earls Court

19 when I attended The Song Remains The Same London premiere

21 when I jumped on stage with The Who at Shepperton

22 when I wrote the first Tight But Loose magazine

22 when I saw Led Zeppelin at Knebworth

23 when I travelled over Europe to see Led Zeppelin on what would be there final tour

24 when my first book Led Zeppelin -The Final Acclaim was published

25 when I started going out with the good lady Janet

27 when we married

29 when Led Zeppelin reformed for Live Aid

34 when Sam was born

34 when I watched England reach the semi finals of the World Cup

35 when my book Led Zeppelin A Celebration was published

36 when I co- organised the first UK Led Zeppelin with Andy Adams

37 when I saw Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reunite for the Unledded MTV performances

38 when Adam was born

40 when I co wrote the Led Zeppelin Concert File book with Simon Pallett

41 when I intervewed John Paul Jones for the TBL magazine

46 when I attended the Led Zeppelin DVD was premiere

50 when I contributed to the research on Robert Plant’s Nine Lives box set

51 when Led Zeppelin reunited at the 02 Arena,

53 when I was made redundant at Virgin Retail and created TBL Publishing and went self- employed

54 when I published the Feather In the Wind Over Euope 1980 book

56 when I signed off the From A Whisper To A Scream book for publication

57 when I published the revised Then As It Was Led Zeppelin at Knebworth book,

58 when I compiled the Five Glorious Nights -Led Zeppelin at Earls Court 1975 book…

59 when I interviewed Jimmy Page in London for the TBL magazine

59 when I wrote the liner notes for the official Complete BBC Sessions

60 when the Complete BBC Sessions set was released.

61 when I watched England reach the semi finals of the World Cup

61 when I completed the truly epic Evenings With Led Zeppelin book with Mike Tremaglio

62 when I launched the Evenings With book in London with Mike Tremaglio

62 when I published the largest ever issue of the TBL mag – all 64 pages of it…

62 when I attended the John Paul Jones 100 Club gig and handed him the Evenings With Led Zeppelin book.

63 when I fainted at the Scarlett Sabat & Jimmy Page Libreria book event in London…

……………..

 Forgive the indulgence but here’s some reflective Birthday thoughts…and apologies in advance if it’s a bit rambling…

63…well there’s been no year like it and that is for sure.

The worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has affected all our lives and will continue to do so. As I have noted here a fair few times, everyone reading this will have their own set of circumstances in dealing with the many issues it has thrown up.

When the lockdown kicked in back in March we were already dealing with some difficult challenges here.

To backtrack…

Up until early December last year we were trucking along in the usual manner. I was immersed in the usual TBL workload with TBL 46 in the planning stages and other projects underway. Mentally I had been a bit up and down with depression and anxiety – something I had often flagged on my blog.

On the Friday December 7 I have to say my mental state was not good for a variety of reasons. I managed to fend it off over the weekend.

However…

Everything was curtailed after the events of Sunday December 8. That was the night that Janet fell over some chairs at our local Fox and Hounds pub when we were at the weekly music quiz. From having an enjoyable night with our very good friends Steve, Anne Marie,Jenny and Dec (visiting from Ireland), our world changed drastically within minutes.

It was immediately evident Janet had fallen badly right on her thigh. This was confirmed by the paramedics and the doctors at the hospital. Janet had broken her right leg at the neck of the femur bone and needed surgery on her thigh as soon as possible.

On the Tuesday December 10,she had an operation to insert three pins and screws in her femur bone to repair the break – which was a serious one.

Sadly, as all this was unfolding, I suffered a complete mental breakdown that resulted in me spending four days in a psychiatric hospital in Luton over the weekend of December 14. It was like a pressure cooker had gone off in my head and I could no longer contain my emotions.

How an earth had it come to this? Here I was confined to a room under the Mental Health Act some miles from Janet who was still in hospital herself with her broken leg – and of course away from Sam and Adam and everything else I held dear.

Somehow over that weekend, I did find the mental resolve to face up to a lot of issues. I spoke on the phone to a lot of people that weekend to seek assurance and advice –including some of you reading this. It was a cathartic experience on many levels – and I will never ever forget the kindness and support I received over that weekend –and indeed since.

So began the most difficult period of my life as I battled deep anxiety and depression and applied myself to looking after Janet as she recovered from a major leg injury that rendered her immobile for months ahead. As the weeks went on the doctors also informed us of the various complications such an injury can lead to. This added to our worries -. we knew this was going to be along haul ahead.

I have documented here how that journey has unfolded. Janet has been incredibly positive and determined to recover as best she can. We have had many ups and downs along the way and continue to do so. Looking back over the DL diary blogs of this past few months makes somewhat painful reading. I often poured out my feelings but it considerably helped me to do so. It was hard seeing the one you love in discomfort but we did get into a domestic groove very quickly.

Mental health wise, it was evident that I needed some help for my problems and I undertook a series of one on one counselling sessions. It unlocked a lot of feelings about my childhood, the family problems I have endured and the effect of the negative behavior of some former friends on my wellbeing.

There have been some incredible low points for me in the past few months – some of the lowest of my life, days where I just wanted to go to bed and forget everything. I often struggled to identify the man I was becoming and I have some deep regrets about some of my actions.

However, something the great author Hunter Davies said rings very true: ”I don’t have time to worry about who doesn’t like me. I am too busy loving the people who love me”.

That is something I need to learn to do more

As I have often mentioned, Janet’s understanding of all this has been simply incredible. Sam and Adam have also had to see a lot of this unfolding which has been distressing – they too have been amazing. When it comes to the love of a wife and family – I’m a multi millionaire…

Another symptom of all my mental health issues has been my withdrawing of seeing friends –this from a man who never wanted the party to end. My anxious state and low self esteem often prevented me from wanting to see anyone. This has tested some relationships though I am glad to say this situation has improved in recent weeks..

My depressive state also leads to not being able to enjoy the things I should in the way that I should.

As for my health – my anxiety has often led me to feeling unwell – at the Scarlett Sabat & Jimmy Page book event in London in February  I felt very dizzy. I had not felt good from the moment I got in the place and the heat, dehydration and the anxiety I am suffering from overwhelmed me. I was feeling very dizzy and had to go outside immediately. Once outside I briefly passed out. I came too and after a few minutes felt slightly better though I knew my night was over. The staff there were very supportive as was my very good friend Steve who got me home. Jimmy was not aware I had been taken ill but when he heard about my issues and Janet’s accident he sent a very supportive message – as you can imagine this was a huge inspiration.

My health has been affected by my state of mind and my inclination to catastrophise things – but on the positive side, over the past few months I have also lost a fair bit of weight which given my type 2 diabetes, has been a good thing.

Back to Janet. Thankfully, recently the good lady has made encouraging progress in her recovery – particularly in the last six weeks and after seven months on crutches can now walk well unaided. I am incredibly proud of her – all this has brought us even closer together and we have helped each other cope with the many challenges that all this has thrown at us. Janet is continuing her intensive physio exercises ongoing to strengthen the leg further. She is returning to work next Monday in her role as deputy leader at the nearby pre-school.

The lockdown and all the fears of a life threatening virus has also greatly impacted on my mental state. Being a type 2 diabetic I am in a higher risk category and like us all, the frustration of not being able to live our normal lives can be very disheartening.

For me personally that has meant not having the social contact I build the TBL business on – going to gigs, interviewing people, overseeing the design work at Mick Lowe’s StudioMix etc. We are all having to adapt to new ways of doing what we do and that can be very challenging.

Fundamentally, we all want to stay safe and well along with the people we love and that becomes the ultimate goal.

With the slight easing of lockdown there are choices to be made in what we feel safe doing – for me that means going to the post office and shops and trying to have some semblance of social life. I have ventured to the pub but not often –I have yet to risk going into London. It’s clear the virus threat is here to stay for the foreseeable future and we all have to adapt and work around that. It’s evident that doing the normal things we did in this new era is a massive inspiration and such a benefit to our wellbeing.

I am missing many things – crowds at football matches, record fairs, visits to the TBL office also known as The Spice Of Life, hooking up with friends when I want to. Nothing is easy and so many things have a knock on effect. Things we took for granted seem like mountains to climb.

I have tried to keep in touch with friends on the phone and occasional ventures out. I am in touch with Mick who is working from home we have some TBL projects already underway.

Within Janet’s recovery and coping with my anxiety and depression I have tried very hard to keep the passions that define who I am on track.

This has included the inspirational visits to the Vinyl Barn and the Slide Record shop in Bedford. There’s also been no letup in my quest to produce the regular TBL website updates and write creatively. Despite all the challenges, I have produced some fulfilling writing pieces – notably the Osaka Japan 1971 bootleg set review and thoughts on recent releases by The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Paul Weller.

I still love collecting vinyl records and CDs and writing about them as much as I ever did. My desire to chronicle the world of Led Zeppelin is also unrelenting.

Similarly, the need for me to share my musical passion via my Facebook page gives me a much welcomed platform. This includes my daily anniversary and Birthday postings, my weekly retro charts listings and what’s on the player here. I find this an invaluable outlet.

There are times where my motivation has been low but when I am on it, I enjoy this sharing of passion more than ever and it’s a huge inspiration.

So it’s not been all doom and gloom by any means – I know I am a very lucky man to be blessed with these opportunities and to share what I love.

I am also blessed with the love of an amazing lady – all though these past months Janet and I have tried to be positive and we are aware there are many people worse off. Laughter has proved good for the soul and while we might have had the worst of times, in many ways we have had the best of times – we have overcome a lot of obstacles that as I said, has brought us even closer together

We have also had some incredible support in the last few months from people close to home and from far and wide – too many to mention here. It’s been hugely humbling and gratifying and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart – as does Janet.

In fact, track two side one of Led Zeppelin III is a big mantra of mine ….Friends….like I said I am blessed with so many. I count myself a very lucky man indeed.

So as I move into my 64th year there are many unprecedented challenges – principally the continued threat of the virus which something that everyone has to endure.

Within all that there is the need to live my life as I need to – and of course earn a living and to that end I am as keen as ever to produce TBL product in whatever shape or form that takes. In the next few weeks I will be announcing details of the Feather In The Wind Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980 40th Anniversary book repackage.

On the Zep related front,in the coming months there is the Robert Plant Digging Deep Subterrania release and the publication of the Jimmy Page Anthology book to look forward to.

For me personally, I hope to contain my mental health issues so when they rear up I can recover and get back on track. Janet will be continuing her recovery with an intense programme of physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg.

Within the threat of the virus like  everyone reading this we will try and live our lives as best we can being diligent and taking the correct precautions to try and stay safe and well.

So where am I at now…

I can say I have felt stronger mentally in the past couple of weeks and I need to keep this going. I have also  felt my self esteem returning and I have felt more like the old Dave Lewis again. Janet’s recent progress has also been such a tonic. I am aiming to regain the zest that I once took for granted.

It remains an absolute privilege to be able to relay the world of Led Zep through the various TBL mediums, be it this website, Facebook, the magazine or the books. I will endeavor to continue to do that. Spreading the wonder of music is in my DNA  and has been a deep passion since I was seven years old.

So 63 has been tough – very tough at times and along the way I have learnt a lot about myself – perhaps more than in any other year previously.

64 will present a whole host of fresh challenges but as the good lady Janet has often said to me these past few months… ”We can do this…”

Dave Lewis, September 4, 2020

…………………………………..

Not so much a case of when I’m 64 as now I’m 64…

DL 64 FROM  64 – THE BIRTHDAY LIST:

The list – there’s always a list and this year’s birthday list is 64 from 64.

In effect I have selected 64 songs –one for each year since 1964 (in some cases two to make up the 64 choices)

These songs are amongst my all-time favourites and more often than not I first heard these songs in the year they represent (most of them were originally released in that year).

These songs often defined the year they came out for me personally and revive many memories from the time.

The usual suspects are of course well represented.

So, on the occasion of my 64th Birthday here are 64 from 64…

1964: Glad All Over – The Dave Clark Five

The DC5 were my first real musical obsession…it would not be the last…this remains one of the most uplifting songs ever recorded.

1965: Help – The Beatles

I was already well aware of The Beatles when I went to see their second feature film while on holiday in Wales in August of this year. They would be a constant in my life and a very important one…

1966: Theme From Thunderbirds – Barry Gray orchestra

The mid 60s saw my musical obsession temporarily grounded in place of football, Subbuteo table football, James Bond and Thunderbirds – the brilliant puppet TV series. This stirring theme takes me right back there…

1967: When I’m 64 – The Beatles

Even aged 11, I knew this album was very special…and back then 64 seemed a very long way off…

1968: Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones

It would be during my musical re awakening in 1969 this opening track on Beggars Banquet album made its mark – until I heard Whole Lotta Love, The Rolling Stones were my fave group.

1969: In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

Elvis was making a major comeback just as I was returning to my passion for music –and this was the superb song that put him back at the top…

1969: Oh Well Parts 1 and 2 – Fleetwood Mac

Memories of playing the B side Oh Well Part 2 on the London Road café Juke Box near where I lived.

1970: Out On The Tiles – Led Zeppelin

The waiting and build up for Led Zeppelin III was accompanied by my scissors and sellotape piecing together my first Zep scrapbooks

This was the first track I heard from the Zep III album when it was previewed on Alan Freeman’s Pick of The Pops radio show. …this band was now an obsession and what a beautiful one it was and is…

1970: The Weavers Answer – Family

Another musical discovery in a year of discovery – this was a maxi single as they were deemed with Strange Band and Hung Up Down. A simply amazing package of delights.

1971: Hot Love – T Rex

He was a wizard and a true star –and in 1971 everybody at our school seemed to knew it

1972: Schools Out – Alice Cooper

For me on June 5 it was as Alice put it, ‘’School’s out for ever’’ and off into the big wide world. I purchased this single and album with one of my first £11.50 pay packets from working at British Home Stores.

1973: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) – George Harrison

The sound of the summer of 1973…

1974: It’s Only Rock’Roll –The Rolling Stones

I vividly remember watching the video for the single on The Old Grey Whistle Test – I purchased the album day I got the job on the record counter at WH Smith in October 1974.

1974: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing or Anything – Rod Stewart/The Faces

A glorious record that lit up many a seasonal drink that memorable Christmas of 1974…

1975: Listen To What The Man Said – Paul McCartney & Wings  

The sound of the summer of 1975…

1976: You’re My Best Friend – Queen

The sound of the summer of 1976…

1977: Going For The One -Yes

In the middle of punk – prog rock still ruled and this brilliantly uplifting title track from their album lit up the year.

1978: Won’t Get Fooled Again (live at Shepprton Studios  – The Who

I only have to hear the intro and I’m on my marks ready to make a leap of faith, as I did on that memorable afternoon of May 25 1978 at Shepperton Studios…

1978: Baby Please Stop Crying – Bob Dylan

Dylan’s Street Legal album was my first love affair break up album and this was just one of the emotional break up songs on that album that I immersed myself in..

1979: In The Evening – Led Zeppelin

A glorious opening track that proclaimed ‘’We are back…’’and they were but for all too short a time..

1980: Going Underground – The Jam

Sharp as a needle, Weller and co sound tracking the changing times in my life at that point…

1981: You Know What I Mean – Phil Collins

The Face Value album was another love affair break up album for me and this track brings it all back……

1981: Ceremony – New Order

Changing times, changing musical landscapes and this track was at the forefront of ushering in a new age – my very good friend Dec would go on to promote a fair few New Order gigs and write an incredible book about their early days.

1982: Pledge Pin – Robert Plant

Another new world rising…and it felt so good to hear him on record in his own right…the sound of summer ’82 and beyond…

1983: Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Here’s the sound of summer ’83 as the good lady Janet and I were first stepping out together… and what a sound it was – for me David Bowie is the single most important and influential musical artist of all time

1984: Head Start For Happiness – The Style Council

Sophisticated new soul for young marrieds everywhere – and that year included the good lady Janet and me…

1985: Hammer To Fall (live at Live Aid)- Queen

Inspires vivid memories of that amazing day and what a performance by Freddie and co…

1986: Digging your Scene – The Blow Monkeys

A melodic beauty of a single that was prominent on the charts as I broke away from WH Smith to run the Sound FX record shop in Bedford that then morphed into Our Price where I spent the next 17 years as manager and I loved every minute of it..

1987: Northern Sky – Nick Drake

My first discovery of the timeless music of Nick Drake was on the sampler album Heaven In A Wild Flower which I first heard via the Island Records rep that called on the shop at this time.

1988: Ship Of Fools – Robert Plant

With the Now And Zen album Robert successfully reconciled his past with the present – this wonderful performance is as good as anything he has recorded in and out of Led Zeppelin.

1989: When the World Knows Your Name – Deacon Blue

One of the good lady Janet’s faves – uplifting and endearing. We saw them live twice that year and they were brilliant.

1990: World In Motion – England-New Order

Number one when our Sam was born on June 4 and inspiring memories of the Italia 90 World Cup, Page and Plant reunited at Knebworth and the writing of my A Celebration book – such great times…

1991: All My Love (extended outro) – Led Zeppelin

I was with Andy Adams at his house when he played me this previously unreleased and unheard longer version of All My Love. The incredible extended outro had us both open mouthed in awe and wonder. It’s subsequent release on the Studio Daze bootleg CD was and is still much played around these parts.

1992: White Summer (live Julie Felix show) – Jimmy Page

This amazing clip from 1970 surfaced via a BBC contact (thanks Tim) in time for Andy and I to show it at the 1992 Led Zeppelin Convention we staged in May

1993: 29 Palms – Robert Plant

From perhaps his best solo album and another wonderful period of gig going experiences.

1994: Thank You  –Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

On Thursday August 25 1994 I was very lucky to be at the LWT Studios in London for the first of two nights recordings of Jimmy Page & Robert Plant Unledded for MTV.

It was an astonishing reunion as they recreated the Led Zep magic with immense skill and pride .

Thank You was the opening number – when Jimmy took that first solo we were all collectively willing him to nail it – and nail he did…

They were back together and my, life was good

1995: Black Dog (American Music Awards) -Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

A tremendous clip from their London rehearsal studio and the prelude to so many amazing P and P moments that year

1996: Three Lions – Baddiel & Skinner/Lightning Seeds

Euro 96 and all that…

1997: Stay Young – Oasis

The soundtrack to many a great retail day at the Our Price record shop. Brothers not always in arms but utterly brilliant during this era…

1998: Most High – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

The signature tune as we were Walking Into Everywhere including Istanbul, the Top Of The Pops, TFI and Later With Jools Holland TV studios and the Shepherds Bush Empire…crazy days.

1999: So What – Miles Davis

I bought the Kind Of Blue album on CD on a sunny early September Saturday. It expanded my listening pleasure manifold and still does…

2000: Flames – The Priory Of Brion

This frenzied cover of the Elmer Gantry track was a highlight of the hugely enjoyable low key Robert Plant gigs of this period.

2001: What Is Life – George Harrison

A fantastic triple CD package of the best solo Beatles album – a whole new discovery of a true gem.

2002: Skip’s Song – Robert Plant

A superb vocal performance from the Dreamland album. The songs as he put it he had kept in his back pocket and the soundtrack to the World Cup that year and so much more…another Plant career high – and my review of this album was featured in a full page piece in Classic Rock

2003: Immigrant Song (live LA Forum) – Led Zeppelin

Along with the five hour DVD, the How The West Was Won live set was a  much welcomed outpouring of Zep frenzy just as I started working in the Virgin Megastore in Milton Keynes. Watching this clip at the London premiere was incredibly exciting

2004: Real Good Looking Boy – The Who

An Elvis inspired Who gem from the Then And Now compilation that I had on the iPod as I regularly travelled to Milton Keynes on the bus…

2004: River Man – Nick Drake

From the Made To Love Magic album a fresh new package of Nick Drake music – another iPod favourite of the year…

2005: Dancing In Heaven – Robert Plant  

Ushering in the Mighty ReArranger period – and more memorable Plant gigs at the Scala and Cornbury Festival.

2006: – Far Post – Robert Plant

Suddenly I was 50 and our Sam arranged through his office for Robert to sign a CD for my Birthday – and not long after this box set gem appeared with a credit for my research work on it -I was very proud of that. Far Post – a bonus track on the Pictures At Eleven album was a much welcomed CD addition.

2007: For Your Life – Led Zeppelin

From that night of nights at the 02. They are,were and always will be the best…here’s the ultimate proof…

2008: Light Night – Paul Weller

Lovely Weller outing from his expansive 22 Dreams issued as the Virgin chain became Zavvi and then became no more…

2009: I Used To Be A King – Graham Nash

From the three CD career spanning set issued just as I was made redundant. How the worlds ”I used to be a king” resonated with me during that very uncertain time

2010: House Of Cards – Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy

So began a new TBL era as I became self employed steered by the key input of TBL designer Mick Lowe. Robert too was launching a new venture the country/blues roots of the Band of Joy would inspire some life affirming gigs one of which at The Roundhouse, I was on BBC Radio Two waxing lyrical beforehand.

2011: Main Theme – Jimmy Page

The Death Wish II soundtrack was re issued via Jimmy’s website in time for Christmas 2011. The innovative Zep influenced Main Theme was an added bonus.

2012: Ramble On –Led Zeppelin

From the Celebration Day film – and what a thrill it was to relive that night of nights. The screenings of the film that October were wonderful TBL communal events.

2013: The Stars Are Out Tonight – David Bowie

The star was indeed out again though none of us knew how little time he had left on this earth to shine.

There will always be a Starman waiting in the sky…

2014: Whole Lotta Love (rough mix with vocal ) – Led Zeppelin

Yet more excitement as Jimmy lifted the lid on the Zep archive. Hearing him explain all this in forint of me at the first Olympic Studios playback was astounding. Interviewing Jimmy in October of that year for the TBL mag was another hug e thrill for me.

2015: Weep No More – Bad Company  

Straight Shooter has always been one of my favourite albums so this 2015 reissue was much welcomed   – it led to a memorable night in the company of the great Mick Ralphs at the Bad Company reissue playback event.

2016: Travelling Riverside Blues – Led Zeppelin

In 2016 I was asked by Jimmy Page to write some new sleeve notes for this release -working with Jimmy  was enlightening, exhausting and exhilarating…and unforgettable…

2017: Carry Fire – Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters

The incredibly exciting lunchtime showcase gig for BBC 6 I was lucky enough to attend ushered in yet another new phrase – he still has in droves…

2018: Everybody Knows – Stephen Stills & Judy Collins

Lovely lilting title track from a pair of the seasoned travellers still helplessly hoping…

2019: How?(take 40) – John Lennon

From the Record Store Day Imagine Raw Studio Mixes album. ‘’How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing? pleads John. That would be a lyric that would resonate much around these parts…

2020: Living In A Ghost Town – The Rolling Stones

Trust The Rolling Stones to capture the moment – a compelling musical statement unleashed just as the pandemic was taking hold…

..and finally…

2020: Mirrorball – Paul Weller

 

In these strange times we all need a measure of comfort and familiarity to hang on to and this new Paul Weller album On Sunset offered exactly that. This opening track song cycle with it’s meandering soundscapes hit the mark. A favourite of the good lady Janet we often have this on when we return form our daily walk to help strengthen Janet’s leg.

……………………..

So there it is 64 at 64

Thanks for listening to all this and for all your ongoing support.

David Francis Lewis nearly 64…

September 4, 2020 

…………………..

Robert Plant – Too Much Alike:

Robert Plant shared the second of three previously unreleased songs from his upcoming career-spanning new 2-CD set DIGGING DEEP: SUBTERRANEA. “Too Much Alike (Country cover/duet with Patty Griffin)” is available now at all digital service providers.

“This Charlie Feathers classic is pure cute Country/Rockabilly. It was a highlight during the Band of Joy sessions and the lyric allowed a great duet for me and Patty Griffin. Recorded in Nashville in 2009” — Robert Plant

Listen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meEypYH1Bq8

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The Rolling Stones featuring Jimmy Page …more Scarlet…

Listen to the remix here…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8CNhCAx_go

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LZ News:

Led Zeppelin News Update:

For all the latest Zep and related news check out the Led Zeppelin news website at;

http://ledzepnews.com/

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John Bonham A Celebration Event II Update:

This one from organiser Ros Sidaway:

“Hello everyone, firstly thank you for your patience at this difficult time for live music.

Following the postponement of the JBAC II theatre performances, we had instead hoped to stage an outdoor ticketed music event for around 450 people on Saturday 26th September.
However, despite our best efforts we have not been able to secure a licence from the local Council for anything near that number of people, meaning we would not be able to cover the costs, which are higher due to Covid measures, for staging the event.
So that means Plan C…..
John Bonham A Commemoration Weekend:
Thursday 24th Sept.
A short film about John’s early years in Redditch and on the Birmingham music scene, pre-Led Zeppelin. Aired on this page and via our YouTube channel on the eve of his passing 40 years ago. Time TBC.
Friday 25th Sept
Candlelight gathering around John’s Memorial in the heart of Redditch town centre. 7pm.
Saturday 26th Sept
A small live music gathering (maximum 60 people) on the terrace outside The Black Tap from 1pm – 7pm. Picnic tables hold up to 6 adults. To reserve a table,  once you have a group of 5/6, call or text 07857 297907. No tickets but we will be seeking  donations towards costs from each table.
Please note the Friday & Saturday evening tributes have very limited capacity due to social distancing restrictions.

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TBL Archive Special: If it’s September…it must be time for Live On Blueberry Hill…

Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill – the pioneering bootleg album …still a thrill…it was 50 years ago…

50 years ago on September 4 1970, Led Zeppelin performed a memorable show at the Los Angles Forum – it was captured by more than one enterprising fan and subsequently released on a variety of bootlegs. It remains for me and countless others one of THE essential Led Zeppelin recordings.

To mark the 50th anniversary of what we know and love as Live On Blueberry Hill, here is an TBL archive special this is one of the chapters in the Celebration II – The Tight But Loose Files book published by Omnibus Press in 2003.

Bootlegs and Led Zeppelin have been synonymous for over three decades. Despite manager Peter Grant’s heavy-handedness when dealing with those he caught taping their shows, the band are the most bootlegged act of all time, outstripping even The Beatles, Dylan, Springsteen and the Stones. Their final seven shows in the UK alone (five at Earls Court and two at Knebworth) account for over 100 different releases between them. Just about every known amateur recording of the band’s live gigs has made it on to CD. Given the length of their stage shows, the CD format, with its 75-minute playing time, is tailor made for presenting Zeppelin in concert, but even before the flood of digital compact format titles that emerged in the early Nineties there was no shortage of vinyl Led Zeppelin bootlegs.

Tight But Loose has carried reports on Zeppelin bootlegs since its inception. As far back as the hand written first edition I was enthusiastically reviewing the then recently issued vinyl bootleg Ballcrusher which documented their BBC In Concert show. Issue number two carried an extensive report on what was already a legendary bootleg album, Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill. In 1995 I returned to that 1970 recording to laud its 25th anniversary for TBL 11.

Whatever the legal niceties of such releases, searching out their bootleg recordings is a necessity of every serious Zep fan. Their studio albums only hinted at the creativity the group were capable of. It was on stage in live action that Zeppelin really excelled.

During the Seventies ample proof of that fact arrived with each new bootleg record, none more so than the remarkable recordings made at the Los Angles Forum from the audience on the night of September 4, 1970, during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour. This chapter reflects on the lasting impact of that memorable bootleg recording and rounds up twelve other illicit evenings with Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime target for the emerging bootleg recording business. The bands’ skill at extending and improvising on their studio record repertoire elevated their live shows to something very different from playing their albums.

During their first 18 months on the road they cleverly interwove the basic recorded material from the first two albums with additional impromptu jams. Early examples of this included the long jam on Garnet Mimms ‘As Long As I Have You’, employed on many of their 1969 shows, the medley of numbers to be found within ‘How Many More Times’ and an improvised jam session in the middle of ‘Communication Breakdown’. Then there was ‘Dazed And Confused’, Page’s late Yardbird remnant that by 1970 was developing into a marathon 20-minute opus with differing sections, including the violin bow episode and a call and response battle between Page and Plant.

‘Whole Lotta Love’, the Zep II opener, soon became another forum for exploration, usually a platform to playfully improvise a selection of Fifties rock’n’roll classics. During 1970 they also began previewing songs from the yet to be released third album – initially an embryonic ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and then, in a bold move, the acoustic ‘That’s The Way’, a performance that helped break the myth that Zep relied entirely on Marshall amplifiers.

Two separate teams of fans were intent on recording the Zeppelin gig at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles on the night of September 4, 1970, but it’s unlikely they knew what Zeppelin had in store that night. Both came away with lengthy representations of the band’s current state of play, recorded on reel-to- reel recorders close to the stage.

The recording that would became known as the album Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill was captured by a pair of west coast bootleggers whose previous credits included Dylan’s Great White Wonder set and The Rolling Stones’ LiveR Than You’ll Ever Be. The latter had been recorded on a Uher 4000 reel-to-reel tape recorder with 71/2ips inch reels and a Sennheiser 805 shotgun microphone. They took this set up into the Forum to record in stereo the Zeppelin September 4 performance. Unbeknown to them, a separate bootlegger known as Rubber Dubber also recorded the show and quickly issued it as a double bootleg album stamped Led Zeppelin Live Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70.

The more common Blimp label version (later to appear on the high profile bootleg label Trade Mark Of Quality) with a distinctive surreal cover insert came out within weeks of the LA show. It’s worth noting, however, that it was not the first Led Zeppelin bootleg to be released. That distinction fell to a vinyl album known as PB (the title derived from the chemical symbol for lead). This came packaged in a brown sleeve with the words P.B. Live on side one and Recorded Live – Pure Blues on side two, and was pressed in limited quantities around the Seattle area. Pure Blues subsequently reached a wider market when it was picked up by the Trade Mark Of Quality label and pressed as Mudslide. The actual source was a soundboard recording from Zeppelin’s opening night of their fifth US tour on March 21, 1970, at the Pacific Coliseum Vancouver. The 40-minute tape was notable for capturing a rare version of ‘We’re Gonna Groove’, the Ben E King/James Beatha cover which the band used as a set opener during their early 1970 appearances. They also recorded a studio version the previous summer for possible inclusion on Led Zeppelin II which would eventually surface on the posthumous Coda album.

The UK music press of the time chronicled the constant stream of bootleg titles from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that were being imported into the country. When reports of Zeppelin titles came to the attention of Peter Grant he was predictably angry.

In one of the few naïve statements of his career, Grant was quoted in the Melody Maker as saying: “As far as I know there can be no Led Zeppelin tapes available. After hearing some time ago that there was going to be an attempt to bootleg some tapes of the band, I flew to America. We’ve managed to retrieve all the tapes and we know nothing in existence that can be issued.”

When Grant heard that copies of Live On Blueberry Hill were being sold from a shop in Chancery Lane in London, Grant and Richard Cole, along with RAK management partner Mickie Most, paid the shop a visit. He questioned the proprietor on the Zeppelin album and with some not so gentle persuasion made sure he knew that this was one bootleg album it would be best to leave alone. In a separate incident a year later fearing another case of bootlegging, Grant smashed the equipment being used by a team of anti-pollution scientists set up to measure noise levels at a Zeppelin show in Vancouver.

For all his muscle Grant was ultimately powerless to stop the proliferation of Zeppelin underground records of which Blueberry Hill was the forerunner. If you knew where to look, such artefacts were possible to come by.

For this particular enchanted Zep obsessed teenager Blueberry Hill represented the forbidden fruit and back in 1972 I was determined to track it down. Luckily the then relative newcomer to the pop press Sounds offered a free service for readers’ classified advertisements. I scoured these columns religiously for many weeks and finally struck gold when I spotted an ad that ran along the lines: “Live albums for sale: Stones, Dylan, Zeppelin etc”. The list came back and amongst the many Dylan and Beatles titles there it was – Live On Blueberry Hill, a double album on the TMQ label, catalogue number TMQ 72002, and pressed on coloured vinyl, asking price £6. Back then six quid was a small fortune but it was more than worth it.

About three weeks later the postman dropped an LP size package on the doorstep. I anxiously ripped it open and there in all its glory was the genuine article: “106 minutes and fifty-three seconds of pure and alive rock” as the sleeve insert put it. Was it ever.

blueberry-hill-1

The excitement of playing that double album, on blue and red vinyl, remains an unforgettable musical memory for me. It was a novelty that never wore off. Indeed, the various incarnations I’ve obtained since – the Rubber Dubber vinyl set, the various re-issues, the various bootleg CD packages – all these have only heightened the listening pleasure of that celebrated Los Angeles stop-off during Led Zeppelin’s sixth American tour.

The overriding factor of the September 4 recording, regardless of which version you hear, is that it remains one of the greatest audience recordings of the era. The sheer dynamic thrust of Bonzo’s drum sound, the sinewy grind of Page’s guitar, Jonesy’s resonant bass lines and piecing keyboards and the outstanding clarity of Plant’s siren shrieks (suitably enhanced by the echo unit employed at the time), all merge into a ferocious mix that magically recreates the electricity of the occasion.

For anyone weaned the original TMQ long players, there’s an authenticity in their performances ingrained in the grooves that has rarely been captured so effectively. Alongside the 1975 Madison Sqaure Garden soundboard, the Earls Court shows and the LA 1977 gigs, there are few finer unofficial examples of the complete Led Zeppelin concert experience. The September 4, 1970, concert as captured on the TMQ double set was just choc full of off-the-wall surprises. There was no sign of any set list sterility back then – they just did as they pleased.

Moments to relish include:

The aural assault of ‘Immigrant Song’ (listed on the insert as ‘From The Midnight Sun’ as it had yet to be announced under its official title) exploding into ‘Heartbreaker’.

The slightly menacing tone of a relatively compact ‘Dazed And Confused’ with Plant bursting in mid way through screaming, “I don’t care what people say, rock’n’roll is here to stay”

Page and Bonham linked in glorious tandem for that solo exercise on ‘Bring It On Home’

The electric finale of ‘Moby Dick’ (“The big B!” exclaims Plant)

The unpredictability of ‘Communication Breakdown’ as Zep play The Buffalo Springfield and Beatles songbooks and throw in the rarely played live Zep I opener ‘Good Times Bad Times’.

Freshly minted nuggets from the yet to be heard Zep III on record such as ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and the rarely played ‘Out On the Tiles’.

The tentative introduction of the acoustic material, a stark and sensitive ‘That’s The Way’ and the rare try out of Page’s instrumental solo ‘Bron Yr Aur’, a clear five years before it was officially released

‘Thank You’ preceded by the meandering organ solo from John Paul Jones and finishing with a drawn out ending featuring Page’s delicate strumming.

‘Whole Lotta Love’ and the ensuing Zep 50’s revival show and finally the breathless rendition of Fats Domino’s ‘Blueberry Hill’

“Goodnight and thank you for everything,” utters a breathless Plant at the close, followed by “Did ya dig it?” by the evening’s MC.

Yes we did and still do

The greatest live album of all time? It’s certainly up there with the best, official or otherwise.

The reason is simple. It captures a group of musicians brimming with confidence. On stage that night in September 1970 Led Zeppelin were truly coming of age.

Live On Blueberry is also something of a yardstick for the bootlegs industry. Back then Zeppelin’s recorded output was just the tip of the iceberg. On stage live was where the real action occurred and, indeed, where they really built their reputation. Peter Grant summing it all up when he told me: “Led Zeppelin was primarily an in-person band… that’s what it was really about.”

Bootleg recordings of the band offered a whole new level of appreciation and Blueberry Hill was the watershed for the subsequent flood of live Zep bootlegs that would emerge throughout the next three decades.

The whole bootleg CD market may be well out of control now, beyond any reasonable realm of quality control, but there was a time when bootlegs like Blueberry Hill were considered almost as important as the group’s official output by fans and chroniclers alike and, if they were honest, probably the group themselves.

Maybe that’s the greatest compliment that can be paid to this iconic bootleg recording. It remains as essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums.

50 years on Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill.

Dave Lewis 

See more at this link:

https://www.loudersound.com/features/why-a-live-bootleg-could-be-the-greatest-album-led-zeppelin-ever-made?fbclid=IwAR0g9S0OcDWj1pL1QuWTQ8fUVRhQhRUggoBZdOt9xerK7iax_R4YcHdqd3I

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DL Diary Blog Update: 

August 28:

Friday treats at the Vinyl Barn:

To kick off a weekend of record buying with the first Record Store Day drop due tomorrow, at the always excellent and rather damp Vinyl Barn this morning I was well pleased to find a couple of great compilations

With the 1970 isle of Wight Festival 50th anniversary upon us, it was good to search out an album by one of the key acts of that memorable weekend – namely Richie Havens, the 1974 collection in the Polydor Special series

I also picked up the superb double album History Of The British Blues Volume 1. Compiled by legendary producer Mike Vernon for the US Sire label it showcases the likes of Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner, The Yardbirds, John Mayall, Graham Bond, Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack and more –a comprehensive overview of the 1960s British Blues Scene. There’s also a track by Mike Vernon Come Back Baby featuring Rory Gallagher. All packaged with detailed sleeve track list information. Top stuff – thanks Darren!

August 29:

Record Store Day Drop…

With everything going on here this year what with Janet’s broken leg and my mental health issues plus the ongoing pandemic situation, I really didn’t feel I had the heart and enthusiasm for Record Store Day – the fact it has been postponed twice added to that… however thanks to the enthusiasm and support of my fellow record collecting comrade and very good friend Steve Livesley and the wonderful assistance of Warren and Nerys at the excellent Slide Record shop in Bedford, I got back in the zone and what an inspiration it has been to invest in some beautiful Record Store day releases today in Slide…

In a challenging changing world one thing remains constant – the sheer joy of record collecting and music – across the UK and beyond on this Record Store Day today many people will be reveling in that fact…

Here’s a sample of my purchases today – the superb Elton John, Kinks and Who releases

August 29

 

Great to see my record collecting comrade and very good friend Steve Livesley back from his Record Store Day travels…

I was able to hand over the Iggy Pop Live In Paris 1991 set that he missed out on but I managed to secure for him at the Slide Record shop.

We both did very well in fulfilling our respective RSD wants lists

August 29:

Record Store Day Drop –Sandie Shaw Reviewing The Situation…

One of my outstanding RSD acquisitions on Saturday and with a Led Zep connection is the superb Sandie Shaw album Reviewing the Situation.

I bought an original pressing on the Pye label from Andy’s Records Beat Goes On upstairs collectors department in Cambridge in 1987.

I then bought it on CD from Essential Music in Brighton in 2000.

Originally released in late 1969 this was a collection of Sandie’s interpretations of some rock classics of the day. One of them was Your Time is Gonna Come from the Led Zeppelin debut album also released that year. It holds the distinction of being the first ever cover version of a Led Zeppelin song.

This RSD release features the original mono mix of the album plus an album of bonus material – this includes Sandie’s Wight On Wight single a tribute to the isle of Wight Festival issued in June 1970. I bought this single from my fellow record collecting comrade and Bedford’s number one musicologist Pete Burridge about a year back…

All in all a superb Record Store Day drop one purchase – thanks Warren and Nerys at the Slide Record shop in Bedford

August 29:

It was great to have a visit last night from our very good friend Mr Alan Stutz down for the weekend from where he lives in North Shields.

Alan was one of the first to purchase the TBL mag issue 1 when I first met him in Bedford in 1979 – and he has had every issue since.

He kept the good lady Janet and I laughing all night – as he does every time he visits –and what a tonic that is…thanks Al!

 

August 31:

It’s a Happy Birthday to Mrs Janet Lewis …a very special lady who lights up my life every single day …

August 31:

With the Birthday good lady Janet this afternoon – we are having a great time here celebrating her Birthday with Sam and Adam and a visit from our very good friends Max and Julie..

Janet would like to say a big thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes and comments she has received – thanks again…

………………….
Update here:
As can be seen above we had a fabulous day here on Janet’s Birthday – and it was such an inspiration to have Sam and Adam back for a while. After my Birthday, we lead into a back to work period with Janet returning to her job at the pre school for the first time since last December -and I have  plenty to get stuck into on the TBL front…
So September is here and there is a lot to do and fresh challenges ahead…as the good lady has often said to me these past few months …we can do this…

Some particular inspirations this past week:

A lovely day on Janet’s Birthday.

Word from Danielz of the T Rextasy tribute band…

A visit from our very good friend Alan Stutz..

Great service by Warren and Nerys on the Record Store Day drop…

Alastair Campbell on TV talking about his book Living Better -How I learned To Live With Depression…

Thanks for listening – stay safe and well you very lovely people…

Dave  Lewis – September 4 , 2020

Until next time, stay safe and stay well…

Website updates written and compiled by Dave Lewis

Follow TBL/DL on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tightbutloose.loose

The TBL/DL Facebook page has regular updates and photos – be sure to check it out

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18 Comments »

  • WOOLS said:

    Dave,
    Belated birthday wishes to you! So wonderful to hear that all things are much better! What an unbelievable year it has been!

    Wools
    Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Ash said:

    G’day Dave,
    To read your open and honest blogs regarding your battles with mental health is a great help to those of us who can empathise with and relate to what you are going through. I’m pleased to hear you are managing to cope with it all, especially given the challenging times we are currently experiencing. Great to hear Janet’s recovery is also going well. The best of health to the both of you.
    Keep up all the great Led Zep related work you do that means so much to all LZ fans worldwide – what would we do without you mate…?!!

  • david stryjak said:

    I’m so glad you and your wife are doing better. I have bought almost every book you’ve done,and will continue to!Please stay well i need you as my zep expert! Your friend from Florida

  • Richard Lee said:

    Happy birthday Dave.
    You don’t know me but I’ve been reading Tight But Loose forever and have always really enjoyed what you do. Long may you run, as Stills once said.

  • Lee Matthews said:

    Happy Birthday Dave.
    Sorry to hear about your troubles, I’m sure things will get back on an even keel before long.

  • Ralph Hunt Sidway said:

    Birthday Greetings to you and Janet!!! May be late but certainly bELATED! :-). But seriously, Dave, your humility and warmth in sharing so openly of your difficult year is testament to the depth of your heart and your care and affection for fellow travelers. There are lots of us quiet ones out here pulling for you! You bring much joy and enrichment to the us and the world through your publishing and your very persona. Ahmet could have been speaking of you when he said, “It is a great life, this life of music.” Blessings on you and Janet and Adam and Sam!!!

  • Steve Hall said:

    Very Happy Birthday to you, Dave, and a belated one to your good lady!

    You’ve almost caught up with me, I’m 68 this year, and many of your experiences, musically and in life, run very similar to mine. This year has been one to forget for obvious reasons, so let’s hope for better things going forward!!

  • IanD said:

    Dave – Many happy returns, we need you when you are 63, 64, 65 and beyond. As a man once said “Keep on keeping on” – very best wishes from my clan to yours

  • Van Geet said:

    Happy birthday Dave ! A belgian led zep fan forever. Stay positive. Life is too short !

  • Ian in NZ said:

    Very best birthday wishes to you and Janet from down under,

  • Hiroshi said:

    Dave,

    Happy 50th anniversary of the ‘Blueberry Hill’ concert and your 64th birthday. They come hand in hand every year, don’t they?

    Belated but, lest we forget, congratulations to your Good Lady’s birthday, too! Glad to hear her recovery is going on.

    Come September it’s time for Japan 1971. May I expect to see your in-depth assessment of the Osaka first night soundboard recording on the forthcoming entry here? Your take on the Japan photo book, too…

  • Richard Grubb said:

    Happy Birthday Dave!

    Loving the chronology – that is a life well lived! So many great memories and priceless moments to cherish.

    Really glad to hear you’re on the up. It’s not a straight line as we all know, but take one day at a time and remember the small victories… it will be up and down, but you’re winning overall.

    Great news that Janet is getting there too…you make a formidable partnership and you’re going to be ok.

    All the best pal, see you in the Spice (soon, hopefully) for 64 pints! 😉

    Rich

  • Matt said:

    Hi Dave,

    Happy Birthday to you!

    Our led zeppelin world would not be complete without you..
    Many many more to you and thanks for all the wonderful readings

  • John Webster said:

    Don’t know how that went in my wife’s name but both of us are thinking of you both.

  • Diana Valerie Webster said:

    Good to hear your news Dave. Its a long road but you just need to keep on going down it.

  • Louis Wilkes said:

    Hello Dave, what a wonderful read! I’m so pleased for you and your family that, touch wood, you’ve come through such difficult times. I’ve been a follower of the blog for years and your posts this year have resonated with me. You won’t realise but in reaching out and being so honest you’ve helped other people. The issues around mental health you’ve talked about affect so many of us, to varying degrees. Credit to you for being strong enough to share your recent experiences. As men we’re not brought up to open up and find help and support but it shows true strength of character. Thanks for keeping the LZ flame burning, best wishes.

  • Jez said:

    Great piece Dave, proud to know you and so glad you phoned me ‘that’day. Delighted to hear things are improving. Best wishes to you all.

  • Graham Craig Rodger said:

    Some news just in… Empress Valley set to release the 24th March 1975 L.A. Forum concert as a complete soundboard: https://www.collectorsmusicreviews.com/empress-valley-label/the-big-one-is-coming-according-to-ev/

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