Scream for Help
[Click above for album images]

While any discography of John Paul Jones will (rightly) list Scream for Help as his first solo album, this is in reality a little misleading. Scream for Help is a soundtrack album, the music being composed by Jones for the Michael Winner TV movie of the same name released in 1984. That said, the music here does not have the feel of soundtrack music, the tracks being substantial songs in their own right. Winner originally asked Jimmy Page to write the music, but as Page was unable to fulfill the request, he suggested asking Jones.

I should say straight away that there is no connection whatsoever between the music here and that of Jones' day job with Led Zeppelin. The album does though give some indication of what we can expect on his first true solo album, Zooma. There is a rather incoherent feel to the album overall, the songs not sitting together particularly well, but heard in isolation they are of a decent quality. All of the tracks are written or co-written by Jones, two with his daughter Jacinda.

The album opens with the instrumental Spaghetti Junction, a track with a strong resemblance to the music of Booker T and the MGs, and not just because of the dominant organ work of Jones. The following Bad Child sees Jones taking on vocals himself, and doing alright at it. His voice reminds me a bit of Tony Banks' solo effort (Fugitive). Silver Train features Jon Anderson's distinctive vocals, supported by some incisive guitar work by Jones. It sounds like it should be good, but unfortunately, the actual composition is repetitive and very ordinary. The following Crackback sees bandmate Jimmy Page contributing lead guitar while Graham Ward adds some heavy drums. The track is effectively a solo improvisation by Page, which sees him performing something somewhat jazzier than we are used to from him.

Chilli Sauce is a synth instrumental performed entirely by Jones. The piece reflects his jazz influences, the synth tones being suitably slurred. Take It or Leave It sees the first of two appearances by the fine vocalist Madeline Bell (of Blue Mink etc.) who also co-wrote the song. This lighter song with a straightforward dance rhythm is one of the highlights of the album. Christie is a delicate ballad sung by John Anderson and again another highlight. When You Fall in Love is the second and final song sung by Jones. The piece has a strong folk/Simon and Garfunkel feel, the acoustic guitar of John Renbourne (Pentangle) being familiar but effective. The album closes with a further ballad Here I Am (omitted from the first pressings of the LP), Madeline Bell displaying her vast talents with tenderness and grace.

Despite the film credits, there is no orchestration on this album, the focus when compiling this release clearly being to gather together the songs rather than the background music. The result is an eclectic mix of disparate songs, some of which are highly appealing while others much less so. We should however recognize that these songs were composed with the film in mind, and may well have complemented the on-screen happenings well. -Bob McBeath

Mar. 22, 1985


1. Spaghetti Junction
2. Bad Child
3. Silver Train
4. Crackback
5. Chilli Sauce
6. Take It or Leave It
7. Christie
8. When You Fall in Love
9. Here I Am
Quick Fact

John Paul Jones recorded tracks for Scream for Help at his recently-built 24-track digital recording studio, named Sunday School.

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

January 09, 1944 - James Patrick Page was born in Heston, Middlesex
January 03, 1946 - John Baldwin was born in Sidcup, Kent
January 02, 1946 - Led Zeppelin Tour Manager Richard Cole was born in Kensal Rise, London, England
January 05, 1967 - Jimmy Page begins recording Little Games with The Yardbirds at De Lane Lea Studios in London.
January 17, 1969 - Led Zeppelin released in the US
January xx, 1970 - Led Zeppelin now play without support acts in order to perform longer sets
January 09, 1970 - Royal Albert Hall gig filmed and recorded for documentary that is eventually scraped. (But was recalled for 2003’s DVD)
January xx, 1971 - Recording continues at Headley Grange
January xx, 1972 - Page has a studio built into his home
January 02, 1973 - Plant’s car breaks down and Bonham and he barely make the Sheffield City Hall gig
January 22, 1973 - Led Zeppelin record a live gig at Southampton University
January xx, 1974 - Recording Physical Graffiti at Headley Grange
January xx, 1974 - The band resigns with Atlantic and forms their own label
January 03, 1975 - Jimmy breaks a finger at Victoria Station just a week before the European warm up shows
January 17, 1975 - The band rehearses in Minneapolis for the upcoming US tour. Bootleg "Johnny Kidd And The Pirates" evolves out of this rehearsal
January xx, 1976 - Jimmy contemplates the release of The Song Remains The Same film but, continues work on the soundtrack
January 01, 1976 - In Paris, Robert takes his first unaided steps since his car accident
January xx, 1977 - Rehearsals for US tour take place at Manticore Studios in Fulham
January 24, 1977 - Bonham and Plant watch The Damned perform at the Roxy in London
January xx, 1978 - Media still claims Led Zeppelin have broke up
January 21, 1979 - Robert Plant is now proud father to son Logan Romero
January xx, 1980 - Zeppelin donate Candy Store Rock to a benefit album to benefit children
January 31, 1995 - Jimmy Page escaped being knifed when a fan rushed the stage at a Page and Plant gig at Auburn Hills, Michigan. The fan was stopped by two security guards, who he knifed instead. After his arrest, he told police that he wanted to kill Jimmy Page because of the Satanic music he was playing.
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