‘Led Zeppelin have the tapes’: Ross Halfin explained Led Zeppelin’s archive of live shows

Led Zeppelin Vinyl

Photographer Ross Halfin has given a revealing interview in which he explained Led Zeppelin’s archive of unreleased live shows, Jimmy Page’s record collection, why the band hasn’t released more live albums and plans for 30 shows following the 2007 reunion.

Halfin spoke to The Vinyl Guide podcast, which you can listen to in full here, to promote his new book “Led Zeppelin Vinyl” which features rare official and unofficial Led Zeppelin vinyl records.

Halfin is a well-known music photographer and a close friend of Page, so he has insight into Page’s archive and his views on Led Zeppelin’s career.

Led Zeppelin’s archives

During the interview, Halfin was asked by host Nate Goyer whether there are good quality unreleased live recordings in Led Zeppelin’s archives.

“Yeah, Led Zeppelin have the tapes,” Halfin said. “The band have the actual master tapes.”

“There’s the live in Japan 1971 that’s never come out. There is Southampton 1973 that has never come out. They have stuff and then I think the original idea was Jimmy was always going to do a live album and call it Early Days and Latter Days which became a greatest hits [album].

“I’m curious to see if Led Zeppelin ever put anything else out,” he added. “I’m surprised they haven’t put out the Albert Hall on vinyl because they have the tapes of that. And there’s always the Southampton 1973 warm-up show, that hasn’t come out. I’d love to hear the Japan 1971 they have complete from the Budokan.”

Halfin was asked why the band hasn’t released more live recordings. “It has to be agreed by all of them. It’s the same as Pink Floyd, it’s a band agreement and you’ve got certain band members that think it interferes in their solo career,” he said.

Later on in the interview, Halfin explained why Page might be unwilling to release more Led Zeppelin material.

“I think there is other stuff, I’m sure Jimmy has in his archive,” he said. “Also I respect his viewpoint [which] is that … ‘why didn’t you put out these photos?’ ‘Because I don’t want to.’ If he doesn’t want to, you should respect his wish. It’s his music. He made the music. So Led Zeppelin was Jimmy Page’s band and if he doesn’t want to release it then you have to respect that, it’s his choice.”

Halfin said that he’s aware of the location of Led Zeppelin’s master tapes of the band’s 1971 Japan tour.

“Led Zeppelin went to Japan and they were going to record them for a live album,” he said. “And Led Zeppelin said ‘let’s listen to the tapes and we’ll pick the stuff’ and basically kept the tapes. So I don’t know where … actually I do know where they are.”

Elsewhere in the interview, we learned about the condition of Led Zeppelin’s original album artwork.

“I know Physical Graffiti exists,” he said. “Presence does with some bits of it. But I also know a lot of it with Hipgnosis, they thought they were going to become these huge cinematic video directors and they tossed it in a skip. Threw it all away … some of the artwork exists, yes it does.”

He also claimed that Led Zeppelin had been seeking the master tapes of the band’s March 7, 1970 performance in Montreux. “They were trying to find the master tapes and the people looking after Claude Nobs’ vault deny having it but I think they know they’ve got it,” he claimed.

Recent Led Zeppelin bootleg releases of the band’s 1975 and 1977 performances are “obviously coming from people who worked at Showco, the sound company, thinking it’s OK to put out,” Halfin claimed.

Jimmy Page’s record collection

The interview also shed light on Page’s personal record collection, which Halfin revealed was partially photographed for his book.

“Half the book is his and my record collection. Some of it is his. Some of it is mine. I’m not saying which,” Halfin said.

Halfin was asked whether Page might allow him to photograph his collection and said that “he might do it himself. I know him, he’s done it himself. He has it all on his phone.”

“He has a great collection,” he added. “He has an amazing collection of Dylan albums as well … he’s got it all alphabetically. The difference between him and I [is] I will put TMOQs together, he has it by tour.”

“He’s got every acetate for everything … he showed me one that was a set of seven inches which was for Presence or maybe it was Physical Graffiti, [that] they’d made it separate tracks.”

Listeners also gained an insight into which official and unofficial Led Zeppelin vinyl releases Page has heard.

“Just as the book was done I got a mono Led Zeppelin II which I’ve loaned to Jimmy to listen to,” Halfin said. “He wanted to listen to it because the bass and drums are way more prominent in it. It sounds different.”

“‘Live In Montreux’… is them at their best. It’s great,” he added. “I know Jimmy has heard it and he thinks it’s great. He’s got it. He said it’s great … them on fire.”

And while Page has been supportive of Record Store Day, even releasing a Led Zeppelin vinyl single for the event in 2018, he has been dismissive of the quality of some releases, according to Halfin.

“Jimmy said this to me, he said ‘you go and look at these re-releases for Record Store Day and the quality of the covers are appalling but you’re paying $60 for that used to be $6.'”

The ‘Led Zeppelin Vinyl’ book

Led Zeppelin Vinyl

Halfin also revealed that Page had some input into the book, specially asking for one section to be included. “The list at the back [of the book] is the most comprehensive list that’s ever been done which is what Jimmy thought was interesting,” he said. “He asked us to do it so that if you just buy these records with no info, you can see what show it’s from.”

The book may have just been released but Halfin said he is already in talks to publish an updated version.

Led Zeppelin planned 30 shows after the 2007 reunion

Led Zeppelin planned to play 30 shows following their December 10, 2007 reunion show in London, Halfin claimed. “I heard they were meant to do 30 shows and I heard that they were meant to play like a week at the Forum for a few days, Madison Square Garden, Sydney, India, China. Unusual places. London.”

“And then let’s just say that one band member wouldn’t do those shows. That’s all I’m going to say. Flatly refused. Wouldn’t do them because it affected their solo career. I do know the idea was to tour and then someone wouldn’t tour.”

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20 Comments on "‘Led Zeppelin have the tapes’: Ross Halfin explained Led Zeppelin’s archive of live shows"

  1. Great stuff here ! Thanks to LZN for the links & lifting the quotes.

    Ross is JP’s defacto spokesman, so we get his bias anytime the subject is about the Tour That Time Forgot or the release of live shows. He says we must “respect” JP’s wishes about what to release. But when releases are scotched (or tours are abandoned) he seems to blame “certain members of the group”, forgetting what he just said: the members of the band each have veto power.

    Nothing prevents JP from cutting a record or playing live anywhere he wants, anytime he wants – except JP himself. And JP hasn’t written or performed anything of consequence in 20 years.

    RP is, OTOH, a working musician, fully engaged l, writing & playing as often and with as many folks as he can.

    I like Ross. He’s a terrific resource & a gifted photographer. I will definitely buy his book. But he’s not a member of the band. He only knows what he’s allowed to know or chooses to see.

  2. Led zeppland still exist to my liking
    They are the only band I meditate to..
    I get lost to every song and it brings me back to the days …I needed them the most
    Always hold them close to my heart ❤
    Joanie Johnson

  3. Huh? Led ZEPPLAND ?

  4. True George. But to be fair, Ross is not commenting on Jimmy’s lack of musical output, live shows, etc. for 20 years. That’s another topic entirely. He’s specifically commenting on why Zep didn’t tour after the O2 show in 2007, which would have made all the sense in the world.

  5. Yes,that someone that wouldn’t tour was plant. His mediocre solo career is too important to him. He’s forgotten where he came from and who made him famous.

  6. Plants solo career is great
    Led zeppelin 69-80
    Plant solo 82-present

  7. I’m in Sydney. I would definitely have been at that Sydney show!

  8. To the critics of Pages lack of live recent live performances or musical output, Jimmy is in good company. He’s earned the right to not tour and do what pleases him:

    “ People say I’m crazy
    Doing what I’m doing
    Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
    To save me from ruin
    When I say that I’m okay, well they look at me kinda strange
    “Surely, you’re not happy now, you no longer play the game”
    … People say I’m lazy
    Dreaming my life away
    Well they give me all kinds of advice
    Designed to enlighten me
    When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
    “Don’t you miss the big time boy, you’re no longer on the ball?”
    … I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
    I really love to watch them roll
    No longer riding on the merry-go-round
    I just had to let it go
    … Ah, people asking questions
    Lost in confusion
    Well, I tell them there’s no problem
    Only solutions
    Well, they shake their heads and they look at me, as if I’ve lost my mind
    I tell them there’s no hurry, I’m just sitting here doing time
    … I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
    I really love to watch them roll
    No longer riding on the merry-go-round
    … I just had to let it go
    I just had to let it go
    I just had to let it go”
    – John Lennon

    • Warren Warshaw | 16th August 2021 at 6:05 pm | Reply

      Agreed that he has earned the right to do what he wants. The point is that he has been saying for years that he’s got new music, he’s definitely gonna tour, etc. That’s getting people’s hopes up falsely & that ain’t right.

  9. Plant says he can’t hit the notes and leap around like a kid anymore.
    Fair enough, but how about some age appropriate stuff?
    The blues guys who were the biggest influence were old men.

  10. Roy JOHN Watson | 16th August 2021 at 12:06 pm | Reply

    whos botherd about jimmy putting out zeppelin live albums you have heard it all before anyway unlike neil young and bruce springsteen who have loads of unreleased songs in there archives

  11. Plant not wanting to tour as a “tribute” to himself is yet another reason why I respect this man so much. There are so many other bands of that era who have become pathetic version of their former selves. Kudos to little Robert Anthony 🙂

  12. Oh Jimmy, come on release those stuff on vinyl and CD, I don‘t care if you do not release new music, but dont horde this master till they are gone or burned like Cov/Page Masters!

  13. Love Zep, and have since 1978.
    Have seen Page with The Firm in 198? and again with Page and Plant.
    I grew up worshipping Page and learned practically every guitar part note for note.
    Have seen Plant many times in different solo and collaboration mainly with Alison Krause.
    Have read manyany interviews with each and particularly Page.

    …All that said, Page has absolutely disappointed post Zep. No new music. No guitar performances of note and no new guitar evolution or sound or technique or….anything.
    Compare to his other Yardbird mates.
    Clapton is still God and has gone full circle, exploring all facets of music and guitar.
    Beck is still considered the most innovative guitarist among all the Guitar Gods.
    Page?? Still going through music he created from 68-78 and barely giving us any of it. Where he used to be among the top 3 ever, then the top 5 ever, he barely registers in top 10 rock guitarists ever. Why is this?
    Plant?? Completely relevant, and an absolute gift to all that get the opportunity to see him perform.

    • Warren Warshaw | 17th August 2021 at 3:47 pm | Reply

      Clapton is a bigoted anti-vaxxer who thinks that moving out of England will solve all his Covid problems. News flash: This is a GLOBAL pandemic. Good luck with that buddy.

  14. Robert P Gessler | 17th August 2021 at 12:56 am | Reply

    Clapton, Beck, & Page… not in order of talent, yet maybe so…. Thats’ erely the order I recollect as the three main drivers of Rock & Roll… nevermind Jimi Hendrix, or Stevie Ray, and surely more, who escape my immediate recollection… but the bottom line is, no matter how badly Jimmy Page claims HIS GUITAR PLAYING IS, he need not forget that the ‘Blues Titans’ he emulates, were/are Basic $1.00 – a – nighters’ BLUES GIANTS, mostly now gone to drugs, alcohol, cruel execution from God’s Hand… ad infinitum….

  15. Yet the guy that doesn’t, want it to interfere with a solo career, performed more and more Zep tunes on his tours, while his solo catalog increased. Who is interfering with who.

  16. Page should have done more lately.Like an album with Leo Kotke and Ry Cooder .

  17. Roy JOHN Watson | 20th August 2021 at 4:23 pm | Reply

    with the release of is antholgy book i would say that jimmy page is now officaley retired

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