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Goodbye Zeptember, Hello Rocktober

posted Sep 30, 2018, 9:53 PM by Steve Sauer   [ updated Sep 30, 2018, 10:01 PM ]

“On This Day In Led Zeppelin History” is an online newsletter I started writing in 1998 and published daily for the next several years. In 2018, it wasn’t the 20th anniversary of my own newsletter that made me start publishing again. It was the 50th anniversary of the year Led Zeppelin came together, so I decided to revive the newsletter as a chronicle of how it all happened. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve posted so far this year…

Diamonds & golden anniversaries

On this day in 1963, a single featuring the guitar work of Jimmy Page landed at the top of the UK charts, where it remained for three weeks. The single was "Diamonds" by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, formerly the rhythm section of instrumental group The Shadows. “Fellow Epsom resident Glyn Johns had rode me in on this,” Page explains. Glyn: “I suggested that I might be able to get Jimmy some paying sessions, but initially he declined, saying he would lose his grant at school if it became known that he had an income.” | READ MORE | Published Jan. 2, 2018

Yardbirds '68

On this day in 1968, Jimmy Page's band The Yardbirds played the third date of their US tour, a concert at New York's Anderson Theatre that was recorded and has been repeatedly released on albums, both with and without the blessing of Yardbirds members. | READ MORE | Published March 30, 2018

Taking a Hold of Avron's Eyes

On this day in 1968, Jimmy Page’s final US tour with the Yardbirds was interrupted while the band stuck around New York for three days’ of recording sessions at Columbia Studios. Over three days, Epic Records A&R executive Manny Kellem served as producer for the recording of two songs per day. The pair recorded on this first day were “Taking a Hold on Me” and a first take of “Avron Knows,” neither of which was technically finished. | READ MORE | Published April 3, 2018

Blood Tangerine

On this day in 1968, the Yardbirds continued their studio recording sessions at Columbia Studios in New York, laying down another two songs. Whereas the two songs explored on the first day of sessions were fast electric songs, the two from the second day were markedly more relaxed and featured acoustic guitar. One of these songs would be rewritten as "Tangerine" on Led Zeppelin III. | READ MORE | Published April 4, 2018

Psychedelic ballrooms -- part 1

On this day in 1968, the Yardbirds recorded two more songs to cap off three days spent at Columbia Studios in New York. One was a cover song they had already begun performing as part of their live show, and the other was a song they’d already attempted earlier in the sessions. Newly introduced into the Yardbirds’ stage repertoire was the song “My Baby” first sung in 1966 by R&B singer Garnet Mimms. “We were certainly ‘Yardbirdizing’ it,” said bassist Chris Dreja. | READ MORE | Published April 5, 2018

Psychedelic ballrooms -- part 2

On this day in 1968, the Civil Rights Act was enacted into law, and Jimmy Page played with the Yardbirds at the Boston Tea Party in Massachusetts, with an opening set from supporting act the Steve Miller BandNow that it was understood that the Yardbirds were breaking up, they could enjoy playing together night after night on their final US tour. Immediately after their studio recording dates in New York, the Yardbirds began playing shows on a near-nightly basis. | READ MORE | Published April 11, 2018

Yardbirds at the Prom

On this day in 1968, the Yardbirds played at St. Xavier High School’s prom in Cincinnati. Jimmy Page had to ask what a prom was. | READ MORE | Published April 26, 2018

University daze

On this day in 1968, Jimmy Page may have gotten his first glimpse of a drummer he’d be thinking about recruiting for his new band later in the year. That drummer was B.J. Wilson, whose band Procol Harum was opening for the Yardbirds at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. | READ MORE | Published April 27, 2018

Yardbirds at the Fillmore

On this day in 1968, the Yardbirds’ final US tour reached the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. The Yardbirds, during Jimmy Page’s tenure with the band, enjoyed a history of playing in the City by the Bay whenever they ventured to the West Coast. | READ MORE | Published May 23, 2018

Yardbirds at the Shrine

On this day in 1968, John Bonham turned 20 years old, completely oblivious to the fact that the Yardbirds were even still together, let alone on a US tour and playing at the Shrine, let alone that their guitarist would be pursuing him in a matter of months. At this point, Jimmy Page was likewise unaware of Bonham and was not in any position to find out about him, just yet. By this time, the Band of Joy had newly split, and Bonzo had just about given up drumming. | READ MORE | Published May 31, 2018

Such an upheaval, so much hope

On this day in 1968, the Yardbirds — Jimmy Page along with three original members — played the final show of that group’s final American tour. Their last hurrah in the US took place in Montgomery, Alabama, on two consecutive days of Montgomery’s Big Spring Fair. | READ MORE | Published June 5, 2018

With a Little Help from My Friends

On this day in 1968, now that Jimmy Page was back in England following his final US tour with the Yardbirds, he was called in for a recording session. He was contributing lead guitar to Joe Cocker’s new cover version of a Beatles song from the year-old Sgt. Pepper’s album, “With a Little Help from My Friends.” | READ MORE | Published June 18, 2018

Steal Away

On this day in 1968, Robert Plant made a live appearance on a Tuesday away from his regular band, Obbstweedle. Whereas he was usually singing cover songs from the American West Coast with Obbstweedle, the 19-year-old was tonight specializing in blues vocals and harmonica, fronting Alexis Korner’s band at Hempstead Country Club in London. | READ MORE | Published June 26, 2018

Light and shade

On this day in 1968, while America was celebrating Independence Day, Jimmy Page was envisioning a new band he would be able to bring to America because he knew what kind of music he’d like to be playing. He had a sound in mind for his group, if only he could assemble the right people, a task he’d be undertaking immediately. | READ MORE | Published July 4, 2018

Total release

On this day in 1968, or thereabouts, 22-year-old John Paul Jones came home from another day of session work, feeling frustrated. On any given day, he’d be playing bass or keyboards, or arranging horn or string parts. It became routine and tedious for him, and it became obvious at home that he was seeking other avenues. John’s wife, Maureen, recognizing that her husband was at his wit’s end, presented him with a possible solution. | READ MORE | Published July 18, 2018

Could I do anything else?

On this day in 1968, Jimmy Page hit the road to check out the singer he’d been recommended, in person. It was Terry Reid who’d done the recommending, after he himself turned down Page’s offer to try out for his new band lineup. Reid had inked his a solo career and was about to open for the Rolling Stones, and Page wasn’t willing to wait around. So Reid recommended Robert Plant, the lead singer for Obs-Tweedle. | READ MORE | Published July 20, 2018

Bonzo, what a thrasher

On this day in 1968, or thereabouts, Jimmy Page was so thrilled with a fellow musician that he spent money placing a long-distance phone call to inform his manager. This marked a rare occasion, according to manager Peter Grant. “Jimmy rang me up,” he said. “I thought, this is something new, Jimmy calling me, spending money on the call. He said, ‘I saw a drummer, heard a drummer last night. He’s so unbelievable we’ve just got to get him.’ And it was John Bonham.” | READ MORE | Published Aug. 1, 2018

Regarding Bonzo

On this day in 1968, or thereabouts, John Bonham was mulling over an invitation to join the New Yardbirds. Money was an issue for Bonham, precisely at a time where he’d just begun making a decent living as the drummer for Tim Rose. This was shortly after Bonham nearly gave up drumming altogether, and now Bonham had several offers to weigh. The New Yardbirds was only one. | READ MORE | Published Aug. 7, 2018

Lots of silly grins

On this day in 1968, or thereabouts, the new four-piece band lineup just assembled by Jimmy Page rehearsed for the first time. Page often recalls getting everybody together at his boathouse in Pangbourne for their initial meeting. This would have been the first time for either Robert Plant or John Bonham to meet John Paul Jones, who was readying to depart from a wearying lifestyle filled with demanding hours as a studio musician. | READ MORE | Published Aug. 12, 2018

Three Week Hero

On this day in 1968, John Paul Jones was winding down an overbearing schedule of professional studio work. One of his last bookings, as musical director for P.J. Proby's album project, allowed all three of Jones's new bandmates to be booked as studio musicians, as well. | READ MORE | Published Aug. 25, 2018

Away from prying eyes

On this day in 1968, Jimmy Page and his hand-selected bandmates arrived in Denmark, ready to take their show on the road for the very first time. The live debut of the New Yardbirds was one day away, although their band name was advertised in Denmark without the word “New.” Audiences must have expected the Yardbirds but instead witnessed an unprecedented experiment in rock ’n’ roll. | READ MORE | Published Zeptember 6, 2018

Live debut

On this day in 1968, Led Zeppelin played their first show, as well as their second show, both of them billed in Denmark as the Yardbirds. Taking their new band on the road at two locations outside of Copenhagen, the band played to teen gatherings at after-school hangout areas. They had three to four weeks together between their first notes in private and their first show in public. In one interview, Jimmy Page estimates their total rehearsal time to have amounted to a mere 15 hours before their live debut. | READ MORE | Published Zeptember 7, 2018


On this day in 1968, Led Zeppelin’s initial tour of Scandinavia as the Yardbirds reached beyond Denmark and into Sweden, where for their first date the band were booked into an amusement park. Their first Swedish show was at Gröna Lund Amusement Park in Stockholm. | READ MORE | Published Zeptember 12, 2018

Feel that old time callin' me

On this day in 1968, the recording sessions for Led Zeppelin’s debut album continued at Olympic Sound Studios in London. A worksheet shared by Jimmy Page this week indicates that the sessions for the group still being called the Yardbirds began on the 25th of Zeptember, late on a Wednesday night. Studio 1 was booked for a start time of 11 p.m. on both of the first two recording dates. | READ MORE | Published Zeptember 27, 2018

As we move on from Zeptember and greet Rocktober, the story continues! Want it in your email inbox? Send a blank email to