Watch This Rare 1977 Footage From The Night Led Zeppelin Faced a Challenge in Chicago

Watch This Rare 1977 Footage From The Night Led Zeppelin Faced a Challenge in Chicago | Society Of Rock Videos

via Speedy / YouTube

In April 1977, Led Zeppelin, one of the most famous rock bands, had a tough moment during their North American tour. They were set to play four nights in Chicago, a big city they kind of made their home base during this tour. Tour manager Richard Cole explained their routine was flying out to different cities for shows and then coming back to Chicago. This arrangement worked well for them until one night, things didn’t go as planned.

The Challenge of a Sick Jimmy Page

On April 9, instead of taking a flight, they had a short 20-minute ride from their hotel, the Ambassador East, to the Chicago Stadium. But they faced a major issue. Jimmy Page, the band’s lead guitarist, was very sick. The production manager, Jack Calmes, said Jimmy had “rockin’ pneumonia,” a term that doesn’t tell us much but makes it clear it was serious. Because of this, the band could only play six songs: “The Song Remains the Same,” “Sick Again,” “Nobody’s Fault but Mine,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “No Quarter,” and “Ten Years Gone.”

There is a video from that night that shows it wasn’t easy for Jimmy Page. Especially during “Ten Years Gone,” you can see he was struggling. In the video, Robert Plant, the lead singer, eventually stops the show. He tells the audience, “So we’re going to take a necessary five-minute break. You must bear with us, because Jimmy’s very lucky to be even playing tonight. OK? Will you give us five minutes, please?” They didn’t come back to the stage until the next night.

This footage, along with another unseen footage from Montreal in 1975, was recently shared online. Both videos were from the collection of the late photographer Jim Kelly, also known as Speedy. These videos were transferred to digital by the Genesis Museum, and then ikhnaton, Etienne, and YouTuber LedZepFilm worked on production, film restoration, and syncing to audio.

Unseen Moments of Led Zeppelin’s History

The Chicago 1977 show is significant not just because of the band’s struggle that night but also because it shows the unpredictable nature of live performances. Despite the challenges, Led Zeppelin’s commitment to their music and their fans was evident. They made a choice to perform even when one of their key members was not in the best condition, and when it wasn’t possible to continue, they were honest with their audience.

This recent uncovering of unseen footage is a treat for Led Zeppelin fans. It provides a new glimpse into the band’s history, showing a moment of vulnerability and resilience. It reminds us that even the greatest face challenges but it’s how they deal with these challenges that truly defines their legacy.

These newly shared clips are valuable additions to the band’s rich archive, thanks to the efforts of collectors and restoration experts. They help keep the spirit of Led Zeppelin alive, allowing old and new fans to experience moments that were previously hidden away. It’s a reminder of the raw, live energy of the 70s rock scene and the undeniable impact Led Zeppelin has had on music history.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.