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A music promoter has come forward with the proof that one of the world's biggest ever rock bands played a gig in Peterlee.

Brian Stoker and friend David Richards booked rock super group Led Zeppelin for just £100 to play at the Argus Butterfly pub in Peterlee on March 23, 1969.

The gig, which came just weeks after they had released their first self-titled album, saw the group play before hundreds of fans ahead of a gig before tens of thousands at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The group then went on to become one of the most successful rock bands in the world and played a sell out gig earlier this year after reforming to perform at the O2 Arena in London.

Easington Colliery-born Brian, 65, who organised gigs under the Peterlee Jazz Club banner, has unearthed the original flyers for Led Zeppelin gig and a string of other shows that were held at the pub in the late 1960s.

He said: "We booked Led Zeppelin for £100 and they went down a storm. Everyone loved it and I remember me and Dave had a drink with the lads from the group.

"I was talking to guitarist Jimmy Page and asked if he enjoyed it and he said 'yes' and he would come back. I said what are you doing next month and he said they were playing the Hollywood Bowl, so that was the last we saw of them."

The pair secured the band through a contact at London promotion firm Ellis Wright, which went on to become the Chrysalis music company.

They attracted bands that had played the previous night at universities in Scotland and got them to stop off to play a Sunday night spot in Peterlee while travelling south.

Other groups that played at the venue included Free, Deep Purple, Family, 10 Years After, Taste, and Jethro Tull.

Dad of two Brian, who moved to Sheffield in 1974 to work for a brewery, said: "We had Free on about three or four times and the last time we had them Alright Now was number one the week after. We had booked them for £100 as well.

"They also told us they had this solo act and they wanted £100. I said you must be joking because we had Led Zeppelin for £100. I asked his name and he said Elton John and I said no chance am I paying that for a bloke on his own."

Brian and David later launched similar nights at the Swan pub in Billingham where acts including Joe Cocker and 10 Years After played gigs, but he said the venue did not have the same success as the Argus Butterfly.

Music promoter Mick Arnell is hoping to return the pub into a successful music venue and is appealing for local talent to come forward to perform.

'I booked Led Zep for £100 but turned down Elton John' 'I booked Led Zep for £100 but turned down Elton John'



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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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