Today in 1969 Zeppelin recorded a session in London for the BBC Radio show “Chris Grant’s Tasty Pop Sundae.” The session tracks included “The Girl I Love (She Got Long Black Wavy Hair),” “Communication Breakdown,” “Something Else,” and “What Is and What Should Never Be.” The session was later released on Zeppelin’s 1997 BBC Sessions album set.
Today in 1977 Zeppelin played the last of six sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden. Right before the encore, some joker in the audience threw an M-80 at the stage and hit Jimmy Page in the right hand with it. The show stopped and Robert Plant gave the audience the go-ahead to grab the guy that threw it. Page went backstage but then came back out about ten minutes later with his hand in a bandage and finished the show.
Today in 1941, English folk singer Roy Harper was born. Harper is an accomplished folk rock singer, songwriter and guitarist, probably best known for his lead vocals on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar.”
Jimmy Page met Harper at the Bath Festival in 1970, and the two became close friends. In fact, the last track on Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin III album is titled “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper.” The track features Page playing bottleneck slide guitar, and Robert Plant’s vocals processed through a vibrato amp. The song is listed on the album as “Arranged by Charles Obscure,” which was a humorous pseudonym for Page. The song is a tribute to both Harper and classic folk singer Bukka White. It’s a medley of fragments of blues songs and lyrics, including the 1937 “Shake ‘Em On Down” by White.
Link to “Shake”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOW3OjQm1Hw
Link to “Hats Off”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM_Czps7sgU
Today in 2005 Jimmy Page was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for his work with poor Brazilian children. Page said he was overwhelmed to be given the accolade, recalling how he first became involved with Brazilian children in 1994 when fighting broke out among street gangs while he was in Rio de Janeiro promoting an album.
“At that time in Rio the sun wasn’t shining. The army was going into the shantytowns and I heard about the plight of the street children,” he told reporters. “I think when you’re faced with a plight that’s inescapable, and there’s something you can do about it, you hope you can make a difference,” Page said.
Page joined forces with British charity Task Brazil and set up a safe house, which has supported more than 300 children. Task Brazil offers medical and psychological support, food, clothing and job training.
Today in 1969 Led Zeppelin recorded four songs at the Maida Vale BBC Studio in London. The tracks were “The Girl I Love,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Something Else,” and “What Is and What Should Never Be.” The performances were never broadcast, but are available on the 1989 Archive Productions Something Else bootleg EP. The EP includes the only known Zeppelin performance of “The Girl I Love”, possibly a Led Zeppelin II out-take, and a fantastic version of Eddie Cochran’s “Something Else.”
Today in 2003 Led Zeppelin had their latest #1 on the Billboard album chart, with their triple-live album How The West Was Won. This was Zep’s seventh U.S. #1 album. The performances on the album are from the June 25 (LA Forum) and June 27 (Long Beach Arena) dates of their 1972 U.S. Tour.
This is pre-Led Zeppelin history.
Today in 1966 Jimmy Page officially joined the Yardbirds, replacing Paul Samwell-Smith on bass guitar. Page played bass until rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja mastered it, after which he and Jeff Beck paired up as one of the most influential guitar duos of the period. With both Page and Beck, the Yardbirds’ live performances became a huge draw. However, the Beck-Page version of the Yardbirds was short-lived, as Beck was fired from the band shortly thereafter.