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Beatles and Stones dismissed Led Zep debut

Producer Glyn Johns says when he played Led Zeppelin’s debut album to Mick Jagger and George Harrison in the late 60s, neither of them were interested.

The veteran music man has worked with a host of bands including Zeppelin, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, the Eagles, Eric Clapton and the Small Faces.

And in his upcoming memoir Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits With The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, and The Faces… he also reveals he hasn’t come down from the high of hearing Zep in the studio for the first time, saying he was “completely blown away.”

He tells Music Radar: “Jimmy Page and I both grew up in the same town in south London – we even had a little band together for a short time. I got him a few sessions in the 60s, and when he decided to put Led Zeppelin together, he asked if I was interested.

“The sessions were booked under the name The Yardbirds, and I had no idea what it would sound like. But when they started playing, I was completely blown away.

“I don’t think I’ve come down yet from the staggering buzz I got from being in the room. They were well rehearsed and masters at what they did, which is why it took only nine days – including mixing.

He continues: “We were putting the Stones’ Rock And Roll Circus together around the same time and I took an acetate of the album into a production meeting. I told them, ‘This is going to be huge,’ but Mick Jagger wasn’t interested in hearing it. I dragged George Harrison into Olympic Studios to listen to it. He didn’t get it, strangely. I still think that album is their best – it shook everything from the roots.

“They were an example of the kind of band that didn’t need much input from me. I kept my jaw on the floor throughout those sessions, just floored by their natural talents.”

Meanwhile, Page is Nicky Horne’s guest on the Classic Rock Magazine Show at 6pm tonight (October 31). In the hour-long session, the guitar icon talks about the next set of Led Zeppelin remasters and reveals he’s planning on playing a mix of old and new material when he returns to the road.

He says: “I enjoy playing live and I want to go get out there with a vehicle so I can bring some surprises to the party – and play some old favourites and some new favourites. I need to be seen to be playing because at the moment, nobody knows what I’m doing. I need to manifest things.

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits With The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, and The Faces… launches on December 4 and is available to pre-order (opens in new tab).

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.