Today in 1969 Jimmy Page completed the final mixes for Led Zeppelin’s forthcoming second album, Led Zeppelin II, at A&R Studios in New York. The album, released on October 22 of that year in the US and October 31 in the UK, was Zeppelin’s first #1 album on both the US and UK charts. It also hit #1 on the Australian, Canadian, Danish, Spanish, and West German charts.
The band’s non-stop 1969 touring schedule meant the album had to be written and recorded entirely while on the road; between shows, they would find the nearest recording studio and lay down some tracks. Songs were written in hotel rooms and backstage, and recording sessions were done in Los Angeles, New York and London.
This is more post-Led Zeppelin history.
Today in 1994 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant recorded their MTV Unplugged set at London’s Television Centre. Songs played included No Quarter, Thank You, The Battle of Evermore, Gallows Pole, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Yallah, Wah Wah, Wonderful One, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Four Sticks, Friends, and Kashmir. Some tracks were also recorded in Morocco and Wales. The show would air on MTV on October 12 of that year, and the “unledded” album, titled No Quarter, would be released on October 14 of that year.
It was not a reunion of Led Zeppelin though, as former Zeppelin bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones was not present. In fact, Jones was not even told about the reunion by his former band mates; he only learned of the project through media reports. He later commented that he was unhappy about Plant and Page naming the album after “No Quarter”, a Led Zeppelin song which was largely his work. “I just thought I should have been informed about it,” Jones said. “To find out about it in the papers was a bit odd.” At the group’s 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jones offered a cutting retort: “Thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number.”
This is post-Led Zeppelin history.
Today in 2008 Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis, winner of the British reality show The X Factor, performed a newly arranged version of “Whole Lotta Love” during the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The ceremony was televised around the world, with an estimated audience of almost 2 billion.
Today in 1969 Zeppelin played the first of 2 nights at a rather unlikely venue: Pirates World, a 100-acre pirate-themed amusement park on the beach in Dania (just south of Ft. Lauderdale), FL. The theme park opened in 1967 and was successful early on, but the opening of Walt Disney World in Orlando in 1971 soon led to the park’s demise, and it closed in 1975.
But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Pirates World played host to many rock music artists, including the Jeff Beck Group, Iron Butterfly, The Faces, The Grateful Dead, Traffic, Black Sabbath, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Deep Purple, The Partridge Family, Jethro Tull, Grand Funk Railroad, Steve Miller Band, The Guess Who, The Moody Blues, ELP, Three Dog Night, David Bowie, The Doors, Wishbone Ash, Santana, Alice Cooper, The Beach Boys, and Johnny Winter.
Cover of 1969 tour program:
Today in 1971, on the first US date of their 7th North American tour, Zeppelin started a 2-night gig at the LA Forum in Inglewood, CA.
Jimmy Page: “I remember a standing ovation from a good percentage of the audience after ‘Stairway to Heaven’ – this was quite remarkable, as we were touring this material from an album not to be released until three months later”.
Setlist: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused, Stairway to Heaven, Celebration Day, That’s the Way, Going to California, What Is and What Should Never Be, Whole Lotta Love (medley incl. Let That Boy Boogie, I’m Moving On, That’s Alright Mama, Mess of Blues, Got a Lot of Living to Do, Honey Bee), Weekend, Rock and Roll, Communication Breakdown, Organ solo, Thank You.
Today in 1971 Zeppelin kicked off their 7th North American tour, at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia. They played to a sold out crowd of over 17,000 fans, while another 3,000 ticketless fans outside the venue started a battle with local police and basically just stormed inside. It was at this show that, reportedly, “Stairway to Heaven” was played live for the first time in North America.
Setlist: Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Gallows Pole, Celebration Day, Tangerine (electric version with the Les Paul), That’s The Way, Going To California, Friends, Bron Y Aur Stomp, What Is And What Should Never Be, Dazed And Confused, Stairway To Heaven, Whole Lotta Love medley, Communication Breakdown, Thank You.
This one is more pre-Led Zeppelin history.
Today in 1965 saw two singles released on the Immediate Records label. The first was by Fifth Avenue, containing a version of the Pete Seeger / Byrds song “The Bells of Rhymney”, backed with Jimmy Page’s original composition “Just Like Anyone Would Do”.
The second was Nico’s cover of “I’m Not Sayin” (the Gordon Lightfoot song, produced by Andrew Oldham), with a b-side of “The Last Mile”, produced and written by Jimmy Page. Page: “I routined with Nico in her muse flat that she had during her stay in London. Editorial note: he’s keeping all the details to himself! This was before Nico was to go to New York and become part of the magical Velvet Underground”.