Beck, Bogert, Appice: Blinded By The Light
They were all set to be the first great supergroup of the 1970s. But what began in a blaze of glory imploded just two albums later – in a fist-fight over a ham sandwich.
It's July 1969 and the Singer Bowl is going crazy. Originally built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the open-air stadium in Flushing Meadows has previously played host to The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who. But it’s never seen anything quite like this.
On stage, in various states of disrepair, are members of the Jeff Beck Group, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After and Jethro Tull. Beck’s band are due to make way for the night’s headliners, Vanilla Fudge, but an encore of Jailhouse Rock has turned into an impromptu jam featuring Beck, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and more.
Things swiftly get out of control. A hopelessly inebriated Bonham beats out the steady rhythm of The Stripper, at which point he begins to peel off his clothes. Before long he’s stark-bollock naked. Stewart, clowning around with a mic stand, pretends to shove it up Bonham’s arse.
The local cops are getting ready to storm the place and start making arrests. Zeppelin’s manager, the estimable Peter Grant, has seen them circling and orders the lights to be killed. He and Led Zep tour manager Richard Cole dive over to Bonham and drag him off stage in the murk, by which time the drummer has passed out. Somehow they all get away with it.