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Zeppelin Mysteries Hosted by Steve A. Jones


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Weeks later, a penniless Plant, having sung a few gigs with Alexis Korner, now singing with Obstweedle and in town trying to collect money from his manager, encountered Reid on Oxford Street in London and accompanied him to Cambridge. It was during this time Reid informed Robert personally of the opportunity to work with Page.

I think that he was just filling in because Obstweedle's singer was sick, and by luck Reid saw him performing and recommended him from there.

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I think that he was just filling in because Obstweedle's singer was sick, and by luck Reid saw him performing and recommended him from there.

Robert Plant and The Band of Joy were actually on the bill below Terry Reid in Buxton.

Terry watched their set; he is lucky Terry made a call to Jimmy afterward (Spring '68).

Robert disbanded the final lineup of The Band of Joy in May 1968. He actually formed Obstweedle himself after his club gigs with Alexis Korner were completed. You may be thinking of Robert's first ever public singing gig at the ice rink in Swanlicote in 1962.

He filled in for a school chum who had become ill the day of the gig.

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Weeks later, a penniless Plant, having sung a few gigs with Alexis Korner, now singing with Obstweedle and in town trying to collect money from his manager, encountered Reid on Oxford Street in London and accompanied him to Cambridge. It was during this time Reid informed Robert personally of the opportunity to work with Page.

Robert Plant and The Band of Joy were actually on the bill below Terry Reid in Buxton.

Terry watched their set; he is lucky Terry made a call to Jimmy afterward (Spring '68).

Robert disbanded the final lineup of The Band of Joy in May 1968. He actually formed Obstweedle himself after his club gigs with Alexis Korner were completed. You may be thinking of Robert's first ever public singing gig at the ice rink in Swanlicote in 1962.

He filled in for a school chum who had become ill the day of the gig.

I know that I heard Robert say in an interview that he was just filling in. If I can find it I'll tell you where. Your posts contradict themselves in how Robert met Reid. Which one is true and which isn't?

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I know that I heard Robert say in an interview that he was just filling in. If I can find it I'll tell you where. Your posts contradict themselves in how Robert met Reid. Which one is true and which isn't?

There's no contradiction, but perhaps it is unclear so here it is again: Robert was known to Terry from the touring circuit. While on tour he recommended Robert to Jimmy. When their paths crossed again in London Robert was broke and currently not in any group at the time. At this point he mentioned to Robert the opportunity with Jimmy. Even so, shortly after Robert formed Obstweedle. You will recall he was singing in Obstweedle when Jimmy, Chris Dreja and Peter Grant went to meet him and see him perform at West Midlands College of Higher Education on Gorway Road in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire on Sat, July 20, 1968.

I should also add Peter Grant recalled Reid also encountered Jimmy on Oxford Street (in July 1968) and once again mentioned Robert Plant to Jimmy. Peter's office was at 154 Oxford Street so it makes sense Jimmy, or both, would have been on foot in the vicinity.

Edited by SteveAJones
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Just to compliment (or contrast!) with what I've posted above, here is Stephen Davis'

take on the formation of the band from 'Hammer of the Gods' (note: the mispelling of Obstweedle remains uncorrected. Note also so far as I know neither Robert nor Jimmy

have ever claimed to have spoken on the telephone prior to meeting. Entirely plausible, but Robert always took the telegrams as someone's idea of a joke and when they met at the door of the venue they mistook Robert for a roadie):

After the Yardbirds broke up in July of 1968, Jimmy Page retreated to his boathouse in Pangbourne-upon-Thames and weighed his options. With Peter Grant owning the rights to the Yardbirds' name, Jimmy could go on playing hard rock under that banner indefinitely. A Scandinavian tour was already set up for the fall; Japan, Australia and America were available after that. But now Jimmy preferred the softer, folkish music of Pentangle, the Incredible String Band and Joni Mitchell. There must, he thought, be a middle ground between light and heavy music.

At home by the Thames, Jimmy almost never touched his electric guitar, preferring to strum and pick his acoustic. But he and Peter Grant knew that they had to follow their gut instinct for how to get the real money: by playing "heavy music" in America. The biggest-selling band there was Iron Butterfly, whose album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida featured repetitious, droning blues scales and would survive on the charts for years. The other big band of the day was Vanilla Fudge, who played it somewhat lighter, alternating what was called "white blues" white softer, less bombastic passages.

One musician who had been asking Page about his plans was John Paul Jones, the session bassist and arranger who had played with Jimmy at dozens of recording sessions since 1965. Even before the demise of the Yardbirds, Page recalled, "I was working at the sessions for Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man, and John Paul Jones was looking after the musical arrangements. During a break, he asked me if I could use a bass player in the new group I was forming. He had a proper music training, and he had quite brilliant ideas. I jumped at the chance of getting him."

Coming up with a singer proved to be more difficult. Since Page's new band was to be patterned after the Jeff Beck Group, it needed a singer with the romantic persona of a Rod Stewart, someone with the nerve to get on a stage and hold his own opposite an electric guitar. But all the good singers -- Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Chris Farlowe -- were busy. Terry Reid, only eighteen, had been snatched by producer Mickie Most at the last minute. But Reid told Jimmy and Peter about a little-known singer with a band called Hobbstweedle up in Birmingham, a great tall blond geezer who looked like a fairy prince and possessed a caterwauling voice. They called him the Wild Man of Blues from the Black Country. His name was Robert Plant Peter Grant's office contacted Robert at home, and Jimmy got on the phone with him. They made plans for Jimmy and Peter to see Robert at a Hobbstweedle gig that weekend.

Jimmy, Peter Grant and Yardbirds bassist Chris Dreja turned up at the Hobbstweedle gig at a dismal teachers college in Birmingham. They were let in the back door by a "big, rug-headed kern" who they assumed was the bouncer. But when they saw him onstage in his Moorish caftan and beads, doing "Somebody to Love" in a bluesy, sirenlike soprano, they gave one another the look. "It unnerved me just to listen," Page said later. "It still does, like a primeval wail." After finishing his set of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield songs, Robert approached Jimmy to find out what he thought of the show. But Jimmy and the others were low-key and vague. Jimmy said only, "I'll call you within a week." But on the way back to London, Jimmy was intrigued. That voice... it had it, that distinctive, highly charged, sexual quality that Jimmy needed. Jimmy called Robert back and invited him down to Pangbourne.

In the boathouse on the Thames, Jimmy played Robert some of his favorite records: soft things, like Joan Baez doing "Babe. I'm Gonna Leave You" and Robin Williamson's Incredible String Band, and rock & roll tunes, like Chuck Berry's "No Money Down." He played Little Walter's harmonica blues and explained to Robert his idea for a new kind of "heavy music" with slower and lighter touches, music with dynamics, light and shade -- chiaroscuro. They talked about a band in which the singer and the guitarist would be equally important. Jimmy played Robert "You Shook Me," from an old Muddy Waters EP, with Earl Hooker playing the melody on electric guitar behind Muddy's voice. Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart had already done it with the same song on Beck's new album, Truth, but that didn't matter. It was the sound Jimmy wanted.

After a few days of discussions, Robert was almost beside himself. Here was this attractive, mysterious, soft-spoken rock star offering the prospect of stardom and immense riches in America. For the first time, Robert had found somebody who might know what to do with his boundless reservoir of energy.

Robert was so excited that when he left Pangbourne, he hitchhiked up to Oxford to find his friend John Bonham. A few years earlier, Plant and Bonham had played together in a blues band called the Crawling King Snakes. Bonham, the group's drummer, was a big, long-haired fellow whom everyone called Bonzo, after the dog in a British comic strip. Bonzo's idol was Keith Moon, the Who's drummer, and Bonzo used to line the inside of his bass drum with aluminum foil to make the thing rattle off like cannon fire. He and Robert became fast friends and wound up playing together in another group, the Band of Joy. On this night, as Plant met up with him to persuade him to join Page's new group, Bonham was playing with folk-rocker Tim Rose.

It had been three months since Bonzo had last heard from Robert, and the drummer listened to his friend's breathless spiel about Jimmy and Pangbourne and the new band. "Mate, you've got to join the Yardbirds," urged Robert. But Bonzo was unimpressed. To him, the Yardbirds was a name from the past with no future.

The first time Page saw Bonzo, the drummer was playing a country club in north London with Rose. At the time, Page was still considering making his new band sound something like Pentangle, the acoustic group that featured guitarist Bert Jansch. But when he heard Bonzo's merciless attack, he knew what his new band would sound like. An intensive campaign to snare John Bonham ensued. Robert sent eight telegrams to Bonzo's pub, the Three Men in a Boat, in Walsall. These were followed by forty telegrams from Peter Grant. Still, Bonzo wouldn't join. The success of the Tim Rose gigs had brought in other offers. Joe Cocker wanted him, and Chris Farlowe offered him a job. It was a hard decision. Farlowe was well established and had a new album produced by Mick Jagger. Everybody in London was sure that Cocker, the blues belter from Sheffield, was going to be very big. But, as Bonzo later recalled, "I decided I liked their music better than Cocker's or Farlowe's." So Bonzo finally accepted the drummer's chair with the New Yardbirds. The lineup was complete.

Edited by SteveAJones
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There was a post on the Toronto Sept 4 / 71 thread that questioned why Led Zeppelin never returned to Toronto after that gig. I thought that it might have to do with the owner of Maple Leaf Garden's Harold Ballard. He was quite a tyrant when it came to who he would allow in " HIS" building.

Is there an explanation for them not returning ?

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In a radio interview I heard several years ago promoting what I believe was Manic Nirvana,Robert Plant brought up Stella Stevens.

I don't recall if she inspired a song,or if he was just infatuated with her.

Does this ring any bells?

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In a radio interview I heard several years ago promoting what I believe was Manic Nirvana, Robert Plant brought up Stella Stevens. I don't recall if she inspired a song,or if he was just infatuated with her. Does this ring any bells?

Stella Stevens is specifically mentioned in the song 'I Cried' on the Manic Nirvana album. "I walked with Stella Stevens..." In the interview he related his thoughts on infatuation,

imagination and love. She was a popular American movie star in his youth.

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There was a post on the Toronto Sept 4 / 71 thread that questioned why Led Zeppelin never returned to Toronto after that gig. I thought that it might have to do with the owner of Maple Leaf Garden's Harold Ballard. He was quite a tyrant when it came to who he would allow in " HIS" building. Is there an explanation for them not returning ?

I've found this much on Ballard so far:

------------

A member of the Leafs organization from 1940, he became part-owner of the Leafs in 1961 and was majority owner from February 1972 until his death.

He expanded the number of concerts, entertainment acts, and conventions booked in the building. Ballard booked The Beatles on each of their three North American tours from 1964-1966. On the second tour, in 1965, Ballard sold tickets for two shows, even though the agreement had been for only one. On the hot summer day of the concert, Ballard ordered the building's heat turned up, and the water fountains around the arena mysteriously stopped functioning. He also delayed both of the concerts for over an hour. The only available refreshments were large soft drinks from the concession stands which were sold for triple their original price.

------------

Clearly, Peter Grant would never stand for such tactics, but I think to solve this mystery

we have to start with Led Zeppelin's September 4th 1971 concert itself. Perhaps there

were difficulities encountered with that event. The search for answers continues...

Edited by SteveAJones
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Led Zeppelin Members and Deep Purple Members

Hey Steve. Great Thread.

Did ever a member of LZ play together with an member of DP?? I once read that bonzo appeared at a DP concert in 1976. And i read that Blackmore hung around with bonzo and they laughed at Eddie van halen. What is the truth about this?

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Led Zeppelin Members and Deep Purple Members

Hey Steve. Great Thread.

Did ever a member of LZ play together with an member of DP?? I once read that bonzo appeared at a DP concert in 1976. And i read that Blackmore hung around with bonzo and they laughed at Eddie van halen. What is the truth about this?

In January 1976 Page, Plant, & Bonham were staying at the Park Lane Hotel in New York

City. They were in town to conduct press interviews. One night, Bonzo attended Deep Purple's concert at Radio City Music Hall. At the end of the show he ran onstage and

addressed the crowd, shouting "we've got a new album coming out soon!"

I'm not aware of anyone in Led Zeppelin having watched Eddie Van Halen perform in the '70s, either as Mammoth or Van Halen. From '74-'76 they were primarily a Pasadena & Southern CA-based band. I can't see why they would have been bothered to go in '76 as they were relatively unheard of prior to cutting demos for Gene Simmons and in '77

Zep spent most of their off time in LA at their old haunts on the Sunset Strip or over in Laurel Canyon.

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Update: Led Zeppelin vs. Harold Ballard

Led Zeppelin was scheduled to perform in Toronto on April 1st & 3rd 1977. Both dates were postponed in a March 3rd 1977 press release on account of Robert Plant's tonsilitis and the death of Karac Plant in July 1977 ruled out any rescheduling.

The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club was scheduled for a home game on Sat, Apr 3rd 1977 so the Led Zeppelin road crew would have had to dismantle and reassemble the stage in between performances if in fact Maple Leaf Gardens was the host venue.

Edited by SteveAJones
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This process of dismantling and reassembling of Zeppelin's stage rig did happen during the Chicago shows on the 1977 tour. The Black Hawks were in the playoffs which led to a shorter and tighter Thursday April 7th performance. They had to be offstage by 11:00 p.m. to accomodate this breakdown of equipment for a hockey game on Friday April 8th. The stage and p.a. were reconfigured for the following night's performance Saturday April 9th. Page apparently had over-enjoyed his day off and physically crumbled onstage that night, ending that evening's show.

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In January 1976 Page, Plant, & Bonham were staying at the Park Lane Hotel in New York

City. They were in town to conduct press interviews. One night, Bonzo attended Deep Purple's concert at Radio City Music Hall. At the end of the show he ran onstage and

addressed the crowd, shouting "we've got a new album coming out soon!"

I'm not aware of anyone in Led Zeppelin having watched Eddie Van Halen perform in the '70s, either as Mammoth or Van Halen. From '74-'76 they were primarily a Pasadena & Southern CA-based band. I can't see why they would have been bothered to go in '76 as they were relatively unheard of prior to cutting demos for Gene Simmons and in '77

Zep spent most of their off time in LA at their old haunts on the Sunset Strip or over in Laurel Canyon.

Thanks. But listen:

Eddie Van Halen told Guitar Player Magazin in 1979 the following: "....Blackmore. I once met him at the Rainbow with John Bonham when we where just playin clubs. I ran over to them an said hello, and they both locked up to me and said 'Who are you? Fuck off!'"

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Thanks. But listen:

Eddie Van Halen told Guitar Player Magazin in 1979 the following: "....Blackmore. I once met him at the Rainbow with John Bonham when we where just playin clubs. I ran over to them an said hello, and they both locked up to me and said 'Who are you? Fuck off!'"

Sometimes people merely come to California to exploit the markets and be rude.

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I'm not aware of anyone in Led Zeppelin having watched Eddie Van Halen perform in the '70s, either as Mammoth or Van Halen. From '74-'76 they were primarily a Pasadena & Southern CA-based band. I can't see why they would have been bothered to go in '76 as they were relatively unheard of prior to cutting demos for Gene Simmons and in '77

Zep spent most of their off time in LA at their old haunts on the Sunset Strip or over in Laurel Canyon.

No, they were very big at that point, in the So.Cal. area, HENCE the reason they were cutting demos for Gene $immons.

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Thanks. But listen:

Eddie Van Halen told Guitar Player Magazin in 1979 the following: "....Blackmore. I once met him at the Rainbow with John Bonham when we where just playin clubs. I ran over to them an said hello, and they both locked up to me and said 'Who are you? Fuck off!'"

Okay, that scenario is entirely plausible because it puts Eddie on the Sunset Strip sometime between '75-'77 while Led Zeppelin was in town, as opposed to Bonzo going out of his way to see him perform. The Rainbow was an old haunt of course, just down the road from their hotel. I'll look into trying to confirm if the Deep Purple and Zeppelin tours overlapped in LA, which would put Blackmore and Bonzo together during this time.

For what it's worth, Jimmy spent some time with Eddie in October 1991 while working on

Coverdale/Page in Vancouver. Eddie also introduced Jimmy the night Jimmy was inducted

into the Hollywood Rock Walk on Dec 7th '93. There's no bad blood between Jimmy and Eddie, although he did call Ross about 20 times when he was in LA with Jimmy in January 2004! Jimmy finally called Eddie back but it was the day he was returning to England so I don't think they ever did get together that time around.

Edited by SteveAJones
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Okay, that scenario is entirely plausible because it puts Eddie on the Sunset Strip sometime between '75-'77 while Led Zeppelin was in town, as opposed to Bonzo going out of his way to see him perform. The Rainbow was an old haunt of course, just down the road from their hotel. I'll look into trying to confirm if the Deep Purple and Zeppelin tours overlapped in LA, which would put Blackmore and Bonzo together during this time.

For what it's worth, Jimmy spent some time with Eddie in October 1991 while working on

Coverdale/Page in Vancouver. Eddie also introduced Jimmy the night he was inducted

into the Hollywood Rock Walk in '93. There's no bad blood between Jimmy and Eddie,

although he did call Ross about 20 times when he was in LA with Jimmy in January 2004. Jimmy finally called Eddie back but it was the day he was returning to England so I don't think they ever did get together that time around.

Eddie Van Halen was just one of the local guitarists, Steve.

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Eddie Van Halen was just one of the local guitarists, Steve.

Oh, I'm familiar with who Eddie Van Halen is. I'm aware of his rise to fame starting out as Mammoth in Pasadena and doing demos for Gene Simmons in '76. In fact, I'm listening to

those demos right now and they flat out rock! There are ten: On Fire, Babe, Don't Leave Me Alone, Big Trouble, etc. Blistering stuff. Anyway, my interest in this matter is simply pinpointing the time at which his path crossed Blackmore's & Bonzo's, as he claimed in 1979 that it had.

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Oh, I'm familiar with who Eddie Van Halen is. I'm aware of his rise to fame starting out as Mammoth in Pasadena and doing demos for Gene Simmons in '76. In fact, I'm listening to

those demos right now and they flat out rock! There are ten: On Fire, Babe, Don't Leave Me Alone, Big Trouble, etc. Blistering stuff. Anyway, my interest in this matter is simply pinpointing the time at which his path crossed Blackmore's & Bonzo's, as he claimed in 1979 that it had.

Eddie Van Halen did say so himself apparently, but he did not state that he met John Bonham in 1979, although Jas Obrecht of Guitar Player Magazine interviewed Eddie Van Halen in 1979.

Perhaps Eddie Van Halen met John Bonham in 1972.

EVH: It's funny. There's two types of guitarists. Like Blackmore, I used to hate, because I met him once at the Rainbow with John Bonham when we were just playing clubs. You know, I grew up on him too, and I ran over and said hello, and they both just looked at me and said, "Who are you? Fuck off." And it pissed me off.

"Eddie Talks Guitars: 1979" (from the "Van Halen Tapes 1978-82")

By: Jas Obrecht

The Best Of Guitar Player (December 29, 1979)

"Eddie Talks Guitars: 1979" (from the "Van Halen Tapes 1978-82")

Edited by eternal light
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