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I've been a huge Zeppelin fan, like most of you, for most of my life.  Being the youngest of 4, I heard a lot of it until I became a real listener when  I was a young teen.  When I was in high school, I listened to all the albums that had been released in their time (I was too young to see them when they were active).  I also was a frequent visitor to a flea market that sold bootleg Zeppelin cd's. I believe all of the bootlegs were of live performances.  No studio outtakes or the like.  I remember their being an abundance of stuff from the 'Over Europe' tour from 1980.   In regards to those bootlegs, I just recently heard a fan recording of one of the 1980 shows (as opposed to the soundboard ones) and it was so much better.  I actually have a new appreciation for that tour.  The soundboards just don't have the life in them. 

 But my question to you all is what confuses me about the whole bootleg thing.  I have read of times when Peter Grant and his "people" had run in's with those recording shows, apparently illegally.  We know that he held a tight fist over all Zeppelin business and deeply cared for the boys.  I know there is really no true way to stop such things.  But, you can probably get %70 of all Zeppelin shows in one form of bootleg or another.  Plus studio outtakes etcetc...   I have heard about a break in to Page's house in the 80's that some of this stuff got out from.  But how could, legally, any company put out such lavish sets like the recent release from Vancouver 75?  Isn't that Zeppelin property?  Especially is its stolen and sold ...  From what I have gathered bootlegs vinyl was circulating in the 1970s as well from Blueberry Hill to Destroyer to Listen to this Eddie.

Now, my take on this whole thing is this.  Back in the day, information was not easy to get and Zeppelin wasn't giving any.  Their live shows were well thought of.  Peter Grant know that bootleggers were out there, but looked the other way (with the occasional confrontation to look concerned).  These live shows circulated and spread the legend - free publicity. As time went on, the legend of shows grew.  Remember, we had, until 2003 - only a few legal shows to listen to - The Song Remains the Same and BBC Session.  Then, How the West Won was released.

For many of us, we know all about the band and their will never be any real news again.  But, what keeps me coming back to the band on a almost daily basis is the live stuff that is all over.  Different versions.  Great versions.  Not so great.  Whatever. But, it keeps us all talking and wondering what is next.  Detroit 1977 video?  Does it exist?  What live show is coming down next?  Again, something to look forward to in the future.

If that was Peter Grants plan, it was brilliant.  It costs them some, for sure, but keeps the interest in the band fresh.  Was wondering what peoples thoughts were on this subject.  I often prefer live versions to studio, part because its different, plus some of the improvisation is fantastic.  Also, audience recordings like Listen to this Eddie really give you the atmosphere.  My favorite part is actually non music. Its the first 2 or 3 minutes before the first song when the crowd is getting amped up.  You hear the boys tuning up and feel the crowd getting ready to explode. I can see it in my mind. 

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Peter Grant definitely didn't look the other way. There are several reports, by record shop owners themselves, of him making routine visits to shops and confiscating any bootleg material. It may seem strange that Zep were the most bootlegged band if they were so strict about it, but that's because sometimes there were several tapers at shows and not all of them got caught. 

As for how bootleg labels stay in business without being sued into the ground, I have no clue. Maybe it's because in reality, though the labels make a little money, the bands aren't actually losing any. It's an unofficial product that isn't taking away sales from another product. Also consider that nowadays bootlegs are mostly distributed in the back pages of the internet, and once a label puts out a show it gets spread around pretty fast. So maybe the amount of time and resources it would take to shut down bootlegs (which really aren't popular among the average listeners anyway) doesn't pay off in the end. Again, someone making a small amount of money off you is different than someone preventing you from making money, and bootlegs don't really do that. But what I really don't understand is why a band/label doesn't just confiscate any bootleg, put it through professional remastering, and release it themselves. 

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It should also be noted that a live show probably isn't 100% the bands property. The venue/promoter also has some rights to what gets played in their venues. They are the real victims of bootlegging anyway, since there was no reason to go hear a live show if you can just buy it later. But that issue kind of disappeared with smartphones.

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It made for a nice anecdote or two and added to Led Zeppelin's "heavy aura" (don't mess around with the Zep boys), but frankly, there's no way Peter Grant and Richard Cole could be as diligent about bootleggers in real life without the show suffering.

There are too many tasks and problems involved in running a big concert (not to mention the backstage delights) that would take up Peter Grant's and Richard Cole's attention to allow them the time to bother with scouring a crowd of tens of thousands looking for some anonymous bloke with a hidden recorder. The one story we have all heard about...the poor chap in Vancouver in 1970...only happened because he was a government official doing sound level readings out in the open near the front of the stage.

Peter Grant made a big noise about bootlegs but the band, by and large, winked and looked the other way. Christ, Plant would joke about the tapers in the audience during the actual concert. After every concert, every tour, Zeppelin bootlegs would circulate lickety-split.

Oh sure, some record shop in England might have had their bootleg supply requisitioned but that's because the band lived there and could make the rounds in person. Do you know how many record stores there were in the U.S.? Thousands and thousands...and the Swan Song staff was puny. Do the math. Even if they wanted to, Led Zeppelin simply didn't have the manpower to track down bootlegs in the U.S.

Once the band became huge, worrying about bootlegs was silly and I'm sure the band, or at least Robert, realized that fact. Their record sales and concert sales were not hurt in the slightest. In fact, bootlegs enhanced their mystique and desirability among rock fans.

4 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

It should also be noted that a live show probably isn't 100% the bands property. The venue/promoter also has some rights to what gets played in their venues. They are the real victims of bootlegging anyway, since there was no reason to go hear a live show if you can just buy it later. But that issue kind of disappeared with smartphones.

:hysterical:

You've never been to a concert, have you? That is ludicrous logic. By your rationale, nobody would have went to Live Aid or to David Gilmour at Pompeii or any countless concerts that were known in advance to be filmed and recorded.

A fucking smartphone doesn't capture 1/100 of the concert experience compared to being there.

 

Edited by Strider

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1 hour ago, Strider said:

I

 

A fucking smartphone doesn't capture 1/100 of the concert experience compared to being there.

 

Hey now, I heard that Apple is teaming up with John Waters. They are combining the latest 3D tech with Smell-O-Vision to produce the iPhone11. So now not only will your favorite performer be literally IN YOUR FACE, you will also be able to smell the dank, beer, and puke so familiar at your typical show.

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7 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

What I really don't understand is why a band/label doesn't just confiscate any bootleg, put it through professional remastering, and release it themselves. 

Because most bootleg recordings are not of official commercial release quality, it's expensive, time-consuming and ultimately the demand just isn't there to justify the effort. Additionally, most bands are under the parameters of a commercial recording contract as opposed to having their own side label that can release whatever they wish. 

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5 hours ago, Strider said:

 

:hysterical:

You've never been to a concert, have you? That is ludicrous logic. By your rationale, nobody would have went to Live Aid or to David Gilmour at Pompeii or any countless concerts that were known in advance to be filmed and recorded.

A fucking smartphone doesn't capture 1/100 of the concert experience compared to being there.

 

I actually live in a bubble and have never left my house. Now aside from taking a piss, you know why sports venues block local games from being aired on TV? Because they want to force people to buy tickets to the game and spend a crap load of money on concessions. "Logic" tells me concert venues would want the same thing.

And my point about smartphones is that catching someone taping a show has now become moot considering half the audience is recording with their phones. Sorry I didn't clarify that better.

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I was actually watching a video on YouTube about the bootleg scene in 1971;

 
It interviews shop owners, band members like Pink Floyd but also Peter Grant. Where he talks about the bootleg scene and how it affected Zep. He mentions the famous blueberry hill recording and he says it was a radio broadcast I think. Which it wasn't of course.

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3 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

You know why sports venues block local games from being aired on TV? Because they want to force people to buy tickets to the game and spend a crap load of money on concessions. "Logic" tells me concert venues would want the same thing.

It's professional sports leagues that impose a block of local games from being aired on TV when they fail to sell out, not the venues. 

Anyway, by your logic the most heavily bootlegged bands would ultimately see a decrease in their ticket sales, but of course we know that is simply not the case. Firstly, because there is no substitute for actually being there; watching it unfold on Periscope or after the fact on You Tube pales in comparison. Secondly, because it's normally the most loyal and enthusiastic fans who do bother to properly bootleg the shows or seek out the recordings. A kid in LA in 1977 isn't going to skip the Led Zeppelin gig all his friends are going to on the premise that "Mike's going to record it anyway".      

 

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2 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

Anyway, by your logic the most heavily bootlegged bands would ultimately see a decrease in their ticket sales, but of course we know that is simply not the case. 

I was making a point for the principal of the matter, not for the actual consequence. But I certainly won't argue that bootlegging hurts a band financially. I actually said the opposite. I think losing creative control is probably the biggest reason bands and managers were vehement against boots. We all know Page won't release anything official that has a mistake in it, at least not without heavy editing.

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12 hours ago, johnlennon696 said:

I was actually watching a video on YouTube about the bootleg scene in 1971;

 
It interviews shop owners, band members like Pink Floyd but also Peter Grant. Where he talks about the bootleg scene and how it affected Zep. He mentions the famous blueberry hill recording and he says it was a radio broadcast I think. Which it wasn't of course.

This is awesome!! 1971 was only scratching the surface. . THX for posting this:):)

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 I am interested to see how this topic goes.  I brought this up because my feeling is this -  Peter Grant and the Zeppelin camp have usually made this front that bootleggers were bad and this and that.  When in fact, for us hardcore fans, all we have is the live shows that leak out to either look forward too or look back and compare.  Their our topics on this board like the best live Rain Song.  We can go to you tube and find at least 15 versions not from The Song Remains the Same.  It keeps the flame alive.  My second favorite band (a distant second, mind you) is Van Halen (Roth only).  The idea of news in their camp is Sammy not being told happy birthday when he turned 70.  And their active, supposedly.  But we Zeppelin people are listening to hundreds of shows. And waiting for the mythical ones as well to appear.  I think this is the way the band wanted it.  This will keep them fresh and relavant from now to eternity.  Most of us weren't alive or old enough to see them live.  Yet, those tapes keep us coming back and building the legend.  Plus, they were really good.

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7 hours ago, fwb said:

 I am interested to see how this topic goes.  I brought this up because my feeling is this -  Peter Grant and the Zeppelin camp have usually made this front that bootleggers were bad and this and that.  When in fact, for us hardcore fans, all we have is the live shows that leak out to either look forward too or look back and compare.  Their our topics on this board like the best live Rain Song.  We can go to you tube and find at least 15 versions not from The Song Remains the Same.  It keeps the flame alive.  My second favorite band (a distant second, mind you) is Van Halen (Roth only).  The idea of news in their camp is Sammy not being told happy birthday when he turned 70.  And their active, supposedly.  But we Zeppelin people are listening to hundreds of shows. And waiting for the mythical ones as well to appear.  I think this is the way the band wanted it.  This will keep them fresh and relavant from now to eternity.  Most of us weren't alive or old enough to see them live.  Yet, those tapes keep us coming back and building the legend.  Plus, they were really good.

Think about it from Peter Grant’s point of view at the time. It’s the 70’s, it’s the early days of bootlegging, Led Zeppelin is active and is a “brand” he’s responsible for. Bootlegs are product released under his “brand” without his permission or any quality control. If someone buys a copy in a store, believes it to be an official release and is disappointed it reflects badly on the “brand” reputation.

If I started making baked beans and selling them to local stores as Heinz baked beans I’m sure I’d be served with 57 varieties of law suits!

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, fwb said:

 I am interested to see how this topic goes.  I brought this up because my feeling is this -  Peter Grant and the Zeppelin camp have usually made this front that bootleggers were bad and this and that.  When in fact, for us hardcore fans, all we have is the live shows that leak out to either look forward too or look back and compare.  Their our topics on this board like the best live Rain Song.  We can go to you tube and find at least 15 versions not from The Song Remains the Same.  It keeps the flame alive.  My second favorite band (a distant second, mind you) is Van Halen (Roth only).  The idea of news in their camp is Sammy not being told happy birthday when he turned 70.  And their active, supposedly.  But we Zeppelin people are listening to hundreds of shows. And waiting for the mythical ones as well to appear.  I think this is the way the band wanted it.  This will keep them fresh and relavant from now to eternity.  Most of us weren't alive or old enough to see them live.  Yet, those tapes keep us coming back and building the legend.  Plus, they were really good.

Exactly this. While I understand the fear at the time of bootleggers when it was early stages, now, it is for us harder core fans about keeping that candle burning. 99% of Zeps boots don't infringe on official stuff, it gives us so much to explore and enjoy. If it was not for the boots, who here would be just as rusted on to the mighty Led Zeppelin? Yeah, I'd still be a massive fan, but cmon, 9 studio albums complemented by 4 live releases is very limited. And this applies to Zeppelin probably more than any other band as they were just unmatched live. Not even close.

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17 minutes ago, rm2551 said:

Exactly this. While I understand the fear at the time of bootleggers when it was early stages, now, it is for us harder core fans about keeping that candle burning. 99% of Zeps boots don't infringe on official stuff, it gives us so much to explore and enjoy. If it was not for the boots, who here would be just as rusted on to the mighty Led Zeppelin? Yeah, I'd still be a massive fan, but cmon, 9 studio albums complemented by 4 live releases is very limited. And this applies to Zeppelin probably more than any other band as they were just unmatched live. Not even close.

Hey I love the boots, I have almost 100 of them on vinyl. I just highly doubt Peter Grant winked and looked the other way.

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50 minutes ago, babysquid said:

Hey I love the boots, I have almost 100 of them on vinyl. I just highly doubt Peter Grant winked and looked the other way.

100% agree. Back then, like the interview hints at, it was probably seen as a potential revenue threat. Led Zep were still formative. Now though, and even back in the mid to late 70's, I think a realization that the tapers were helping rather than hindering the band and the exposure, was realized. They were selling out every show. Their reputation live was incredible, and they damn well knew how good they were. As time went on, I think they couldn't care less about the bootleg recordings. Merchandise, yes. Live bootleg albums, not so much.

But that is my completely uninformed opinion. For all I know Grant wanted to hang every one of them damn tapers...

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Why did Grateful Dead allow bootleggers, where they had a whole section dedicated to them.

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So, who was it that stole Jimmy's tapes and when? That is really one hell of a violation both personally and legally and I've always wondered if this person was ever prosecuted for the robbery. I believe there was at least 10 soundboard recordings that were out there long before Page's collection was "stolen" which I presume were circulated by Page? And, I must say, that Jimmy's modis operandi has always been to be quite...uhhh...untruthful. In other words, I rarely believe what he say's. I just think there's a lot more to this story than we know. 

Just my two cents

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I'd be interested to know too. So many different versions of the "nicked tapes" story have circulated that it's hard to piece together an accurate picture. Did it happen mid 80s when he was on tour with the Firm / late 80s / early 90s? A member of the house staff or person who befriended Page & Charlotte with the intention of stealing the tapes? There are several different stories

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10 hours ago, babysquid said:

Hey I love the boots, I have almost 100 of them on vinyl. I just highly doubt Peter Grant winked and looked the other way.

Believe what you want to believe. In all my Led Zeppelin concerts I never saw Grant and Cole wading through the audience with bats in hand looking to smash up a tape recorder. Grant was far more busy making sure there weren't any pirate concessions and merchandise sales going on in the venue.

5 hours ago, BledZabbath said:

Why did Grateful Dead allow bootleggers, where they had a whole section dedicated to them.

Point of clarification. They allowed "tapers" not "bootleggers" per se. The deal was you could tape a Grateful Dead show if you weren't going to sell it; either traded it or seeded a tree. Because they were one of the first bands to realize that fans recording and trading their one of a kind shows (like Zeppelin, the Dead improvised and jammed...every show was different) helped build their aura.

That's why you find a lot of "jam bands" and their ilk allow taping to go on at their concerts. Black Crowes, Phish, moe., DMC, all have taping sections near the soundboard reserved for tapers. Hell, even Robert Plant allowed a taping section on one of his tours...it might have been one of the Page & Plant tours.

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3 hours ago, blindwillie127 said:

So, who was it that stole Jimmy's tapes and when? That is really one hell of a violation both personally and legally and I've always wondered if this person was ever prosecuted for the robbery. I believe there was at least 10 soundboard recordings that were out there long before Page's collection was "stolen" which I presume were circulated by Page? And, I must say, that Jimmy's modis operandi has always been to be quite...uhhh...untruthful. In other words, I rarely believe what he say's. I just think there's a lot more to this story than we know. 

Just my two cents

I think it plausible that Page leaks the tapes himself in lesser quality than the actual masters, that the theft story is nonsense. The mystique needs to be fuelled, the brand kept alive and as Jimbo has nothing better to do, why not. Then I may be talking complete bollox..

Edited by JTM

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Soundboards were recorded by the concert crews, both those employed by the band, like Showco, and also by workers at the venues at which they played.  That's how so many soundboards were available before Page's "house sitters" ripped off his tapes.

I've always suspected someone in the band (looking at YOU Mr. Page!) "leaked" out recordings to keep up interest in the band in the '80's.

As far as the Grateful Dead and taping goes, Jerry Garcia once said something like " Once we're done with it, the audience can have it".

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6 hours ago, blindwillie127 said:

So, who was it that stole Jimmy's tapes and when? That is really one hell of a violation both personally and legally and I've always wondered if this person was ever prosecuted for the robbery. I believe there was at least 10 soundboard recordings that were out there long before Page's collection was "stolen" which I presume were circulated by Page? And, I must say, that Jimmy's modis operandi has always been to be quite...uhhh...untruthful. In other words, I rarely believe what he say's. I just think there's a lot more to this story than we know. 

Just my two cents

Discussed here many times before. A man and a woman entrusted to look after Scarlet, etc. from, circa 1985-1988. The soundboards did not precede the theft and Page did not purposefully circulate them. A collector provided Page copies of most the material that was stolen.

5 hours ago, 76229 said:

I'd be interested to know too. So many different versions of the "nicked tapes" story have circulated that it's hard to piece together an accurate picture. Did it happen mid 80s when he was on tour with the Firm / late 80s / early 90s? A member of the house staff or person who befriended Page & Charlotte with the intention of stealing the tapes? There are several different stories

Discussed here many times before. A man and a woman entrusted to look after Scarlet, etc. from, circa 1985-1988.

3 hours ago, Strider said:

Hell, even Robert Plant allowed a taping section on one of his tours...it might have been one of the Page & Plant tours.

It was the first North American leg of the 1995 Page/Plant tour, in a futile effort to combat bootleggers.

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