Wednesday, October 10, 2007

High ticket demand in London

On this day in 1976, high demand for tickets to a Led Zeppelin event in London prompted organizers to alter their plan.

The occasion was the British premiere of Led Zeppelin's feature film, The Song Remains the Same, which captured live performances and unique glimpses of the members of the band and its entourage in their natural states.

On Oct. 9, advance tickets to a screening of the film on Oct. 22 went on sale. Tickets sold so well, in fact, that a second theater in England's capital city was acquired to accommodate the number of people wanting to witness the film.

Led Zeppelin thrived on large events, and fans craved more. Unfortunate circumstances had made a Led Zeppelin tour unlikely in 1976. Robert Plant's unsteady footing, the result of a life-threatening car accident the previous August, made him avoid concert stages that year.

Since it had been a year and five months since Led Zeppelin's last shows before any wide audience, fervent fans craving the sight of the onstage routine made it inevitable that not one, as originally planned, but two London theaters would be packed for the band's film debut.

Four days before advance tickets went on sale, British television viewers were treated to the film's rendition of the song "Black Dog" in their homes. The group's rare TV appearance, albeit a prerecorded one, was on the program Old Grey Whistle Test, the BBC's highest rated music television show.

"Led Zeppelin never did television either in the States or in the U.K.," said the program's founding producer, Mike Appleton, in an audio commentary prepared in 2001 for a DVD of the series. "It was a principle that had been put down by Peter Grant, their manager, and I guess it gave them a sort of mystical appeal because people would only see them in concert, never saw them anywhere else."

Part two of this newsletter edition from Oct. 10, 2007, also focused on high ticket demand in London, but a more recent occurrence of it. Part two, "Bringing it up to date," explains how history was repeating itself that year.

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