Led Zeppelin -- "How Many More Times,'' Danish TV, 1969
It's part of Zep's "Lost Performances'' set from Copenhagen, but there's another "Lost Performances'' clip on the Internet that lumps together this Led Zeppelin show and another from the Doors on Danish television into one, and it's well worth the search, since you get an uninterrupted 57-minute groove without looking for another song link.
Of course, Zep had only been together for a few months after the breakup of the Yardbirds, and the Danish kids who file in to the TV studio may not have known just what they were in for, but it's amusing to see their polite and uncertain response for a group that would soon go on to conquer the world.
I like this version best because it doesn't go off on a tangent or some unending medley like some of their bootleg shows of that era (on one of those, singer Robert Plant wanders off into "Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush'').
By the way, this is another song Jimmy Page and the boys "borrowed'' from his Yardbirds days. During their first tours, about half of Zeppelin's shows were Yardbirds retreads. Check their version of "Dazed and Confused'' from this Danish TV show against the one above from the Yardbirds, which came almost exactly a year earlier.
James Gang/Joe Walsh, "Walk Away'' -- From German TV Beat Club, July 1971
Almost eerie, but here you see proof that Joe Walsh beat Kurt Cobain to that whole grunge look by about 15 years. Walsh sells the performance thoroughly, playing with eyes slammed shut and furrowing his brow probably 100 times during the song. You can almost hear his mom hollering: "Stop it! Your face is going to stick that way!''
Chose this selection out of many because it includes the meaty intro. Jimmy Fox (mistakenly identified as "Jimmy Vox'' in other versions of this same video) pounds the drums harder than anyone this side of Zeppelin's John Bonham. Sounds like Fox uses tiny baseball bats to hammer his kit.
Notice how many of these clips come from European TV? How is it they were so far ahead in production values for rock shows?
Sparks, "The Number One Song in Heaven'' -- Music video, 1990s
I like Sparks. So sue me. Heaven knows, they're not for everyone.
This is far from being the best song for the inimitable brothers Mael (who are still around today), but probably their best video, and that's saying something.
The storyline and wonderful Paris setting work well with the song, which was rerecorded from the original that came during their venture into disco in the late 1970s. It was one of several musical phases Ron and Russell Mael went through, including one that got them on SNL in the '80s.
This video mirrors the Film Noir "The Third Man'' from 1949, with Ron Mael captivatingly convincing in the role of the devil.
Doors, "Light My Fire'' -- Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, 1968
Sure, I knew about the Doors growing up. Everybody did. But I must confess that all I knew was the moody, mercurial Jim Morrison. I didn't fully appreciate the masterful musicianship of the others in the group, and that was my loss.
Ray Manzarek's talents are nothing short of remarkable, using his left hand to play bass notes on one keyboard while simultaneously using his right hand for another keyboard. Sometimes, like here, he even sings a bit.
Guitarist Robby Krieger wrote many of the group's hit songs, like this one, which gives Manzarek and Krieger the chance to stretch their solos out a bit and show their talents. Drummer John Densmore also contributes quite a bit across the board, too.
Finally, we get to see some footage shot in the good old U.S. of A. -- and it's in stereo! Warning: Morrison repeatedly utters a vulgarity toward the end (can you imagine that?).
Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Midnight Special'' -- Royal Albert Hall, London, 1970
CCR has long been one of my all-time favorites (I bought every one of their albums growing up), and this performance captures them at a good point in time. It's after a lengthy string of hits, but before the departure of Tom Fogerty, John's brother, who left in 1971 to pursue a solo career.
It's a shame John never reconciled with his brother -- who died in 1990 -- or bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford. When CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, John Fogerty refused to perform with his surviving bandmates because he felt they didn't support him during his extended legal battles with recording executives. But none of that ill will is present here or in the rest of this concert -- just good tunes.
It's amazing how well Creedence mirrors its studio sound on stage. When listening to songs from this performance or other bootleg CDs, sometimes the only indication they're live are the howls of feedback out of John Fogerty's amp, which is cranked to "kill.''
I prefer this video version of "Midnight Special'' over others available out there that feature close-ups that are way-way-too-close-up. You can almost spot their nose hair.
@tag:Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.