Led Zeppelin – 50 Years Ago Today

The eponymous album Led Zeppelin was released in the United States on this day in rock history, 50 years ago, January 12th, 1969.

Picture courtesy of Led Zeppelin, Copyright 2018

I first learned of Led Zeppelin in the fall of 1968 from a friend in high school, Tom Stein. He had a friend or relative (can’t remember which) in England who shared the excitement Led Zeppelin was creating across the pond. Finally I heard the album in December on WNEW-FM New York City’s premier rock station. It was featured in heavy rotation on DJ Scott Muni‘s, “Things From England” show. I was hooked.

I bought this record straight away and took this 12″ LP everywhere I went for the next few months as you can see from the back cover.

I played Led Zeppelin again today through my iPhone XR via Apple Cloud Music and headphones on my morning walk. It still sounds fresh and brilliant as ever!

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Led Zeppelin – The Day I Was There

I received an e-mail from Richard M. Houghton, the author of the book I posted about recently, Jimi Hendrix – The Day I Was There. He was letting me know that he had signed copies of that book available. He also informed me that he was starting his Led Zeppelin The Day I Was There book. He was accepting stories from fans. So I decided I would document my Led Zeppelin concert experience for inclusion in his next book.

I have been meaning to create a concert and memorabilia database, blog site so what better opportunity to kick it off with this blog post 😉

Led Zeppelin

June 11, 1977

Madison Square Garden

New York City, NY

The Day I Was There

Led Zeppelin first occurred to me as music phenomenon when I was a senior in high school in 1968. I hung around with a group of friends and we were passionate about rock music. We would meet in the cafeteria before school and at lunch to discuss who we were listening to on WNEW-FM radio. We devoured Rolling Stone magazine cover to cover.

A member of our discussion group had friends in England. They had told him about Led Zeppelin. He raved about this new supergroup which was creating a stir across the pond in the fall of 1968. Led Zeppelin did not release their earth-shattering album Led Zeppelin until January 1969. It was everything I had heard about and more. I took that album with me everywhere. I played it relentlessly on my hi-fi system and in art class at school. Lots of people borrowed it from me.

I wanted to see Led Zeppelin live in concert after bonding with their first album. Progressive FM airplay stirred that need even more. On July 3rd, 1969 on the way home from The Fillmore East in the East Village, New York City after a Jethro Tull/Jeff Beck concert I bumped into two friends from high school. We rode the subway from Astor Place to Grand Central Terminal to catch the train back to Connecticut.

They were psyched about having seen Led Zeppelin at The Filmore East a couple of months earlier. I listened intently as they talked about sitting in the balcony with binoculars studying Jimmy Page’s guitar mastery. They watched his hands the entire show as they both played guitar in a band. They were knocked out by his musicianship and urged me to see Led Zeppelin if I ever got the chance. I made a personal commitment to make that happen.

Eight years later that became reality. I purchased tickets at a Ticketron ticketing terminal to see Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Led Zeppelin had booked a six-night engagement at this famous venue, June 7, 8, 10, 11, 13 & 14 ,1977. I scored tickets for Saturday evening June 11th.

I recall that my sister-in-law drove us from Norwalk Connecticut in her Volvo. Travelling by car to the Garden added to the excitement of the evening. There is a thrill in witnessing the streets and atmosphere of New York City at night. The lights, the people, and the stores. We parked at The Garden and joined our fellow Zep freaks as we headed into the venue.

I was handed this pin by a Garden employee. I refer to it often in my pin collection. WPLJ-FM 95.5 was one of two major FM rock stations in New York City in the mid 70s.

Our seats were fantastic for $10.50 each. We sat on the left side of the band as they faced out into the audience. We had a great view of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Bonham. John Paul Jones was tucked behind Bonham so we couldn’t see him as well.

Led Zeppelin proved to be everything I knew and felt about them in concert. My visual recollection of their performance centers around a couple of songs in their 21-song set list.

Set List:

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, Heartbreaker.

I remember being tired that night and starting to drift off to sleep in my seat (I know who falls asleep at a Led Zeppelin concert?). They had played several acoustic numbers seated at the front of the stage. I snapped awake after Black Mountainside as I witnessed Jimmy Page kicking a three-legged stool as it slid fast behind him under Bonham’s drum kit. He grabbed his double neck guitar launching us into “Kashmir”. It was a powerful moment that swept me along for the ride. Ever since then “Kashmir” has been my favorite Led Zeppelin tune.

“Kashmir” was followed by the greatest drum solo I ever saw. John Bonham played “Moby Dick” with drum sticks, his hands, and the Gong. I have seen a lot of great drummers in my 49 years of live concerts. But no one has impressed me or reached me with their drumming skills like John Bonham. I realized after he passed away why Led Zeppelin did not want to reform without him as Bonzo was integral to their sonic experience.

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The evening ended with the encore of “Stairway to Heaven” which is the classic Led Zeppelin hit.  Hearing Robert Plant’s voice echo across the sea of people in Madison Square Garden as the huge disco ball cast its light on us was breathtaking to witness. His hair was golden as was the memory.

I’m always reminded of this concert when I see this rock t-shirt being worn. It’s a shirt I must add to my rock t-shirt wardrobe.

Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin

John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant convened 50 years ago last week in Olympic Studios in London to commence recording their debut album as Led Zeppelin. They have a new book coming out next week that documents the history of the legendary band.

The book Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin is a definitive 400-page volume which includes previously unpublished photos, artwork from the Led Zeppelin archives and contributions from photographers around the world.

If ordered before October 9th, an exclusive 19.7 x 27.8in poster (pictured below) will come with your pre-order from reelartpress.com or from selected independent retailers. To see the list of participating stores, click here.

LZ Final poster approved B2b_0 The Reel Art Press video should increase your excitement for this unique music book.

Jimi Hendrix – The Day I Was There

As a veteran of over 415 concerts in 49 years, one of my regrets is that I never saw Jimi Hendrix live in concert. Alas, that was not meant to happen.

I will soon have an opportunity to read about the personal memories of 400 eyewitness accounts of seeing Jimi live. Richard M. Houghton has a new book coming out on the 48th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death, September 18, 2018, Jimi Hendrix, The Day I Was There.

I love the use of color that illustrates the book cover.

Richard M. Houghton is a music journalist/archivist. He has forged an interesting niche by writing a series of books from a rock music fan’s point of view. His, I Was There theme is a smart and welcome idea. The Jimi Hendrix book is the fifth I Was There title in the series.

He has written I Was There books about The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Pink Floyd.

He is working on several more I  Was There books for 2019 and beyond. Upcoming projects are fan memories of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath (2019), the Faces, Cream and Neil Young.  I have some memories to share with Richard for those titles.

If there’s anyone else you’re passionate reading about, he’ d love to hear from you. Drop him a line at iwasatthatgig@gmail.com

I will be corresponding with Richard very soon 🙂

Pono Review – Stereophile April 2015

I have waited for a reputable audio publication to offer an in-depth review of the Pono Music Player.

Hopefully you haven’t insulted your intelligence by placing any value in David Pogue’s Yahoo Tech hackneyed test of the Pono Music Player. (C’mon David you are head of Yahoo Tech and you don’t have a state of the art audio testing lab? Shame on you and Yahoo. Really Mr. Pogue, you were a former professional musician and Chicago’s Saturday in the Park is the high-resolution audio file to test Pono. Let’s not be L7.)

People who are seriously considering purchasing a Pono Music Player should read John Atkinson’s article, “Pono Pono Player” from the Stereophile magazine April 2015 issue.

What you will appreciate is the depth of Atkinson’s testing analysis and subsequent findings. He shares with the reader what he learned as a result of listening intently. I especially liked his interpretation of Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway To Heaven“. He has compelled me to buy Led Zeppelin IV Deluxe Edition.

Being a Pono Music Player enthusiast I am always interested in learning more about the dynamics of my device. I applaud John Atkinson’s well structured and balanced report.

If I may just quote two lines of his review:

Considered on it’s own merits, the Pono Player is a well-engineered, high-performance, portable player that is equally at home in a conventional high-end audio system, and is offered at a fair, affordable price. In combination with the Pono Music World app, it offers a plug’n’play gateway to high-quality music reproduction.

MOJO 248 / June 2014

The latest issue of MOJO magazine celebrates the power and the glory of Led Zeppelin via a 21-page Zep-fest that features an exclusive interview with Jimmy Page, a countdown of the band’s 50 greatest tracks (Compiled by MOJO and its readers!) and a verdict on the new expanded album remasters.

Kashmir – Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day

I saw Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in 1977. The song I recall the most was “Kashmir” from Physical Graffiti.

 

 

Jimmy Page was sitting on a little stool playing some acoustic Zep when suddenly he kicked the stool out from underneath him and he and Led Zeppelin launched into “Kashmir”. I’ll never forget that moment.

 

Here is “Kashmir” from the movie, Celebration Day.

 

 

 

 

 

Led Zeppelin Cornucopia in 2014

Cover of "Led Zeppelin III"
Cover of Led Zeppelin III

I have waited for Led Zeppelin to deliver newly remastered and previously unreleased material from their vaults. I learned that harvest of music will be spread out over a series of box sets devoted to each of Led Zeppelin’s albums. Those remastered box sets are due out sometime in 2014, according to Jimmy Page who is masterminding this project.

Jimmy Page has been holed up in the studio poring over Zeppelin’s archives, and he recently revealed during an interview with TeamRock Radio (via Blabbermouth) that he’s completed the remastering process, with a twist.

“Each of the albums has been remastered but it also has a companion disc with it,” he explained. “Let’s take, for example, ‘Led Zeppelin III’ — that’s remastered from analog from the original thing. I know everybody does that, but what they don’t do: I revisited all the working mixes that were done at the time.”

“There’s different versions. Say, for example, there’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ — there’s an incredible version of that which is totally different, it’s really raw in its approach, it’s quite dramatic, it’s cool. That’s one little item of it, but what it gives is a companion disc to ‘Led Zeppelin III’. It’ll come out in its own box and all the rest of it. Each disk will give a really intimate picture of the group. That’s the idea that I’ve had with it and I think it’s successful.”

Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/jimmy-page-confirms-upcoming-led-zeppelin-reissues-will-contain-previously-unreleased-material/#3fsc1ASm3FXpI2YV.99