PITTSBURGH MADE: The Song Remains the Same (1976)

Can you even imagine what it was like to be in Led Zeppelin in 1973? This movie gets you as close as you’ll probably ever get, seeing as how the band was one of the last of the mysterious rock stars that kept most fans at arm’s length instead of constantly giving away their own stories. This movie was described as “the band’s special way of giving their millions of friends what they had been clamoring for – a personal and private tour of Led Zeppelin. For the first time the world has a front row seat on Led Zeppelin.”

The Pittsburgh part of the movie comes in as the band arrives in America at the old county airport in their private jet The Starship and travel by motorcade to their concert at Three Rivers Stadium on July 24, 1973.

With parts directed by Joe Massot (Wonderwall) and others by Peter Clifton, who was brought in when Zeppelin manager Peter Grant was unhappy with the progress of the film. When asked to leave, Massot was offered a few thousand pounds in compensation and Grant sent someone to Massot’s house to collect the film. Massot had hidden the film elsewhere and so Grant’s employee stole an expensive editing machine owned to use as collateral. It all worked out, but Massot wasn’t invited to attend the premiere of the film at New York. He came anyway and bought a ticket from a scalper to get in.

Beyond the Madison Square Garden shows that were shot, any holes in the performance were filled by a stage show shot with no audience at Shepperton Studios. Jones is wearing a noticeable wig in the new footage and Plant’s teeth are fixed.

The band wasn’t happy with the movie, with Page saying “The Song Remains The Same is not a great film, but there’s no point in making excuses. It’s just a reasonably honest statement of where we were at that particular time. It’s very difficult for me to watch it now, but I’d like to see it in a year’s time just to see how it stands up,” John Paul Jones stating it was “a massive compromise” and Robert Plant calling it “a load of bullocks.” The Jimmy Page fantasy sequence outside his home Boleskine — once owned by Aleister Crowley — was laughed at by John Bonham.

One thought on “PITTSBURGH MADE: The Song Remains the Same (1976)

  1. You mean we weren’t supposed to laugh at the scene outside Page’s house?

    BTW, my mom attended a Led Zeppelin concert in Pittsburgh three or four days before I was born, so I’m claiming it. I was indeed at a Led Zeppelin show.


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