9 comments on “1970′s Historic & Classic Rock Albums . . . . . . . . . . LED ZEPPELIN . . . LED ZEPPLIN III . . . . . . . . . . . . October 5, 1970

  1. Pingback: Top 79 Historic & Classic 1970s Rock Albums | 00individual

  2. An historic album and a surprising departure from LZ’s first two records. Dazzling acoustic guitar work, enigmatic lyrics, understated production – an acid soaked, remarkable record! For many years after LZ 1 I’d get flashbacks when listening to it but III is my favorite LZ album (even more than IV). I was fortunate enough to see them five times between ’68 and ’73. The first time though, as with everything ,was the best.

    Their first album had just been released and it was Zeppelin’s first tour of the US and they were playing at the Fillmore East. Tickets were impossible to get but I had a friend who seemed to know everyone. This friend was similar to the Penny Lane character in the Cameron Crowe movie Almost Famous.

    Before getting to the story of the Zep concert let me say that there always seemed to be a Penny Lane in everyone’s life back then. Girls that moved about, getting to know everyone , spreading the word, almost like a town crier or Joanie Appleseed. These remarkable souls were responsible for spreading the essence of the counterculture from coast to coast. There ought to be a monument to those wonderful girls.

    Back to Zep in ’68. We arrived ticketless at the Fillmore. The East Village, like a panel from an R. Crumb Mr. Natural underground commix strip, was teeming with every variety of street urchin. The always present man selling black helium balloons was a familiar presence to the denizens of St Marks Place; there were toothless speed freaks talking to apparitions, young toughs prowling, wizened neighborhood veterans, freaks hawking entrées to altered states and someone that I call “the orchestrator” – a twenty something dyed in the wool freak who had his finger on the pulse of the street. People would come up to him and pass on information, like when a young kid would walk past the orchestrator he’d tell the kid to let so-and-so know that he wanted to talk to him. When a teenager whispered to him that a friend had been busted the orchestrator assured the teen that he was already working on it and the friend “would be out by tonight”. There was no menace in the mien of the orchestrator – he was cool, connected and in control, he was the link for the neighborhood’s elements. The street drama was vivid and entrancing. I wanted to see Zep but this scene was worth the trip to the city!

    Waiting at the closed front doors of the Fillmore a fellow freak offered to sell me some acid. Something you should never do in Greenwich Village was to buy drugs from strangers. Tourism spawned a cottage industry in Greenwich Village with new age grifters whose full time job was scamming people into paying $20 for an ounce of oregano! When this guy made the offer to me the look on my face told him that I was not a naive tourist. He knew that his offer was something to be skeptical of but he told me that he was going into the concert and I could look him up if I felt that I’d been ripped off.

    Through my friend Betsy’s connections, she managed to get four of us in to the sold out show for free! I succumbed to reassurances and bought the acid which I split with my high school friend Wayne. Wayne had just returned from a six month sojourn where he spent some of that time tripping with Dr. Tim on an Indian reservation in Florida. I can’t remember who opened for Zep but by the time they came on so did the acid and both were amazing!

    Plant and Page wore different colored satin outfits; I had never seen such an outrageous performance. It was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. Jagger’s stage character is fabricated faux fey but compared to P&P’s overtly sexual antics, Mic seemed like an altar boy. As a young 18 year old I thought that this was the type of thing my mother warned me to stay away from! Glad I didn’t!

    The Jeff Beck band was favored over LZ by many music aficionado ‘s that I knew. It was argued by purists that Zep was bastardizing the blues or that Plant never let the music breath or that Page used production techniques to give the impression of speed but to me it was obvious by the reaction to that performance that the haters had some rethinking to do. The audience that night at the Fillmore was almost out of control and adherence to blues traditions was the furthest thing from their mind.

    What impressed me the most was how the group didn’t stick to the format of the songs as recorded on LZ lp#1. They didn’t try to duplicate something that couldn’t effectively be played live. The improvisation, the extended solos, the interplay between P&P was what made the show special to me. I got a kick out of it when they’d segue from one of their songs into the Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth or to some lyrics from a Robert Johnson song.

    Up to that point in time I’d never seen anyone besides the man himself playing a Gibson Les Paul. Page hunched over from the weight of the guitar played it like his fingers were soaked in oil. Considering the sound system and the less than ideal acoustics at the theater, they sounded rather clean – LOUD but with controlled distortion. The performance of Dazed and Confused was a show stopper with Page’s instrumental break using a violin bow to a spacey effect, coming just as I was peaking – lift off successful, nirvana achieved!

    They ran through every song from their recently released first album and played several cuts by other artists. It was such a memorable show that I didn’t mind that my ears were ringing for the rest of the night. Sometime during the performance the guy that sold me the acid approached me to ask how it was, my ear to ear smile was his answer.

    Led Zeppelin’s first US tour, seeing them free at the Fillmore East and being sold grade A acid by a stranger in Greenwich Village made this an epic night!

    Never have friends been as important as those that I had in the 60’s. I lost touch with Betsy sometime after we went to the opening of the Woodstock movie together in NYC. My friend Wayne went to hippie heaven a couple of years ago as a result of a fatal embolism. As time passes and the years seem shorter, I’m reminded of the great value of friendship.

    During my 62 years I’ve had many experiences but few have had as much impact as when peace & love ruled this planet. The ritual of sacrament sharing formed connections whose lasting effects have embossed an imprint on my heart that lingers still and will – forever. Peace

  3. Pingback: 1970′s Historic & Classic Rock Albums . . . . . . . . . . . . #1 BEST YEAR for ROCK ALBUM RELEASES – 1970! | 00individual

  4. Pingback: 1970′s Historic & Classic Rock Albums . . . . . . . . . . 00INDIVIDUAL’s EXEGESIS | 00individual

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