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.
It’s an open secret that Jimmy Page has been retired, officially or not, since at least 2000 (when he toured with the Black Crowes), or even 1998 (his last creative period with new material). He has made a few appearances over the years, with Donovan, with Jeff Beck at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and with his old friend, and collaborator, Roy Harper.
This clip is from Roy’s 70th birthday concert, and it’s absolutely brilliant. The song, Same Old Rock, is from his Stormcock album, on which Jimmy played, and it’s anthemic and amazing, and awesome.
Roy’s voice is still strong and pure, and Jimmy comes out and nails his parts like he did back in the early 70’s. It’s great. Dave Lewis has an excellent write up of this gig on his site, if you want to know more.
This song is so good I want you to read the lyrics (if you so desire), because they’re excellent.
All along the ancient wastes the thin reflections spin
That gather all the times and tides at once we love within
That build the edges round the shrouds that cloud the setting sun
And carry us to other days and other days to one
And full the single stillness of the mirror that is made
By each and every one of all the colours in a shade
Inside each eye is sitting like the sword inside the blade
And longs for once upon a chance to open love’s cascade
For here we stand – hand to hand
Fighting for the Promised Land
And you try to tell me with consternation
That you have found me a brand new lock
Then you try to warn me that there’s only one combination
One new sling – the same old rock
There is a famous straggler stood on the edge of time
Who held the staff but did not feel the pain
He multiplied the mystery with utterance sublime
And crossed his heart for those who died insane
His friend a restless mouthpiece 7000 years of age
Trends to flash a face to shape his ways
Everlasting light is burning bright inside his cage
He’s only got to breathe to fan the blaze
Such a groove to have him here on-board Her Ladyship
The man who makes his living out of bed
Such a gas to see him flying through his ceaseless lip
One day, someday soon, he’ll lose his head
And withering in the galleries with eyes fixed on the door
Are who and you and me and thanks a lot
And those who see but cannot stand to walk on any floor
For fear that good is something bad is not
But loud and clear is the call
In black and white across your wall
Damn it all, man, can’t you see
And you try to tell me with consternation
That you have found me a brand new lock
Then you try to warn me that there’s only one combination
One new sling – the same old rock
I don’t have any backstory for this. Someone wonderful posted the link to this, on the FBO (For Badgeholders Only) mailing list (yes, it’s been around that long). The YouTube account and opening credit is named something called the Academy of Achievement.
It looks pretty highbrow. The kind of library that includes interviews with Bill Clinton, Ernst Mayr, and Paul Kagame. Jimmy is eloquent and loquacious, giving fascinating answers and insight into Led Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, music in general, and life. He’s surprisingly insightful, reflective, and (dare I say), wise.
In talking about how he takes care of himself, he simply recounts how he was still drinking into his 50’s, and smoking, and realized that if he knocked it off, he would likely live into his 70’s. And he has (knock wood. No, seriously. Do it)
He mentions being at the hotel at which Martin Luther King was killed, shortly after it occurred. He talks about how african american people would attend Yardbirds concerts, along with white people, but after the assassination of MLK, that stopped.
As a whackadoodle Led Zeppelin fan I have seen a lot, a… lot… of Jimmy Page interviews, and this one is hands down the highest level (intellectually) and most relaxed interviews of his I’ve seen. No fluff about what Zoso means, or when they’re reuniting. It’s almost like a Charlie Rose level of interview. We don’t hear the interviewer at all. They have a title card display the question asked, and Jimmy just started talking.
I know that many Zep fans won’t really be interested in watching an hour long interview with anyone. The music speaks for itself, and I won’t blame you if this isn’t your thing. However I have a podcast which deals with the more esoteric elements of Jimmy Page’s career, as well as great live Zeppelin material, so you’ll have to forgive the occasional niche post.
Many Led Zeppelin fans of a certain age remember the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. It was, decidedly, not Zeppelin. Jimmy Page has performed a few songs from this over the years, City Sirens, Who’s To Blame, and Prelude. He’s played them with the Arms Tour, with the Firm (at least Prelude), and on the Outrider tour.
They’re good tracks but there are a couple of others from this album which deserve some love. Jimmy’s choice of Chris Farlowe as vocalist has, in my opinion, limited the appeal of this soundtrack, but this was a very rushed, last minute project, and Chris was a friend with whom Jimmy had recorded before, so I get it. You may recognize Chris’ voice as the singer of Prison Blues on Jimmy’s Outrider album.
Hypnotizing Ways (Oh Mama)
Hypnotizing Ways is a nice rock song. Jimmy doesn’t usually use suspended fourths (music nerd alert), but I like it. If there was another singer on this I think it would have more traction, but I enjoy it.
A nice little instrumental jam. I really dig it. You can hear flashes of the guitar god on the solos. Jimmy made the noble decision to walk away from the Zeppelin catalog (at least until 1988), after the breakup of the band, so hearing some very Zep-like licks is refreshing.
The story of how this project came about is an interesting one, at least as much as the XYZ project, so perhaps I will do a podcast about it. Until that glorious day you will have to make do with these two songs, which have fallen through the cracks.
At this time the only place you can buy this (remastered and expanded) soundtrack is from Jimmy Page himself, on his website. From what I understand it sounds great and the extra tracks are pretty badass.
If you follow live Led Zeppelin recordings, you know that the last several years have been the Led Zeppelin Soundboard Revolution. The Japanese boot companies have gotten ahold of a hoard of 1975 tour soundboard tapes. These exist because Showco, the sound & light company that Zep used, would tape each show, for review by the soundmen, and the band.
The Japanese bootleg label Empress Valley have been releasing ’75 soundboard tapes for more than 10 years, starting with Flying Circus. I am not the biggest fan of the this tour, as it showcases a band not at their best. Robert Plant started the tour with the flu, and Jimmy Page started with a broken finger. They soldiered on and the very early dates (January) has some songs never again played, like When The Levee Breaks, and The Wanton Song. How Many More Times was revived in place of Dazed and Confused to give Jimmy’s finger a break. He played with three fingers on his left hand. Remarkable for sure, but the pain management needed did his growing use, and dependence, on opiates and alcohol no favors.
Ok. Enough with the downers. This is the tour supporting Physical Graffiti, which is their last undisputed great album. Holy shit, you get Kashmir, Trampled Underfoot, In My Time Of Dying, Ten Years Gone…. those alone are the mountaintop of greatness, plus a host of other songs which are merely awesome like, Custard Pie, Night Flight…well, you know what songs are on this album if you’re reading this post.
Anyhoo… The 1975 was a bit of a drop from the energy of the 1973 tour, which was a bit of a drop from 1972 (the last year when Plant’s voice had that killer high range) but this show could be listed as 1973, and no one would know the difference (aside from the Physical Graffiti tracks). This is a good one. Listen to the podcast, listen to the show.
Jimmy Page was a very busy boy in 1984. He was fresh off the rejuvenation (or resurrection) of the ARMS Tour (last date of that was 12/9/83), and he immediately started looking for drummers for the new band he wanted to create, with Paul Rodgers (late of Bad Company).
On 1/22/84 Jimmy was jamming with drummers in Nomis studios. Rat Scabies from the Damned, and Bill Bruford (King Crimson & Yes) was among the drummers he played with. Recordings exist. They’re muddy (cassette boombox it sounds like) but there’s some good stuff there. I think it may be Pino Palladino on bass.
Somewhere around this time Jimmy contacted Chris Slade. I do not know if he auditioned him, or just knew enough and wanted him, but Chris Slade had just (literally minutes before) taken a call from Dave Gilmour to do a tour with him. So he told Jimmy it would be three months before he could join the Firm. Jimmy agreed to wait, and it eventually became a 9 month wait.
02.?? New York (with Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle and Louis Bertignac of Telephone – Glyn John’s birthday party) No recordings have circulated.
3/84 – Recording the Honeydrippers EP with Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Nile Rodgers, and more. Produced by Ahmet Ertegun.
April/May/84 – Jimmy Page records the album Whatever Happened To Jugula, with Roy Harper, at Roy’s 24 track studio, The Boilerhouse. Also performs with Roy’s band on the following dates:
05.19 May Tree Fair, Thetford
05.20 Kenley Fayre, Norwich
05.21 St. Ives Hotel, Lytham St. Annes
5/5&6/84 Jimmy plays on three tracks of Stephen Stills’ album Right By You. It was recorded in Jimmy’s Sol studios, and released 7/30/84. If you’re in the USA these vids won’t play on my site. CLICK THE WATCH ON YOUTUBE LINKS and you’ll be fine.
6/5/84 – Alexis Korner Benefit with The Alexis Light Orchestra aka Ian Stewart’s Rocket 88. Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart, Jack Bruce, Ruby Turner, Paul Jones, John Picard, Don Weller Dick Heckstall-Smith
6/24/84 – Jimmy Page jams with Yes on the Beatles song, I’m Down. This show was in Germany, and it was professionally filmed, and released on home video. Jimmy’s encore is NOT in the release, but I bet it exists somewhere, in pro-shot goodness.
7/12/84 Pistoia Blues Festival. Another benefit show for the recently deceased Alexis Korner. This time he plays with (among others) Ginger Baker in Italy. Jimmy is in fine form. He does a super ballsy Train Kept A Rollin’ but the rest of the band obviously doesn’t know the song, because it’s a train wreck (no pun intended), but Jimmy’s playing was amazing. He was drinking vodka straight from a bottle during this gig. Rock and Roll.
07/28/84 With Roy Harper’s band – Cambridge Folk Festival (afternoon & evening sets)
LISTEN TO THIS. IT’S AWESOME
07/29/84 Battersea Park, London – Jimmy Page with Roy Harper’s band.
08.?? Heartbreak Hotel, Ibiza (Page and Plant with Phil May and members of The Pretty Things)
9/84-11/84 Recording the Firm album, mixing and producing. Sol Studios.
11/16/84 (broadcast date)Jimmy Page & Roy Harper Langdale, Cumbria (Old Grey Whistle Test, BBC TV)
11/24/84 – Jimmy Page & Roy Harper Rock Garden, Covent Garden, London
11/29/84 The Firm debuts in Stockholm, and Jimmy Page is on another path.
12/9/84 The Firm played the Hammersmith Odeon in London, which is professionally filmed and recorded. MTV plays a 30 minute version. Maybe you remember it?
Like My Podcast? Wanna Buy Me A Coffee, or a Beer… or a helicopter? YOU CAN!
Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones… Jesus Christ, everybody
Links from the show
This is San Francisco 12/2/83. San Fran 12/2/83 is a nice set by Jimmy. He is hit or miss on this tour, often within the same set. Remember, he may not be using heroin anymore, but he was in no way sober. This is the show from which the Goodnight Irene heard in the podcast is taken. You should watch the whole thing. It’s a shit ton of talent on one stage, and no one is being a prick.
WATCH THIS ONE. It’s not Jimmy’s best, but it’s not that bad. This show also has a killer Goodnight Irene at the end, with Jimmy, Jeff, and Eric trading solos and it’s GREAT! Watch it or the monsters will eat you. You also get incoherent Joe Cocker gibberish at the end.
This is the intro to the officially released London gig. Watch it. It shows how sweet Ronnie Lane was, and how all these huge stars really worked together to help hime. It’s nice.
The first part of the London gig. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. Drink coffee first.
Find the rest yourself. I’m an old man.
BONUS NOTES AND SHIT FROM THE PODCAST.
Ronnie Lane was the bass player for the Small Faces (itchycoo park) and later (when they were no longer small) The Faces. The Faces were a good time, drunken rock and roll band that had Rod Stewart as its singer, and Ronnie Wood as their guitarist, both fresh from Jeff Beck’s band. Remember when the Black Crowes first came out, with Jealous Again? They were a clone of the Faces. The Ron Wood went off to become a Rolling Stone, and Rod Stewart went off to be a disco fuckhead. Ronnie Wood ended up living in a trailer on Pete Townshend’s property, having never ‘made it big’. He recorded an album with Pete, in 1977, called Rough Mix that is absolutely wonderful. Not only is a great album, it’s a great album featuring not just Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane, but Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, and a bunch more. It’s a great album that was just never promoted by the record company. It also is one of the best sounding analog recordings I’ve ever heard. Totally listen to it. Do it.
During the recording of Rough Mix Ronnie Lane was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. His ability to play was hampered, and his already not great life got worse. He must have been a great guy, because holy shit a million huge stars came out to help him.
One Of The Best ARMS Gigs in Great Video
The early 1980’s was a dark time for the rock gods of the 70’s. Led Zeppelin had broken up, Jeff Beck was a footnote, and Eric Clapton had turned so mellow he was like the James Taylor of guitar. Everyone had peaked and was hitting 40. The first generation of rock gods were all total has beens by the time they hit 40. This generation risked obscurity as well.
In 1983 a bunch of British rock gods gathered together to perform a series of benefit concerts, in support of Ronnie Lane. Ronnie was the bass player for the Small Faces, and then the Faces. He was a beloved musician and friend (he lived rent free on Pete Townshend’s estate), who had contracted MS and needed some help.
The bands that were represented were the cream of British rock royalty. Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones, Ronnie Wood (from the Faces and the Stones) showed up in New York City for some songs, too. Eric Clapton from Cream, Jeff Beck from the Yardbirds and as his own bad self (also former bandmate of Ronnie Wood), Joe Cocker and his awesome keyboard player, Chris Stainton. Holy shit a lot of people. Oh yeah, The Who! Kenny Jones from The Who (and also the Faces with Ronnies Lane and Wood). Fernando Saunders on bass (Lou Reed and Jeff Beck’s bassist)… so many goods. And Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company. Lots of folk who all got together to help a friend.
Jimmy Page had been out of the spotlight since the death of John Bonham, and dissolution of Led Zeppelin. He was a physical and mental wreck. Drug addiction was at an almost terminal level, and the deep depression of Bonzo’s death just made everything worse. Aside from a few minor projects, or even just jams, Page was a hermit.
The word on this is that Eric Clapton was tapped to approach Jimmy and tell him to get his shit together, heroin-wise. Clapton had just himself finished rehab, and everyone else in the band(s) pretty much had their shit together (although I think Charlie Watts got in to heroin at roughly this time), except for Jimmy. So, a pep talk, some positive reinforcement, and a trip to the states, got Jimmy off the heroin. Alas he still drank like a fish and did hella blow.
Still, credit where credit is due. The ARMS tour got Jimmy to come back as a performer again. Having worked with Paul Rodgers on the US Tour for ARMS, Jimmy formed the FIRM. The Firm sucked. Yes it did. Yes it did.
Many people forget that before the mid 1970s, Fleetwood Mac was actually a pretty hard rock/blues band. There are about 5 iterations of the band other than the Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham days. Christine McVie was in the band for several lineups, moving from blues/hard rock gradually to the smooth, impeccable, California pop that was the Rumours lineup.
This song is from the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac. Green Manalishi is by all rights a metal song. It was covered by Judas Priest for Christ’s sake. In places this could be Black Sabbath, but it isn’t. It’s a top notch band playing stratospherically well, in that way that only the 1968-1972 era really contains.
It’s long. Like 15 minutes long, and from what I glean from the comments, this version is better than other (canonical) versions. I can see why. This is great. Heavy but still delicate. Out there but not too far. Yes, it’s super indulgent with the ten minute plus solo, but did you know much of that solo was played on a Fender Bass VI? That makes it cooler.
Basically, I’m sharing this because I recently discovered it, and it’s so damn good it should be heard by everyone. Enjoy.
[This was originally posted on another blog of mine, https://halfpastlife.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/david-bowie-heroes-live-2002-incredible/] This performance of Heroes, the classic Bowie song, from the Berlin/Eno years, is just so fucking good! He does some rock star repartee at the beginning that totally works, because he can pull it off, and then just absolutely nail Heroes.
His voice is incredible. The deep bass notes, the flawless falsetto, and so much feeling. Just watch and see a real star. Brilliant.
It’s still weird living in a world without David Bowie. He was so vital and insanely good, that even his terrible stuff is (well its terrible) not awful. He has a few clunkers, but fewer overall (in my opinion) than Neil Young, who’s another 5 decade legend of outstanding quality.
Maybe it’s just part of getting older, hooray, to see the brightest lights flicker and extinguish, one by one. That’s how the night gets even darker. Until human voices wake us, and we drown.
But until that moment, we can be Heroes. For although the eternal footman may snicker, he still holds the door.
I don’t want to end this post on a down note, parroting TS Eliot, so here’s another post from the aforementioned blog, but this one is funny!
I was on tour in the United States back in ’89. And we did a show in Cincinnati. During that show I shouted out, “It’s great to be in Cincinnati. … … “That was a lie.”
David Bowie was a funny man. You can spend a hours on YouTube watching his various talk show appearances, and laughing your ass off. In this clip from when Conan O’Brien (of whom I’ve previously written) was on NBC is from a bit Conan would do called Secrets. He would have celebrities do an intense confessional scene, in which they unload a terrible secret. Bowie’s was my all time favorite.