Sunday, May 2, 2010

Never-before-seen Zep '69 footage: 'You Shook Me'

The West German TV show "Beat Club" filmed Led Zeppelin lip synching to two songs on March 27, 1969. Neither clip made it to air that year, but when "Whole Lotta Love" was big in early 1970, the TV show took its existing Led Zeppelin footage and spliced it together to the tune of that song. One full year and a day after the filming, an episode aired with this composite "Whole Lotta Love" video. After this, the original footage, of two songs from Led Zeppelin's first album, was then forgotten about for good.

Well, it has taken longer than 40 years, but both of the original videos have finally been leaked online, unedited from their original form. The first to appear was "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," which was published to YouTube in October 2007 and removed shortly thereafter, almost definitely due to copyright violation. That video can still be seen elsewhere.

Also long rumored to exist was "You Shook Me," now proven to exist with the upload of this YouTube video on April 29. It, too, may be removed shortly, so enjoy it while you can. Update: YouTube disabled the audio track on May 3 but kept the video intact. There is a message about the disabling:
NOTICE This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.

As was the case with "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," all four members of Led Zeppelin are playing along to the studio version of the track as heard on their first album. And because they never perform a song the same way twice, it's obvious that they're all miming their parts.

As "You Shook Me" begins, the camera is on Robert Plant, who should have started playing harmonica earlier than he did, only seconds in. No retake was necessary, however. You can also see John Bonham, oddly positioned not in his usual center place but on the left side of the screen, missing some cymbal crashes and inserting at least one where it doesn't belong.

Perhaps the most awkward moment of all can be claimed by John Paul Jones, who wasn't playing any keyboard instruments with any regularity in live performances until 1970. In this clip, he has to walk mid-song to take a new spot at an organ, give up playing his bass temporarily, and replicate an organ solo he might not have actually played more than once since he'd recorded it five months earlier.

On the other hand, Jimmy Page does a rather decent job of duplicating his guitar solo from the studio version. Moreover, the onstage chemistry between him and Plant is apparent at center stage.

It should be noted that not all the synchronization errors are Led Zeppelin's fault. The "You Shook Me" video appears to run faster than the audio itself, and so by the end of the clip, the visuals precede the sound by approximately a full second.

Credit goes to Gyozateisyoku, the YouTube user who uploaded this and 17 other rare classic rock TV performances this past month. Also receiving credit for unearthing this "You Shook Me" clip is one "Chris B.," a longtime member of the exclusive and esteemed trading circle Billy's Zep Phreaks Club (login and password authentication required). Club owner "BillyMacQ" shared a link to the video in a post to Led Zeppelin's official forum on April 30, crediting both players for the find.

See also this related post about the February 2009 upload of some 8mm footage shot at the Fillmore East on Jan. 31, 1969.

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