The eponymous album Led Zeppelin was released in the United States on this day in rock history, 50 years ago, January 12th, 1969.
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!
I often think of the days in the late 60s and early 70s I listened to progressive FM music on WNEW-FM 102.7 from New York City. My favorite disk jockey was Scott Muni, Scotsso was his nickname. He often played this song by The Nice, “Little Arabella”.
I went looking for the original studio cut that Scottso would play and found it on YouTube.
There is also a live recording of Little Arabella from The Fillmore East. The best rock palace of all time!
I reached into the recesses of the music of our heart to reconnect with Don McLean and his début recording Tapestry (MediaArts – October 1970). I can recall hearing Don McLean’s Tapestry being played on WNEW-FM by Scott Muni on weekday afternoons in the fall of 1970. I own the MediaArts vinyl LP Scottso would spin on the airwaves.
Tapestry is a treasure chest filled with song gems all penned by Don McLean. The song that exhibits Don McLean’s clairvoyance prognosticating the future is the title track, “Tapestry”. The last two lines sum up where the fate of civilization is today with the greed of oil and gas baron’s (and the consumer) laying ruin to our planet.
Every thread of creation is held in position by still other strands of things living. In an earthly tapestry hung from the skyline of smoldering cities so gray and so vulgar, as not to be satisfied with their own negativity but needing to touch all the living as well.
Every breeze that blows kindly is one crystal breath we exhale on the blue diamond heaven. As gentle to touch as the hands of the healer. As soft as farewells whispered over the coffin. We’re poisoned by venom with each breath we take, from the brown sulfur chimney and the black highway snake.
Every dawn that breaks golden is held in suspension like the yoke of the egg in albumen. Where the birth and the death of unseen generations are interdependent in vast orchestration and painted in colors of tapestry thread. When the dying are born and the living are dead.
Every pulse of your heartbeat is one liquid moment that flows through the veins of your being. Like a river of life flowing on since creation. Approaching the sea with each new generation. You’re now just a stagnant and rancid disgrace that is rapidly drowning the whole human race.
Every fish that swims silent, every bird that flies freely, every doe that steps softly. Every crisp leaf that falls, all the flowers that grow on this colorful tapestry, somehow they know. That if man is allowed to destroy all we need. He will soon have to pay with his life, for his greed.
We saw Don McLean in concert on September 21, 1975 at Stamford Catholic High School. I was covering the event as a music reporter for The Entertainer a Fairfield County, Connecticut entertainment weekly newspaper. Don McLean did two shows that night. He was brilliant. My fondest memory of the night was watching him joust with reporters and radio/television station staff at the press conference between shows about “American Pie”. His press agent asked that people refrain from asking questions about American Pie. He said Don McLean was tired of answering that question. But several reporters didn’t heed that request and they really irked Don McLean. He rebuffed them with class and dignity, yet put them in their place. I respected Don McLean too much to make that mistake.
After the press conference Don McLean signed 8×10 black and white photos for us. Don McLean was the first musician autograph I secured in my now extensive music autograph collection. We exchanged some nice pleasantries about his first album, Tapestry which he humbled and honored to discuss.
I’ll never forget that I ended up walking and talking with him on his way back to the stage in the gym from the press conference in the science room. He smiled and began to played the bridge of Tapestry on his guitar for me as we walked together. It was a charismatic feeling to hear him playing that song acoustic, finger picked as it echoed in the hallway. I thanked him for playing that choice, he smiled warmly, shook my hand and said enjoy the show. His second set that night was stronger than the first. He featured music from the LP, Homeless Brother as I learned about the folk singer/protest connection he had with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Continuing with the progressive rock music theme, MusicOfOurHeart turns its focus to the super group, Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
It was Scott Muni‘s radio show Things from England that turned me on to Emerson, Lake and Palmer in November, 1970. When he played “Take A Pebble” from their first album, I was forever convinced.
ELP is a group I have yet to experience live in concert. I saw the Carl Palmer Band perform at Toads Place in New Haven on June 1, 2006 . Carl Palmer was very personable as we spoke with him before and after the show.
Then three+ weeks later, June 24, 2006 I got to witness the Keith Emerson Band at the very same venue. It was ironic their paths did not pass closer. Keith Emerson outdid himself on Moog Synthesizer and keyboards. His concert was a very exciting event.
I then saw Keith Emerson and Greg Lake at the Ridgefield Playhouse on May 8, 2010. It was an intimate evening where both artists performed, answered questions and looked very relaxed. So this is the closest I have been yet to ELP live in concert via these three concerts.
Last I knew Emerson, Lake and Palmer were contemplating a North American Tour but nothing has materialized yet. I have my fingers crossed for a 2012 ELP US tour.
The good news is that the historic Emerson, Lake and Palmer High Voltage Festival headliner concert is now available on DVD. This extraordinary 40th anniversary reunion concert was held on July 25, 2010 at Victoria Park, in London, England. Here is a taste of that concert from the DVD promo.
I ordered this DVD on amazon today. I’ll let you know how it is later in the week 😉
This morning I received an interesting e-mail from Genesis Publications. They are a limited edition, specialty music book publisher from England that “produce lushly designed rock photo books.” – N.Y. Times
There was a time in my life (1968-1971) where the only two bands that mattered were Jethro Tull and Traffic. I was a fervent fan of these two English music groups. I went to their live concerts at the Fillmore East and the Capitol Theatre in Portchester, N.Y.
I even bought an exact replica of the stars shirt that Steve Winwood is wearing on stage in this photograph. It caught him by surprise that I was wearing that same shirt in the audience (7th row center) on the evening that this set list was based upon. Notice that Scott Muni introduces Traffic that night 😉 (A correction to the dates of these recorded June shows, they were June 26 & June 27 ,1971, I know I have the ticket stubs to prove it!)
Traffic was a special group with a magical mix of musicians. I learned about Traffic by listening to the radio show, Things From England that Scott Muni hosted on WNEW-FM102.7 on Friday afternoons. WNEW-FM, a Metromedia affiliate out of New York City had a major influence on my musical tastes. WNEW-FM’s progressive rock format created an intellectual music platform that we devoutly followed all hours of the day and night.
I am a descendant of a family who has roots in the whaling community known as New Bedford, Massachusetts. My grandmother and father moved from New Bedford, Mass. in the early 20th century to Norwalk, Connecticut (Norwalk had the largest fleet of steam-powered oyster boats in the world). My father’s father moved the family to Norwalk, Connecticut so he could earn a living as a street car conductor for the trolley line.
When I was a junior at Brien McMahon High School, I learned about American novelists in English literature. My favorite novel was Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I need to get a copy of that novel and read it again. I loved the whaling story, the symbolism of the great white whale, Captain Ahab and Queequeg the tattooed harpoonist.
A couple of years later (January 1971) the hard rock band, Mountain, released their second studio album, Nantucket Sleighride. I can still recall Scott Muni a true visionary disk jockey on WNEW-FM 102.7 priemering this thematic recording on his afternoon show. It was a powerful rock album that told a seafaring story.
Nantucket Sleighride is my favorite Mountain album. There are many gem tracks to savor on this recording. Below is a copy of the CD cover of Nantucket Sleighride that Leslie West and Corky Laing signed for me after their thirtieth anniversary concert at the Ridgefield Playhouse, in Ridgefield, Ct.
I’ve always felt that Nantucket Sleighride was Felix Pappalardi‘s finest production and musical contribution( Pappalardi played bass, rhythm guitar, piano, vocals on the recording). Granted Pappalardi played a major role in shaping the sound that Cream established as a blues rock super group in his production on Disreali Gears and Wheels of Fire.
I drift back to the time when we listened perpetually to FM radio, in particular Metromedia affiliate WNEW-FM 102.7 out of New York City. The year was 1973, Rosemary and I were newly married and living in an apartment in South Norwalk, Ct. We were very in league with the NEW-FM disk jockeys such as Dave Herman in the morning and Scott Muni (Scottso) in the afternoon. It was Dave Herman who turned us on to Garland Jeffreys and his anthem-like song, “Wild in the Streets”. Garland’s 45 r.p.m record got a lot of airplay on the station that year, deservedly so 😉
Rolling ahead to 1977, Garland Jeffreys recorded and released Ghost Writer on A&M Records. I used to go on record buying binges to J&R Music World and other record haunts throughout NY City, sometimes buying 10-12 albums at a clip. I recall purchasing Ghost Writer in the Village and playing it extensively on my Sunday morning radio show on WVOF-FM 88.5 at Fairfield University. I would lean strongly on “35 Millimeter Dreams”, “Lift Me Up” and “Why-O” in my playlists. I was just going through my vinyl collection recently, thinking the next time I see Garland Jeffreys I’ll ask him to sign Ghost Writer for me so I can frame it for my home office 😉
Rolling forward to October 9, 2010, we saw Garland Jeffreys perform live as part of Happy Birthday John, An Informal Celebration of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday in NY City. Here is the video clip of his poetic reading of “Help”, which was very moving to witness.
I was very honored to have a chance to talk to Garland Jeffreys on the steps of the Society for Ethical Culture before the show and again after the concert at the after party at Gibson Studios. I loved his sincerity and the sense of excitement I felt about his career revival.
I’m making a solemn pledge to spend quality listening time with Garland’s music and his official video channel on YouTube. I want to become more in harmony with Garland’s music in anticipation of his new recording (which is in production). He’s stepping up his touring schedule as a result and we hope to catch him live again real soon. 🙂