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Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Oasis & more: Laney Amps celebrates 50 years of music magic - with pictures and video


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Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Oasis and more: Halesowen firm celebrates 50 years of music magic - with pictures and video

They have been used on stage during Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin gigs as well as by Oasis during the recording of Definitely Maybe.

By Heather Large

For the past 50 years Laney amplifiers have boosted the sound of some of the biggest names in the industry and been treasured by musicians across the globe.


The long-standing Black Country firm was founded by Lyndon Laney in 1967.

At the time he was playing in The Band of Joy alongside Robert Plant on vocals and John Bonham on drums.

Having a keen interest in electronics and woodworking, he decided to try making an guitar amplifier in his father's shed at their home in Great Barr.

"It started simply out of poverty. I couldn't afford to buy an amplifier so I made one," says the 69-year-old.

His handiwork soon caught the eye of fellow musicians who were impressed with the sound from the amplifiers and found himself inundated with requests to make more.

"It started to snowball. I was going to go university but I decided I was going to give this a go and I would go to university later but 50 years later and I've never made it," said Lyndon.

He officially started the Laney Company in September 1967 at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

In the meantime his bandmates have moved to London where they met Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones and formed Led Zeppelin.

In March 1968, Plant, who is still a close friend of Lyndon’s, purchased a Laney PA system and a few months later he recorded the first Led Zeppelin album.

He used this PA in his original work with the band and even took it to the USA on his first tour.

Business continued to pick up pace and in 1970 word of Laney’s signature tone reached another soon-to-be music legend Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath who has continued use the amps ever since.

The company moved out of Birmingham relocating to Cradley Heath before moving to their current premises in Steelpark Way, Halesowen.

Just a few of their other high-profile customers over the years are Ace Frehley of Kiss, Oasis, when they made their highly-acclaimed debut Definitely Maybe, Limp Bizkit and Marilyn Manson.

Today, Laney products are sold in 70 countries and the family firm is also a distributor for many other famous names in the musical world, such as Tama drums and Ibanez guitars under the name Headstock Distribution.

The designing and engineering and some of the manufacturing of the 70-product range is still done in Halesowen, where 49 people are employed, with the rest of the production carried out overseas.

Lyndon has now retired from day-to-day duties and handed the reins over to his son James, who joined the family firm 15 years ago.

They put their success down to being able to adapt to the ever-changing industry and keep in touch with their customers' requirements.

"You'll never hear 'that's how we've always done it so that's how we're going to it. We're always changing," said Lyndon.

"We're proud of our heritage but we're not backwards looking, we're always looking forwards. Music is changing and the making of music is changing.

"The amount of people making different types of music and the range of different types of music is really big. The number of people who are going to buy a huge amp and put in on a stage is still quite small but home recording is growing.

"People don't need to be in a big studio any more, they can make music in their bedroom and make a record that it better than the Beatles' Abbey Road in terms of recording.

"What we've had success with is taking our classic style of amps and making them connect to the digital world through USB.

"We are passionate about what we do and we get a buzz out of the designing and engineering, we want to be unique," explained James.




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