Posts Tagged ‘John Paul Jones’

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As Live albums go Forget “The Song Remains The Same” the 1970 bootleg “Live On Blueberry Hill” captures Zeppelin at the peak of their powers better than anything else, Sure, Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Grafitti are generally accepted as Led Zeppelin’s twin peaks, though you could find someone to make a case for each of their albums (even In Through The Out Door). But it’s the 1970 bootleg Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill that is the true connoisseur’s choice when it comes to Zeppelin albums.

Bootlegs and Zeppelin have been synonymous for over decades. Despite manager Peter Grant’s heavy-handedness when dealing with anyone he caught taping their shows, Zep became the most bootlegged act of all time.

The band’s impact on their initial American tours made them a prime target for the then emerging bootleg recording business. From their inception, it was more than evident that Zeppelin’s studio output was just the starting point. On stage was where the real action occurred, as they constantly improvised and expanded their material. Peter Grant summed it up when he stated: “Led Zeppelin was primarily an in-person band… that’s what it was really about.”

On the night of September 4th, 1970, during their sixth American tour, two separate teams of fans were intent on taping the Led Zeppelin gig at the Inglewood Forum in Los Angeles. Both parties came away with lengthy representations of the band’s then current state of play, recorded on reel-to-reel machines close to the stage.

Regardless of which version you hear, the sheer authenticity of the performance shines through. The dynamic thrust of Bonham’s drums, the sinewy grind of Page’s guitar, Jonesy’s resonant bass lines and melodic keyboards, plus the outstanding clarity of Plant’s vocal shrieks (enhanced by the echo unit used at the time), all merge into a ferocious mix that magically recreates the electricity of the occasion.  The sleeve notes describe it as “One hundred and six minutes and fifty three seconds of pure alive rock.

The recording that would become 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 Stones’ Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be. Another bootlegger known as Rubber Dubber also recorded the show and quickly issued it as a double album stamped Led Zeppelin Live Los Angeles Forum 9-4-70. The more commonLive On Blueberry Hill on the Blimp label version with a distinctive surreal cover insert, also came out within weeks of the show.

Moments to relish include the unpredictable Communication Breakdown medley that included Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth and The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There, plus the Zep I opener Good Times Bad Times. Not forgetting freshly minted nuggets from the soon to be released Zep III album such as Since I’ve Been Loving You and the rarely played live Out On The Tiles. A lengthy Whole Lotta Love turned into a rock’n’roll juke box as they randomly threw in covers of Buddy Holly’s Think It Over and Leiber, Stoller & Barrett’s Some Other Guy – a formula they repeated with a breathless encore rendition of Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill.

Back in their heyday, bootleg recordings of Led Zeppelin offered a whole new perspective on the band. This remains as essential a part of their discography as any of their official albums. To paraphrase the great Fats himself, Led Zeppelin Live On Blueberry Hill is still an absolute thrill. From the 1980s the bootleg became available on CD as a 2-disc set, often under the titles Blueberry Hill and The Final Statements. An historic show immortalized on the first-ever LP bootleg, Blueberry Hill. After the concert, JP, RP and JB jam at the Troubadour with Fairport Convention. “It was mainly Plant and Page who got up onstage and joined Fairport. They did things like “Hey Joe,” “That’s Alright Mama,” “Mystery Train,” and other stuff. This was after Sandy Denny had left Fairport, so it was the all-male Fairport lineup. Joe Boyd

Setlist: 

Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Dazed and Confused, Bring It On Home, That’s Way, Bron-Yr-Aur, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Organ solo / Thank You, What Is and What Should Never Be, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl.: Let That Boy Boogie, Who’s Loving You Tonight?, I’m Movin’ On, Red House, Some Other Guy, Think it Over), Communication Breakdown (medley: incl. Good Times Bad Times, For What It’s Worth, I Saw Her Standing There), Out On The Tiles, Blueberry Hill.

 

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When Led Zeppelin III was released 50 years ago, it seemed destined to disappoint both the fans who wanted “Whole Lotta More Love” and the critics who weren’t all that keen on the band to begin with. Oh, sure, “Immigrant Song” was an instant hard-rock classic, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” was blues as slow and heavy as you could hope for, but this album’s heart and soul lay with its acoustic numbers on what was then called Side Two. This wouldn’t do – hadn’t these guys already set up camp in the heavy metal slums? How dare they pretend to be other than what they were?

Of course, time has proven Zeppelin the wiser. III proved them capable of expanding their palette, showing more sides and more shades than the wannabes who were only capable of following one set of Zep’s footprints. The critics have come around, taking note of the bucolic dimension Jimmy Page and Robert Plant brought to their song-writing after a recharging stay in a quiet cottage in Wales named Bron-Yr-Aur. And the fans? Well, Led Zeppelin was never going to lose their fans.

Nineteen sixty-nine was one helluva year for Led Zeppelin. In the short span of 12 months they played close to 150 shows, recorded two best-selling albums, toured the US five times, and established themselves as one rock’s top box-office draws. In the harsh winter of ’68 they had been lucky to get $1,500 (around £883) for a club gig, but by the time 1970 rolled around, they were demanding as much as six figures a show.

The band’s meteoric rise had been breathless. While the music press weren’t particularly kind to them, their dramatic, sexually explicit hard rock was almost irresistible to a new generation of kids searching for something new and exciting that wasn’t “the same old Beatles and Stones”. But after a year of non-stop touring, recording and shagging, the band were ready to take a break.

It was singer Robert Plant’s idea to head for the hills – the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, to be exact. The 22-year-old remembered an 18th-century cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur he had visited in his youth, and felt it would be great place to temporarily escape life in the fast lane and commune with nature. Plant extended an invitation to his co-writer, guitarist and producer Jimmy Page, and in the spring, the two men took their women, instruments and supplies to the bucolic retreat to recharge their batteries and “get back to the garden”.

“It was time to take stock, and not get lost in it all,” Plant said later. And what better way to keep it real than at a place with no electricity, candles for light, water from a stream and an outside toilet?

The story of Plant and Page’s regenerative trek to Wales looms large in Zeppelin folklore, with many assuming that most of the acoustic-based songs that eventually appeared on Led Zeppelin III were written there. Page disputes that notion, but doesn’t dismiss the significance of the journey.

“When Robert and I went to Bron-Yr-Aur we weren’t thinking: ‘Let’s go to Wales and write,’” says Page. “The original plan was to just go there, hang out and appreciate the countryside. The only song we really finished while we were there was That’s The Way, but being in the country established a standard of travelling for inspiration and set a tone for Led Zeppelin III.”

While it might not have been conceived as a writing trip, the singer and guitarist’s stay in the Welsh mountains was deemed important and influential enough to be acknowledged on the album’s sleeve, stating: ‘Credit must be given to Bron Y Aur a small derelict cottage in South Snowdonia for painting a somewhat forgotten picture of true completeness which acted as an incentive to some of these music statements.’

Little did the band know that this ‘incentive’ and subsequent ‘tone’ would end up sending massive shockwaves throughout the rock world. Led Zeppelin’s pastoral third album was recorded at Olympic Studios in London and released in October 1970. It seemed almost self-destructively perverse – a 360-degree retreat from the testosterone-infused hard rock that had made them international superstars.

John Bonham teased the press about the band’s intended direction when Zeppelin regrouped for the first studio sessions of III in late May. ‘’We’ll be recording for the next two weeks and we are doing a lot of acoustic stuff as well as the heavier side,” he told the Melody Maker. “There will be better quality songs than on the first two albums.’’

The drummer wasn’t wrong. Six of the 10 tracks on the third album were built around the sweet ’n’ bitter strains of Page’s acoustic Harmony guitar as the band touched on everything from traditional “Gallows Pole” to country blues “Hats Off To (Roy) Harper”, to a folk song so upbeat you could square-dance to it “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”. To emphasise the rustic nature of the album, Zeppelin even changed their appearance, growing facial hair to Hobbit-like proportions and wearing clothes that made them look more like hippie farmers than sex gods. Fans and critics were dazed and confused, but the band stood their ground.

“We were so far ahead that it was difficult for people to know what the hell we were doing,” Page told journalist Brad Tolinski in the 2012 book Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page. “Critics especially couldn’t relate to it. Led Zeppelin was growing. Where many of our contemporaries were narrowing their perspective, we were really being expansive. I was maturing as a composer and player, and there were many kinds of music that I found stimulating, and with this wonderful group I had the chance to be really adventurous.”

Soon after the album’s release, Page was keen to emphasise Zeppelin’s evolution. “There is another side to us’’ he said. “Everyone in the band is going through changes. There are changes in the playing and the lyrics. Robert is really getting involved in his lyric writing. This album was to get across more versatility and use combinations of instruments. I haven’t read any reviews yet, but people have got to give the LP a reasonable hearing.’’

Page would go on to read the reviews. Some writers went so far as to accuse the band of jumping on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young acoustic-rock bandwagon, which Page called “pathetic”, noting that acoustic guitars were all over the first two albums and arguing that they were at the core of everything the band did. The reviews so incensed the guitarist that he refused to grant any press interviews for the next 18 months after the album’s release.

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Plant, at the time Led Zeppelin III came out, was more direct: “You can just see the headlines, can’t you? ‘Led Zeppelin go soft on their fans’ or some crap like that. But now that we’ve done [this album] the sky’s the limit. It shows we can change. It means there are endless possibilities for us to go in. We won’t go stale, and this proves it.”

The truth is, the third album should have come as no surprise to anyone paying full attention to the band. The radical seeds that sprouted on III had been planted years earlier. Throughout the 60s, as Page toiled as London’s top session guitarist, very little escaped his attention. Like a musical sponge, he absorbed every lick the Chicago blues boom had to offer, took copious notes on contemporary folk-guitar virtuosos like John Fahey and Bert Jansch, and even purchased a sitar years before world music caught the attention of Beatle George Harrison.

He had already started applying those exotic flavours to rock’n’roll during his brief stint with The Yardbirds, and developed those ideas further on such early Zeppelin tracks as Black Mountain Side, which featured an Indian tabla musician, and Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You, which improbably married a Joan Baez song to heavy metal power chords and a flamenco guitar solo. The acoustic songs, Page opined, were designed to create dynamics both on the albums and in live performances, and that the harder songs “wouldn’t have as much impact without the softer ones”.

Yes, some thought Led Zeppelin III was commercial suicide, but in retrospect it was a brilliant gambit. Not only did the album prevent the quartet from becoming hard-rock caricatures like, say, Deep Purple or Ten Years After, but it also gave them an opportunity to take an important evolutionary leap forward. Often marginalised as ‘the acoustic album’, III was much more than that: it represented a truly daring leap in synthesising the folk, rock and world music elements found on the band’s first two albums into what one thinks of as ‘the Led Zeppelin style’.

The tense and mysterious Friends, for example, was the result of an experimental tuning Page designed specifically to capture the droning vibe heard in North African music. With its Eastern tonalities and ominous string arrangement reminiscent of English composer Gustav Holst’s Mars, Friends was undeniably a gateway to future masterworks like Kashmir and Four Sticks. And it makes you wonder if Stairway To Heaven or Over The Hills And Far Away would have existed without stylistic forerunners like That’s The Way or Gallows Pole.

Page was spreading his wings, and the Zeppelin III sessions also gave Robert Plant the opportunity to grow as a songwriter. No longer forced to simply beat his chest and crow about the size of his knob, he wrote his first truly great lyric, for That’s The Way. Amid Page’s cascading acoustic guitars, dulcimer and weeping pedal steel, Plant weaves a mournful southern Gothic tale on a par with Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 hit Ode To Billie Joe. With its haunting ambiguity, the song could be about class, racism, homosexuality or even ecological disaster. It’s sophisticated, secretive and flat-out beautiful. And, Lord knows, it’s a far cry from ‘I’m gonna give you every inch of my love’.

Plant has said the third album was “incredibly important for my dignity”. Perhaps the same could be said for the entire band.

Led Zeppelin were daring, but not crazy enough to completely abandon hard rock. While the album has its share of quiet moments, it also has plenty of loud ones – peculiar as they may be.

Immigrant Song is one of the heaviest and most exciting tracks in the band’s entire catalogue. On the surface it seems pretty straightforward, until you realise it’s a song about Vikings, the main vocal riff sounds like Bali Ha’i from the Broadway musical South Pacific, and that the rhythm guitar borrows from Link Wray’s rockabilly classic Rumble.

Its lyrical inspiration came when Zeppelin took some time out from the studio and ventured to Iceland to play a show in on June 22nd as part of a cultural exchange arranged by the British Government. Their first gig in the best part of three months, it took place at Reykjavik’s Laugardalsholl Sports. More importantly, just as the Welsh mountains had proved inspiring earlier in the year, Plant let his imagination run riot as he contemplated Iceland’s endless day.

“It was one of those times when you go to bed at night but you don’t sleep because the daylight’s still there – a 24-hour day,” the singer said. “There was just an amazing hue in the sky, and it was one of those things that made you think of Vikings and big ships – and John Bonham’s stomach.”

Less than a week later the band returned to the UK to headline the Bath Festival Of Blues & Progressive Music. The new song had already made such an impact on Zeppelin that they chose to open the show with it, and the British public heard Immigrant Song for the first time.

Led Zeppelin

Unsurprisingly, their Bath show was a sensation, prompting Melody Maker to enthuse: ‘Led Zeppelin stormed to huge success at the Bath Festival. About 150,000 fans rose to give them an ovation. They played for over three hours – blues, rock’n’roll and pure Zeppelin. Jimmy Page, in a yokel hat to suit the Somerset scene, screamed into attack on guitar, John Paul Jones came into his own on organ as well as bass, and John Bonham exploded his drums in a sensational solo. And the crowd went wild demanding encore after encore… a total of five!’

Bath was a turning point in recognition for us,” Page said. “There have been one or two magical gigs and Bath was one of them.”

Bath was great,” remembered manager Peter Grant later. “I went down to the site unbeknown to [promoter] Freddie Bannister, and I found out from the Met Office what time the sun was setting, and it was right behind the stage. And by going on at eight in the evening I was able to bring the lights up a bit at a time. And it was vital we went on to match that.”

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Even more crucially than any show-stopping sunset appearance, the Bath gig would herald a new era in Zeppelin’s evolution. Midway through their set, Jimmy Page swapped his Gibson Les Paul for a Martin acoustic guitar, and John Paul Jones picked up a mandolin. As Page played a few opening chords, Plant stepped to the mic. “This is called The Boy Next Door, for want of a better title [a better title would emerge – “That’s The Way”, when it finally appeared on Led Zeppelin III]” he said. It was the first time Led Zeppelin played acoustically in the UK.

It isn’t all folky acoustic bluster on Led Zeppelin III; there’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, a standard three-chord, 12-bar minor blues that actually has way more than three chords and who knows how many bars, because the damn thing never seems to repeat. Or what about Celebration Day, a song that sounds like a berserk Slinky due to the fact that John Paul Jones is playing his bass with a guitar slide?.

Then, of course, there was the matter of the Aleister Crowley quote etched into the run-off groove of early pressings of the album. Yes, the Beatles had put his image among many others on the cover of 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, but this seemed a little more covert; a little more dangerous, adding another disturbing layer to the already dark mythology of Led Zeppelin.

The phrase ‘Do what thou wilt’ and ‘So mote it be’ were inscribed on the vinyl by recording engineer Terry Manning during the final mastering process: ‘Do what thou wilt’ on side one, and ‘So mote it be’ on side two. The phrases were homage to Crowley, a practitioner of black magic who was once called “the most evil man in England”, and whom Page was quite enamoured with.

This phrase is from one of the fundamental principles of Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will. There is no law beyond do what thou wilt.”

By the time of the release of the album, it was still rather an open secret that Page was interested in the dark arts, and the inscriptions on the album were one of the first public signifiers. It wouldn’t be until the next year that the guitarist would buy Crowley’s Loch Ness estate Boleskine House. This was something Page would downplay later, explaining to Rolling Stone in 1976: “I do not worship the devil. But magic does intrigue me. Magic of all kinds. I bought Crowley’s house to go up and write in. The thing is, I just never get up that way. Friends live there now.”

Whenever he’s queried today, Page silences any conversation on the subject by advising the hapless interrogator: “Forget the myths. Because it was really all about the music.”

Which mostly it was, and moving forward into the future. This was a band who were staunchly opposed to repeating what they’d done before. “There was no way the third album was going to be like the first. If there was a Zeppelin philosophy, it was always: ‘Ever onwards. Let’s see what we can do next,’” Page said in 2005.

“With Since I’ve Been Loving You”, we were setting the scene of something that was yet to come,” says Page. “It was meant to push the envelope. We were playing in the spirit of the blues, but trying to take it into new dimensions dictated by the mass consciousness of the four players involved.

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” follows in the footsteps of the blues songs that lit up the first two Zep albums. This is deep-down, honestly delivered blues, Jones on organ and bass pedals coloring the track as Page pulls out all the stops. This song quickly became a concert staple. For an all-out aural assault, dig Page’s use of violin bow on guitar on “Out On the Tiles,” matching up with the bass. Bonham’s drums roll around inside your headphones. Plant and Page are also credited, but this is Bonham’s baby.

“The same thing goes for the folk stuff as well. It’s sort of, ‘Well, this is how it was done in the past, but it now has to move.’ There was no point in looking back. We were just inspired with this energy that we had collectively.”

“On Hats Off To (Roy) Harper, Robert and I were just singing and playing in the tradition of Sonny Terry And Brownie McGhee. Then we put the vocal and harmonica through an amp and turned on the tremolo, and suddenly it sounded edgy and surreal. It was a perfect way to end the album. We were tipping our hat to the country blues, but presented it in a way that no one else had done.”. “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” is a tribute to their friend, folk singer Roy Harper. It is built on Bukka White’s “Shake ’Em On Down.” Plant’s voice was altered by means of a vibrato amplifier to magical effect. Page’s acoustic slide guitar matches it perfectly.

Perhaps the most surreal thing about Led Zeppelin III is that, after all these years, its time may have finally come. While it will never be their biggest album, it might be their most contemporary. Think about it: ‘dudes with beards, wearing expensive thrift-shop clothing, playing edgy folk music that borrows liberally from world music and heavy metal’ sounds very modern indie rock to these ears. It’s no wonder that the album has sold three times as many copies in the last two decades as it did in the first twenty years since its existence.

Perhaps this is what Page – ever the mystic – was talking about when he said: “We knew what we were doing was right and that it was actually breaking new ground. We were cutting with a machete knife through the jungle, and discovered a temple of the ages.”

Trailblazing can be tough business, but very satisfying when smart people follow your footsteps. Four decades later, it seems that the temple Led Zeppelin III built has become a very busy place indeed. Artists such as Laura Marling, Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart and even Mumford & Sons, whose thumping beats have at least one muddy boot in Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, have been known to drop in for a visit.
If one was really going to quibble with the concept of Led Zeppelin III, it might be with the notion that the band were doing anything particularly shocking or original. While it’s agreed that comparing them to Crosby, Stills & Nash was patently absurd, bands like Fairport Convention and The Byrds were all attempting to modernise folk music to some degree in the 60s and 70s. In a 2010 interview, Page flicked away that idea, but made a valid point, saying that while he admired those bands and what they were doing, he didn’t think anyone would ever confuse Led Zeppelin with Fairport or the Incredible String Band.

“They were coming from a much more traditional place, and I was coming from so many different areas. But maybe,” he adds with a laugh, “I was just coming from a rock’n’roll head. Something like Friends really isn’t – it isn’t traditional music, but I liked that we could go in that direction and put our own spin on it. At the same time, I don’t ever think we lost sight of the fact that we were a rock band.”

More unusual sounds and background conversation introduce “Friends.” Page’s acoustic guitar is superb, the bass droning, and Plant wailing. Jones did the string arrangements here. Plant’s chameleon-like voice is magic as he sings this great chorus:

Mmm, I’m telling you now
The greatest thing you ever can do now
Is trade a smile with someone who’s blue now
It’s very easy, just-

  As the song winds down, the strings, bass drone, guitar, and vocals all build to a crescendo before yielding to the mesmerizing Moog synthesizer drone that gets deeper and slower and then suddenly explodes into…

“Celebration Day,” Page’s guitar and Jones’ wicked bass grabbing you before Bonham kicks the song into overdrive, twisting the beat around. Page’s double-tracked guitars are so good here, especially the James Brown-style rhythm.

As for the bad reviews, Page has softened over the years, saying that in hindsight he could see how III was misunderstood. “Journalists were in a rush and they were looking for the new Whole Lotta Love and not actually listening to what was there,” he told writer Nigel Williamson. “It was too fresh for them and they didn’t get the plot. It doesn’t surprise me that the diversity and breadth of what we were doing was overlooked or under-appreciated at the time.”

In the final analysis, after the album was released in October and the dust settled, Led Zeppelin simply went on their way as they always had, and immediately began writing and working on what would eventually become their biggest album ever: Led Zeppelin IV. With the same acoustic guitar that he used on the maligned III, Page composed some of the band’s most beloved anthems, including Stairway To Heaven, The Battle Of Evermore, Going To California and Four Sticks. Critics – and everyone else – be damned.

“Albumwise, it usually takes a year for people to catch up with what we’re doing,” Jimmy Page told Rolling Stone in 1975. But listeners needed at least a decade to fully absorb the stylistic change-ups on Led Zeppelin III. But listeners needed at least a decade to fully absorb the stylistic change-ups on Led Zeppelin III. The elephant-balled blues rock that had defined Zeppelin’s sound was now tempered down, replaced by a heady strain of wispy, mystic folk rock. Even the album cover was more laid-back, with the band’s trademark down-in-flames Hindenburg imagery replaced by a trippy collage of butterflies and smiling teeth.

“They just couldn’t understand it,” Page vented. “All of a sudden, [the headlines were], ‘Led Zeppelin Go Acoustic!’ I thought, ‘Christ, where are their heads and ears? There were three acoustic songs on the first album, and two on the second.'”

He’s right. But while the mellower tunes from Zeppelin’s early catalogue (“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “Ramble On”) had hints of menace, Led Zeppelin III found Page and Robert Plant fully embracing their softer side – not a surprising move, given the album’s relaxed genesis. By early 1970, the group members had been on the road almost nonstop, and after years of groupie-gobbling decadence, everyone needed a break.

“It was time to step back, take stock and not get lost in it all,” Plant later recalled. “Zeppelin was starting to get very big, and we wanted the rest of our journey to take a pretty level course.”

Page had become enamored with California’s growing singer-songwriter movement – particularly Joni Mitchell – and initially, he and Plant considered holing up in Marin County to be close to the scene. But Plant recalled a childhood trip to a cozy Welsh cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur, so in early 1970, the two men headed to the country, loved ones in tow. The va- cation was originally intended to clear their heads, but Page and Plant spent hours taking long walks and sitting by the night fire, and eventually began churning out the songs that would dominate III.

All those hours of rustic seclusion in the primordial countryside must’ve flipped a switch in them; III isn’t just their most California-folk-influenced album, it’s also their most English – steeped in traditional folk music and ancient history, from the mournful days-gone-by balladry of “That’s the Way” or the folk-tilt boogie of “Gallows Pole,” a centuries-old ballad rebooted by Page and Plant.

“Gallows Pole” is a traditional song arranged by Page and Plant. Side two is a light year away from side one, making this such a great departure from their previous work. The beautiful acoustic guitar, echoes, is joined by Plant telling the story of a man hoping to cheat the hangman. Jones enters next on mandolin and then overdubbed on bass. Then it’s time for Page on banjo and Bonham on kit to heat it way up. That’s Page on electric guitar, too.

“Tangerine” is the only song on the album that is Page’s alone. He and Plant wrote all the others (except for “Hat Off to (Roy) Harper”), three with Jones, one with Bonham. Acoustic guitar and Plant’s vocals are heard before Jones, Bonham, and Page on pedal steel guitar jump in. Page also takes an electric guitar solo. They have successful entered the realm of folk and country folk music, paving the way for songs on Led Zeppelin IV.

Plant’s voice sounds so tender on songs such as “That’s the Way” and the others on this side on the vinyl record. More pedal steel here as well. Page offers backing vocals. Page’s deft touch with the acoustic guitar again stands out.

By the time they’d returned to England and set up camp at Headley Grange – the remote country house where they’d later work on Led Zeppelin IV – they had an album’s worth of material, some of which predated their Bron-Yr-Aur outing. One such number was “Immigrant Song,” a relentless chug-a-lug of wailing vocals and volcanic viking drama that would kick off not only the album but many of the band’s live shows. “Immigrant” was just one of the album’s memorable electric moments, which also included the brooding slow-blues jam “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” the steady-metal throttler “Out on the Tiles” and the splatter-guitar frenzy of “Celebration Day.”

But it’s the all-acoustic second side that initially tripped up Zeppelin fans. The daydream shimmer of “Tangerine” – which would later be memorably employed in Cameron Crowe’s rock saga Almost Famous – demonstrated just how closely Page and Plant had been watching the Laurel Canyon scene, while the inexplicably misspelled “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” sounded like a furious hoedown. The album ended with “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper,” in which the titular folk singer is celebrated with a clamour of spooky slide guitars. For the kids expecting “A Whole Lotta More Love,” listening to Led Zeppelin III must have been a jarring experience – the hard-rock inverse to what Dylan fans felt when he first started plugging in.

Oh, for the glorious days of vinyl records with their magnificent covers! Atlantic SD 7201 boasted a gatefold cover, and the front part contained a volvelle: a wheel inside the double-fold with a collage of images that could be turned at the album opening; portions of the images were visible through eleven circle cutouts on the front. Zacron was the artist who designed it. The complexities of the cover caused a two-month delay in the album’s release. [It was worth it!]

Reviewers pounced on the record’s perceived mushiness (it probably didn’t help that “Stomp” was written about Plant’s dog), and sales quickly tapered off. For years, III was considered if not the weakest entry in the group’s catalogue, then at least the most disorienting – banshee shrieks one minute, hushed campfire paeans the next. What fans and critics missed, though, was that the album’s heart-on-sleeve, dick-in-pants sincerity wasn’t some cynical bid for credibility, but a necessary survival measure.

“The key to Zeppelin’s longevity,” Page told Rolling Stone, “has been change.” Songs like “Tangerine” and “That’s the Way” were the first that proved Zeppelin capable of that change, and that they weren’t just a group of comically alpha-male riff monsters.

It’d be a stretch to think of III as Zeppelin’s “mature” album – this is, after all, a record that opens with a first-person tale of Nordic conquest – but, at the very least, it proved they could write songs that match the depth and emotional power of the blues and folk they loved and borrowed from. “The third album was the album of albums,” Plant would later say. “If anybody had us labelled as a heavy-metal group, that destroyed them.”

Buy Online Led Zeppelin - Live Scandinavia ‘69 White

From jamming in a basement in a London record store to bagging the biggest recording deal in the history of popular music, Led Zeppelin’s rise to super-stardom took only a few short months. The band that would come to redefine hard rock music and influence generations of future rockers is here captured in all its thundering sonic glory as it embarked on a tour of Scandinavia in the spring of 1969. Led Zeppelin perform ‘How Many More Times’ on Danish TV channel Danmarks Radio on March 17th, 1969.

The 1969 tour of the United Kingdom and Scandinavia was a concert tour of the United Kingdom and Scandinavia by the English rock band. The tour commenced on 1st March and concluded on 17th April 1969. During this tour, Led Zeppelin made a number of live television appearances, including one date in Denmark on 17th March, and a session at BBC TV studios on March 21st and a session at Staines on March 25th, the last for the filming of the Supershow. Some of these early filmed sessions were later released on the Led Zeppelin DVD (2003). They were part of manager Peter Grant’s early strategy to build public awareness of the group. However, his dissatisfaction with the medium (particularly its inferior audio quality), would soon lead him to make the band unavailable for television again

 

Performed live at Stockholm’s Konserthuset on 14th March, broadcast by Sveriges Radio and Copenhagen’s Gladaxe on 17th March, broadcast by TV-BYEN, these gigs are an early taste of the virtuoso rock performances that would break stadium attendance records across the globe and change the genre forever.

  • Two incredible performances, live from Stockholm and Copenhagen, 1969
  • Includes the entire Sveriges radio and TV-BYEN broadcasts
  • Digitally remastered for greatly enhanced sound quality
  • Background liners and rare images
  • First time on vinyl
  • Hand numbered editions

Led Zeppelin performing

We’re taking a look back at one of the greatest acts in rock history, as we travel back to 1968 to listen to Led Zeppelin’s first-ever recorded performance. Hilariously billed as ‘Len Zefflin’ the band comprised of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones were recorded on stage for the first time—it would be an unforgettable concert.

Only the fifth stop on the band’s first US tour, the gig in question would take place in the innocuous town of Spokane, Washington with Zeppelin supporting Vanilla Fudge, or as they were billed by the promoter “The Vanilla Fudge”. The naming mistakes didn’t stop there, as one of the most iconic names in rock, was billed as “Len Zefflin”.

It’s easy to forget, especially with a name as ubiquitous with the upper echelons of rock history as Led Zeppelin, that all rock Gods have to start as mere mortals. It shows how small an entity the band were in the States. While Jimmy Page had made his name in The Yardbirds a few years before and had caught some of the spotlight for his guitar work, he was still a relative unknown and his new band with Plant, Bonham, and Jones was even more of an untold entity.

The performance in Spokane would’ve almost certainly been the first time any of the audience would have seen Led Zeppelin and the band would not disappoint. They would completely show up the headline act, Vanilla Fudge, with their fusion of blues and the heaviest elements of rock, creating the foundations of a whole new genre with every new performance.

Thanks to a bootlegging student we can listen to the moment in musical history as Led Zeppelin takes to the stage to change the lives of all who witnessed it. John Paul Jones believes the audience was so happy to see the group because “we would just go on and go ‘bang bang bang’ with three driven songs with solos” a comparative abuse in regards to other noodling guitar acts. They would scythe through the fog and deliver a powerful performance capable of cracking ribs and chipping teeth. It can all be hear din the tape below.

It’s a raw two-track tape that manages to capture the pulsating energy of the evening. For die hard fans of Zep, the bootleg will be no new news, but we hope they would agree, it’s still as impressive and imposing as the first listen.

Following the success of last year’s ‘Somebody’s Knocking’ LP, Mark Lanegan has announced the news of his new solo album, ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’, released 8th May via Heavenly Recordings.

When considering any great work of art, be it a painting, a novel, or a piece of music, it’s natural to wonder what might have inspired it: ‘the story behind the song’.

Mark Lanegan’s new album, “Straight Songs Of Sorrow”, flips that equation. Here are 15 songs inspired by a story: his life story, as documented by his own hand in his new memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep. The book is a brutal, nerve-shredding read, thanks to Lanegan’s unsparing candour in recounting a journey from troubled youth in eastern Washington, through his drug-stained existence amid the ’90s Seattle rock scene, to an unlikely salvation at the dawn of the 21st century.

There’s death and tragedy, yet also humour and hope, thanks to the tenacity which impels its host, even at his lowest moments. As Lanegan writes near the end: “I was the ghost that wouldn’t die.” Today, Lanegan is a renowned songwriter and a much-coveted collaborator, as adept at electronica as with rock, constantly honing his indomitable voice: an asphalt-laced linctus for the soul. While the memoir documents a struggle to find peace with himself, his new album emphasis the extent to which he came to realise that music is his life. “Writing the book, I didn’t get catharsis,” he chuckles. “All I got was a Pandora’s box full of pain and misery. I went way in, and remembered shit I’d put away 20 years ago.

But I started writing these songs the minute I was done, and I realised there was a depth of emotion because they were all linked to memories from this book. It was a relief to suddenly go back to music. Then I realised that was the gift of the book: these songs. I’m really proud of this record.” Straight Songs Of Sorrow combines musical trace elements from early Mark Lanegan albums with the synthesized constructs of later work. The meditative acoustic guitar fingerpicking – provided by Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton – on Apples From A Tree and Hanging On (For DRC) echo 1994’s Whiskey For The Holy Ghost. Yet one of that record’s touchstones was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, echoed in the new album’s opener I Wouldn’t Want To Say, where Lanegan extemporises *à la Ballerina over musique concrète wave patterns generated by his latest favourite compositional tool, a miniature computer-synth called the Organelle. The lyric clings onto the music, emulating his book’s queasy momentum: *“Swinging from death… to revival.” “That song is the explanation, the beginning and middle and end of that entire period of time,” Mark says. “The encapsulation of the entire experience, book and record. So I started with that.” Lanegan affirms that every song references a specific episode or person in the book, albeit some more explicitly than others. Hanging On (For DRC) is a loving ode to his friend Dylan Carlson, genius progenitor of drone metal and a fellow unlikely survivor of Seattle’s narcotic dramas.

“I was always unhappy, and he was the guy who was always smiling, even through my crazy schemes that eventually got both of us into a lot of trouble.” The richly cinematic mood of Daylight In The Nocturnal House, meanwhile, paints a more impressionistic scene: factory smoke, rain, a phone call from *“somebody’s grand-daughter”, who’ll “pay to make somebody crawl/And send you to heaven.” The singer’s perspective is ambiguous. “I got into a lot of shady business in those years,” Lanegan says. Longtime observers will recognise some familiar recurrent themes. Death. Destruction. Bad behaviour. In the case of At Zero Below, all in the same song. “Yes, I did burn someone with a cigarette,” Mark says. “Yes, I did spit in somebody’s face – maybe more than once in my life. Stuff I’m not proud of.

That song is also about one of my many ex-girlfriends who is no longer with us. It’s all linked to the book.” At Zero Below features two of the album’s many stellar guests. Singing admonitory harmonies with himself is Greg Dulli, another ’90s alt-rock veteran, Lanegan’s erstwhile partner in mischief and fellow Gutter Twin. The song’s incantatory fiddle is played by The Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis. No lesser figure than Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones provides Mellotron on the serpentine Ballad Of A Dying Rover (*“I’m just a sick sick man/My days are numbered”). Aside from mandolin, all Daylight In The Nocturnal House’s cobwebbed atmospherics are by Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Ed Harcourt is Lanegan’s pick for album MVP (“He’s all over it – everything that he plays, piano or Wurlitzer, becomes magical”), with special mention to bassist Jack Bates, son of Peter Hook; that duo make especially distinctive contributions to Churchbells, Ghosts a bleakly humorous lament to the drudgery of life on the road (*“I’d ask somebody for a quarter/If there were someone for me to phone”). Ketamine is a numb blues, with Lanegan shadowed by Cold Cave vocalist Wesley Eisold, who inspired the album’s only overt drug song (ironically, about a drug that Lanegan has never actually taken). “Wes is good friends with Genesis P-Orridge,” explains Mark, “and he said the last time he saw Gen she was in a hospital bed, saying to this priest, ‘No thank you sir, I don’t need any last rites, but if you have any ketamine that would be perfect.’” He laughs. “So I immediately wrote that song and had him sing on it. There’s drugs throughout the record – they’re rife in Bleed All Over – but that song was the only real specific one.” The material on the last two Mark Lanegan Band albums had Lanegan’s words set to music by various other sources. But aside from the Mark Morton collaborations,

Straight Songs Of Sorrow was built from the ground up by Lanegan alone, aided by producer Alain Johannes, his longtime consigliere. Only two other songs have shared credits, and even these stay in-house: Burying Ground and Eden Lost And Found were co-written by Mark’s wife Shelley Brien, with whom he also duets on the Rita Coolidge/Kris Kristofferson-style ballad This Game Of Love. “Let’s put it this way,” says Mark. “Every girlfriend I’ve ever had, for any amount of time, left me.

All the good ones left me! Until my current wife. It was great to sing that with Shelley, it really shows she’s a great singer. And it has a depth of emotion that I’m not used to. This is a more honest record than I’ve probably ever made.” A crushing twin-song centrepiece proves that. First, Stockholm City Blues, a sparse, beautiful, strings and finger-picking meditation on the remorse code of addiction (*“I pay for this pain I put into my blood”). Then, the seven-minute epic Skeleton Key, a supplicatory confessional (“I’m ugly inside and out there is no denying”) that also provides the album title. It’s a remarkable performance from a man whose punishment for plumbing the depths was simply to continue further along the road. “My wife called that my ‘redemption song’,” says Lanegan. And indeed, there is a happy ending to this story. Just as his book closes with the hero overcoming adversity and turning, battered but cleansed, towards a new day, so Straight Songs Of Sorrow closes with Eden Lost And Found. *“Sunrise coming up baby/To burn the dirt right off of me,” marvels Lanegan, with his words echoed by Simon Bonney of Crime & The City Solution, an all-time hero. “I wanted to make a positive song to end this record, because that’s the way the book ended,” Mark says. “And what’s more positive than to have your favourite singer sing with you?” Straight Songs Of Sorrow feels both definitive and unique, a culmination of its creator’s arc yet also indicative of the energy that drives him onto future horizons. No wonder Lanegan is proud. “I do feel this is something special for me, something honest,” he says. “’Cos records are not real life, man – in case no one told ya. They’re just a fake version of life!” Mark Lanegan laughs. “Well, at least you have one now that’s a little closer to being real. Unfortunately, it’s by me.”

The album, which is closely aligned to his forthcoming memoir, “Sing Backwards And Weep”, features guest appearances from Greg Dulli, Warren Ellis, John Paul Jones, Ed Harcourt and more

See the source image

The first show of the band’s four night stand at Chicago Stadium begins with a series of loud firecracker blasts as the band takes the stage. Robert Plant is quick to respond, saying “listen, before we start, can I ask you one thing?… can you stop throwin’ those firecrackers, cause we wanna give you a lotta music and we’re not gonna fight with firecrackers, okay? “The Song Remains the Same” is a relentless sonic assault. Plant again asks the crowd to cool it following “Sick Again”.But I’d bet the 20,000 or so people who turned up at the Chicago Stadium Wednesday night for the first of four shows the band is doing there would find their popularity as credible as the group is incredible in its steamroller approach to rock and blues. Purchasing tickets for the shows was a story in itself. It was the 1970’s. When the tickets went on sale, it became a literal war! Broken doors, shattered glass, fighting and fainting girls! Raised seats just above the main floor. This is a band, for instance, that plays for three hours straight, with few dull moments once it gets rolling. Wednesday, it took a couple of songs; the band tends to build to a cumulative effect rather than launching all of its firepower at once. There was Jimmy’s speaker cabinet with the ZoSo symbol! Bonham had a new and beautiful gold metallic kit, waiting in ready, high atop his riser. The stage appeared sharp and clean with banks of lights and the P.A. hung aerially.

Part way into the show lead singer Robert Plant, ace guitarist Jimmy Page appears, turned toward Bonham . He’s in white satin with a dragon design on his shirt’s back. No design on his satin pants. keyboard and bass player John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham sat in a peaceful row across the front of the stage, doing a segment of quieter ballads in a folky, medieval mood. It was a striking change of pace from what had gone before and would come after, which was the sort of power-rock, extremely loud with a blues base, that Zeppelin handles so well.  Jimmy Page tears through a blistering guitar solo during “Nobody’s Fault But Mine. In My Time of Dying” is plagued by tape issues. After some scary firecracker blasts and shouts of protest from Robert, the show begins. It is quite good. Jimmy’s solo in is excellent in “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is an intense emotional journey. Page shreds wildly through the guitar solo, emphasizing each note as if it were his last. An outstanding performance.

 

John Paul Jones is introduced as “the most debonair member of the band” before “No Quarter”. He and drummer Bonzo further develop the honky tonk interlude during the piano solo.

Page delivers an excellent guitar solo. Unfortunately, a cut in the tape near the end leaves us at the return to the main theme. There is another cut during the final verse. Plant announces “at the front of the stage for the first time,Robert introduces Jonesy as ” The most debonair member of the band. He can speak two languages. John Bonham… looking very suave in a two-piece tuxedo” before Jimmy actually speaks during the acoustic section (“Better to live one day as a king, than a thousand years as a peasant.”), “The Battle of Evermore. Going to California” is introduced as “a tribute to a lady who sings and drives a Mercedes and gets uptight.” Unfortunately, the song is plagued by more tape issues. After singing a bit of Surrender as Page retunes before “Black Country Woman”, Plant jokingly refers to the Black Country as “the land where men are men and sheep are nervous,” to which Page responds “better to live one day as a king than a thousand days as a peasant.”

Page’s guitar is painfully out of tune during White Summer/Black Mountain Side. He spends most of the song trying to compensate for the problem, but to no avail. Plant delivers a powerful performance during Kashmir. His banshee howls threaten to destroy the taper’s equipment. Bonzo is introduced as “our diplomat for peace and good relations” before Over the Top. Unfortunately, the tape suffers from constant volume fluctuations throughout the drum solo. Page has trouble keeping up during Achilles Last Stand. The first few notes of Stairway to Heaven are met with a loud cheer from the crowd. Page’s fingers become entangled in the strings during the guitar solo. The band closes the show with Trampled Underfoot, with Page shredding through an aggressive guitar solo.

Setlist: The Song Remains The Same, (The Rover intro) Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer ~ Black Mountainside, Kashmir, (Out On the Tiles intro) Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, Trampled Underfoot.

This relatively unknown band formed out of the Yardbirds‘ ashes and recorded an eponymous debut album. Spearheaded by guitarist Jimmy Page, the band was predicted to “go down like a lead zeppelin” by Keith Moon, drummer for The Who. The album was recorded in September and October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, shortly after the band’s formation. It contains a mix of original material worked out in the first rehearsals, and remakes and rearrangements of contemporary blues and folk songs. The sessions took place before the group had secured a recording contract and were paid for directly, and took 36 hours and less than £2,000 to complete.

Released on the 12th January 1969, Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut arrived out of the ashes of guitarist Jimmy Page’s former group, the Yardbirds. With singer Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham, the record built upon the heavy blues sound created by Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Page’s one-time bandmate Jeff Beck by adding elements of American and British folk and Indian music into the mix. Along with Black Sabbath and the Who, as well as less popular but influential acts such as Blue Cheer, they would also help pave the way for heavy rock in the ’70s.

Now, 50 years later, Led Zeppelin I stands up to the test of time. From the opening chords of “Good Times Bad Times” to the closing notes of the blues saga “How Many More Times,” there isn’t a single dull moment on the whole album. Songs genres bounce from hard rock to deep blues to folky, three styles that the band would embrace throughout their career. Transitions like “Black Mountain Side” a steel-string acoustic guitar ballad, into “Communication Breakdown” a fast-paced rocker, immediately showcased this band’s extraordinary talent. For the recordings, Page played a psychedelically painted Fender Telecaster, a gift from friend Jeff Beck after Page recommended him to join the Yardbirds in 1965, replacing Eric Clapton.

But for all the originality found in the virtuoso musicianship and Page’s production, Led Zeppelin has a checkered history with regards to songwriting credits. Although Willie Dixon was listed as the writer of “You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” four of the seven other tracks have roots in songs composed by other artists.

Led Zeppelin was recorded with almost no overdubs in London’s Olympic Studios by musicians still looking for a shared language. “Nobody really knew each other,” said Plant, who had never been in a high-caliber studio before. “I’d go back to the playback room and listen. It had so much weight, so much power — it was devastating. I had a long way to go with my voice then, but the enthusiasm and sparking of working with Jimmy’s guitar … it was so raunchy.” That raunch was rendered overwhelming and spectral by Page, who placed mics all over the studio to get a vérité sound that might recall the raw, big-room ambience of old Chess and Sun records. Uncredited engineer Glyn Johns added to the effect by putting Bonham’s drum kit on a riser to enhance his “phenomenal” sound. Much has been made of Bonham’s power (the beat on “Communication Breakdown” is nearly punk-speed), but Jones was just as impressed by his restraint: “John kept a really straight beat on slow numbers like ‘You Shook Me” he recalled.

“Good Times Bad Times”

As the opening track on Led Zeppelin’s first album and their debut single, it was the first music from them that many people heard. And yet, according to reports, the band rarely played “Good Times Bad Times” in concert. Bits of the song were occasionally included in their early days as part of a full performance of its b-side, “Communication Breakdown,” but it’s believed that the only time they played it in its entirety was their 2007 reunion concert, when it opened the show. Perhaps John Paul Jones explained why they never played the whole song until then when he spoke with Rolling Stone after the show. “That’s the hardest riff I ever wrote, the hardest to play,” he said. “But it was a good starter, because everybody had to focus.”

“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”

Jimmy Page heard “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” on Joan Baez’s In Concert, Part 1 record. Baez didn’t know that the song was written by Anne Johannsen (later Bredon) — she’d learned it from another folksinger, Janet Smith — so she credited it, as was often the case with folk songs, as traditional, with Baez providing the arrangement. Zeppelin followed suit, with Page credited as the arranger. In the ’80s, Smith heard Led Zeppelin’s version and contacted Bredon about the lack of credit. Bredon worked out a deal with Zeppelin’s publishing company, Superhype, and, since the early ’90s, has received 50 percent of the songwriter’s royalties.

“You Shook Me”

As with “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “You Shook Me” was another example of what Pete Seeger called the “folk process,” whereby music evolves by building upon existing works. In 1962, Muddy Waters took an instrumental recorded a year earlier by one of his Chicago blues contemporaries, Earl Hooker, added lyrics by Willie Dixon, which he sung in tandem with Hooker’s guitar, and released it as “You Shook Me.”  Jones, Plant and Page took a solo on Hammond organ, harmonica and guitar respectively. Page put backwards echo on the track, which was then a novel production device.

Six years later, Waters‘ track was reinterpreted twice within a few months of each other. Jeff Beck recorded a blistering take for the album Truth, but Led Zeppelin’s version redefined the song even further. In addition to more-than doubling the original’s length (Muddy’s was under three minutes while Zeppelin’s lasted nearly six-and-a-half minutes), with Plant wailing away on the harmonica and Jones, who also played on Beck’s rendition, taking a keyboard solo. Plant also changed the lyrics to have the woman in question leaving the singer instead of being involved in an extramarital affair.

“Dazed and Confused”

“Dazed and Confused” With its slow, descending bass-line, the song lingers in the mysterious before punching its way into hard rock legend. Add in a guitar solo played with a violin bow, and you have yourself an instant classic.

Originally written by Jake Holmes, who didn’t receive credit until he sued the band in 2011, “Dazed and Confused” was first heard by Page after Holmes opened up for the Yardbirds in 1967. The Yardbirds had covered the song regularly in concert during 1968, and performed it for several radio and television sessions. But as with the other covers, it underwent a few changes by the time Led Zeppelin recorded it, including the famous solo where he played guitar with a violin bow. Although Page didn’t invent the technique — it was used by Eddie Phillips of the Creation on “Making Time” — he learned about it through David McCallum Sr., with whom Page was chatting during a session. The song was an important part of Led Zeppelin’s live show throughout their early career, and became a vehicle for group improvisation, eventually stretching in length to over 30 minutes. The improvisation would sometimes include parts of another song, including the group’s “The Crunge” and “Walter’s Walk” (released later on Houses Of The Holy and Coda, respectively), Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”. It was briefly dropped from the live set in 1975 after Page injured a finger, but was re-instated for the remainder of the tour. The last full live performance during Led Zeppelin’s main career was at Earl’s Court, London later that year, after which the violin bow section of the song’s guitar solo was played as a standalone piece.

As Page recalled, “[O]ne of the violinists came to me one day and he said, ‘Have you ever considered playing a guitar with a bow?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t think it’ll work.’ Because the strings are uniformed wheres a violin is arched. And he said ‘Well here’s my bow. Would you like to try?’ And I said ‘Absolutely.’ So I tried it and i could see there was massive potential. After that I went and bought my own bow.”

“Your Time Is Gonna Come”

Page pulled out another weapon from his bag on “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” the track that opens the second side, with a pedal steel guitar entering the mix during the first chorus. As with “Good Times Bad Times,” the song didn’t feature into their live set, with its only known performance coming at a 1971 show in Tokyo during the “Whole Lotta Love” medley. However, Page brought it out during his 1999-2000 tour with the Black Crowes, as heard on their Live at the Greek: Excess All Areas live album.

“Black Mountain Side”

The instrumental “Black Mountain Side” is another instance on the record where the folk process calls into question the authorship of the work. Bert Jansch, a fixture on the British folk scene, recorded his own version of the traditional Irish folk song “Down by Blackwaterside” in 1966. Page adapted Jansch’s arrangement, added a tabla for percussion, gave it a new name and claimed it as an original.

By the time of Led Zeppelin’s release, Jansch had already formed Pentangle and released a pair of albums. A year later, Basket of Light reached No. 5 on the British album chart. They split in 1973, with Jansch eventually returning to his solo career, although several reunions followed until his death in 2011.

As Colin Harper noted in Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival, Jansch never sued Page because he was never in a position to afford the legal costs involved. But it remained a sore point with him throughout his life, particularly when his path crossed with Page’s.

“The thing I’ve noticed about Jimmy whenever we meet is that he can’t look me in the eye,” Jansch said in 2007, later adding, “Well, he ripped me off, didn’t he? Or let’s just say he learned from me. I wouldn’t want to sound impolite.”

“Communication Breakdown”

While much has been made about Led Zeppelin’s influence on the development of ’70s hard rock and metal, and punk’s overall disdain for those styles, “Communication Breakdown” turned out to be influential on Johnny Ramone. As Mickey Leigh of the Rattlers wrote in I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir, he performed the riff note-for-note for the future Ramones guitarist, and he dug how Page created the riff’s power using only downstrokes.

“Most people don’t realize that,” Leigh recalled Ramone as saying. “That’s how rock & roll should be played. All of it! Everything should be a down stroke.” Drummer Marky Ramone confirmed the influence, saying that Johnny “loves Jimmy Page and he also likes ‘Communication Breakdown.’ Even though he’s not the lead guitar player, those are rhythm songs. That’s why he likes that stuff.”

“I Can’t Quit You Baby”

Another Willie Dixon composition, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” was made famous by Otis Rush in 1956. But for all of the inspired call-and-response interplay between Plant’s vocals and Page’s guitar, the take released on Led Zeppelin has never been a favorite of the guitarist.

“There are mistakes in it, but it doesn’t make any difference,” he told Guitar Player in 1977. “I’ll always leave the mistakes in. I can’t help it. The timing bits on the A and Bb parts [the power chords] are right, though it might sound wrong. The timing just sounds off. But there are some wrong notes. You’ve got to be reasonably honest about it.”

“How Many More Times”

While many of the tracks on Led Zeppelin have their antecedents in one specific song, the eight-and-a-half minute album-closing “How Many More Times” drew its influence from several sources. Zeppelin honed their virtuosity into compositions; even the eight-minute “How Many More Times” was designed for maximum impact. “There was very little free-form anything,” said Johns. “They were very hard-working. The Stones took nine months to make a record; these guys took nine days including mixing.”

“That has the kitchen sink on it, doesn’t it?” Page told Brad Tolinski. “It was made up of little pieces I developed when I was with the Yardbirds, as were other numbers such as ‘Dazed and Confused.’ It was played live in the studio with cues and nods.

As Aaron Krerowicz noted, the bass line that kicks it off has its roots in the Yardbirds‘ live cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning,” and its title and opening verse were rewritten from another Wolf track, “How Many More Years,” while other verses borrow from Albert King’s “The Hunter” and Jimmie Rodgers’ “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” The rhythm from another cut off Jeff Beck’s Truth, the Page-composed “Beck’s Bolero,” shows up around the three-minute mark.

Page brought back the bow for the solo. “I think I did some good things with the bow on that track,” he told Tolinski, “but I really got much better with it later on. For example, I think there is some really serious bow playing on the live album [The Song Remains the Same]. I think some of the melodic lines are pretty incredible. I remember being really surprised with it when I heard it played back. I thought, Boy, that really was an innovation that meant something.”

ENGLAND - 1969: Rock band 'Led Zeppelin' poses for a publicity portrait in 1969 in England. (L-R) John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Led Zeppelin was produced by Page and engineered by Glyn Johns, both of whom had known each other since teenagers in the suburb of Epsom. According to Page, most of the album was recorded live, Two other songs from the Olympic sessions, “Baby Come On Home” and “Sugar Mama”, were left off the album. They were released on the 2015 reissue of the retrospective album Coda.

thanks to Ultimate Classic Rock

Led Zeppelin‘s soundtrack to their concert film The Song Remains The Samehas been remastered and will be reissued across multiple formats in September.

The band’s performances in July 1973, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, were recorded for the concert film, The Song Remains The Same. The soundtrack to the film, produced by Jimmy Page, was originally released in 1976. Recorded live at the conclusion of a North American tour in support of the band’s Houses of the Holy album

The release is scheduled for Sept. 7, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the first show Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones ever played together. In addition to the Super Deluxe Boxed Set edition,

This reissue is similar to the recent reissue of their live album How The West Was Won, since the formats on offer include an expansive super deluxe edition box set that includes the remastered audio on two CDs and four vinyl LPs and a two-DVD set of The Song Remains The Samefeaturing the full theatrical version of the film plus bonus content including four performance outtakes that were not part of the original film:  Celebration Day, Over The Hills And Far Away, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Ocean. The box also includes a DVD of the entire album in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and PCM Stereo, a download card of all stereo audio content at 96kHz/24 bit, a 28-page book (with photos and an essay by Cameron Crowe), a replica of the Japanese program from 1977, and a print of the original album cover (as usual, the first 30,000 will be individually numbered).

9-disc super deluxe edition • Blu-ray audio • Full album 5.1 mix

As well as the big box, there’s a 4LP vinyl set, a blu-ray audio with the 5.1 mix (96kHz/24 bit) and surround mixes and a humble remastered two-CD package.

It’s worth noting that for the 4-LP set, Page made a change to the track sequence, allowing the 29-minute version of Dazed And Confused to be featured in its entirety on one side of vinyl for the first time.

The Song Remains The Same will be reissued on 7 September 2018.

Led Zeppelin 1

Whether you mark the genesis as the death of  The Yardbirds, the Scandinavian tour by The New Yardbirds or the band’s first show under the new name, Led Zeppelin’s birth, however gradual, takes place in 1968, on way to its crowning moment, the release of the band’s self-titled debut not two weeks into the new year, January 12th of 1969.

The story arguably begins back in 1966, when Jimmy Page joined The Yardbirds, first on bass as replacement for Paul Samwell-Smith, but then switching to guitar, where he shares those duties with Jeff BeckBeck was soon to depart, in October that year, Jimmy’s thoughts wandered off to bigger things, a supergroup of sorts, while he bides his time for nearly two more years with an act proving to be somewhat directionless. The Yardbirds would play their final show, a Bedfordshire gig, in July of 1968. At this point Jimmy is already in possession of most of the riffs and song ideas he would need in his next incarnation.

“We were a vehicle for what Jimmy wanted to do when he came in,” explains Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty. “He had a pretty free rein, as all the guitar players did and he pushed The Yardbirds sound into more of a heavy metal context. He really was the master of the riff.”

Everyone was paying attention to the band’s star axeman. Recalls Steve Lyman, of legendary Michigan rockers SRC, who caught the band just before their demise, “The first British group that I actually saw perform live was The Yardbirds, at a small club in Ann Arbor, Michigan called The Fifth Dimension. I already had two albums by The Yardbirds at that time, so it was a real thrill for me to see this British group performing live. Jimmy Page was the guitar player at the time, because The Yardbirds went through various incarnations. Eric Clapton was their first guitar player, Jeff Beck and then Jimmy Page. I was mesmerized by that Yardbirds show. I was the lead guitar player in a band The Fugitives, which became the SRC, so seeing Jimmy Page play became a real thrill for me because I had been listening to these Yardbirds records on my record player and trying to figure out what they were playing.”

But in the summer of ’68, The Yardbirds, now splitting up, but nonetheless still committed to a Scandinavian tour. A new lineup to fulfill these dates was called for. After Chris Dreja bows out to begin a career as a photographer, session stalwart John Paul Jones is recruited. In the all important vocal slot, Jimmy had wanted on the team Terry Reid, but Reid demurs, suggesting a young Birmingham singer named Robert Plant. Robert is the one who brings along local drummer and hard-hitter John Bonham. Before the new foursome would hit the road, they perform a session for the P.J. Proby album Three Week Hero. A track there called “Jim’s Blues” would live on as the band’s first session together, on the technicality that Robert is present blowing some harmonica.

Original Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins happened to be there to watch the formation of what would be called The New Yardbirds, the makeshift name the band used to fulfil those Scandinavian dates.

“I used to know Robert,” says Atkins. “We used to go for a beer together, and sometimes he’d borrow my microphone because he couldn’t afford one, if I wasn’t playing. We had one mic between the two of us. I had the best one. And a buddy of mine, ‘Are you playing tonight?’ ‘No, oh go on.’ It was great times. Robert’s roots have always been blues. He’s a very intelligent guy when you’re talking to him about the blues stuff. He knows everything about that. You can’t argue with him about anything on that subject. But I saw him before Zeppelin, when he was playing at Henry’s Blues House and Alexis Korner was playing on his own, a solo gig he got there, like a one-man band thing or something, and Robert got up and played harmonica and sang along with him.

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“And then with Jimmy Page, they joined The Yardbirds, went over to Europe, came back, and next thing they were called Led Zeppelin. I went to see them play at Mother’s in Erdington. They were supporting Blodwyn Pig, and I think they got 75 quid or something. But when I saw him with Jimmy onstage that night I was totally blown away. And Bonham was absolutely out of his head. He was drunk, I think. And they did a set, and it was very mixed, including a lot of stuff that was going to be coming on the new album. They were loud, but they were brilliant. Robert’s voice had just changed overnight. I couldn’t believe the difference in his voice. Fantastic vocalist. And yeah, John Bonham, he couldn’t come back onstage. They did the encore and the drummer from Blodwyn Pig came on and played this blues thing with them and they just jammed the encore. The good ol’ days.”

Jimmy had made his mind up that they were going to blow everyone off the stage,” adds (now deceased) engineer Andy Johns, soon to be working closely with the band. “That’s what my brother told me. This is when Jimmy still had The Yardbirds thing going. Glyn said, ‘I was with Jimmy the other day, and Jimmy said, I’ve got this new lineup now, and we’re going to blow everyone offstage.’ So that was an intentional thing, to be as dramatic and as riff-conscious as possible. And Jimmy was a fabulous writer, and had a lot of great ideas in the studio, and was just wonderful to work with.”

But in August of 1968, even before the band’s dates in Scandinavia, Jimmy’s Yardbirds mate Jeff Beck would release his album Truth, which many a rock historian debate as the blueprint for what Led Zeppelin would become.

“Well, it was right around the same time,” explains Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. “I was on that Jeff Beck album and Jimmy was with The Yardbirds at the time, so my influence on the Jeff Beck album would probably be similar to my influence on the Led Zeppelin album, just like Jimmy. I don’t know, I suppose. You can come to the same conclusion with any number of blues-based rock bands. But it soon took off from there. Most of the songs we had done on the first album had been done by Jimmy and The Yardbirds as well. It was only things like “Good Times Bad Times,” which was a riff I brought in, that I wrote in the studio. That’s got John’s famous drum part, of course. John never used double bass. He did in fact bring in a double bass drum for rehearsal, and we played a couple of songs with it, but then we hid it when he went for lunch. When he came back it was gone.”

“We loved Zeppelin,” says Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton, also there to watch the band being born. “They were just an extension to what was going on with the guitar bands like The Who, on from The Beatles. It went from The Beatles to The Who and then into that blues boom thing, with the Jeff Beck Group. The Yardbirds and Cream, really, initially, we were doing the electric blues thing. The Yardbirds moved from that blues thing to another area, where they kept the same sound but they started writing what you would call riffs, and in some cases, like pop songs. A pop song but played with that power-trio lineup. Because initially when Cream started, they were doing ‘I Feel Free’ and stuff like that, basically writing pop songs to get away from the blues, to get away from ‘You Shook Me.’ But the Jeff Beck Group took it to another level, and then Led Zeppelin obviously did as well. But their first album was basically electric blues songs.”

Into the fall, The New Yardbirds would play their first date, September 7th, 1968, at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark, following up with another 10 days around Scandinavia. Significantly, the band have in their set  “Communication Breakdown,” which is recorded as soon as the band get back, in October of that year. It’s a small thing, but one might also call the recording of this bedrock Zeppelin track as the birth of the band. Indeed the song is a step up in intensity, away from other songs in the set at this time such as “Hush,” “The Hunter,” “Somethin’ Else” and “Train Kept A-Rollin’.”

In any event, 1968, as it pertains to the birth of the band, is next marked by the first show on British soil, October 4th at the Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle upon Tyne. Conducting a brief British tour, the next benchmark is the band’s first show under the new name — Chris Dreja had issued a cease and desist order on the use of The Yardbirds moniker — on October 25th, at the University of Surrey in Battersea. And for the record, as the story goes, the band chose for its new title Led Zeppelin, because John Entwistle had suggested to Jimmy that his new “supergroup” would go down like a lead balloon. Into November, rough and tough manager of the band Peter Grant negotiates a $143,000 advance for his boys from Atlantic Records and the hype machine lurches into operation, never to wane across a full decade of dominance.

“We didn’t move into a style; I think we kind of created it,” muses John Paul Jones, on what the band brought into being over the nine-day burst of creativity in late 1968 that would result in the band’s debut album. “And if you would have asked me in 1969, as people did, what sort of band I was in, I would have said a progressive rock band. But then that became to mean something else. There you go banging up against categories again. That came to mean something else entirely. And then it was just sort of like blues rock, because the band was quite blues-orientated. And it was just the style, the way the members of the band played together. But in terms of actual riffs, well, anything with notes, lots of notes, like ‘Black Dog,’ ‘Good Times Bad Times’… those were my riffs. And anything that was kind of lurchy and chordy were Page’s riffs. That’s how you tell them apart.”

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The impact of the band’s first album would be felt far and wide. “Led Zeppelin had just come out,” remembers Blue Cheer’s Randy Holden. “They were doing something entirely different. I went to see them at their gig at the Whisky, which was their first gig in California as far as I know. I liked their album; I thought they got a really heavy sound on the album, but then live they used these Rickenbackers and they’re the most god-awful sounding amps I ever heard, which really surprised me. But the record really came off great.”

Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, “Led Zeppelin influenced me a lot because I was in a pop group called Episode Six and we were trying to get heavier and weren’t making it because we were just playing the same music but louder. When the album first came out, you could tell it wasn’t the loudness so much as a feeling, what you felt about the music rather than how they played it. Episode Six, as we were, weren’t the right combination of people to be heavy, and I gradually gained the impression that heavy music wasn’t for me because I didn’t like what we were playing — loud pop music. And I decided for a time to go into folk music. I’ve never been so struck by an album as I was by Led Zeppelin. It really left me open-mouthed. What they were playing was very simple stuff, loud and exciting, and it moved me. I suddenly wanted to be in a club playing that music — loud, straightforward, with simple guts. And by pure coincidence, just about that time I was offered a job with Deep Purple! But for Zeppelin, I might never have been in Deep Purple.

“I remember Jimmy played me the first Led Zeppelin album,” chuckles Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty. “There was ‘Dazed and Confused’ and there was a Howlin’ Wolf-type thing, ‘How Many More Times” which is very similar to the stuff we’d been playing; it was similar to ‘Smokestack Lightnin’,’ I thought. And then there was another one which was similar. It was very well done, the first Zeppelin album; I thought it was very good. You can see the links, how easy it was to go from us to them.”

And like so many others that were there to bear witness to the birth of this great band, Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones had also found himself impressed with what Jimmy had put together. “At the time, I was cutting my teeth in France,” explains Jones. “Don’t ask me how, but I’d become sort of the musical director and producer of Johnny Hallyday, who you’ve probably heard of. He was sort of the French Elvis, as it were. And so we would go over to England to record, and we ended up with an engineer named Glyn Johns, who at that time, he worked with Steve Miller Band and later the Eagles. I think he had been working with the Eagles even before their record came out. But he had worked a lot with John Paul and Jimmy when they were session musicians.”

“And they happened to be session musicians on the stuff that I was doing for Johnny Hallyday. And so I was fully aware of who they were. And every time I was playing with Jimmy Page, he blew me away every time we went into the studio. I had so much respect for him as a guitar player. So that’s where our friendship developed. He would even come over to Paris with Glyn Johns and cut tracks over there. In fact, some of the music that we were doing with Johnny Hallyday provided the opportunity for Jimmy to work closely with Glyn Johns in preparing the first Zeppelin album. And I remember the day that Glyn took me into the studio, the back of Olympic Studios in London, and he said, ‘I’m going to play you a couple things on Jimmy’s project.’ And he sat down and played me ‘Communication Breakdown’ and it just blew me away. Just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe it. I had never heard anything as mean and powerful in my life. It just left me staggered.”

Millions across the planet were soon to feel equally staggered, but again, the groundwork and indeed so much more, was set in 1968, and really, much of it packed into the back half of the year. The breakdown in communication that caused the demise of The Yardbirds to the recording of “Communication Breakdown” takes no more than an astonishing four months, and by the end of the year, is a record that will forever change rock ‘n’ roll. Fully 50 years later, the impact of Led Zeppelin is still reverberating.

Words By Martin Popoff

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Dazed and Confused” is a song written by American singer-songwriter Jake Holmes in 1967, It was described as “a stark, spooky folk-rock track with stinging reverbed lead guitar, Holmes‘ own pained vocals, and furiously strummed rhythm guitar that winds itself into an anguished climax. Holmes recorded the song for his debut album “The Above Ground Sound” of Jake Holmes and he performed it in the late 1960s and early 1970s on the New York City folk scene and the college coffee house circuit. The lyrics refer to the effects of a girl’s indecision on ending a relationship.  This version from Live Supershow 1969 .

In August 1967, Holmes opened for the Yardbirds at a Greenwich Village gig in New York According to Holmes, “That was the infamous moment of my life when ‘Dazed and Confused’ fell into the loving arms and hands of Jimmy Page.” When the track appeared on Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album in 1969, Holmes was aware of it at the time, but didn’t follow up on it: “In the early 1980s, I did write them a letter and I said basically: ‘I understand it’s a collaborative effort, but I think you should give me credit at least and some remuneration.’ But they never contacted me.

After hearing Holmes perform the song in 1967, English rock group the Yardbirds reworked it with a new arrangement. It became a centerpiece of the group’s tours in 1968, several recordings of which have been released. “Dazed and Confused” was further adapted later that year by Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page’s “New Yardbirds” group (soon to be rechristened Led Zeppelin) for their debut album, Led Zeppelin“Dazed and Confused” became a concert staple with solos that sometimes stretched the performances to 45 minutes.

When the Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, Page planned to record the song in the studio with the successor group he had assembled that summer. According to Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, the first time he heard the song was at the band’s first rehearsal session at Gerrard Street in London, in 1968: “Jimmy played us the riffs at the first rehearsal and said, ‘This is a number I want us to do’.” The future Led Zeppelin recorded their version in October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, and the song was included on their debut album Led Zeppelin (1969). “Dazed and Confused” was the second song recorded at the Olympic sessions.

Page recorded the song in one take with a Telecaster and violin bow as he had performed it with the Yardbirds.  Singer Robert Plant wrote a new set of bluesier lyrics, according to Page though Plant is not credited on the album. Other sources say Page wrote the new lyrics himself. Whichever the case may be, Plant’s vocal is raw and powerful, delivered with “unrelenting passion.”Other than the lyrics and vocal, the song remained very similar to that performed by the Yardbirds earlier that year.

This bolt of lightning likewise illuminates the already thick and portentous soundscape further setting a tone for the impending sonic onslaught. John Bonham (drums) sneaks in with a rock solid downbeat beneath Plant’s opening line. During the bridge [Bonham] explodes front and centre with his trademark blend of keen rhythmic gymnastics and straight-ahead swinging percussive support. The band collectively combust throughout the remainder of the cut as they alternate between scintillating and scorching.”