Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Robert Plant

Robert Plant turns 62 today, and to mark the occasion, let’s revisit some classic Led Zeppelin footage.

In the midst of their spring ’69 tour, the band rolled into TV Byen in Copenhagen for a scheduled tv performance. On March 17, Led Zeppelin rocked Denmark with a four-song set for broadcast; all were included on the must-have 2003 DVD compilation.

“We always felt very ambivalent about our performances on TV,” said Plant, in the liner notes for the DVD. “No matter how well you performed, you were always at the mercy of the in-house studio engineers, most of whom had no idea how to record a live band like us.”

The band killed in front of a small studio audience. “Other big name groups released singles, therefore they did a lot of television, but we didn’t,” said John Paul Jones. “In Denmark, the radio wasn’t very good and that TV show was about the only outlet they had. It was probably the one TV show we ever did that we really enjoyed.”

The appearance wasn’t without controversy: Countess Eva von Zeppelin, the grand-daughter of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin (1838-1917), tried to have the performance shut down, upset over the use of the family name by the group. Led Zeppelin attempted to smooth things over by having tea with the Countess following the show; the meeting reportedly went well, but the Countess flipped out later when she saw the cover for the band’s debut album, which had just been released.

Upon returning to Denmark the following year, the band tried to appease the Countess by changing their name for their shows in the region: they were billed as The Nobs – a pun on the name of their promoter (Claude Nobs) and a reference to “a person of wealth or high social standing.”

At the time of this performance, Robert was just 20 years old.

Communication Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin (Remastered)

Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown
TV-Byen/Danmarks Radio - Gladsaxe, Denmark – March 17, 1969

Dazed Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin (Remastered)

Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused
TV-Byen - Gladsaxe, Denmark – March 17, 1969

Babe Babe I'm Gonna Leave You - Led Zeppelin (Remastered)

Led Zeppelin – Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You
TV-Byen - Gladsaxe, Denmark – March 17, 1969

How How Many More Times - Led Zeppelin (Remastered)

Led Zeppelin – How Many More Times
TV-Byen - Gladsaxe, Denmark – March 17, 1969