It was 45 years ago this year that Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut album. They were a band born from the ashes of The Yardbirds, and trailblazed their way and reinvented the hard rock and roll genre with their high octane dosages of alpha male rock strut by way of early Sun records and American blues electrified and shimmering off the delta.
Now, in what seems to be one of the most massive remastering undertakings since the band’s demise back in 1980 after the death of their drummer, pomp and circumstance beats king John Bonham, Zep’s first three albums are getting the royal treatment by way of new limited edition releases, extensive liner notes, unreleased songs, and enhanced album art. Each album, which will be released on June 3, 2014, will be available in multiple CD, vinyl, and digital formats, as well as a Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box (see image above for the Led Zeppelin I box set).
There first three albums — Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III — are ones which housed and crafted in sonic posterity the early musings of the band, when in a way they were arguably at their peaks of power, when the rawness of early Elvis Presley, mixed with the simplistic yet strong works of bluesman Willie Dixon, plugged into an amp and created some of the most ear-splitting and bone-crunching hard rock-and-roll ever heard, something which still stands to this day.
Classic tracks which are spread throughout those first three releases, like “Good Times, Bad Times,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Dazed and Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Immigrant Song,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” and many others. “What Is and What Should Never Be,” “Out on the Tiles,” “That’s The Way,” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” are almost like musical folklore; they are so ingrained in the pop cultural world and fabric they are as recognizable and oft-heard as traditional songs like “Happy Birthday.” And now, they are all getting the remastered treatment, and a royal one at that, indicative of the kind of adoration the band has always commanded, respected, and deserved.
Sporting covers that are almost like solarized versions of the originals, undoubtedly to contrast these deluxe editions with the original releases, each album will contain a bonus disc with unreleased and live tracks done around the time of each release, tracks that guitarist Jimmy Page stressed in a statement that “is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions and new material recorded at the time.” Led Zeppelin III vinyl will have a sleeve that replicates the moving wheel from the original LP release.
All these new versions drop in the record stores on June 3, 2014. And for those who want the whole Zeppelin shebang at once, there’s also an extremely limited “Super Deluxe Edition Box Set” for each album which houses the remastered album and all the bonus material, and the kicker for sure, a hard-bound book containing rare and unreleased photographs and memorabilia, something that will no doubt even please the biggest, staunchest Zep-phile. Rounding out this wonderful package is a high quality print of the album cover, and even press materials. Housing both the CDs and the Vinyl, this deluxe edition will also have the first 30,000 copies that were pressed individually numbered, further enhancing its collectibility.
All told, this is an exciting first phase of what is sure to be an extremely well-handled, passionately created project, which will delight Led Zeppelin fans around the world and should stand as the definitive sonic statements from a band who made a career full of them.