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Dec. 30, 1968: Earliest Known Led Zeppelin Recording Unearthed ‎


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Rock historians credit this very period in time as the birth of ‘heavy metal’. This was only Zeppelin’s fifth show performed in America. They were the opening band for psychedelic rockers VANILLA FUDGE at Gonzaga University’s gymnasium in Spokane, Washington on Dec. 30, 1968. The song that helped to start it all… “Dazed and Confused”.

Just exactly how unknown was the opening band for Vanilla Fudge on this night? Well, the ads in both local news papers promoting the event read: “The Vanilla Fudge with Len Zefflin.”

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As the story goes, an ad copywriter misheard the name and thought it was some person named “Len Zefflin.”

‘Len’ would turn out to be Led Zeppelin, one of the most popular and influential musical acts of all time. Many mistake Black Sabbath as the creators of ‘heavy metal’, for they fail to realize at this time, Sabbath was influenced by the likes of Zeppelin… not the other way around.

Vocalist Robert Plant introduced the classic song to the crowd that night: “This is off an album that comes out in about three weeks time on the Atlantic label. It’s called ‘Led Zeppelin.’ This is a tune … called ‘Dazed and Confused.’”

Yes, that’s right. Zep’s first album wasn’t even out yet. The album would not land on the charts until February 1969.

There is a violin bow run in “Dazed and Confused” that you will want to listen to over and over. It starts at 4:16 and ends at 4:53. One of the truly great things about Led Zeppelin is that they improvised, and that evidence can be clearly found in this early audio.

More intriguing, this historic recording from their 1968 show at Gonzaga’s Kennedy Pavilion would not have happened if a student hadn’t brought a small tape recorder along.

Here the listener is treated to what is widely considered the moment when psychedelic music died and ‘heavy metal’ was born.

From TheMetalDen

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'Len' would turn out to be Led Zeppelin, one of the most popular and influential musical acts of all time. Many mistake Black Sabbath as the creators of 'heavy metal', for they fail to realize at this time, Sabbath was influenced by the likes of Zeppelin… not the other way around.

Led Zeppelin were very influential in the development of heavy metal, but it Sabbath is considered to be the first metal band. It was Sabbath that pioneered the use of satanic horror and were also the first to almost exclusively tune down their instruments to create a heavier sound. There really wasn't much of an interval in which Led Zeppelin could have influenced Led Zeppelin, as just a few months after the first Zeppelin album came out, Sabbath had already written the song "Black Sabbath," and had decided to persue writing in the direction of horror more.

Edited by Starbreaker
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Yeah, but bootleg recordings of the Gonzaga show have been circulating for years. That article is rather misleading- it's not like Gonzaga is a Holy Grail or anything...finding a recording of a preDecember 30th/68 gig...now that would be a hell of a find! B)

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Must be the internet becoming more accessible.

More people are getting exposed to things they've may never have known to exist.

Quite an interesting cultural phenomenon don't ya think? :o :o

Yes, and unfortunately a phenomenon we're starting to take for granted. Soon there's gonna be a whole fucking generation out there who won't know the joy of going to a record store and buying a new album, with all the packaging, etc, on release day, let alone having to scour flea markets and secondhand record stores for vinyl, cassette or even CD bootlegs. Or setting up snail-mail trades with other collectors. Why bother? They can just download 'em for free, right? :rolleyes: No wonder the goddamn music/record industry is going down the tubes...

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As much as I like Led Zeppelin I would have to disagree with the statement that led zeppelin was the first metal band.

Black Sabbath was the first metal band.

I don't think either are heavy metal but they both influenced it greatly. Take out either one and heavy metal isn't the same.

The 68 Gonzaga gig has been around for a long time. And it's even been on youtube for a couple years.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Yes, and unfortunately a phenomenon we're starting to take for granted. Soon there's gonna be a whole fucking generation out there who won't know the joy of going to a record store and buying a new album, with all the packaging, etc, on release day, let alone having to scour flea markets and secondhand record stores for vinyl, cassette or even CD bootlegs. Or setting up snail-mail trades with other collectors. Why bother? They can just download 'em for free, right? :rolleyes: No wonder the goddamn music/record industry is going down the tubes...

As far as bootlegs go, they should be free and available to anyone who wants them. We all love bootlegs, they're a great way to have a bit of the concert experience in your own home, but the person who taped that show doesn't have the rights to the material performed, so they shouldn't expect a monetary profit from the recording. In any event, boots are a great way to get people interested in the material enough to go out and buy the albums the songs are featured on.

Vinyl went from the dominant medium to obsolete to a niche movement in about 30 years. There are no record stores where I live, rather the big box places where you can go buy CDs. I don't even own a CD player anymore, but I do have a record player. I get my vinyl through Ebay and other online sellers because that's the only avenue available to me. I'd love to go through a secondhand record store to look for vinyl, if there were any around here. That's something I'd enjoy immensely, but as I said....vinyl is a niche thing now, and while some groups release their albums on vinyl as well as CD and digital formats, most don't. If there's no demand, the market won't cater to it.

You just have to roll with the changes or the changes will roll over you. It sucks, but that's how it goes now.

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Yes, and unfortunately a phenomenon we're starting to take for granted. Soon there's gonna be a whole fucking generation out there who won't know the joy of going to a record store and buying a new album, with all the packaging, etc, on release day, let alone having to scour flea markets and secondhand record stores for vinyl, cassette or even CD bootlegs. Or setting up snail-mail trades with other collectors. Why bother? They can just download 'em for free, right? rolleyes.gif No wonder the goddamn music/record industry is going down the tubes...

Or what about the days of waiting in line, many times overnight, at the ONLY outlet that sold concert tickets!

What a party that was! Now the "social" gathering of hardcore concert go-er's waiting in lines, camping in sleeping bags on the sidewalk, sharing wine, and smoking reefer are gone! So are the $5.00 tickets though too. sad.gif

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Y'know, I really miss the Good Old Days, when you could physically view row upon row of Genuine Bootleg Product on market stalls or at record fairs. £20 for a 2CD, £30 for a 3CD - very reasonable, wasn't it? And I'll never forget my joy when I got these priceless artefacts home, stuck 'em in the player and found that they'd been recorded UNDER the arena, at the wrong speed, by a couple of stoned, chattering mice inside a biscuit tin.

Those were the days!

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Y'know, I really miss the Good Old Days, when you could physically view row upon row of Genuine Bootleg Product on market stalls or at record fairs. £20 for a 2CD, £30 for a 3CD - very reasonable, wasn't it? And I'll never forget my joy when I got these priceless artefacts home, stuck 'em in the player and found that they'd been recorded UNDER the arena, at the wrong speed, by a couple of stoned, chattering mice inside a biscuit tin.

Those were the days!

laugh.gif

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God, Robert's voice was so amazing in the early days. Not that he was terrible later on but you can even hear from this cruddy recording that his voice was on a different level than in TSRTS.

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God, Robert's voice was so amazing in the early days. Not that he was terrible later on but you can even hear from this cruddy recording that his voice was on a different level than in TSRTS.

It certainly was. The subject of his voice has been done to death but IMHO, there hasn't been a rock singer since who even comes close to touching him circa 69-71.

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Don't forget Mr Ian Gillan smile.gif

A great singer Conney but nobody had the range that Robert Plant had. It wasn't just about hitting the high notes and Black Country screams.

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Gonzaga has been around for many many years.

Zeppelin may not hold the title as '1st metal band' or whatever, but they certainly had a lot to do with it, The combination of Zep, Sabbath & Purple consists of the metal roots for sure. That is what it is.

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  • 9 months later...

It wasn't just one band that facilitated the rise of heavy metal as a genre. All the major players in that have already been mentioned. In my opinion hard rock/heavy metal in general wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for both Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. I don't consider either a metal band per se. Black Sabbath is more like a proto-metal band, and Zeppelin made it ok for Middle America to listen to heavy music. The line from today's metal to their faint beginnings can be traced further till you reach Leadbelly, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. And neither of those is heavy metal, but metal probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for them. Same thing with Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, metal as we know it wouldn't exist.

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It wasn't just one band that facilitated the rise of heavy metal as a genre.

I agree and the same thing goes for any genre. Not sure if they've been mentioned but Blue Cheer is often cited as one of the first hard rock bands and the term itself was first used in "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf. Both "hard rock" and "heavy metal" mean different things to different people so it's hard to arrive at a meaning that everyone can agree on. Same thing for "rock n' roll" itself. Some even like to split hairs over "rock" vs. "rock n' roll" but to paraphrase Billy Joel, they're all the same to me.

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