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Info 101: Musicbits 76: Worshipping in the houses of the holy

Beginning of the end or a brief transition, this title will be a deluxe edition release on Oct. 28, 2014.
Beginning of the end or a brief transition, this title will be a deluxe edition release on Oct. 28, 2014.
1973: 2014: Atlantic Records: non-free use of LP cover to promote product with no intent to compete with or hinder copyright owner in any way.

"HOUSES OF THE HOLY (1973)" Deluxe Edition on Atlantic Records will be released on October 28, 2014 in six formats: Single CD, Deluxe Ed. 2-CD, single and double LP. a super-deluxe edition 2-CD, 2-LP version with a book and as a high resolution 96k/24-bit digital download. Local collectors can pre-order at amazon.com soon or wait for day-of-release specials at the Electric Fetus, Cheapo Records or the various chains.

Disc 1: "The Song Remains the Same", "The Rain Song", "Over the Hills and Far Away", "The Crunge", "Dancing Days", "D'yer Maker", "No Quarter" and "The Ocean".

Disc 2: "The Song Remains the Same" (Guitar overdub reference mix), "The Rain Song" (Mix minus piano), "Over the Hills and Far Away" (Guitar mix backing track), "The Crunge" (Rough mix-keys up), "Dancing Days" (Rough mix with vocal), "No Quarter" (Rough mix with J.P. Jones keyboard overdubs--no vocal) and "The Ocean" (Working mix).

This album, Led Zeppelin's fifth, was off-center in many ways. It was their first album of completely original material and their last album for Atlantic Records. It was released two months late and by the time it hit the stands, the band had already played many of the songs on tour including North America, Japan, the UK and Europe. The title song was one of the first completed for the album but did not make the cut ending up on Physical Graffiti. Like Led Zeppelin IV, there was no print on the cover, again containing stickers to identify the product.

The music itself was again called into question because it was 'different' than its predecessors. This LP offered their version of reggae ("D'yer Maker"), a funk-y salute to James Brown ("The Crunge"), an acoustic piano solo by John Paul Jones ("No Quarter") and multi-layered guitar work from Page ("The Song Remains the Same" and "Dancing Days"). Plant's vocals were noticeably different from track to track and his lyrics had matured toward a less overt form of mysticism.

All in all, it's a solid album which sold well and topped most of the charts but it seemed like the beginning of the end in retrospect. People will argue that the best was yet to come and this writer is no purist but the band was never the same on subsequent releases. What got the and it's overwhelming fame would also ring it crashing down very soon, especially at the expense of John Bonham.

Making things worse was the decision to put naked children on the cover. The dark ages have not ended, especially in America. Any form of nudity scares the American public and naked children is cause to alert the church elders and, ultimately, to ban the offending product. In the southern United States, the album was not made available for several years after its release date. Even then the cover was hidden with a wrap-around paper title band. Some used record stores even resorted to keeping the cover hidden behind the counter.

Younger music fans may have trouble believing that such things could happen in a country where the internet provides so much pornography but it's true nonetheless. The upcoming re-releases by Led Zeppelin will paint the rest of the picture.