Today in 1970 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant began preparations to head off to a cottage in rural Wales called Bron-Yr-Aur (Welsh for ‘golden hillside’) to begin a working holiday readying material for Led Zeppelin III. They were looking for a more California-blues-mixed-with-British-folk sound, and thought the country environment would provide the perfect surroundings to find it. Ideas started and/or developed there included material such as “Friends,” “Celebration Day,” “Gallows Pole,” “That’s the Way,” “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” “Hats off to Roy Harper,” “Poor Tom,” “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “Down By the Seaside,” “Bron-Yr-Aur,” and “The Rover.” They also began work on sections of “Going to California” and “Stairway to Heaven,” which would appear on their fourth album.
Today in 1970, Led Zeppelin played the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. The blue-tinted poster for this show is one of the band’s most iconic, having been designed by Kenvin Lyman, the same artist who did their March 26, 1970 yellow Salt Palace concert poster. Set list: We’re Gonna Groove, Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, Bring It On Home, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Organ solo, Thank You, Moby Dick, Whole Lotta Love.
This show was cut short due to Robert Plant feeling ill, which also officially ended their 5th U.S. tour, as the following night in Las Vegas (the last show of the tour) was cancelled.
Jimmy Page addressed the audience after Whole Lotta Love: “You’ve been a fantastic audience, but there’s been something happening tonight… Robert’s been very ill and as he came off he’s just collapsed and we’ve just called for a doctor. We’d really like to do more, but obviously it’s impossible.”
Today in 1973 Led Zeppelin started a two-week run at #1 on the UK album chart with their fifth album, Houses of The Holy, also a #1 in the U.S. The children featured on the cover of the album climbing over the Giant’s Causeway basalt rock formation in Northern Ireland are brother and sister Stefan and Samantha Gates. Houses has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the RIAA for U.S. sales in excess of 11 million copies.
Today in 1968, Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan recorded “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” Pre-Led Zeppelin session musicians Jimmy Page, John Bonham and John Paul Jones played on the recording, and Jones provided the arrangement. The single was released in May of that year.
Today in 1964, future (he was still a session musician at the time) Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones released the first of his only two solo singles, “Baja” / “A Foggy Day In Vietnam,” on UK record label Pye Records. It was released on the Parkway Records label in the U.S. Baja is a very 1960s spaghetti western-sounding instrumental, and Foggy Day is a piano-driven “doo-wop” instrumental. Both tracks can be found on YouTube. Jones would go on to make a name for himself as one of the top session musicians and arrangers in the UK, before co-founding Led Zeppelin in 1968.
The second of four nights at Chicago Stadium in 1977. A very good show, but it was cut a bit short. Two of the lengthier songs in the current set, In My Time Of Dying and Trampled Underfoot, were dropped from the set list, because of a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. Seems the Blackhawks were in the playoffs at the time, and had to use the arena the following day. So the union that worked the facility demanded Zeppelin be finished by 11:00 p.m., as the sound system had to be dismantled for the hockey game to be played the next day. It was then reassembled for the following night’s (the third of four) show.
Set list: The Song Remains The Same, The Rover (intro), Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Out On the Tiles (intro), Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll.
Today in 1977 Zeppelin played the first of four sold-out shows at Chicago Stadium. To over 20,000 fans. The 3-hour set list included The Song Remains the Same, The Rover (intro), Sick Again, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, In My Time of Dying, Since I’ve Been Loving You, No Quarter, Ten Years Gone, Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Black Country Woman, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, White Summer, Black Mountain Side, Kashmir, Out On the Tiles (intro), Moby Dick, Jimmy Page solo, Achilles Last Stand, Stairway to Heaven, Rock and Roll, and Trampled Underfoot.
Review: For their last few tours, spaced at two-year intervals, their concerts have become events, a phenomenon which no doubt strikes some as incomprehensible. But I’d bet the 20,000 or so people who turned up at the Chicago Stadium Wednesday night for the first of four shows the band is doing there would find their popularity as credible as the group is incredible in its steamroller approach to rock and blues.
This is a band, for instance, that plays for three hours straight, with few dull moments once it gets rolling. Wednesday, it took a couple of songs; the band tends to build to a cumulative effect rather than launching all of its firepower at once.
Part way into the show lead singer Robert Plant, ace guitarist Jimmy Page, keyboard and bass player John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham sat in a peaceful row across the front of the stage, doing a segment of quieter ballads in a folky, medieval mood. It was a striking change of pace from what had gone before and would come after, which was the sort of power-rock, extremely loud with a blues base, that Zeppelin handles so well.
It was, in short, the usual Led Zeppelin show – a lot of music handled well, and very little bull. Plant in fact was the only member of the group who spoke at all, and then only briefly, though the group’s ambience is far from aloof. But it’s clear that they’re there for one main purpose: to create fireworks. And speaking of that, Plant would just as soon the audience left that sort of thing to Led Zeppelin. (ChicagoTribune, April 1977)