1973 – $7.50 Life-Changer

When I started college all over again in 1970 – a year after I should have graduated – I had to do it full-time. That way, there’d be less of a chance of me not wanting to stick with it over the course of seven years or so going part-time.

That meant I’d also have to work full-time to pay for tuition, rent and food. I worked the midnight shift on one job for the first three years and 2nd-shift at another for senior year.

This meant that all big projects – like weekly chemistry and physics lab reports – had to be done on weekends. These projects take up a LOT of space, what with all the books, literature, measuring instruments, calculators and other stuff I don’t even remember – all at my fingertips.

At the time, I shared the 2nd-floor of a small two-family house in Englewood, NJ, with a roommate and his Afghan hound. There was no living room – only two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom – and nowhere to put a table large enough to accommodate the creation of science lab reports…………..even if I could have afforded a table that large.

The only solution was obvious: my king-size bed.

As you can see in the picture below, all that stuff – plus my phone, my watch (with studded 3″-wide leather band………..I had no clock) – fit on the bed with some space left over for me, laying on my side.

Somehow, it all worked and I was able to crank out these lab reports every week.

Note: besides the hippie watch band, you can see some other period must-haves in the image, such as a large tie-dyed sheet and – of course – a Frisbee.

Too bad that the king-sized comforter was jammed into that chair. Except for the back and sides, every part of it was patched beautifully. Sitting in that chair while wearing my patched jeans (see jeans in 2008 post) made me partially-camouflaged.






At the head of my bed was my stereo, my Garrard turntable (I still have the Garrard) and two sets of headphones – perfect for listening with………….someone.

I pulled the spindle from the turntable and replaced it with something that kept everything well in tune, but also prevented multiple-album play (and lid closure).

Such a dilemma……………







This happened while I was living in that Englewood, NJ house.

Led Zeppelin decided to do away with thousands of crazed ticket buyers jamming up dozens of venues for their 1973 US tour by offering a lottery system where everyone would send in payments by mail for $7.50 a ticket (plus 50 cents S&H per order – limit: 6 tickets).


It was not first-come-first-served for better seats. Rather, all seats were the same price and – after the deadline for submitting payment – seats would be selected at random.

You could get front row center orchestra or last row nosebleed seats behind the stage – everyone had a fair shot.

I certainly did. I got 4th-row, dead-center orchestra for the 3rd and final night at Madison Square Garden – the show that was filmed for Zep’s “The Song Remains the Same” movie (I even got in the movie!). I also got first night tickets just off the floor by the stage and second night ones for mid-orchestra.

As I wrote on bobleafe.com regarding that third night:

“I figured I would NEVER get this close again (yeah, right), so I borrowed a camera to have something memorable from it.

I had no real camera experience, so I got 2 minutes of instruction………‘do this’, ‘turn that’………before the show. To complicate matters, there was a sort of purple haze in the air. SOMEHOW, the pictures came out and I was on my way.”

If you’d like to read the rest of the story and see the pictures, go to the Led Zeppelin listing on my site and check out the first two shots.

Suffice it to say that this ticket changed my life and ultimately turned decades of working in a chemistry lab into decades of great music and fun.

The whole ticket was $7.50 – the stub is priceless.

One Comment

  1. Laura Kaye July 23, 2021

    I was not quite 16 years old when Zeppelin did these shows at MSG and my BFF at the time and I talked our Moms into writing checks for the lottery and managed to get 2nd tier seats directly to side of stage. We brought binoculars and took turns studying and staring lovingly at Robert Plant. And of course we both went to see Song Remains the Same the SECOND it came out… My ticket stubs are long lost but I’m pretty sure she still has hers. Gonna try and see if she can send me a pic…

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