Engineer Sort of Explains ‘Guitar Lost’ Credit on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’
On the back cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, the credit for "The Rover" reads "Guitar lost courtesy of Nevison. Salvaged by the grace of Harwood.” More than 40 years later, engineer Ron Nevison denies having been involved in the recording of the song.
As he told the Rock River Times of Rockford, Ill., he arrived at Headley Grange, where they were recording with the mobile studio owned by Ronnie Lane of the Faces. But there was a problem. "John Paul Jones doesn’t show up," he said. "I’m not sure why and I didn’t ask. We ended up hanging out for a couple weeks rehearsing, having fun doing Elvis [Presley] songs and things like that but I ultimately had to tell them as some point I had to leave [to work on the soundtrack to the film version of the Who's Tommy]. I’m probably the only one who ever quit Led Zeppelin. I ended saying hey look, after this certain date I can’t come back."
When Physical Graffiti was released in 1975, he learned that it was a double album filled out by some leftovers from the sessions for Houses of the Holy. "One of those track was 'The Rover' and it wasn’t recorded during my sessions there," Nevison argued. "And no takes were ever brought to me during my session that I was aware of. We never even put up any tapes so there is no way I could even have ever erased anything."
But as one with an extensive knowledge of the dynamics of the studio, Nevison has his own take on why he got blamed and another engineer, Keith Harwood, got praise for finding the guitar part.
"However, I can picture someone at the sessions saying, 'Hey where’s the guitar on that?' and some engineer saying, 'Hey, I didn’t do that' and them thinking well maybe I did," he continued. "Also to put on the back of the album Physical Graffiti in the credits. Either they were really pissed at me for leaving or I don’t know."
He added that, a few years later, he was in a London club and saw Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun, who gave him a dirty look. "But seriously," he said, "I’ve talked to Robert Plant quite a few times and there’s no hard feelings there."