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Episode 114 : Lenny Kaye on Patti Smith + Nuggets + Led Zep IV

15 November 2021

In this episode, we welcome the great Lenny Kaye — all the way from NYC — and ask him to reminisce about his New Jersey youth; the revelation that was rock 'n' roll; his exposure in 1966 to Crawdaddy! and other pioneering music zines, and of course his first encounters with the inimitable Patti Smith. Along the way we hear about his landmark 1972 anthology Nuggets, and about his thrilling new book Lightning Striking.

Clips from John Tobler's 1978 audio interview with Patti prompt Lenny to relive key moments from the '70s, including the pair's engagement with the British punk scene on their band's first London visit in May '76. To mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin IV, he also talks about his rave Rolling Stone review of that album, a piece he stands by to this day. His hosts also note the imminent release of the follow-up to Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' Americana classic Raising Sand.

The RBP team pays its respects to Maureen Cleave, whose crucial early pieces on the Beatles made her part of Fab Four folklore. Lenny mentions his New York mentor Danny Fields (episode 28) whose syndication of Maureen's "more popular than Jesus" Lennon interview sparked an unholy fundamentalist backlash across America. Mark & Jasper talk us out with remarks about "new and notable" library pieces on — among other subjects — Patti Smith and Led Zeppelin! And several more great interviews and reviews besides…

Many thanks to special guest Lenny Kaye. Lightning Striking is published by White Rabbit and available now.