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Concert Poster from the January 1969 Tea Party shows, obviously sent to press before the January 26 show was added (courtesy

January 1969: Led Zeppelin played the Boston Tea Party. Oh, and they also happened to release their debut album that month.


Led Zeppelin released on January 12, 1969 here in the United States on Atlantic Records. The album wouldn’t see a release in the band’s native UK until March 28 of that year. Seems a little ass-backwards when you see it written out like that. You’d expect the album to drop first in their home country, right? Yet it didn’t go down that way.


And that’s a good thing, because rock fans here in Boston had a couple of weeks to digest the first album by this new, blues-forward British rock band before the band came to the city. From January 23 through January 26, 1969, Zeppelin played a four-night stand at the storied Boston Tea Party at 53 Berkeley St. If you’re a Boston rocker of a certain age, you might’ve even been there. Or at least been to the Tea Party for a show or two.


If that’s not you, here’s a brief history lesson. The Tea Party opened its doors as a music venue in January of 1967. The South End building it called home was built in 1872, first serving as a synagogue, then as a Unitarian meeting house. Kind of cool that 53 Berkeley St. started its life as a house of worship, then became home to a different type of worship about a hundred years later.


GALLERY: Led Zeppelin at the Boston Tea Party

The Tea Party is arguably one of the most important venues in the history of rock in Boston. The late WBCN set up shop there shortly after it opened, broadcasting live sets out of a room in the back. The Zep sets are the stuff of legend; I’ve shared a recording of the closing night set and a few other goodies from the era below.