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Info 101: Musicbits 70: Led Zeppelin, the anti-dote to mundane drivel

Led Zeppelin live (L-R): John Paul Jones, John Bonham, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
Led Zeppelin live (L-R): John Paul Jones, John Bonham, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
CCASA 2.0 Generic; Tony Morelli (own work, Flickr), Chicago 1975

"LED ZEPPELIN I & II": Re-mastered Deluxe Edition CDs"

Note: Both CDs were previewed in Musicbits 66 & 67. Check both articles for complete playlists).

For many music lovers and record buyers, especially guys, Led Zeppelin was a breath of fresh air and a look into reality regarding love and sex. Two years removed from John Lennon's mind-numbingly mundane "All You Need is Love", there were no greeting card philosophies barfed up by and for hopeless romantics. "Dazed and Confused" was a far more real look at relationships for a great many forlorn souls. "Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true," Robert Plant wailed. "Lots of people talkin', few of them know, soul of a woman was created below." It was refreshing to hear someone summarize that emotion so succinctly.

The entire album was an expertly produced, perfectly performed look at the other side of love. No more innocent meandering about hearts and flowers, just stark honesty that offered its own truth. "Led Zeppelin I" remains one of, if not the best debut albums by any band ever. It's follow-up, "Led Zeppelin II", was more of the same brutal honesty, unmarred by the simple beauty of "Thank You". Both albums were on the stands six months prior to Deep Purple's "In Rock", an album that would've been a great debut piece were it not their fourth LP.

Both re-mastered discs of the original LPs sound crisper and better than the LPs and CD versions. Pge cleaned up the sound of his own work and turned them into updated masterpieces. The material has stood the test of time beautifully. The real treasure chests are the accompanying discs of previously unreleased material.

For "Led Zeppelin I", Disc 2 features a complete concert from Oct. 10, 1969 at the Olympia in Paris, France. It's the same basic playlist featured when the band played in Minneapolis in early 1970. "Dazed and Confused", "How Many More Times" and "Moby Dick" were all much longer in the concert in Minneapolis. The band was more at ease onstage by then and the material more familiar. Jimmy Page was the first and possibly only guitarist to play his guitar using a violin bow. Very creative--incredibly entertaining.

Disc 2 of "Led Zeppelin II" includes rough mixes of several songs from the album, four with vocals. All four are actually better than the final mixes. The band recorded their material live in studio and these versions are less polished, sounding more live. The others are just backing tracks without vocals. "La La" is an instrumental which was more than likely a warm-up tune.

For collectors, these volumes are a must. It's great fun to relive these memories and to hear the unreleased material for the sake of understanding the band that much better. The late 1960s were a time of change and social upheaval and, as stated, a time for honesty and reality in music and its presentation. Led Zeppelin took that concept and ran with it, becoming one of rock's most dominant forces. This is them at their very best.

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