OK, there's not much I can say about this. While they're giants of rock, all hail the mighty quartet, they were always firmly in the boy-music side of my brain. So it's nice we have the remasters, and I can listen to it and admire the sheer mastery of the music.
BUT, this means I can tell you the story my girlfriend told me about the time Page & Plant were touring, not so long ago. She was working at the hotel they were staying at in Sydney, and said Pagey was so out of it, he was dribbling in his meal. Her words? "Not that good in close-up, a bit crumbly". This kind of confirms what I've always called the "rotting dinosaur flesh" part of rock. It's sad when you see what used to be a great talent, and they're only just holding it together. But then there are people who just go on and on and on and stay feisty and perform like the true troopers they are. Elvis Costello, anyone?
Anyway, back to Zep. Listening to this, I noticed there seems to be a suppressed snicker at the start of Whole Lotta Love. Wonder why? I always thought this would be a great stripper's song. Anyone else? Only me, then. (YourZ sez: nah, I'm with ya, hon - I'd be happy to talk to a few strippers about this, if you want).
If you haven't got any Zep, this would be the (double) album for you. It's got all the great stuff (Immigrant Song, Dazed and Confused, Black Dog, and of course Stairway - hi Kevin!) plus of course the overblown and ridiculous (Battle of Evermore and Achilles Last Stand) but in every way it celebrates a band at its peak.
VERDICT:TURN IT UP
Woah, boy, what is it about this band, ay? I remember when I was 13 or 14, lying on the lounge room floor of a friend's place, listening to Led Zeppelin II for the first time, in quadrophonic stereo, and being absolutely blown away by the soaring rush of Track 1, Side 1 - Whole Lotta Love.
Page's guitars and Plant's voice screamed back and forth over my head. I remember the hairs standing up on the back of my neck and feeling a rush unlike anything I'd ever felt previously. I think it was this single incident that set me on the path to pursue the rock and roll dream.
What is it about a band whose last proper album was released in 1979 yet still have such rabid support and unswerving loyalty. (Yeah, I know, if I could find this secret, I'd be a fuckin' rich man by now). Even so, there are not too many other bands in the world who garner the same sort of passionate fandom.
But Led Zeppelin weren't just about the music; they were everything. Fashion icons, cultural landmarks, trendsetters, innovators and inspirators; this band of four men changed the rock and roll landscape forever. Boys wanted to look like them and girls wanted to... well, you get the drift. Their capacity for the lifestyle was prodigious, the stuff of legends (although perhaps overblown) while their music is still as engaging today as it was when they first made it.
This collection isn't definitive, at least not for me. I think this is probably how a lot of people feel about this collection because Led Zep fans have their own personal favourites, album tracks (when albums were still being made, unlike a lot of today's releases which are singles and fillers) which haven't made the cut for re-release, songs that hold special significance for the individual. But isn't it always the way?
Oh yeah, and about that young lad lying on his friends floor and dreaming of being a rock star? Well, the dream faded sometime ago but thankfully, at least for Led Zeppelin, their songs will always remains the same.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.ledzeppelin.com/