Led Zeppelin Revisited – Their 40th Year Anniversary at Madison Square Garden
It’s been over seven years since I published my blog post recollecting my experience seeing Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 11, 1977. With the 40th anniversary of the concert, I thought it would be a good time reflect on the post as well as publish some additional images from the concert.
A Successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Experiment
One of the reasons I wanted to publish my Led Zeppelin photos was to create a concrete example of Search Engine Optimization I could share and demonstrate to clients. The major part of the post was creating “authentic content” – a long-form narrative about the concert that weaved in specific keyword phrases in a natural way. In addition, I annotated and labeled the photos also with specific keyword phrases. Three months after I published my blog post I got an e-mail from the webmaster at LedZeppelin.com.
Hi, Would it be possible to see all of your 1977 Led Zeppelin photos? Great stuff. Best, Sam Rapallo www.ledzeppelin.com official webmaster / administrator
As you can imagine, this was very exciting. I asked Sam how he learned about my photos.
I had somehow stumbled upon your site through Google.
Bingo! This is what I was looking for!
Today, if you do a search for “Jimmy Page Madison Square Garden,” you will see that one of my photos of Jimmy Page is number 14 in the list (as of 6/11/17). A second photo from the blog post is ranked 34th.
On Bing, these two photos are ranked 7th and 15th.
This is absolutely stunning.
I am essentially an unknown photographer with a Led Zeppelin blog post that only has about 4,600 views, yet two of my Jimmy Page photos rank very high in both major search engine’s organic search results. This is a clear demonstration of the power of authentic content sparkled with on-target keywords.
Here’s a link to my photos on pages 43 and 44 at LedZeppelin.com. LedZeppelin.com continues to add images to this section, so the actual pages my shots will be on will change over time. I absolutely love seeing all the other photos from the same show. It’s great to view the concert from another person’s perspective.
After publishing the original blog post, I was surprised and very pleased to find an audio recording of the concert available on the Intenet.
Incredibly, there’s even some 8mm movie footage from the concert available on YouTube (Led Zeppelin 6/11/1977 New York Super Rare 8mm Color Footage Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). What’s even more incredible is that I believe I may have taken a picture of the person taking this footage. You can clearly see someone with a movie camera in the audience (the tell-tale two lenses on the front of the camera can be easily seen), and the vantage point lines up well when you watch the footage. I’ve left a comment on YouTube to see if the camera operator is still around. Very cool!
Drew Stawin Photography
Drew Stawin Photography
One of the great “unintended consequences” of publishing my Led Zeppelin post, fueled by a large amount of genuine luck, was meeting Drew Stawin.
One of the shots that was selected for posting on LedZeppelin.com was a “throw away” shot of the stage before the show. Soon after my images were up on LedZeppelin.com, Drew just happened to be on the LedZeppelin.com website looking at photos from the show (timing was important – any sooner and my shots wouldn’t have been there). He noticed something very special about that photographed, and decided to send me an e-mail.
It turns out this “throw away” shot was a picture of him!
The full story of him getting tickets to the concert and taking pictures of it is absolutely amazing. You can read it on his Facebook post. Not only is the story remarkable, but his photos from the show are a must-see!
That Damn Piano!
That Damn Piano!
Looking back over the pictures I remember now what a pain that grand piano was. It cut off a major portion of the view of the stage. I did move to the right of our seats to take some shots from more in front of the stage, but I didn’t stay there very long.
It’s fascinating to compare the resolution and image quality of these 40-year old pictures to what cameras can deliver today. I’m so used to modern-day cameras that I actually found myself frustrated with the low-quality nature of these images – almost wanting to will the photos to be higher quality. My brain is dying for more pixels and increased dynamic range.
So, even though these images are not spectacular, some even blurry or slightly out of focus, I thought it would be fun to share them. They are a glimpse into the past, capturing a moment in time that cannot ever be recreated.
Thanks to Linda
After publishing this post, Linda Schimke sent me photos of the Led Zeppelin program sold during the 1977 tour. I’ve attached them to the end of the photo gallery below. Thanks Linda!
I stumbled across this article from a suggested post on FB. What is cool about that is that I am friends with Drew Stawin, who you mention. That friendship was established through another FB friend. He then posted his photos of that tour and has since posted other memorabilia. I saw that tour in Minneapolis! The most incredible concert I have attended. I still have the tour book. I find it so incredible to actually reach others who have shared that experience across the country. 🙂
Hi Linda! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the tour book from that show (I *KNOW* I would have been too cheap to purchase one – I may have purchased a tee-shirt from on the street though, but I can’t seem to remember).
I just love that Internet made all the connections possible. It’s been fun to develop a great friendship with Drew. Great guy.
Hello. Thank you for having the on-site to at least save and preserve a historical moment. I went June 8th had to meet my friends who left without me due to work. What a great time to be 18 years old
Thanks Mitchell. Glad you found the images so you could re-live the moment!
I was at the Madison Square Garden concert. Still the best concert ever,,,,,
These are all great photos. I was supposed to be at this Kingdome show in ’77. I was 11 years old and all my friends were there but my grandparents made special plans for me to babysit my 3 nephews on a weekend vacation to the Oregon coast. I remember at 8pm that night of the concert thinking to myself; “Right now the lights are going down and that thrill everyone knows about is rising through the concert hall. All my pals are there and I’m here stuck in this shitty motel room with my 3 nephews and life is hell…” At 11 I was already a quite good guitar player and the intense sense of loss I felt was palpable… I decided to sneak into my grandpa’s Wild Turkey Whiskey and my grandpa discovered my crime when he awoke and we all got a whipping. Later that year I saw Aerosmith, Jeff Beck and Rick Derringer at the Kingdome. And Queen at the Seattle Center Coliseum in ’80. My friend and I met Brian May after the Queen show and that was probably the best rock concert I’ve ever witnessed. Thanks for these great pictures.
Thanks Linda for the great story! Glad you liked the photos. Meeting Brian May must have been a real treat.
Please correct the spelling of Drew’s name. The w is missing. YIKES I hate that when that happens. Thanks for publishing the post and I will send a picture of the tour book, if you tell me where to send it.
Hi Elliot, just happened to get here from a video on Youtube that references your LZ photos.
I work on digital marketing and I found this to be absolutely brilliant!
Thanks so much for the great feedback.
I was 16 and from Long Island and was given a ticket for the opening night show on 6/7/77 by a girl who’s parents wouldn’t let her go. When I arrived to my nosebleed seat her girlfriend who i had a crush on had the other ticket, and was a doll, said hello to me. As soon as I looked around and saw how far from the stage we were I said to her “c’mon, let’s sneak down front” as I’d done it at a few times here before. She looked at me horrified and said “No Way”, so I looked around, then looked at her and said “See Ya” and jumped over the wall and worked my way all the way down to one section up from the floor right next to the stage where I found one empty seat where I managed to stay for the whole concert! It was by far the greatest concert of my life! I saw that girl in school later and she was so mad at me she never talked to me ever again, there have been many girls since then but only one Led Zeppelin! Long Live Led Zeppelin, Long Live Rock and Roll!!!
Sounds like it was a good trade-off. 🙂
Today, down on the floor of the Garden (and other venues) the staff is pretty good at keeping out folks who are trolling for an open seat, but I’m sure one could do it at some of the other levels.
That reminds me, later that same summer as the Led Zeppelin concert, I saw Yes at Madison Square Garden. Before the concert, two guys sat down next to us and struck up a conversation saying they had sneaked into the show. We thought that was amazing and asked them how they did it (they didn’t tell us). They wanted to see our tickets. We were convinced they wanted to keep our tickets so they could claim the seats as their own, so we eventually asked them to “move on,” and they did.
i remember a year after i saw the song remains the same film seeing advertized in the ny times in a big ad concerts west presents an evening with led zeppelin june 7 8 10 11 13 14 madison square garden how i wish i was goddamn there but i did see the last page plant msg performance june 16 1998 a few days after the boston gig
I was at the May 21, 1977 concert at the Summit (now Lakewood Church with Joel Olsteen), in Houston, Texas. I was glad I got to see Led Zeppelin at least once. I have been a diehard fan since 1970. I just happen to run across your photos as I have been going through all the concerts listed on the ledzeppelin.com website. I have over the years been searching for anything Led Zeppelin. I miss the old days in the 1970’s searching for bootlegs in stores, flea markets, and ads in Goldmine magazine before they were outlawed, that was back when Goldmine magazine was truly a goldmine in their classified ads. Thank you for posting your pictures. It brings back memories of the night of May 21, 1977 when this 18 year old was in Zeppelin heaven.
Hi Arthur. Thanks for sharing the story and for the kind words. I know what you mean about searching for bootlegs. Years ago I traded a CD-R I burned with my photos with someone in Australia who sent me back a few live bootlegs of Zeppelin, including the performance I took the photos of. I can’t remember how I found him – some forum on the Internet way before social media happened.
I saw the Mighty Zep at one of these shows at MSG in ’77. I think June 25th? I was 18 then. We had to mail away in advance for tickets through a lottery and we got 6 seats. I used to have the stub pinned on a bulletin board, but it’s long gone. At that show, we sat on the right front side of the stage, one level above the orchestra. I was pretty toasted going into the Garden. I remember at some point in the show, joints just dropping on us from the balcony above. Must have been a few dozen flying down. Awesome! No hassles at The Garden back then, we smoked & drank Boones Farm Strawberry Wine from skins we brought into the Garden. No one cared back then. I do remember how different some songs sounded live versus the studio albums. Especially, The Song Remains The Same and Achilles Last Stand. Those songs were a bit thin live. But, still an awesome show. As a drummer I loved Bonzo and his 22 minute self indulgent number getting into the snare drum and timpani chambers was great. But I won’t lie, thousands took to ‘the head’ during Bonzo’s solo. Hey, drum solos were mostly for drummers anyway. Pagey’s solo under the laser lights was staggering. Taking the train back up to the Bronx was a challenge after the show and I remember 6 of us went into the downtown side of the 6 Train and paid the token only to realize we need to be on the other side of the tracks going uptown. Yep, we jumped down and scurried across. All we knew was not to step on the 3rd rail. It was an act of stupidity and thank God no one got fried. And the real kicker was the fare was probably 10 or 15 cent token back then. Like I said stupidity. My one and only time seeing Zep. But, I did see The Firm with Jimmy, Tony Franklin, Chris Slade and Paul Rodgers in the 80’s and Page & Plant with the full Orchestra in the 90’s. Michael Lee (Rest his soul) on drums was dynamite up there! Page needed that drive from drummers to kick his ass! I still wonder what Zep would have been like had Cozy Powell been asked to join after John’s unfortunate passing at 32 years old. That said…Jason is great on the 2007 Reunion Show!
Wrong date in comment above, it was June 10th.
Thanks for posting the great memory from the concert! I understand your comments about how some of the songs sounded “thin” live. My buddies and I felt the same way when “The Song Remains the Same” movie was released. It makes sense though. Page’s arrangement on the albums produced such a great sound that essentially made it impossible for a three-piece band to recreate it live faithfully. Having said that, I’ve come to appreciate the live versions as distinct performances of the same music.
This is amazing, I was at the June 13th, 1977 show, I was 14. My older brother was going to Columbia University in the City, and knew I loved Zeppelin, so he went out of his way to order tickets for me. He bought 6 tickets, and I was even able to bring a friend. It was a Monday night, and we drove out from Suffolk county Long Island, to the Garden, I was so excited, I remember walking into the arena and saw the stage and had to pinch myself, am I really here? I’ll never forget when the lights went down, and then they broke into The Song Remains the Same, wow, just wow, still love it to this day.
Great story Tom! Thanks for sharing.