Earliest known Led Zeppelin recording

Behold, the earliest known Led Zeppelin recording. Part of a December 1968 show that took place three weeks before the band's Led Zeppelin album came out, this version of "Dazed and Confused" is part of a full-show bootleg that's been available to fans for awhile. This is just its first time on YouTube. Apparently, when this was recorded, Led Zeppelin was so obscure that they were listed as "Len Zefflin" on ads for the show. Enjoy!

(Thanks, Ms. Paige Worthy!)


  1. Orly? The band’s Led Zeppelin album was recorded less than three weeks before its release?!

    1. This is 3 weeks before the album was released. This is a live show, NOT a recording of said album.

      1. Isn’t the album a recording? The album had to be recorded more than 3 weeks before this show so the album would then be the earliest recording known. I think what is meant is that this is the earliest known LIVE recording.

    2. Err, no. Read the paragraph again. The concert was recorded three weeks before the album came out.

    3. This is a recording of a live show that the band played three weeks before the album was released. This isn’t the recording that was on the actual album.

  2. I actually have Jake Holmes vinyl album with his original version, presented here for your enjoyment.

  3. I knew someone would chime in with the Jake Holmes track (Page apparently lifted it from Holmes after the Yardbirds shared a gig with him)– it’s kind of annoying how many of Led Zeppelin’s tunes were lifted outright from other performers: “Black Mountain Side” from Bert Jansch, “Bring it On Home” from Sonny Boy Wiliamson, several songs from Willie Dixon (3 of which they were sued over), at least one song from Blind Willie Johnson, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and several others were traditional songs they decided to take credit for. . . .

    I’m not complaining– I love their versions of these tunes, and “Dazed and Confused” might be the best of the bunch.

    1. “Chiming” in again.

      I had not intended to disparage the Zep version of “Dazed and Confused” which I really like, too. I just wanted to offer Jake Holmes original version. It’s good in its own right.

    2. Lifting old tunes was SOP in blues & folk circles, of course. Still is: I remember when I bought Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times”, I was surprised to see that he was credited with writing “Rollin’ And Tumblin'”, which Elmore James had recorded back in 1960.

  4. The headline is misleading (or flat out wrong, depending on how you look at it). It should read “Earliest known live Led Zeppelin recording.” With the album coming out in 3 weeks, the tracks must have been already recorded and mixed by this time.

  5. Led Zepplin was hardly an obscure band – Page, as Clapton’s sucessor in the Yardbirds, was even then one of the better know quitar players in the world. He was famous enough that Keith Moon and John Entwhistle seriously considered forming a super-group with him.

    1. They may have been well known at the time because of Jimmy Page, but they were known by many as the New Yardbirds. The name Led Zeppelin didn’t catch on right away which makes sense of why their name was spelled funny.

  6. The first time Plant, Page, Bonzo, and John Paul Jones recorded together (as The New Yardbirds) was as the backing band for P.J. Proby on his song “Jim’s Blues”. I’ve heard the album featuring that song is to be reissued on LP soon.

  7. Live recording? I don’t buy it. The sound is too good, no bum notes, extraordinarily well mixed and it’s in stereo with really good separation. Couldn’t be done live in ’68 (hard enough even today)

    Listen to Bonham’s drums at the opening, you can’t get that sound out of a live show even today and taking it direct from the desk.

    And if you look at the photos from the show (pointed out by igpago #15) you’ll see there are no drum mikes – even Page isn’t that good an engineer to get this sound out of the sort of thing that must have been on the tape.

    Quite a bit of “post production work” in this one I think.

    1. The reason there are no drum mikes in the picture is simply because John Bonham didn’t need them. He played so loud the sound filled the whole venue. It wasn’t until they started playing in stadiums that he used mikes. He didn’t think he needed them but their manager Peter Grant assured him he needed them to fill a whole stadium.

  8. The distortion is pretty terrible, I hate when people record concerts with their cell phones.

  9. Wasn’t Page Jeff Beck’s successor? In fact, I believe Beck and Page were both in the Yardbirds at the same time for about five minutes.

  10. The live shows get much better after the Fillmore West shows in January 1969……..8/31/69 at the Texas International Pop Festival is incredible.

  11. Hey, I was alive and living in Spokaloo on this day! Of course, I was only 22 months old. Still, I shoulda pestered my folks to take me.

  12. Related: I just got the Led Zeppelin 2-DVD set that was released in 2003, and have had it playing almost nonstop for two days (while I’m actually at home, of course).

    If you’re a fan and haven’t seen it–go forth, get it, it’s fantastic. Five hours of live concert sets, from the Royal Albert Hall in 1970 to the Knebworth Festival in 1979. Skillfully remastered: sounds great, looks even better. Plus some assorted extra goodies, which is what this post’s clip reminds me of.

    The best thing about it, conceptually, is that when you put the first DVD in, it just starts: backstage, then out onstage into the first chords of We’re Gonna Groove. No menu, no title, nothing. Feels very You Are There, ‘specially if you’ve got a big TV.

    Anyway, that’s my LedZep plug.

  13. I was less than a year old. If only my parents had taken me as an infant to this show I could’ve seen Led Zeppelin live.

  14. Sounds like shite, doesn’t it? Used to love this band but they didn’t age well at all.

  15. Good to see the photos show Page playing his Telecaster– most folks associate him with the Les Paul because that’s what he used live all through the 70’s, but most of the studio albums were recorded with a Telecaster. Count me among those who feel the Tele is the most ideal electric guitar ever made (although even I have a problem with the original 3-saddle bridges and their intonation problems.)

  16. “The first time Plant, Page, Bonzo, and John Paul Jones recorded together (as The New Yardbirds)”

    Why the name was confusing as well; they had just changed it.

  17. “Hurdy Gurdy Man” featured Donovan Leitch vocals and rhythm guitar, Jimmy Page lead guitar, John Paul Jones bass, John Bonham drums. Basically Zep with Donovan instead of Plant.

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