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Kubrick didn’t fake the moon landing, but Led Zeppelin DID fake playing Madison Square Garden, 1973
11.21.2014
05:36 pm

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Movies
Music

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Led Zeppelin



Japanese poster for ‘The Song Remains the Same,’ 1976
 
True or false: The performances from The Song Remains the Same, the concert film that supposedly documents Led Zeppelin’s 1973 Madison Square Garden shows weren’t actually filmed at Madison Square Garden?

Mostly true!

It’s not exactly a secret but it’s neither something that seems to be widely known by the general public, or even most Led Zeppelin fans for that matter. Now I’m not trying to imply here that Led Zeppelin didn’t even play Madison Square Garden for three nights in late July of 1973, because of course they did and The Song Remains the Same‘s original director, Joe Massot (Wonderwall) was there with a camera crew trained on them when they did. This much is not being disputed.

The problem was, as the group and their manager Peter Grant found out only after they’d fired Massot from the project, is that he’d gotten inadequate—practically unusable—coverage that wouldn’t sync properly or cut. Some great shots but nothing that could be used to create an edited sequence.

Grant brought in Aussie director Peter Clifton, the guy they probably should have hired in the first place, to see what could made from this mess, but the initial prognosis looked pretty grim until Clifton suggested reshooting the entire running order of the Madison Square Garden show on Madison Square Garden’s stage… recreated at Shepperton Studios in England!

Everyone assumes they’re watching the group at MSG, but in reality what we are watching (for the most part) is Led Zeppelin rocking out on a soundstage in Surrey, southeast of London. Without an audience.
 

 
On a playback screen, the band could watch themselves in the earlier footage—keeping their movements and positions in roughly the same general areas—and play along to the MSG soundtrack. So what we mostly see in the finished film are Clifton’s close-ups and medium distance footage of the band members shot at Shepperton, but intercut with Massot’s footage of the trappings of MSG, wide shots, shots framed from behind the band towards the audience and so forth.

Once you know all this, it’s screamingly obvious what was shot where.

Complicating matters for Clifton, John Paul Jones had recently cut his hair short (he’s wearing a wig in the Shepperton footage) and Robert Plant’s teeth had been fixed since the New York City shows the year before.

Jimmy Page spilled the beans in the May 2008 issue of Uncut Magazine,

“I’m sort of miming at Shepperton to what I’d played at Madison Square Garden, but of course, although I’ve got a rough approximation of what I was playing from night to night, it’s not exact. So the film that came out in the ‘70s is a bit warts-and-all.”

This little known behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Song Remains the Same is barely touched upon in some of the major books about Led Zeppelin—but in Chris Welch’s 2001 biography Peter Grant: The Man who Led Zeppelin, the story is told in greater detail, finishing thusly:

As far as Grant and Zeppelin were concerned, the movie song had ended. But they left behind smouldering resentments among the filmmakers and a few puzzles for movie buffs. Says Peter Clifton: “If you look at the credits they wrote something very interesting. ‘Musical performances were presented live at Madison Square Garden.’ It was somewhat ambiguous because the film was obviously done somewhere else!”

When he was asked about the provenance of the ‘live’ shots of Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden, Peter Grant did admit that they had indeed shot some material at Shepperton studios, recreating the same stage set while the band donned the same clothes they wore at the actual gig. “Yes, we did,” he said. “But we didn’t shout about the fact.”

See for yourself:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
In My Time of Buying: Pricey Led Zeppelin scarves designed by Paul Smith
10.23.2014
06:06 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Paul Smith

dddldzepsmith.jpg
 
In the 1970s nearly every glam rock band or teeny-bopper pop star had a tacky range of merchandise for sale that usually included a white silk scarf with the name of the band emblazoned on it, such as “Slade” or “David Cassidy” or “The Osmonds,” “Sweet” or the “Bay City Rollers” which fans would hold aloft with religious devotion during concerts. Now this idea of a fan scarf has been taken one step further in an unusual collaboration between Led Zeppelin and British fashion designer Paul Smith.

The talented Mr. Smith has produced a series of six “exceptional limited edition” scarves to coincide with the release of Led Zeppelin’s nine remastered albums. Six scarves are now available: five depicting the covers to the first five Led Zeppelin albums, and a sixth featuring the band.

The design of the artwork for the first three releases – “Led Zeppelin”, “Led Zeppelin II” and “Led Zeppelin III” – has been reinterpreted on three different scarves each measuring 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres. Translating the intricacy of the renowned imagery onto fabric proved a challenging task but, by taking a different approach to each scarf, Paul Smith has come up with three truly unique items.

A photographic weaving technique has been employed for the largely monochromatic “Led Zeppelin”, with the red detail being added using a fine fil coupe yarn. The eight colours of the “Led Zeppelin II” artwork demanded an alternative approach and four different quality yarns were combined to reflect the richness of the colourful design. The psychedelia of “Led Zeppelin III” is depicted with a combination of boucle and merino wool to exquisite effect.

(The spinning volvolle from inside the Led Zeppelin III album cover probably would have made for the best textile design, but what do I know?)
 
gggledzpsmithggg.jpg
 
bbb3lzpsmith.jpg
 
Further designs for Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy, which “have been jacquard woven onto two further scarves and a brand new spectacular design has been created for the sixth scarf,” are also available.

The scarves come in limited editions of 50, and cost $665 (£395) each, which is slightly over the current exchange rate of $632.

You’d have to be as rich as Jimmy Page is to afford these things! I suppose once these babies sell out the next stage may be a cheaper mass produced version for the less well heeled Zeppelin fan? No?

Who would have thunk that the lowly fan scarf would one day become an expensive high fashion statement?

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Man of 10,000 Sound Effects’ Michael Winslow sings Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’
09.18.2014
09:56 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Michael Winslow


 
I posted this video of Michael Winslow on Norway’s TV show Senkveld med Thomas og Harald (“Late Night with Thomas and Harold”) singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” back in 2011. For whatever reason the video is starting to make the rounds again on the Internet today and I thought it was time for a revisit here, too. It’s that good! 

If you’ve never seen this one before, it’s pretty incredible to watch what Winslow can do with his voice. Known as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects,” I’d say he pretty much nails it.

 
via Open Culture

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The director of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ returns with ‘Led Zeppelin Played Here’
08.14.2014
08:45 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Jeff Krulik


 
I’m sure that many—if not most—of our good-looking, high IQ readers have seen quirky documentarian Jeff Krulik’s underground classic “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” a short movie shot outside a Judas Priest concert in Landover, Maryland that exchanged hands on VHS tapes in the 80s and 90s. Krulik made a sequel with some Neil Diamond fans in that very same parking lot in 1996 and went on the road with McHale’s Navy actor Ernest Borgnine in his customized RV in 1997’s Ernest Borgnine On the Bus. His Heavy Metal Picnic came out in 2010 and now Jeff Krulik returns with a fun new film about a Maryland youth center where Led Zeppelin maybe… might have…. supposedly… (definitely!) performed on their first US tour.

From the director’s statement:

I recently finished a feature documentary called Led Zeppelin Played Here, which is my effort to prove that Led Zeppelin’s first DC area concert was in a youth center gymnasium in front of 50 confused teenagers on a snowy Monday night in January 1969. This whole project came about as I was set to do a film called “Maryland’s Woodstock,” about the Laurel Pop Festival which took place in July 1969, one month before the Woodstock. I wanted to highlight that there was this forgotten pop festival in our area, and basically tell the story of that two day concert, featuring Led Zeppelin headlining one night.

But I soon found a story arc as I connected the dots of Led Zeppelin’s performances: in May, they shared a bill as opening band for The Who at Merriweather Post. And in February they were on an opening slot with Vanilla Fudge at the Baltimore Civic Center. But the real curiosity was their first local concert which was said to have taken place on January 20, 1969 at the Wheaton Youth Center, a non-descript multi-purpose room and gymnasium in a Maryland suburb. And it happened to be the night of Richard Nixon’s Inauguration. And the weather was terrible. And 50 people were there, tops.

But surely this must be an urban legend. Or is it?

What I loved about Krulik’s charming, low key film is that the whole mystery of this did-it-or-did-it-not occur spur of the moment Led Zeppelin show is something that he uncovered while making a film about something else entirely. The Rashomon-like onscreen narrative becomes quite intriguing as the viewer goes along with the filmmaker on his fact finding mission, Krulik serving as a dogged rock snob gumshoe on the trail of this elusive and either legendary—or apocryphal—Led Zeppelin show. In the end, we’re left to decide for ourselves if this concert actually took place or not, his Columbo with a MOJO subscription sleuthing having provided no definitive answers.

I think it did happen, but… but then again I wasn’t there. Like an a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma that had no surviving posters, handbills or even a single photograph (let along a bootleg tape) ultimately we will probably never know if Led Zeppelin played at the Wheaton Youth Center on January 20th, 1969. They only people who know the truth were there, and even some of them aren’t sure.

Led Zeppelin Played Here screens tonight at Cinefamily in Los Angeles as part of the annual Don’t Knock the Rock film festival. Jeff Krulik will be there in person — plus there will be a Q&A moderated by Michael Des Barres of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. Get tickets here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Christian televangelists listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ *forwards* hilarity ensues!
07.30.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Hysteria
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
SATAN


 
Oh, this is too funny. Evil genius YouTuber Clemtinite took old footage from the Trinity Broadcasting Network with televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—the Christian duo are trying to find satanic messages by playing the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” in reverse—and then reversed the whole video. “Turn me on dead, man!”

The longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.

 
via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Residents covered Led Zeppelin in 1971!
06.30.2014
01:49 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
The Residents


 
Although I suppose it’s better than being haunted by something by Cher, Kylie or Justin Bieber, I have to admit that I’m getting really sick of hearing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” wherever I turn. In restaurants. At supermarkets. The gas station. At Trader Joe’s. The airport. At red lights being pumped out of someone else’s car… You can’t escape. I know those new Led Zeppelin remasters are out, but it’s not like this song was exactly scarce before that!

Yikes, I need some mental floss… wait, I know…

Long before they covered The Beatles, Cannibal & the Headhunters, James Brown, Elvis, George Gershwin or Hank Williams, in 1971, the Residents rudely took on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” (rechristened “Holelottadick” and letting the intention of Robert Plant’s lyrics really hang out there) on their unreleased (but widely bootlegged) Baby Sex album.

Baby Sex was once broadcast in its entirety on Oregon radio station KBOO-FM during their “Residents Radio Festival” in 1977. The album’s second side is an astonishing studio collage piece titled “Hallowed Be Thy Wean” which includes a live recording of The Residents at San Francisco’s Boarding House in October 1971 with Snakefinger, the first time that “The Residents” moniker was employed by the group.

Baby Sex also features a ripping cover of Frank Zappa’s “King Kong,” that could almost be the Mothers of Invention themselves playing. The Residents’ direct musical and sonic debt to Zappa (and Pink Floyd’s “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict,” for that matter, “sampled” at length in “Hallowed…”) becomes much more obvious after you’ve given Baby Sex a listen. (Original Mother Don Preston would later collaborate with The Residents on their epic Eskimo album).

Elsewhere on the album, the cryptic ones “steal this riff” from Tim Buckley’s “Down By The Borderline” (from Buckley’s Starsailor album, which was probably not so coincidentally released by Zappa’s Straight Records) and manage to sound like a geeky version of Santana!
 

 

The Residents live at The Boarding House in San Francisco, October, 1971

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Led Zeppelin: Their very first time on TV, 1969
05.01.2014
05:48 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Led Zeppelin

Lzsca69
 
There’s only so much hyperbole one can use when describing music (“rip-snorting,” “mind-blowing,” “tearing-up the house”) before the reader becomes inured and thinks, “Yeah, well, okay…” and moves on to something with more nouns and verbs and fewer adjectives (or just plays the music). However, this early Led Zeppelin concert recorded for Danish TV just six months after their first gig (where they were billed as “The Yardbirds”) deserves every hyperbolic phrase going, as it gives a powerful intimation of why Zeppelin were set to become the greatest live band of the 1970s.

Recorded at the Gladsaxe Teen Club, Denmark, for TV Byen/Danmarks Radio on March 17, 1969, Led Zeppelin perform “Communication Breakdown,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” and “How Many More Times.” Impressive and tight, it is a cracking showcase.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The worst, most bass slappinest Christian cover version of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ EVER
03.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Belief
Kooks

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Christianity


 
A “Stairway to Heaven” double-header over at Christian Nightmares this morning. First up is Bold for Jesus, a former rocker who is now a “radical” Christian YouTuber. I think his definition of radical can be gleaned from his “Christian yelling” videos, such as this one, where he shouts stuff at cars for 16 minutes in front of a Toyota dealership.

Here’s his own description of what ye of little faith are about to receive:

I have not played the real Stairway To Heaven song since 1981. You can hear me talk at the end about slamming a pie on top of a teacher’s head. I had fun. I lived a radical rock n’ roll life for 10 years, and now I live radical for Jesus Christ.

Yes, this is the worst, most bass slappinest for Jesus cover of “Stairway to Heaven” that has ever existed. It goes on forever, but it gets funnier and funnier as forever plods goofily along. Then he tells a story about an absolutely hilarious (well hilarious to him) high school pie throwing incident.
 

 
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, here’s Paul Crouch Jr, the son of televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—as you can see the nut didn’t fall very far from THAT particular tree—exposing the Satanic messages that are revealed in “Stairway to Heaven” when the song is played backwards back in 1996. Does Bold for Jesus know about this???
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Shine On You Shitty Diamond: Worst Pink Floyd cover band. Ever.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Worst Led Zeppelin cover of all time? Disco duo Blonde on Blonde cover ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ 1979
01.24.2014
09:49 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Disco
Blonde On Blonde

Blonde on Blonde
 
Comprised of two “Page 3 Girls”—women who’ve achieved the prestigious honor of appearing topless in the British tabloid, The Sun, Blonde on Blonde was the sort of act that made more sense in an environment with a lot of cocaine. I suggest you brace yourself for the actual song—the ladies are a bit more photogenic than they are musical, though the vacant stage presence kind of distracts from their disco hotness.

And if you’re under the impression that I might be slighting two very serious female singers with an unshakable artistic bond, rest assured that I am not. The line-up changed pretty frequently, only consistently maintaining Nina Carter, so apparently the other blondes in Blonde on Blonde were considered interchangeable.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page: Led Zeppelin’s guitar maestro turns 70
01.09.2014
10:54 am

Topics:

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin


 
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page turned 70 today. Looking at recent pictures of the man, it seems within the realm of occult possibility that the maestro made a Faustian bargain to retain his good looks into his old age (Actually considering the amount of debauched mileage Page’s body has been put through over the decades, Dorian Gray is perhaps a more appropriate fictional name to evoke.)

Look at that unlined face. For a guy his age, he looks great, but for a guy his age who lived through the excess of Led Zeppelin, it’s doubly impressive. Look at Keith Richards for contrast. In the footage shot at the O2 Arena Led Zeppelin reunion in 2007 (and later released as the incredible Celebration Day), Page was every bit the guitar-wielding marauder of his younger days.
 

 
I had the great pleasure of meeting Jimmy Page once. He’s a very elegant dude, and very friendly, putting me immediately at ease with the information that both his wife and a friend had gifted him with my Book of Lies occult anthology for Christmas that year. I’m not going to pretend like that wasn’t a thrill… because it was.

The unused Jimmy Page score for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising:

 
“Train Kept A Rollin’” with The Yardbirds.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Night Flight: Inside Led Zeppelin’s private jet, 1973
12.22.2013
03:38 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin


 

Led Zeppelin used to park themselves in big city hotels (New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas) and then fly in and out of the smaller cities and back that same night, ferried to and fro between hotels, airports and concert halls via a squadron of limousines.

“The Starship,” as the former United Airlines Boeing 720 passenger jet was re-dubbed by its owners (Ward Sylvester and pop singer Bobby Sherman) had been modified at the cost of nearly a quarter of a million dollars, with the intention of renting it out to touring super-groups. Swivel chairs, a bar, and a 3/4” Sony U-matic videocassette player and TV were installed (The plane’s library contained films ranging from Deep Throat to the Marx Brothers), and a bedroom, for “privacy” was built into the back of the plane. Shag carpeting, champagne, the Starship had it all, even President Nixon’s Air Force One didn’t compare. There were two stewardesses on the plane and it cost $2500 an hour to run.

John Bonham was once rumored to have flown the jet from Los Angeles to New York. Legend also has it that he once drunkenly tried to open the jet’s hatch to take a pee while the plane was flying over Kansas City…

Having your own private jet these days, no big deal. Back in 1973, only demi-gods owned them…
 

Page and Plant on-board.
 

A fireplace?
 

Robert Plant and groupie Audrey Hamilton, the inspiration for “Hot Dog.”
 

Robert Plant and Zeppelin’s tour manager, Richard Cole, enjoy a quiet moment in the Starship’s master bedroom.
 

Jimmy Page chatting with one of the stewardesses.
 

John Paul Jones plays the Hammond organ built into the bar, as Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun looks on.
 

Audrey Hamilton, this time with Jimmy Page. Apparently John Paul Jones loathed her.
 

The Starship’s exterior.
 
Footage shot inside Led Zeppelin’s Starship…  

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Robert Plant is still embarrassed about his ‘Does anybody remember laughter?’ ad-lib
11.23.2013
02:38 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin


 
Is there any song more synonymous with “classic rock” than “Stairway to Heaven”? Damn few. The eight-minute acoustic-to-electric meditation on bustles and hedgerows, among other things, has become the 800-pound gorilla of the classic rock song repertoire. More than any other, it’s the one song that evokes the phrase “album-oriented radio,” and it’s the one song that, at least according to Wayne’s World, guitar store owners have banned because every would-be Jimmy Page just has to have a crack at it. It’s the great rock-and-roll albatross, the song nobody can stand and yet frequently tops the surveys of the greatest rock song ever recorded.

In the 1976 concert movie The Song Remains the Same, recorded over three gigs at Madison Square Garden, after the line “and the forests will echo with laughter….” Plant exuberantly engages in a bit of unrehearsed crowd work, crying, “Does anybody remember laughter??”

For anyone who’s seen the movie, the phrase can function as an automatic killer laugh line when the conversation hits an unexpected lull or needs that extra bit of non-sequitur levity—it communicates that you know your rock and roll history but also that you can deflate a bit of rock and roll grandiosity. Even when the listener doesn’t get the exact reference, somehow Robert Plant or someone like him is evoked, in all of his 1970s bombasity and idealism and excess.

Apparently Plant himself cringes every time he hears it.

In Mick Wall’s When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin, the following story is told:
 

Planning was meticulous, with all the remixing of the new DVD and CD of The Song Remains the Same and track sequencing and artwork for Mothership completed by May [2007]. Unlike the DVD and How the West Was Won package of 2003, where Page was in charge of every aspect of production, this time Plant took the helm. Kevin Shirley, the talented young South African producer who had worked with Jimmy on DVD and How the West Was Won and now found himself working with Robert on the re-jigged The Song Remains the Same, recalls how “Jimmy wasn’t that bothered this time around it seemed but Robert was really insistent on being there with me. When we came to that bit on ‘Stairway to Heaven’ when he ad-libs, ‘Does anyone remember laughter?’ he winced and asked if we could delete it. I said, ‘No, you can’t erase that, it’s what people remember, part of history!’ So he very reluctantly allowed me to keep it in. There were a couple of other smaller ad-libs that I did take out for him here and there—a few of the baby, baby, babys—just to keep him happy.”

Thus we see the high price of being a rock and roll icon—people will love and fondly remember even the stupid things you say…...
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hail Satan: Man sings ‘Stairway to Heaven’ backwards
11.21.2013
10:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
Stairway to Heaven


 
Well if this isn’t some freaky Black Lodge speak, then I don’t know what is. According to what I could find online, Dutch artist Jeroen Offerman spent three months learning how to sing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” backwards. He then filmed himself singing the ditty backwards and reversed the footage (at least that’s what I think is going on here). The whole thing is… really something.

On some level this has to be a riff on the whole “backmasking” rumor that has dogged the song for years when alarmed Christians played the record backwards and discovered certain apparently “demonic” messages could be made out:

“Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He’ll give those with him 666, there was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan…”

I applaud Jeroen’s commitment.
 

 
With thanks to WFMU

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page on the art of songwriting, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
09.19.2013
11:37 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin


 
The following is an exclusive extract from Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters, a superb new book by Daniel Rachel published this month by Picador. Inspired by Paul Zollo’s seminal Songwriters on Songwriting, Rachel has managed to bring together a truly impressive ensemble of British tunesmiths, including Ray Davies, Jarvis Cocker, Mick Jones, Robin Gibb (why the hell not!) and Johnny Marr, among others. The results are hugely enjoyable, and the mind veritably boggles imagining the kind of cajoling and legwork Rachel must have put in to coax this rich and eclectic ensemble out of their country piles—not least the notoriously taciturn, the notoriously notorious Jimmy Page…
 
Daniel Rachel: Do you have any introductory thoughts about songwriting?

Jimmy Page: I know what my contribution is and I know how that kicks off in the early stages. Coming from the guitarist’s point of view, I’ll start with the music first. That’s the essence of the key ideas and then I’ll work on those. Sometimes I’ve written the lyrics myself. For example, on the first Led Zeppelin album I had a number of things where I had the chorus, like ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ . . . well, that line gets repeated a number of times so there’s not a lot of lyrics in that (laughs). ‘Good Times Bad Times’ I wrote the chorus. I had the music for it and I was writing for this thing that was going to be put together for the band. The whole thing on ‘Good Times Bad Times’ is recognized by John Bonham’s bass drum, isn’t it? Initially I had a sketch for it and then Robert supplied lyrics to the verses. I was very keen on concentrating on the music, and whoever I was going to be working with, for them to be coming up with lyrics. I didn’t think that my lyrics were necessarily good enough. Maybe they were in certain cases, but I preferred that very close working relationship with whoever was singing, whether it be Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers or David Coverdale. The starting point would always be coming from the music, whether I had written that acoustically or electrically.

Daniel Rachel: It’s very noticeable in your music how song structures seem far more classical than pop in their construction.

Jimmy Page: Well, very much so, because I had very much the view that the music could set the scene. One of the things that you’ll see in the Led Zeppelin music is that every song is different to the others. Each one has its own character; musically as much as lyrically. For example, ‘Ten Years Gone’ or ‘The Rain Song’, which has got a whole orchestral piece before the vocal even comes in. So yes, it was crafted in such a way that the music was really of paramount importance to setting the scene and most probably inspired the singer, in this case Robert, to get set into the overall emotion, the ambience of the track of what was being presented, and then hopefully inspire him to the lyrics.

Often we just had working titles. A good example of this and how it would change and mutate was ‘The Song Remains The Same’ leading into ‘The Rain Song’. The original idea I had for that was an overture—as ‘Song Remains The Same’ is—leading into an orchestral part for ‘The Rain Song’. I had a mellotron and I’d worked out an idea—John Paul Jones did it much better than me—coming into the very first verse. If it’d worked that way there wouldn’t have been any vocal until the first verse, you would have had this whole overture of guitars and then into the orchestral thing that opened up into the first verse. But as it was, when we were rehearsing it then it actually became a song; the structure changed, there was another bit put in and then Robert started singing.That wasn’t a bad idea to have an overture, a whole musical segment that took you into ‘The Rain Song’, but it worked out really well as it was (laughs). Whatever it was you were constantly thinking all the time about it.

Daniel Rachel: Writing in movements was a very unusual step to take as a songwriter, considering Led Zeppelin was preceded by predominantly verse, chorus structures to suit the three-minute single format.

Jimmy Page: Although I’ve already said on the first album there were some choruses there, it got to the point where some of the things didn’t have what you’d call the hook. The reason was we weren’t actually writing music that was designed to go on the AM stations in the States at the time. You had FM, that were called the underground stations, and they would be playing whole sides of albums. Well, that’s a dream, isn’t it?—because people are going to get to hear—it’s not necessarily a concept album—the whole body of work that you’re doing on one side of an album and on the other. That was really a nice way to be able to craft the music into that. It was going to go like that anyway, but it was just really useful. The essence of the contents of these albums was going contraflow to everything else that was going on, and again this was intentional. Whereas on Zeppelin II you’ve got ‘Whole Lotta Love’, on Zeppelin III . . . with other bands it’d be something very close or reflective of if they’d got some sort of hit, and we just weren’t doing that. We were summing up the overall mood and where we were on that musical journey at each point in time.

Daniel Rachel: Did you write songs in sections and then join together collated ideas?

I worked very much in that way. I’d be working at home on various ideas and when we were working on something in a group situation I’d think, ‘Oh, I know what I’m going to put in this,’ if you hadn’t already put it together. Some things, I had them really mapped out, and other things—this is as the group goes on—would be on the spot. ‘Ramble On’ and‘What Is And What Should Never Be’: I had those structures complete.

Daniel Rachel: Can you explain how a riff comes to you?

Jimmy Page: A riff will come out of . . . this whole thing of do you practise at home and all that. Well, I play at home and before I knew where I was things would be coming out and that’s those little sections or riffs or whatever. At that stage it’s selection and rejection. It’s whether you continue with something or you go, ‘No that’s too much like something else,’ and then you move into something else. If you’ve got an idea and you think that’s quite interesting then I’d work and build on it at home. ‘Rock And Roll’ was something that came purely out of the ether. We were working on something else and John Bonham happened to play—just as you do sometimes, because we were recording—this intro from ‘Keep A-Knockin’’ from Little Richard and I went, ‘Oh, that’s it!’—I did this chord and half a riff that was in my head – ‘Let’s do this.’ It was really quick to do and we could write like that.

Get yourself a copy of Isle of Noises right here
 

 
Below, Jimmy Page gets his Chopin on at the ARMS Concert:
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Led Zeppelin: Rip-snorting live ‘Communication Breakdown’ w/ great Jimmy Page guitar work, 1969
07.25.2013
12:43 pm

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There’s something almost punky about this frantic romp through “Communication Breakdown,” taped in Denmark on March 17, 1969 for TV-BYEN.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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