Information on The Rover, Led Zeppelin newsletter…
Thought I would share a rare piece of rock memorabilia with you: The Rover was a short-lived newsletter/fanzine dedicated to Led Zeppelin. First published in July 1980 , it was the first of its kind from the West Coast of America, the country which turned the group into superstars. The publisher, Sally Hayward included centrefold drawings by her of the band in each issue along with a Led Zeppelin related word search game.
Priced at $1 the first issue ran to eight pages and featured the classic photo of the band arriving for their famous concerts at Knebworth, England on the front cover,. Inside we are treated to a Jimmy Page biography, a copy of his birth certificate (!) and an invitation to a ‘Friends of Led Zeppelin’ party in Chicago with a $2.50 entry charge-Led Zeppelin lookalikes were given free entry!
By issue two, however, the tragic news of drummer John Bonham’s death in England had reached America and unsurprisingly the front cover for the 1980 ‘Rocktober’ edition featured Bonham saluting the fans. This issue ran to twelve pages and began with a piece by Hayward on Bonham’s death which included snippets from the English newspapers reporting of his death and the ludicrous notion that Jimmy Page’s interest in the Occult had been a reason for Bonham choking on his own vomit rather than the forty shots of vodka and other drinks he had consumed earlier that day.
Part two of the Jimmy Page biography is included along with a Led Zeppelin crossword. The centrefold is a remarkably good portrait of the first issue front cover by Sally Hayward.
Issue Three, published in March 1981 begins with the editor questioning the validity of the announcement that the band had broken up following Bonham’s death, arguing the wording had been carefully orchestrated to allow for a future reunion, album and tour-they would prove to be disappointed.
Inside is part three of the Jimmy Page bibliography along with part one of ‘Collecting Led Zeppelin’ written by Brian Knapp with three photographs or rare 45″ singles including one by Jimmy Page called ‘She Just Satisfies/Keep Moving’ a solo single from 1965 which Knapp claimed was worth up to $200, a lot of money in 1981!
The centrefold features another Sally Hayward drawing, this time of Page playing his famous Gibson double-neck and wearing a German WW2 cap and trademark long white scarf.
There is also a nice piece on the cottage in Snowdonia called Bron-yr-Aur which inspired the beautiful track of the same name on the third Led Zeppelin album. The rear cover features a wonderful photo of Page, Plant and Bonham in concert.
I am unsure as to how many copies The Rover ran to, but these first three are particularly rare. Like most of the other Led Zeppelin fanzines it was written as the band was on the cusp of breaking up and there would have been little to write about in the aftermath which could be deemed ‘new’. This newsletter was considering continuing publication by focusing on the remaining member’s solo projects but it would seem this never happened. If anyone has any further information then please do share in the comments section below.
Categories: Retro Heaven