Did you know that in 1978/79 John Bonham & Roy Wood (former ELO alum) recorded a song together? You do now! It is called Keep Your Hands On The Wheel. It’s a track on Roy Wood’s album, On The Road Again. It’s interesting to hear Bonzo playing with another band.
This session undoubtedly occurred during Led Zeppelin’s hiatus after the death of Robert Plant’s son, in 1977. Last week I posted a session Bonzo did with Paul McCartney, because it’s interesting to focus on John Bonham, after so much attention on Jimmy Page.
The song itself is, in my opinion, nothing to write home about, but the style of John Bonham is evident. No one could mic him as well as Jimmy Page, though. Enjoy.
As the creator of the World’s Okayest Led Zeppelin Podcast I am constantly scanning for new, and relevant, LZ stuff to share with you. Thanks to the excellent Led Zep fan forum, Royal-Orleans, I’ve discovered audio from a 1972 interview of John Bonham. There are precious few interviews with Bonzo, and this audio is a revelation.
This was right around the time that Houses of the Holy was recorded, right on that cusp before they became HUGE. They were already huge but in 1972 they still played around with cover songs, medleys, and John Paul Jones still had a Hammond Organ instead of a mellotron. It’s incredibly fascinating hearing him speak about how Zep was slagged in the British press about being sellouts, and being too big, while he’s telling Roy Carr (the interviewer for NME) about how Zeppelin was the only band to go back to the clubs (1971).
It’s a great interview where one can hear what a …. good guy Bonzo was. He was only 24 at the time, and he’s got to answer questions like a politician. Defending Led Zeppelin for avoiding television and the press, which is obviously the best thing Zep ever did, given the attitude the press had toward them. Zeppelin made it big DESPITE of the press. DESPITE avoiding publicity and exposure. They made it because they were simply the best rock band in the world. I just published a podcast featuring some unreleased live music from the 1972 tour. Listen and you’ll see why they were so amazing.
Bonzo has a wonderful attitude and I really like this guy we hear. He defends the accusations that Zep sold out and retired to their enormous mansions by telling Roy Carr that he and Robert had the same homes that they had at the beginning. They were country boys and homebodies (especially Bonzo).
I really enjoy this peek into the history of the band at the cusp of SUPER STARDOM, and the year before The Song Remains The Same was filmed. The gist of the whole thing is that Zep were 4 amazing musicians who didn’t let ego change their dynamic (at least at that point) and their talent and synergy meant they could do all this without collaborators, session musicians, or outside input. Enjoy this super cool John Bonham interview.
It is finished. A nice 22 minute episode wherein I discuss, then play, two unreleased live Led Zeppelin tracks left off of their live album, How The West Was Won. It’s an audience recording of Louie Louie, Everyday People, and Thank You. Amazingly powerful performances
which also highlight the level of connection Zeppelin had with their audiences. This recording is from June 25th, 1972. I said Long Beach on the podcast, but it was the LA Forum. I just said Long Beach to give a few perfectionists a paroxysm of rage. We are all of us monsters in one way or another.
These 2 unreleased live Led Zeppelin tracks are EXCELLENT. Led Zeppelin in 1972 was at the peak of their powers. Robert Plant’s voice hadn’t gone, and Jimmy Page’s hands were fluid and eloquent. Jonesy still had the organ (pre-mellotron) and all was well. Their cover versions were often legendary.
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Led Zeppelin’s Final Tour: The 1980 Tour Over Europe
As a young fan I was always deeply curious about the last days of the mighty Zep. The 1980 tour was (back in the mid 1980’s) not well known (it was a brief tour of Europe. The big US tour was scheduled for later in 1980.), and before the internet, and downloads, there wasn’t much in the way of data.
Well, there is now! I explore the last days of Led Zeppelin, their final tour, and play some really cool songs. Give a listen.
I have been revisiting Led Zeppelin’s 1980 tour, and I had never listened to their July 5, 1980 show, in Munich. This is one of the only (maybe the only) show from this tour that doesn’t have a soundboard out there. That late 1980’s glut of dry soundboards did this tour no favors. Jimmy’s tone is brittle and highlights every flubbed note wayyyyy more than a good audience tape.
Munich is a very good audience tape, maybe even excellent. There’s good stereo separation, good ambience, and you can hear Jimmy’s guitar the way you would have heard it in the hall. On top of that it was a fun show.
At the conclusion of the show, a second drum kit was set up, next to Bonzo’s drums. Not even Keith Moon got his drum kit when he played with Zep in ’77. This is a one time thing.
After a brief break, Led Zeppelin comes back with the drummer from Bad Company, Simon Kirke. Bad Company was the biggest act (aside from Zeppelin themselves) on their Swan Song label, as well as friends with the band, so they had special access. Jimmy and Robert even jammed with Bad Company a couple of times, but that’s the subject of another blog post.
So here is a very cool, very funny, version of Whole Lotta Love, with two drummers. This is also the second to the last time the band would play this song, before Bonzo’s untimely death. It’s a fun one. Jimmy goes into the fun blues things, and even brings the drummers back into line, when they get lost. This recording really changed my mind about this tour, and tipped the scales in deciding to make this tour the topic of my next podcast.
This is a smoking hot jam from July 1, 1980, in which Jimmy Page jams with Santana in Frankfurt. Led Zeppelin had just played one of their best shows of their 1980 Tour Over Europe, the night before. Santana (the band) breaks out the old chestnut Shake Your Moneymaker, and Jimmy Page joins in. It’s pretty great.
You don’t get much jamming from Jimmy during the last years of Zep. He had his demons but not this night. The soundboard recording is very hot (oooh hot mic), and a bit shrill to these old ears, but it’s still awesome. Jimmy is at home sparring with the amazing Carlos Santana. It’s got the bounce and enthusiasm of the version, 20 years later done by Jimmy and the Black Crowes.
I’ve been revisiting the 1980 tour and I believe I’m changing my mind about it. For the last 30 years (Jesus, that’s sobering) I’ve thought of the ’80 tour as essential a shell of Zeppelin. This is based on the dry soulless soundboard recordings which abound.
The soundboard boots were everywhere when I was a youth, and even not there are only a relative handful of good audience recordings from this tour. Munich is an exception. It’s audience tape is excellent and it makes the show SO MUCH BETTER. You get the sound with reverb and space, as opposed to the flat line input sound. The soundboards highlight Jimmy’s shaky playing and is the aural equivalent to the fluorescent lighting in a gas station bathroom. It does the subject no favors.
Anyhoo give this a listen and you’ll hear Jimmy giving it his all and playing the fuck out of his Les Paul. Enjoy.
I think the 1980 tour will be the topic of my next podcast. #foreshadowing
My first, in fact THE first Led Zeppelin CD bootleg was Zurich, June 29, 1980. It was a dry soundboard recording, like almost all of the 1980 tapes, and it showed precisely how not on their game Jimmy Page and (tragically) John Bonham were at this time. They were both deep in their addictions, and it showed. I’ve compared Zeppelin live in 1980 to Aerosmith, in that it’s not the shows were horrible (although almost all the shows had an awful component… usually White Summer/Black Mountainside or Hot Dog), but they weren’t inspired. Bonzo would sometimes sound tired or like he was just phoning it in. They had to stop a show in Nuremberg (just before this show in Zurich) because Bonzo collapsed and couldn’t play. That stuff hadn’t happened before.
That being said, Achilles Last Stand was great on this tour (Frankfurt is arguably the best live performance ever), as was Kashmir, and the truncated Nobody’s Fault But Mine is bad ass.
This Trampled Underfoot is hands down my favorite. I don’t know if it’s the best, but it is to me. I hope you enjoy it. Jimmy does some hot wah wah work, Bonzo is on it, Robert’s voice is strong as hell (as it was for this whole tour), and fuck… it’s a great song to begin with.
Let me know what you think. I am kind of leaning toward doing an episode on the 1980 Tour Over Europe, since there are some really good performances, some great jams, and it’s the last tour with Bonzo, so it’s special.
Given the condition of half the band I’m glad they never toured the States in 1980, because I think it would have very likely tarnished their reputation. I don’t think they would have pulled off a good tour. In another reality John Bonham and Jimmy Page got clean and sober in the 1970’s, and Zeppelin kept chugging along for years, and years. Alas, that’s not the timeline in which we live.
I forgot that Joan Osbourne toured with Phil Lesh & Friends for a bit. This is of course the post-Jerry, Phil Lesh vehicle (in this case with Trey Anastasio), but they sound wonderful. The sax player is a nice touch. Phil’s bass brings the Grateful Dead bottom to this contemporary performance.
Joan’s voice is strong and full of emotion, as always (I love her), and she does China Doll justice. I am not a Deadhead and I just stumbled upon this while on YouTube, but it was such a delightful surprise, I wanted to share it with you all. It’s from July 6, 2006 and the whole show is available, for free, on Archive.org. Good stuff. Enjoy.
If you are a listener of my podcast you already know that in September of 1983, the ARMS Concerts were held in London. They featured sets from Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. This show, from May of that year, is the first live appearance of Jimmy Page since he jammed (along with Robert Plant), with Foreigner on May 12, 1982.
This Eric Clapton concert was the last show of the Money and Cigarettes tour, and it took place in the UK, at the Guildford Town Hall. After performing his set, Eric brought out some friends for a bit of a jam. Albert Lee was playing in Clapton’s band, but Jimmy Page, Phil Collins (who was just about the biggest star in the world in 1983), and Chas & Dave, came out to play. Irish singer Paul Brady comes out to close out the proceedings with Goodnight Irene.
It’s a fun set. Jimmy is, as you probably know having followed my podcasts, not in the best shape here, but he’s not as bad as I had recalled. This YouTube recording is better than the bootleg I’ve had for years. There’s a lot more definition and clarity here, and it does Jimmy credit.
The songs on which Jimmy plays are:
1:20:53 Further On Up The Road (*)
1:29:12 Cocaine (*)
1:36:13 Roll Over Beethoven (*) (**)
1:43:04 You Win Again (*) (**) (***)
1:46:59 Matchbox (*) (**) (***)
1:53:11 Goodnight Irene (*) (**) (***)
* = Jimmy Page
** = Phil Collins
*** = Chas and Dave
**** = Paul Brady
One thing that’s delightful is that this isn’t just one song. It’s a nice set. You’ll be able tell which guitar is Jimmy’s because he’s using his b-bender telecaster, and nothing else sounds like that.
It’s a delightful artifact of Jimmy’s career post-Zeppelin, but before the Firm was even an idea. This show is also just before Eric Clapton’s career had its resurgence with Forever Man. I hope you enjoy this.
There are some really great songs performed on Zep’s first couple of tours which are never repeated. For Your Love is one of them. This is from January 5, 1969. Led Zeppelin I wasn’t out yet. They had been in the USA for one week. They’re still driving a van to gigs. They’re not insanely tight yet. They’re rough and raw. Pure power. Jimmy playing the telecaster he played in the Yardbirds. He didn’t have the Les Paul yet. Joe Walsh sold him his Les Paul. Did you know that? You do now. That pic in the video is from the Boston Tea Party in May 1969. Jimmy has the Les Paul there, because he bought it in April.
This show, the Whiskey A Go Go, January 5, 1969, is the first soundboard recording we mortals can hear. The band had only been in the states for their first tour, for a week. They were playing gymnasiums and clubs. Absolutely no one knew who they were, or what they brought.
Led Zeppelin was young and hungry. They set out to blow the acts for which they were opening (Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, The Doors, for example) off the stage. They succeeded. They had a lot of cover songs in their set, because they only had album in the can, and no one had any idea who they were, aside from ‘the guy from the yardbirds’. And it wasn’t like ‘that guy from the Yardbirds’ had much effect, because at that point, Jimmy Page was the least famous guy from the Yardbirds. Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck were already stars. The Jeff Beck Group was already touring, and had two albums out (or at least one), fronted by Rod Stewart. Zeppelin started from obscurity and fucking conquered.
You can hear that in this performance of the Yardbirds hit, For Your Love. It’s kind of loose, super aggressive, but the thing that stands out for me is that they aren’t gelled completely as a band, yet. They’re awesome for sure but almost unstable in their ferocity. I love it.