Classic Rock Review

The home of old record and bootleg reviews…

Led Zeppelin – Listen To This Eddie (LA Forum, 21st June 1977)

From dictionary.senseagent.com

The concert was recorded by a member of the audience, Mike Millard, and was later released illegally on vinyl without the permission of the band or the taper. The original vinyl issue of the show was released on Rock Solid Records, and featured the first 60 minutes of the concert, from “The Song Remains the Same” through to “Ten Years Gone”.

The cover art for the album featured the same group image of the band member’s faces from the back cover of Led Zeppelin III, along with the mysterious obelisk from the cover of Presence. In the 1990s the complete recording of the show became available on CD through various releases, with most of them using the same “Eddie” title. Millard’s recording remains one of the best-known Led Zeppelin bootlegs.

Listen To This Eddie is highly regarded amongst collectors not only because of the highly energetic performance by the band but also because it was captured in exceptionally good audio quality.[2] This can largely be attributed to the dedication and experience of Millard, who by 1977 had already made several bootleg recordings of other concerts performed at the Los Angeles Forum. It is believed that he recorded this particular show from row six.

The complete Millard recording lasts 190 minutes and includes the entire concert (including encores). It was the first show of six at the Los Angeles Forum by Led Zeppelin, which came towards the end of its 1977 North American concert tour. Millard’s recording of the opening number from this concert, “The Song Remains the Same”, was included in the promos menu of the Led Zeppelin DVD.

This is regarded as one of the best concerts that the band ever played, with Jimmy Page performing lengthy solos and John Bonham playing heavily throughout, hitting triple fillings on many of the songs. Robert Plant is very talkative during the show and he is in a good voice throughout the performance. The band is also open for lengthy improvisations, as evidenced on “No Quarter”, on which John Paul Jones guides the band to multiple instrumental jams.

The title “Listen To This Eddie” is allegedly a reference to Eddie Van Halen of the band Van Halen, who in interviews criticised the playing ability of Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page.[3] In particular, in an interview that Van Halen had given in January 1981 to Guitar World magazine, he was quoted as saying “Jimmy Page is an excellent producer. Led Zeppelin 1 and Led Zeppelin 2 are classics. As a player, he’s very good in the studio. I never saw him play well live. He’s very sloppy. He plays like he’s got a broken hand and he’s two years old. But if you put out a good album and play like a two-year-old live. What’s the purpose?”[4]

However, according to a Shockwaves Magazine article by Pat O’Connor entitled “The Ten Greatest Bootlegs”,[5] “Eddie” in the bootleg title refers to audio engineer Eddie Kramer, and not to Eddie Van Halen, implying that even Kramer would be impressed by such a quality bootleg recording. However, the article in which this point appears provides no reference to back up the claim.

Obviously, as bootleggers frequently used cryptic titles on their releases, the reality is that only the individuals behind Rock Solid Records know the true meaning of the title. However, given that the label was formed in 1985[6], and that this time period coincided with Van Halen’s prominence in popular music, perhaps it would make more sense that the title indeed refers to Van Halen and not to Kramer.

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November 19, 2010 - Posted by | Led Zeppelin Listen To This Eddie | ,

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