Classic Rock Corner

Terry Reid, Nearly Led Zeppelin's Singer, Resurfaces At Leon's

Who Dat?

When Jimmy Page began to put together his New Yardbirds, he scoured the British scene looking for the right vocalist. Eventually, Page offered the job in his new band -- now called Led Zeppelin -- to Terry Reid.

Reid, who quit school at 15 and had played at the Royal Albert Hall by the time he was 17, had just signed on to tour the U.S. as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, so he referred Page to another young singer, Robert Plant. Reid had heard Plant when Plant's Band of Joy opened a show for Reid. The rest is history.

Rocks Off drove from Houston to Dallas to see the Stones on the fateful 1969 tour that would end at Altamont and forever knock the bloom off Flower Power. Reid's power trio did the usual Brit blues-rock thing. Reid was followed by Chuck Berry on that bill. Yeah, that's a pretty good three-band bill for one night.

What Happened?

Reid has gone on to a long career, although he never achieved the kind of fame his talent seemed to deserve. Bad decisions, changing times, crooked deals, the usual snafus.

Why Should I Care?

Rocks Off has been frequenting Leon's Lounge some since it reopened a few weeks back, and the bar's new all-vinyl, no-jukebox format has presented us with opportunities to hear lots of stuff that had receded into the memory's black hole.

While Reid was primarily a blues-rocker, in 1976 he made an album of ballads and softer pop songs for Atlantic Records called Seed of Memory. Produced by Graham Nash, the album is now considered one of the great below-radar British pop records.

It's the kind of album you find at garage sales, and when Rocks Off heard it at Leon's the other night, we were amazed at how well it stands up 35 years later.

Essential Listening/Reading/Surfing

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