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How the DVD Was Won

Bootleggers contributed mightily to new Led Zeppelin DVD release:

    When ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page lamented “it’s a real shame that … there isn’t enough live footage of us,” he wasn’t being completely candid.

    PAGE, WHO WAS speaking to me in 1998, knew full well just how much footage there was. Some of it was in the possession of himself and Robert Plant, some was left over from the only official full-length film made of the band, The Song Remains the Same (1976), and much of it, more problematically, was in the hands of bootleggers.

    ….Step in music-video director Dick Carruthers, who has worked with Oasis, the Rolling Stones and The Who. Page asked Carruthers to assemble from official and bootleg material a definitive portrait of Led Zeppelin’s 11 years together.

    ….“Before anything, we had to call an amnesty with bootleggers,” says Carruthers. An intermediary (whom Carruthers won’t name) worked on behalf of Page and his two colleagues to track down and obtain whatever film might be out there. Led Zeppelin were the most bootlegged outfit in history — their reticence with the media made the temptation illicitly to film their concerts irresistible. Small cine cameras using 8mm film were easy to smuggle into venues, although, crucially, the Super 8 format doesn’t record sound. The music was often on separate audio tapes. “The job,” says Carruthers, “was to assess the quality of audio tape, some of it obsolete, so old machines were hired to process it and digitalize it. Then, we had to work out what was on the film, and where and when, and match it to the music.” [Financial Times]

Read Tom Johnson’s review of the CD set here.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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