Led Zeppelin make their TV debut with this powerful performance in 1969
In 1969 the musical behemoth that was Led Zeppelin was just beginning to fill its own lungs with the gasps of every audience that they came across. From their very first gig in Gladsaxe, just a few short months before, the band’s growing power had continued to gather pace and had garnered them a fierce reputation.
When the band returned in March of 1969 to give a special TV performance, their television debut no less, Led Zeppelin were already a force to be reckoned with. They give the curiously quiet crowd an intense introduction to the future of rock and roll. It’s some of their best work on screen.
On March 17th, 1969, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones took to the TV-Byen studio in Gladsaxe, Denmark, to give one hell of a performance. The band were merely a few months into their journey following Jimmy Page’s departure from The Yardbirds when they found themselves in front of the imposing television cameras.
The band had already released their debut record Led Zeppelin in America but the LP was yet to have a real impact in the UK. The band would play four tracks from that album and provide everyone who listened or saw them with four reasons to pick up the record on their next trip to the record shop.
The band would give a massive performance of what would become Led Zeppelin staples, ‘Communication Breakdown,’ ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,’ and ‘How Many More Times.’ While the crowd is muted throughout the band’s immense power and mastery of the instruments is clear from the first notes. Confident and calm they deliver the future of rock and roll.
Led Zeppelin would not yet be the stadium-filling behemoths of the future but would still employ some of the on-stage theatrics that would litter the later shows. Plant is as expressive and elaborate in front of 20 people as he would be in front of 20,000. Jimmy Page even employs the use of a violin bow for his guitar solo, a move that would send crowds wild in the latter days of the band.
The footage is not only memorable for it being their debut appearance on television but also because it is one of the rare times you will see Jimmy Page performing with a guitar other than a Gibson Les Paul. Page is playing the songs with the 1959 Fender Telecaster that had been a gift from Jeff Beck.
Page painted a dragon on it and used the instrument during The Yardbirds’ days. This would be one of the last times Page would use the guitar, barring its appearance in 1971 on ‘Stairway To Heaven’ iconic solo.
The iconic performance will go down as the first real introduction to Led Zeppelin and their heavy, distorted and masterful new sound. Led Zeppelin changed rock and roll and here was the start of it. Watch below as Led Zeppelin make their TV debut in 1969.