Services like Google Video and YouTube provide access to thousands of music videos showing musicians both past and present. There’s never been a better time for discovering rare music videos and live footage of great artists. Often such influential events and concerts have been captured by amateur film-makers. Although the quality of a recording may be poor, it’s not the most important factor for the viewer. Far more important is the opportunity to glimpse a moment in history that allows new insights and a deeper appreciation of the artist. I like to think the widespread availability of this material will at least rekindle an interest in past musicians, writers and performers.
When it comes to live performances, Led Zeppelin were masters of the stage, producing a level of excitement and spontaneity rarely matched by other bands. Early footage is particularly interesting because it conveys a compelling sense of something new and exciting happening. Watching these early performances, it’s easy to see why Led Zeppelin became one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. To date, the group has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. The following resources will help you to explore the music of Led Zeppelin through the magic of live performance. As an introduction I’ve chosen one particular song, a flexible and pivotal piece of music that provides a level of communication for everyone to converge upon.
Dazed and Confused
The first three videos mentioned below all feature the same song, "Dazed and Confused". Jake Holmes originally recorded the idea on his album The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes, released in June 1967. The Yarbirds re-worked the song having seen him perform it while supporting them at a gig in Greenwich Village on August 25, 1967.
Beginning with the Yarbirds we can see how Jimmy Page’s connection with the song eventually became a centerpiece for Led Zeppelin. In each of the videos he uses a violin bow to play the guitar as his trademark performance. Successive live versions of the song became more elaborate as the band developed.
1) Yardbirds Featuring Jimmy Page Live in Baton Rouge, French-TV 1967.
Jimmy Page plays the guitar with a violin bow during "Dazed and Confused". The setlist includes Train Kept A Rollin’, Dazed And Confused, and Goodnight Sweet Josephine.
2) Led Zeppelin Supershow – Staines, England Tuesday March 25, 1969 (7 min 34 sec.)
A live performance of "Dazed and Confused" with Jimmy Page using a violin bow on a Telecaster before launching into a blinding solo.
3) French Variety Show – Venue Antenne Culturelle Du Kremlin-Bicetre Thursday June 19, 1969. (11 min 45 sec)
Emerging from backstage the band immediately launch into "Communication Breakdown" in front of a passive and seated French audience. Jimmy Page plays ripping lead guitar parts and uses a wah-wah pedal in the later stages. The second song, a cut down version of "Dazed and Confused", begins with the sound of Jimmy Page using a violin bow on his Les Paul in a groaning question and answer exchange with vocalist Robert Plant imitating the guitar sounds. The band further develop this theme with drums and bass supplying a driving rhythm for the excellent guitar solos and wailing vocal performance. The final section of the video shows what appears to be a sound-check of "Communication Breakdown" with the main focus of the camera on the genius of John Bonham.
4) Led Zeppelin and Keith Moon – Los Angeles Forum, Jun 23, 1977.(9 min 43 sec)
Amateur video showing the guys enjoying themselves with clips of Jimmy using a violin bow, Keith on drums, Robert on drums, John on drums with Keith on tympani, Robert finishes by saying "LA, it’s been very funny, goodnight!" Keith Moon has been attributed with the idea that lead to the name Led Zeppelin.
For more info about this legendary performance and a breakdown of the clips in RealVideo format see http://www.led-zeppelin.com/spotlight/keithmoon77.html
Songs include; Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dic.
5) Stairway to Heaven – (11 min 9sec)
Robert Plant begins with the statement " I think this is a song of hope" and then we hear the magical sound of that guitar chord progression. Although it is one of the most requested songs on radio the original track has never been released as a single. Wikipedia: Stairway to Heaven
A selection of video clips including Celebration Day (Live – 1979), Rain Song (Live – 1979),White Summer (Live – 1979), Hot Dog (Live – 1979), Black Dog (Live – 1995). All available via Google Video.
A collection of 24 videos dating from 1970-1980 including live concert footage, interviews, studio sessions and promos. The site also provides a videography of officially-released and rare clips.
Currently features a mixed selection of clips a couple of which show footage of Led Zeppelin live; Pittsburgh 7.24.73 and L.A. Home movie film 6.26.77.
The most active site on the planet for music videos is YouTube (how long will it last?). Here are some direct search links:
Discovering More Music Videos On YouTube
Music Thing – lists of interesting video spots that can be found via the following links.
pHinnWeb Filter – two nice collections of hand-picked music videos.
Led Zeppelin Resources
Experts: Led Zeppelin provides answers to the questions.