Friday, October 1, 2010

Possibly unique copy of 'Physical Graffiti' LP for sale

When Swan Song Records manufactured the initial run of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti around the beginning of 1975, it seems that at least one radio station may have gotten the royal treatment.

And then it was promptly forgotten about by everyone concerned.

That is, until earlier this year, according to record industry veteran Jeff Gold, who says he was going through the massive vinyl collection that belonged to Ken Barnes when one of the Led Zeppelin LPs popped out at him.

"I've known Ken since the mid '70s, and his knowledge of records is truly unsurpassed," says Gold. "I don't know anyone who knows half of what Ken knows about records, and I've met a lot of collectors in the 39 years I've been in the game."

This is believed to be a unique pressing of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti dedicated to a now-defunct Chicago radio station, WMET 95 1/2 FM.

This still-sealed copy of Physical Graffiti had something different on the album cover, he says. Actually, a few different things! First of all, the four call letters of a then-popular Chicago rock station, WMET 95 1/2 FM, were at the top, printed on the inner sleeve so as to appear through the cut-out windows on the album cover, in place of where Led Zeppelin's name and the album title would be.

On the lower three rows of windows were a few images differing from what would be the final approved artwork of the album. Some of them were Christmas-related images, suggesting perhaps it had been a late 1974 holiday gift.

Ken Barnes poses in 2010 with the rare LP he
says had been in his possession for decades.
Barnes writes online:
I have had this album in my collection for decades, and in fact until Jeff Gold found it among my other Zeppelin albums (mostly promo copies) in my 30,000 LP collection, I never noticed this was in any way different from the regular issue of the album. I very likely obtained this album while working at the radio industry trade publication Radio & Records around the time the album was released. I was an editor at Radio & Records and received thousands of promotional albums from record companies while working at R&R and writing about music for various publications over the years, most recently as music editor for USA Today.
Gold tells he and another record collector, Gary Johnson of Rockaway Records, asked some experts about whether this or anything like it was ever known to have existed. As far as copies of Physical Graffiti bearing this or any other radio station's name, nobody knew of anything.

Gold says he used to work at Warner Brothers with Danny Goldberg, who had been the founding vice president of Swan Song Records. Gold says his former colleague has no recollection about the WMET album.

Believing he'd come across a unique item, Gold paid Barnes an undisclosed amount for it. And now, he's ready to sell it to anyone who will give him $5,000 for it.

The album now includes a letter of authenticity signed by Barnes.

You can read more about the story behind this item on Gold's website,

1 comment:

  1. Zep had done some sort of a "mini concert" for wmet in which at the end of Stairway, instead of Plant singing "and she,s buying a stairway - to heaven" he sang "Ninety five and a half rocks Chicago, W.M.E.T".
    I had this on a pirated 8 track but threw it away because I had no way to play it. It may be on the WMET album. Would be interesting to find out.


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