Archives for posts with tag: led zeppelin

Israeli cover of Led Zep’s In Through The Out Door.

In August, 1979, in the midst of the punk revolution in the UK and after two years off the road (four since they’d last played in the UK), Led Zeppelin staged two huge shows in at Knebworth over two weekends in August, performing for about 400,000 people. These shows included the first live performances of Hot Dog and In The Evening from the forthcoming album In Through The Out Door. The album should already have been released, but there were production issues and it wasn’t released until the week after the second show.
The following year, the band toured Europe, but on the eve of the American tour the following year, drink finally did in drummer John Bonham. Given that lead singer Robert Plant’s son had died during the American leg of the 1977 tour (thereby putting the kibosh on the European tour for Presence), this was pretty much the last straw for the band and they called it a day.
In Through The Out Door is a curious affair. In terms of production, it’s cleaner than 1977’s Presence, but as a whole, it’s a less focused affair. I may feel this way only because my sister and I bought it the week it was released and played the hell out of it. I don’t think I owned a copy of Presence until I bought one of those dreadful tinny CDs in the mid-90s. (The mastering of the whole catalogue for CD in the late 80s was horrible. The range was shrunk, the warmth pulled into some kind of musical black hole, and even to someone who listens to most music on relatively cheap earbuds, the overall sound was painful.)
Of ITTOD‘s seven tracks, one is a straight-up country tune (Hot Dog), one could be boogie-woogie without too much effort (South Bound Suarez) and others sprawl into disco territory (Carouselambra, In The Evening). But from the faded in digeridoo of In The Evening to the slow blues of I’m Gonna Crawl, I find it their most interesting album – at least the most interesting that was recorded in one go. (Physical Graffiti reaches farther and has greater heights, but pulls on music the band had created over the course of the three previous albums.)
After 36 years, the new reissue is as pleasing as any vinyl I’ve ever owned. It’s the only one of the new reissues I’ve purchased so far (tempted by Physical Graffiti, to be sure, primarily for Night Flight and to listen to Boogie With Stu sped up to 45 the way my sister and did way back when).

In my last entry in this occasional history, I made the claim that the Yardbirds were the most important band of the 60s in term of their lasting influence through the 70s. Why? The main reason is that three of the four most influential guitarists (and possibly musicians) that came out of rock and roll passed through this band: Jimmy Page went on to form Led Zeppelin; Clapton formed Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & the Dominoes before embarking on a prolific solo career; and Jeff Beck’s technique has been respected and imitated throughout rock music despite a less prolific/critically lauded output following his collaborations with Rod Stewart. Beck’s 70s power trio Beck, Bogart, and Appice possibly matched Cream for sheer brilliance.

Note: Most influential != greatest

The fourth would be Jimi Hendrix. We’ll get to him in a future post.

whiteboybluesI also discussed in the last post something of the love these bands had for the old blues artists. What I didn’t know is that many of them played with the blues greats when they toured England. I recently read Ian MacLagan’s autobiography. MacLagan was a keyboardist in a number of bands (including The Small Faces and The Faces (the latter of which featured Rod Stewart on vocals) with whom he’s most closely associated, the Rolling Stones, The New Barbarians, and in the last decade or so, Billy Bragg -Alas he passed away a couple of months ago. MacLagen got his start with an act called The Muleskinners. He discusses first a missed opportunity to back Howlin’ Wolf (the agent told them a date that was a week early and they had to hustle to get enough petrol to get back to London from Sheffield).

“We got another chance to play with The Wolf later though, when Marquee Artists brought him, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter over from the States. As a rule, the Yardbirds backed Sonny Boy, and if they weren’t available, the Authentics got the job. This pecking order for backing blues legends ended when it eventually reached The Muleskinners. We didn’t mind. We were more than honoured to get the chance to meet and play with such fabulous players. Let’s face it, we had a lot to learn and who better to learn it from than the greats?” (All the Rage, Kindle edition, Location 793.) )

Clapton’s path is interesting: He ditched the Yardbirds claiming they were abandoning their blues roots. Fair enough. His tenure in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers provides much evidence of his dedication to the form. The weird thing is, he took this side trip into psychedelia with Cream. Cream didn’t last long as a band (less than two years, IIRC), but they produced four or five classic albums. Cream’s bassist, Jack Bruce passed last year, though most thought drummer Ginger Baker would be the first to go. As with almost all the songs on Fresh Cream, Bruce supplied lead vocals. Blind Faith only released one, but it’s also six tracks of classics.

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