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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

October xx, 1968 - Led Zeppelin is recorded
October 19, 1968 - Final performance as the New Yardbirds
October 31, 1969 - Led Zeppelin II is released in the US
October 17, 1969 - Bonham is thrilled to play Carnegie Hall where Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa have performed
October 23, 1970 - Led Zeppelin III is released in the US
October xx, 1970 - The press lash out at the band over the Led Zeppelin III acoustic content
October xx, 1971 - Page and Plant venture around Thailand and India after the Japan tour
October 18, 1972 - Zeppelin rehearse at the Rainbow Theater for a UK tour
October xx, 1973 - Each member performs an individual film sequence for their concept film
October 31, 1974 - Swan Song hosts a party for the launch of its UK division
October xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin decide not to tour and concentrate on recording new material
October 20, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same premieres at New York’s Cinema One
October xx, 1977 - Jimmy starts assembling a Led Zeppelin live album from recordings as far back as 1969
October xx, 1978 - Jones and Bonham record with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios
October xx, 1978 - Rehearsals for In Through The Out Door in London
October xx, 1979 - All nine Led Zeppelin albums enter the Billboards Top 200 -- no other band has ever achieved this
October 10, 1980 - A private funeral is held for John Bonham at Rushock church in Worcestershire
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