Remastered versions of Led Zeppelin studio albums must-haves for fans

Doug
Doug Gallant
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Two words.

Led Zeppelin.

Those two little words will have some of you frothing at the mouth and pumping the air.

Some others will have already gone in search of something else to read.

For the benefit of those who are frothing at the mouth — excuse me for a minute while I empty my drool bucket and give my face a wipe — let me tell what’s about to happen.

On June 3, Warner Music will release newly remastered versions of the first three Led Zeppelin records, each of which will include a second disc of previously unreleased material.

Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page personally remastered these records, which are being released in three formats, multiple CD, 180-gram vinyl and digital download.

There’s also a deluxe boxed set for those who want everything — and more.

Having listened to all three re-issues I can honesty say these are must-haves for any serious Zeppelin fan.

Cycling through these tracks I could not help but recall the initial rush of hearing the first Led Zeppelin record for the very first time in 1969.

There had been guitar gods before Page — Jeff Beck had released his groundbreaking Truth record the year before and Jimi Hendrix already had three records in the rack — but this was something else again.

Listening to the remastered versions of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, Dazed And Confused and I Can’t Quit You Baby I felt that rush all over again.

Page and bandmates Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones took things to a whole other level.

And with these remastered recordings they’ve raised the bar once more for anyone else considering a major reissue.

Tracks like Whole Lotta Love, Ramble On and Heartbreaker from Led Zeppelin II and The Immigrant Song from Led Zeppelin III jump off the record and bite you.

And the bonus offerings, what the label refers to as “companion audio,” is an absolute treasure trove of unheard studio and live recordings.

The companion audio for Led Zeppelin I, for example, features nine songs recorded live at The Olympia in Paris in October of 1969.

Seven of the songs are from the first album, including a 15-minute version of Dazed and Confused. The remaining two tracks are versions of Heartbreaker and Moby Dick from Led Zeppelin II.

Remastered versions of all nine studio albums are being released in chronological order and every one of them will have stuff like this.

“The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin,” Page said recently.

“It is a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions, and new material recorded at the time.”

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III will each be available June 2.

If you’re willing to spring for it there’s also a super deluxe boxed set. That set includes the remastered albums on CD in a vinyl replica sleeve, companion audio tracks on CD, a remastered album on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve replicating the first pressing, companion audio on 180-gram vinyl, a high-def audio download card of all content and a hard bound, 70-plus page book filled with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia.

Included as well will be a high quality print of the original album cover, the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered.

You haven’t heard Zeppelin quite like this before.

You should.

 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at dgallant@theguardian.pe.ca or 629-6000, ext. 6057.

Organizations: Led Zeppelin, Warner Music, The Olympia The Guardian

Geographic location: Paris

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