Pebbles on the Beach.



“There are always plenty of other fish in the sea.” Do people still really say that in the sincere hope of cheering up a close friend or family member who’s been jilted?

Alternatively: “Don’t worry there are lots of pebbles on the beach.”

Well I made a good, though perhaps not so scientific, investigation when I was on holiday. As a result, I can verify that there were very few fish in the sea (it was after all the Mediterranean). As for the pebbles on the beach, yes there were plenty of those and in a variety of different colours and shapes. You know what though, essentially they were all identical; smooth, hard, and uninteresting; “chips off the same block”.

Originally posted on 9 August 2007

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When Led Zeppelin Reunited and Crashed and Burned at Live Aid (1985)

I’ve tended to avoid reunion shows from my favorite bands of old, and I’ve missed some great performances because of it, I’m told, and also a few clunkers and forgettable nostalgia trips. But sometimes it really doesn’t matter how good or bad the band is ten or twenty years past their prime—or that one or more of their original members has left their mortal coil or shuffled off into retirement. It’s such a thrill for fans to see their heroes that they’ll overlook, or fail to notice, serious onstage problems.

The crowd of thousands at Philly’s JFK Stadium exploded  after “Rock and Roll,” Led Zeppelin’s opener to their 1985 Live Aid reunion gig (above), with Phil Collins and Chic’s Tony Thompson doubling on drum duties (because it takes two great drummers to equal one John Bonham, I guess). But according to the musicians themselves, the show was an absolute fail—so much so that Collins nearly walked offstage in the middle of the 20-minute set. “It was a disaster really,” he said in a 2014 interview, “It wasn’t my fault it was crap.”

Collins expands on the problems in his candid autobiography:

I know the wheels are falling off from early on in the set. I can’t hear Robert clearly from where I’m sat, but I can hear enough to know that he’s not on top of his game. Ditto Jimmy. I don’t remember playing ‘Rock and Roll,’ but obviously I did. But I do remember an awful lot of time where I can hear what Robert decries as ‘knitting’: fancy drumming…. you can see me miming, playing the air, getting out of the way lest there be a train wreck. If I’d known it was to be a two-drummer band, I would have removed myself from proceedings long before I got anywhere near Philadelphia.

As for the Zeppelin members proper, Plant and Page had no fond memories of the gig. “It was horrendous,” said Plant in 1988. “Emotionally, I was eating every word that I had uttered. And I was hoarse. I’d done three gigs on the trot before I got to Live Aid.” Page, writes Rolling Stone, “was handed a guitar right before walking onstage that was out of tune.” “My main memories,” he later recalled, “were of total panic.” Apparently, no one thought to ask John Paul Jones about the show.

Barely rehearsed (Jones arrived “virtually the same day as the show”) and with failing monitors ensuring the band could hardly hear themselves, they struggled through “Rock and Roll,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” The footage, which the band scrapped from the 2004 DVD release, doesn’t show them at their best, for sure, but it’s maybe not quite as bad as they remembered it either (see the full concert above).

In any case, Plant was so inspired that he tried to reunite the band, with Thompson back on drums, in secret rehearsals a few months later. The attempt was “embarrassing,” he’s since said. “We did about two days…. Jonesy played keyboards, I played bass. It sounded like David Byrne meets Hüsker Dü.” Now that is a reunion I’d pay good money to see.

22 years later, at London’s O2 Arena, the band was confident and totally on top of their game once again for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert, with Jason Bonham behind the kit. Probably their last performance ever, and it’s damned good. See “Black Dog” above and buy the full concert film here.

The clip below lets you see more than 90 minutes of Led Zeppelin reunion concerts. Beyond their Live Aid show, it includes performances at Atlantic Records’ 4oth anniversary (1988) and at the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame (1995).

Related Content:

Hear Led Zeppelin’s First Recorded Concert Ever (1968)

What Makes John Bonham Such a Good Drummer? A New Video Essay Breaks Down His Inimitable Style

Led Zeppelin Plays One of Its Earliest Concerts (Danish TV, 1969)

Jimmy Page Describes the Creation of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

When Led Zeppelin Reunited and Crashed and Burned at Live Aid (1985) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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The Hieronymus Bosch Demon Bird Caught Was Spotted Riding the New York City Subway the Other Day…

To me, the great promise of homeschooling is that one day your child might, on their own initiative, ride the New York City subways dressed in a homemade, needlefelted costume modeled on the ice-skating bird messenger from Hieronymus Bosch’s The Temptation of St. Anthony. Rae Stimson, aka Rae Swon, a Brooklyn-based artist who did just that […]

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William Shatner Is Releasing a Christmas Album with Iggy Pop & Henry Rollins : Get a First Listen to “Jingle Bells”

You know what they say: each year the Christmas season seems to start a little earlier. Here it’s not yet October, and already we’re hearing “Jingle Bells” — but then, this version doesn’t sound quite like any we’ve heard before. The song comes as the opening number on Shatner Claus: The Christmas Album, which promises exactly what it sounds like it does. Officially dropping on October 26th, it will contain, according to Consequence of Sound, William Shatner’s “unique take on 13 holiday staples,” and feature guest contributors like Iggy Pop on “Silent Night,” ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and former Black Flag frontman and all-around provocateur Henry Rollins on “Jingle Bells,” a collaboration you can stream just above.

You may not describe Shatner’s distinctive half-singing-half-speaking style as possessed of a great “range,” technically speaking, but who can doubt the formidable cultural range of his musical career? On his debut album The Transformed Man fifty years ago he covered the Beatles, ten years later he took on “Rocket Man,” and more recently he appeared on Dr. Demento’s punk album singing The Cramps’ “Garbage Man” with Weird Al Yankovic.

Shatner Claus demonstrates that the former Captain Kirk’s interest in punk rock hasn’t dissipated, and the pairing of him and no less an icon of that genre makes a certain kind of sense, seeing as both of them have spent decades blurring the performative line between singing and the spoken word, each in his own distinctive way.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise, then, that Shatner and Rollins are friends, and have been since they first recorded together on Shatner’s album Has Been in 2004. Rollins once described Shatner to rock site Blabbermouth as “extraordinarily friendly, a very energized guy” despite being three decades the  middle-aged Rollins’ senior. “He impresses me in that he’s a guy who’s really figured out what he likes,” especially football: “I’ve been to the Shatner house many times for dinner, for Super Bowl Sunday, for football games. I don’t watch football, but I like his friends. I’m a shy person. I don’t really go out of my way to hang out but I like him and his wife… and I like all the food he lays out.” The vast game-day spreads at chez Shatner have also given Rollins stories to tell at his spoken-word shows, and listening to Shatner Claus, you have to wonder: what must they have for Christmas dinner?

via Consequence of Sound

Related Content:

Dr. Demento’s New Punk Album Features William Shatner Singing The Cramps, Weird Al Yankovic Singing The Ramones & Much More

A Cult Classic: William Shatner Sings Elton John’s “Rocket Man” at 1978 SciFi Awards Show

William Shatner Sings Nearly Blasphemous Version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (1968)

Stream a Playlist of 68 Punk Rock Christmas Songs: The Ramones, The Damned, Bad Religion & More

Hear the 20 Favorite Punk Albums of Black Flag Frontman Henry Rollins

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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