Thursday, March 11, 2010

Led Zeppelin - Remasters


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.



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.


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  1. I was never that much of a fan and don't actually own any Zep vinyl (I know, I know..) but I do have this double CD and it will suffice. Nevertheless, it is true what you say about albums - best ofs never really cut the mustard.

    Funnily enough, Pink Floyd are currently in court trying to stop single tracks from their albums being downloaded on itunes etc. Their argument is that an album should remain intact as a body of work and should be purchased as such. There is clearly a lot of money resting on this decision so I'm waiting with baited breath to see whether art wins over cash...hmm.

  2. I never really went out of way to buy compilations, by then, I often had the entire collection-so what's the point? However, I HAD to get the Zeppelin Boxed Set just to get my hands on "Travelin' Riverside Blues". It was worth it.

  3. Musicobsessive, I've had different albums of theirs on vinyl and cassette over the years but this is the only product of theirs I have on CD. Having done this review, I have such a hankering to hear The Lemon Song, I think I might go out and buy Led Zeppelin II just to have it.

    The 'album' as you and I know it, is not being made much anymore, mores the pity. There are still some bands waving the flag but these are few and far between. I'll be interested to see the final decision regarding Pink Floyd although I bet it comes down on the side of the money-making record company, dammit all.


  4. Drewz, as Mine and YourZ (truly) have made our way through the collection, I have been surprised at just how many compilations and collections we have. A lot of these are because we haven't bothered replacing our vinyl, yet.

    The box set sounds awesome. Now, if I could only convince Mine of its worth...


  5. "The overblown and ridiculous Battle of Evermore"!!!!!!!!!!! How dare you?
    And what's with the double cd set? Surely it has to be the full box set plus the other box set?
    I remember the first time I saw this box and thought wouldn't it be funny if, after all the fuss, Zep had been responsible for the crop circles all along.
    As for Page's dribbling - what would you expect from a bloke who chose to buy and live in Aleister Crowley's house?

  6. Anon, Mine doesn't know how upsetting her words can be sometimes - I too have much enjoyed both the Battle of Evermore and Achilles Last Stand a great deal over the years. And there can be no doubt, sir, the box set will one day be mine.

    I would love it if Led Zep were found to be responsible for the crop circles too. Would put pay to all the tin-foil hat wearing nutters, wouldn't it?