Thursday, March 6, 2003

Led Zeppelin set to show 'How The West Was Won'

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

A Led Zeppelin live album has been tentatively scheduled for U.S. release on May 27. The rock band's new three-CD set, titled How The West Was Won, combines songs from two performances from June 1972.

These shows include a June 25 set at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., near Los Angeles, and a concert two nights later at the Long Beach Arena, also in California. The Forum concert included an extended rendition of the song "Dazed and Confused." While the band members jammed to the song, they ventured into two other pieces from the Led Zeppelin catalog: a then-unnamed instrumental piece now known as "Walter's Walk," and the soul/funk-influenced track "The Crunge."

How The West Was Won, which will retail for $26.98 in the United States, is part of a monstrous undertaking on behalf of guitarist Jimmy Page, who for more than 25 years has spoken about releasing a chronological live album of his former band. Page spent several months in a London studio in 2002 preparing this audio set as well as a two-disc DVD collection also expected to be released in the coming months. Led Zeppelin releases are also overseen and approved by Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and representatives on behalf of the estate of the group's late drummer John Bonham.

Led Zeppelin performed hundreds of shows between 1968 and 1980, but until this year the number of concerts available on commercial live albums could be counted on one hand. The only live releases in the past have been the soundtrack to The Song Remains the Same, released in 1976, and BBC Sessions, released in 1997. The soundtrack contained songs from three Led Zeppelin performances at New York's Madison Square Garden, July 27-29, 1973. The other culled various radio performances for the British Broadcasting Corporation, including two live shows in London on June 27, 1969, and April 1, 1971.

A report in 1998 said that a video and two-CD set from another London concert could be released by the end of the year. Neither was released, however, that concert -- a performance at the Royal Albert Hall on Jan. 9, 1970 -- is reported to be the centerpiece of the upcoming two-DVD set to be released this year. Additionally, two songs from that same 1970 show had been released in 1982 on the Led Zeppelin album Coda. That album, the first released after the breakup of the band two years earlier, combined the two live tracks with six previously unreleased studio outtakes.

Rumors circulate that additional Led Zeppelin CDs could follow in the coming years, including a new album of unreleased material.

Some fans of Led Zeppelin are familiar with live work by the band not available on commercial CDs but on bootlegs. According to various reports, Led Zeppelin has the distinction of being the most bootlegged band of all time.

The band is perhaps most famous for "Stairway to Heaven," a seven-minute track from its groundbreaking untitled fourth album. That 1971 album also included "Rock and Roll," which is now enjoying new life as a major part of a highly successful Cadillac advertising campaign.

Currently on the U.K. album charts is Early Days and Latter Days, a two-CD best-of compilation issued only in the United Kingdom on Feb. 24. It features these two songs, as well as the band's biggest hit, "Whole Lotta Love," as well as radio staples like "The Song Remains the Same" and "All My Love." Enhanced portions of the CDs include videos of the songs "Communication Breakdown" and "Kashmir."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated prior to publication. Comments will not be published if they are deemed vulgar, defamatory or otherwise objectionable.