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Led Zeppelin United Kingdom Tour 1968

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Advertisement in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle for Led Zeppelin's (still called 'The Yardbirds') first ever UK concert, at the Mayfair Ballroom.

The 1968 tour of the United Kingdom was a concert tour of the United Kingdom by the English rock band, Led Zeppelin. The tour commenced on 4 October and completed on 20 December 1968, although there exists unconfirmed reports the band appeared in additional shows during this time.

Overview

For these early shows, the band were billed as 'The Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page' or 'New Yardbirds', despite the fact that Jimmy Page was now the only surviving link with the previous band. Page later said:

We realised we were working under false pretences, the thing had gone quickly beyond where the Yardbirds had left off. We all agreed there was no point in retaining the New Yardbirds tag so when we got back from Scandinavia we decided to change the name [of the band]. It was a fresh beginning for us all.[1]

Press releases eventually advertised that they would make their debut under the name 'Led Zeppelin' on 25 October at the University of Surrey, however posters announcing this concert mistakenly persisted to list them as the New Yardbirds.[2] The Yardbirds at this stage had become neglected by the mainstream UK press, and only scant media acknowledgement existed during this tour which only exacerbated the problem, despite the revitalised line-up.[3]

During the first half of the tour, the band decamped to Olympic Studios in London to record their eponymous debut album, within 30 hours on a budget of only £1750 (including artwork), with sessions initially starting on 27 September, assisted by engineer Glyn Johns.[4] According to singer Robert Plant, in a Rolling Stone interview:

We made no money on the first tour. Nothing at all. Jimmy [Page] put in every penny that he'd gotten from the Yardbirds and that wasn't much. Until Peter Grant took them over, they didn't make the money they should have made. So we made the album and took off on a tour with a road crew of one [Kenny Pickett].[5]

The band's inaugural London concert at the Roundhouse at Chalk Farm, on 9 November, doubled as singer Robert Plant's wedding reception with Maureen Wilson.[6]

Concert set list

Songs typically played on this tour included many blues and Yardbirds standards such as 'Train Kept A-Rollin'', 'Smokestack Lightning', 'I Can't Quit You Baby', 'You Shook Me', 'White Summer', and 'For Your Love'. The concerts included soon to be released tracks from their debut album, including 'Dazed and Confused', 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You', 'How Many More Times', and 'Communication Breakdown'. Other songs thrown in as extended medleys included Elmer Gantry's 'Flames' and Garnett Mimm's 'As Long As I Have You'.[7]

A typical set list for the tour was:

  1. 'Train Kept A-Rollin'' (Tiny Bradshaw, Howie Kay, Lois Mann)
  2. 'For Your Love' (Graham Gouldman)
  3. 'I Can't Quit You Baby' (Willie Dixon)
  4. 'As Long As I Have You' (Garnet Mimms)
  5. 'Dazed and Confused' (Jimmy Page)
  6. 'Communication Breakdown' (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham)
  7. 'You Shook Me' (Willie Dixon, J. B. Lenoir)
  8. 'White Summer'/'Black Mountain Side' (Jimmy Page)
  9. 'Pat's Delight' (John Bonham)
  10. 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Anne Bredon)
  11. 'How Many More Times' (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page)

Notes

  1. Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, Revised. London: Omnibus Press, 20. ISBN 1-84449-659-7. 
  2. Welch, Chris (2002). Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin. London: Omnibus Press, 65. ISBN 0-7119-9195-2. 
  3. Shadwick, Keith (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968-1980. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 41. ISBN 0-87930-871-0. 
  4. Tolinski, Brad and Di Benedetto, Greg (January 1998). "Light and Shade: A Historic Look at the Entire Led Zeppelin Catalogue Through the Eyes of Guitarist/Producer/Mastermind Jimmy Page". Guitar World 18 (1): 100. ISSN 1045-6295. Retrieved on 5 June 2009.
  5. Crowe, Cameron (March 1975). "The Durable Led Zeppelin: A Conversation with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant". Rolling Stone 1 (182): 35. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved on 5 June 2009.
  6. Williamson, Nigel (2014). “The Story: The Balloon Goes Up”, The Dead Straight Guide to Led Zeppelin. London: Red Planet Publishing, 50. ISBN 978-1-9059-5952-5. 
  7. Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, Revised. London: Omnibus Press, 20. ISBN 1-84449-659-7.