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ledzepfilm

43 years ago today - The first time Led Zeppelin played with eachother

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This week is roughly the date of their first jam, where Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham rehearsed on Gerrard Street, in London. By their own account, the chemistry was felt instantly as they blasted through Train Kept a Rollin'.

John Paul Jones: "We first played together in a small room on Gerrard Street, a basement room, which is now Chinatown. There was just wall-to-wall amplifiers, and a space for the door - and that was it. Literally, it was everyone looking at each other - 'what shall we play?' Me doing more sessions, didn't know anything at all. There was an old Yardbirds' number called Train Kept a Rollin'... The whole room just exploded." (1990 interview)

Robert Plant: "I remember the little room, all I can remember it was hot and it sounded good – very exciting and very challenging really, because I could feel that something was happening to myself and to everyone else in the room. It felt like we’d found something that we had to be very careful with because we might lose it, but it was remarkable: the power.” (1990 interview)

Jimmy Page: "At the end, we knew that it was really happening, really electrifying. Exciting is the word. We went from there to start rehearsals for the album.” (1990 interview)

John Bonham: “We had a good play that day and it went quite well. Even the first time we’d played together, there’s a feeling when you’re playing whether it’s going to be any good, and it was good – very good indeed. But at that time I had no idea it would achieve what it has.” (Feb. 1972 interview)

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Was it today or sometime this week?

Plus, the title of your thread is worded a little strangely.

Cheers to Page and the boys for getting together in the first place! :thumbsup:

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Robert Plant claims the first song they played together was a number by Skip Bifferty, not "Train Kept".

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I show their first formal rehearsal was held on Monday, August 12, 1968 at 39 Gerrard Street. I believe fellow researcher Mike Tremaglio found an advert in UK press further substantiating a rehearsal space at that address was being offered to let (rent) at the time and he has already posted it to this forum. A search may reveal it.

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I show their first formal rehearsal was held on Monday, August 12, 1968 at 39 Gerrard Street. I believe fellow researcher Mike Tremaglio found an advert in UK press further substantiating a rehearsal space at that address was being offered to let (rent) at the time and he has already posted it to this forum. A search may reveal it.

As always, many thanks SAJ on your thorough response! :)

Knebby, I hadn't heard that before - so thanks to you for that tidbit of info.

I'll be hoisting a drink in their honor this afternoon, to celebrate the beginning of the greatest musical fusion in history!! :D

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I know, the name of the thread is weird :P

This was the passage from the official LZ site.

I can say that Train was their first song, I think I've read that Jimmy said:

"It's 3 chords. G, A, and B.", or something like that.

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From the thread Steve posted:

All I know about Zeppelin's first rehearsal is that they played "Train-Kept-A-Rollin'" and Jones was the only one that didn't know it so Page told him it was G to A and off they went.

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The first rehearsal could have taken place anytime after Monday, August 5th. I think most 'historians' have settled on August 12th because it was a Monday and it would have given them enough time to convince Bonham to come down to London.

Also, the book "The Story Of A Band And Their Music" (by Keith Shadwick) claims that Bonham came down in early August to meet with the other guys at the Pangbourne house, then returned to Birmingham, THEN came back a couple days later for the Gerrard Street rehearsal. If that's the case, then the Gerrard Street rehearsal could have been several days after the 12th.

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The first rehearsal could have taken place anytime after Monday, August 5th. I think most 'historians' have settled on August 12th because it was a Monday and it would have given them enough time to convince Bonham to come down to London.

Also, the book "The Story Of A Band And Their Music" (by Keith Shadwick) claims that Bonham came down in early August to meet with the other guys at the Pangbourne house, then returned to Birmingham, THEN came back a couple days later for the Gerrard Street rehearsal. If that's the case, then the Gerrard Street rehearsal could have been several days after the 12th.

I have that same book and agree to what it says. It looks like it was a tryout for Bonzo.

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The first rehearsal could have taken place anytime after Monday, August 5th. I think most 'historians' have settled on August 12th because it was a Monday and it would have given them enough time to convince Bonham to come down to London.

Also, the book "The Story Of A Band And Their Music" (by Keith Shadwick) claims that Bonham came down in early August to meet with the other guys at the Pangbourne house, then returned to Birmingham, THEN came back a couple days later for the Gerrard Street rehearsal. If that's the case, then the Gerrard Street rehearsal could have been several days after the 12th.

We know on July 31, 1968 Page and bassist Chris Dreja met John Bonham for the first time and watched him perform with Tim Rose at the Hampstead Country Club. My notes show John failed to appear for a Tim Rose gig in Middlesborough in August (allegedly never formally told Rose he was leaving the group) but I don't have confirmation of the date. Also show he agreed to tour with Chris Farlowe following the end of the UK Tour with Tim Rose.

Wish I had access to my vinyl copy of a Chris Tetley interview with Robert recorded in Spring 1988 for according to my notes during their conversation Robert said two weeks after their (Jimmy & Robert) initial meeting, he (Robert) took a beat-up old suitcase on the train from Birmingham to Pangbourne after being invited by Jimmy to come down for a visit. He said he stayed the night on the houseboat, returning to Birmingham the next day. My notes also show he told Tetley he and Jimmy met with Bonzo in London prior to one of his performances with Tim Rose (this could be and probably is a typo but without access to the album I cannot say for certain).

According to an anecdote in The Lemon Tree fanzine (Dec '94) on August 3, 1968 Robert took the train in from London to ask John Bonham (performing with Tim Rose) if he's interested in joining The New Yardbirds. This event happened at The Factory in Birmingham.

Adverts show Obs-tweedle were to perform at Three Men in A Boat (Walsall) on Sun, August 4, 1968 and on Sat, August 10, 1968 at the

Staffordshire Volunteer (Wolverhampton).

According to my notes the Bonham book A Thunder of Drums claims Page, Plant, Bonham and JPJ convened at Page's houseboat in Pangbourne to meet each other. If so, I submit this may have occured over the weekend leading up to the alleged Monday rehearsal.

Edited by SteveAJones

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Page29.jpg

Page31.jpg

The book states that July 31, 1968 was the date that Bonzo was invited to Jimmy's house. It also makes mention of an Aug 5 press release byPeter Grant on three of the band members. Here are the pages for thoseinterested:

Edited by sixpense

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Robert Plant claims the first song they played together was a number by Skip Bifferty, not "Train Kept".

Very interesting Knebby, never heard this before. Even more so if true.

Great info as usual Steve too about the first meetings etc.

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The book states that July 31, 1968 was the date that Bonzo was invited to Jimmy's house. It also makes mention of an Aug 5 press release byPeter Grant on three of the band members. Here are the pages for thoseinterested:

Thank you for the scans. The book corroborates Page & Dreja having met Bonham at a Tim Rose gig held at the Country Club in Hamstead on 7/31/68. It doesn't specifically state Bonham went to Jimmy's houseboat in Pangbourne on that date and with good reason because that would suggest Bonham did so before Plant and I think everyone can agree that simply isn't true.

I note with interest author's claim Grant issued a press release on August 5th identifying two members of the band, particularly as I show no record of any publication having picked up on it. If anyone out there can clarify or further substantiate this claim please do so. Reproduction of an original press release dated August 5th 1968 would be ideal. Obviously, it was reported in the press Jimmy was intent on forming a new band (he gave a round of interviews in New York in June 1968 affirming this) but I don't show any press confirmation of Jones & Plant being in the band as early as August 5th 1968.

Edited by SteveAJones

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We know on July 31, 1968 Page and bassist Chris Dreja met John Bonham for the first time and watched him perform with Tim Rose at the Hampstead Country Club.

July 31 was the last confirmed show with Tim Rose. Dreja's presence has been disputed by some sources (and if I recall correctly, Dreja himself has changed his story in recent years).

The August 3 show (at The Factory) has never been confirmed. Perhaps Blocoboy could do some research on our behalf??

The Chris Farlowe shows have not been confirmed either, although Farlowe has claimed that Bonzo played a few shows with him. Maybe Bonham met with Page on 8/4, then joined Farlowe's band on 8/5, then played with Farlowe for a week before leaving to join Zep? Seems like a pretty tight timeline, though.

Also, I think the Keith Shadwick book is wrong on at least one point: the "early rehearsal" mentioned by John Paul Jones was probably from a much later date (i.e., September). After all, it included an original song ("Tribute To Bert Berns"), and I tend to doubt that Robert could have come up with those lyrics so quickly. Besides, doesn't it make more sense for your first rehearsal to feature 'standards' that everyone is familiar with?? (As opposed to somewhat obscure songs like "Chest Fever" and "Flames"?)

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July 31 was the last confirmed show with Tim Rose. Dreja's presence has been disputed by some sources (and if I recall correctly, Dreja himself has changed his story in recent years).

The August 3 show (at The Factory) has never been confirmed. Perhaps Blocoboy could do some research on our behalf??

The Chris Farlowe shows have not been confirmed either, although Farlowe has claimed that Bonzo played a few shows with him. Maybe Bonham met with Page on 8/4, then joined Farlowe's band on 8/5, then played with Farlowe for a week before leaving to join Zep? Seems like a pretty tight timeline, though.

Also, I think the Keith Shadwick book is wrong on at least one point: the "early rehearsal" mentioned by John Paul Jones was probably from a much later date (i.e., September). After all, it included an original song ("Tribute To Bert Berns"), and I tend to doubt that Robert could have come up with those lyrics so quickly. Besides, doesn't it make more sense for your first rehearsal to feature 'standards' that everyone is familiar with?? (As opposed to somewhat obscure songs like "Chest Fever" and "Flames"?)

Agreed on all points.

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Also, I think the Keith Shadwick book is wrong on at least one point: the "early rehearsal" mentioned by John Paul Jones was probably from a much later date (i.e., September). After all, it included an original song ("Tribute To Bert Berns"), and I tend to doubt that Robert could have come up with those lyrics so quickly. Besides, doesn't it make more sense for your first rehearsal to feature 'standards' that everyone is familiar with?? (As opposed to somewhat obscure songs like "Chest Fever" and "Flames"?)

Jones and Page have stated that Train Kept a Rollin was the first song they tried out, and I have also read that Robert said it was As Long As I Have You. But since you mention 'standards' here is something that I had found a while ago:

JoeB-1.jpg

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That's a good find, sixpense. Joe Bonamassa says that Robert told him that Zep recorded Bobby Parker's "Steal Your Heart Away"........but Robert himself said in a BBC interview that Zep worked up a version of a different Bobby Parker tune -- "Watch Your Step".

I wonder if Zep worked up versions of both songs?

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That's a good find, sixpense. Joe Bonamassa says that Robert told him that Zep recorded Bobby Parker's "Steal Your Heart Away"........but Robert himself said in a BBC interview that Zep worked up a version of a different Bobby Parker tune -- "Watch Your Step".

I wonder if Zep worked up versions of both songs?

I would believe so. Could you imaging that Joe B recorded the wrong song? :-)

Now we can only hope some lost tapes show up like Tribute to Bert Berns did!

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I would believe so. Could you imaging that Joe B recorded the wrong song? :-)

Now we can only hope some lost tapes show up like Tribute to Bert Berns did!

That would be pretty cool. You never know!

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