The above scrapbook is a time capsule that contains some history into the pre Led Zeppelin days for Robert Plant when he was the vocalist for the band Listen. The articles are a treasure trove of concert dates, band images, and history. The articles are well worth a read from a now bygone era thanks to the digital age and social media.
Among the articles is an explanation as to how the band Listen got its name. The explanation can be found in an article titled “It’s the gear that counts” from the Sunday Mercury dated April 10, 1966. The guitarist for ‘Listen’ John Crutchey explained “We were coming home from a date one night when we gave a beaknik a lift in the car. He said we should have a one word name. And I hope everyone will soon be listening to us.” The scrapbook also contains an article regarding Listen turning down an opportunity to perform on “Ready Steady Go.”
The Midland Beat from July 1966 contained a bio on each of the band members from Listen. Notable mentions regarding Robert are that he’s five feet eleven and half inches tall, and played the flute! It’s interesting that his favorite drink is listed as “Brandy and Coke” as years later it became the working title for the Led Zeppelin song that became ‘Trampled Underfoot’ that was released on the group’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ album. Also there is a clipping that mentions there was a fan club for the group.
Included in the scrapbook is an article mentioning that Listen was planning a world record attempt at playing in excess of nine hours in October of 1966. Another article mentions the band and the song “You’d Better Run” and that a film was being made for ATV “Today” which “shows them signing the number on a demolition site at Aston.” If that was filmed where’s the tape? Another article mentions a tidbit regarding the bass player for the group Roger Beamer having to purchase a half dozen pairs of socks each week due to fans pulling off his socks during concerts. There’s also a small clipping regarding the measurement of noise volume for groups that perform at the Town Hall dances in Kendal Westmorland, and how Listen helped resolve the dispute. Just a few years later the volume would be turned up and measured again for Robert only it was for Led Zeppelin.
Next up are clippings regarding the single “You’d Better Run” such as the mention of the release date of the song being on November 25, 1966. There’s an article regarding how Listen recorded and released the song at the same time of another local group The ‘N Betweens who were on Columbia records. In addition are two articles on Listen and in great form it’s stated that the name of the vocalist is “Rob3ert Lee” (“The ‘3’ is silent).
Finally are a couple of more articles regarding how both Listen and The ‘N Betweens released “You’d Better Run” at the same time. There appears to be more pages in the scrapbook, but I’d like to personally thank Chris for a look into a piece of early history to Robert Plant’s career.
Description by: Robert Musco
Photograph(s) by: Chris TDB
From the collection of: Chris TDB