We listen to a Mike Millard master recording of Yes at the Hollywood Bowl, June 21, 1975. This is their Relayer tour and Patrick Moraz has replaced Rick Wakeman on keyboards. It has a very jazz fusion vibe and as usual the Millard recording is spectacular. A great 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?
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1980 was not a great year for rock. John Bonham died in September and Led Zeppelin disbanded in December. Yes had finally sunk despite trying to plug the leaks with Trevor Horn, and Geoff Downe (from the Buggles!), after the departure of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Here’s a peek at what Yes looked like in 1980.
This Is YES In 1980
The air was heavy, dependency issues were rampant, and music was changing.
Jimmy Page was emotionally devastated, at both the death of his friend and bandmate, but also at the death of his band. Led Zeppelin officially dissolved on December 4, 1980.
The sources for this info are, for the most part, people directly involved. Chris Squire has spoken of these sessions, as have Alan White, Jimmy Page, and the engineer Stuart Epps. He also engineered the posthumous Led Zeppelin album, Coda.
Here’s the thing with these sources. Some were from youtube and they’ve been taken down and are gone. Chris Squire’s is gone, as is (goddamn it I should have downloaded it when I had the chance) the Stuart Epps video. I read a lot of interviews, forum posts from knowledgable people (cough Steve A Jones… cough), and watched/listened to a lot of videos. Due diligence was performed.
The only tracks that I’ve seen around, in the trading circles, are from a cassette source. My recording lists 2nd or 3rd generation.
Track 2 is Fortune Hunter, which was used later by the Firm. This one feels a lot like a Jimmy riff to me. Alan White is more straight on rocking, and Chris Squire is just laying a groove. Nothing proggy. Jimmy uses the Roland guitar synth in the background, and the b bender is all over this. He plays some pretty tight solos, which sound a lot like solos from Coda, Walter’s Walk in particular.
Track 3 is Can You See. This is all Chris Squire. I can hear Jon Anderson singing this on 90125. If it was a little brighter, and if Chris Squire wasn’t singing this (sorry, he’s not great on this). It kind of drags tempo wise. It feels like it should be just a hair faster.
This later came out in 2001 as Can You Imagine on the album Magnification.
This is a complete song, with overdubs, solos, etc. The first two tracks were more rudimentary and jamming, than finished product.
Track 4 is Telephone Secrets. This one suffers (imo) from Squire’s vocals. I can see Jon Anderson singing this, and with a little more upbeat vibe, it being at home on 90125. It actually appears on the Deluxe Edition of Drama as Song No. 4 (satellite)
Stuart Epps was Jimmy Page’s engineer, working in Jimmy’s SOL studio (formerly Elton John’s) and he ran the board for the XYZ sessions. According to him, “It was a week of sessions. It was mad.” He was there. These guys were all focused on creating good music, and I think it shows.
THE COMPLETE TRACKS FROM THE XYZ SESSIONS
I only played excerpts from each track, during the podcast. Here, as promised, are the complete XYZ tracks. Enjoy.
WTF IS THIS?!
No sooner had I posted this episode than a listener commented about a promo XYZ pen he won back in 1981, from none other than Tight But Loose magazine. I.. had no idea things progressed to the point of pen manufacturing. I am extremely skeptical that it’s an official Swan Song/Atlantic promo. I am putting my money on it being something that Dave Lewis (the TBL guy and avatar of Zep) had made up himself. They look like the cheap promo pens that small businesses have made up, plus John Paul Jones and Robert Plant’s names are on the pen. I reached out to Mr. Lewis and will update when I get word. In any case… it’s pretty damn cool!
UPDATE: They are neither official nor do they originate from Mr. Lewis. He thinks they might have been made up by