Sunday, November 16, 2014

Announcement: Why this site hasn't been updated

Two words: Life changes.

During my very first hour visiting in Clarksdale, I met some traveling musicians who had just met up with a friend and were going to seek out the farmland where Howlin' Wolf's cabin originally stood. So I tagged along for their jam session; in fact, I drove one of the two cars, and I remember clearly that we listened to Led Zeppelin on the way back. The CD was live on April 27, 1969, at the Fillmore West. When we got to "As Long as I Have You," the guys in my car hadn't heard music like this ever before and their jaws were dropping. I provided the appropriate volume adjustment upward while the young band on my car stereo quoted Spirit, Cream, Miles Davis and Chuck Berry, all before tagging on the "As Long as I Have You" ending. The effect is shattering!

My Led Zeppelin sites have been an on-again-off-again hobby, a way to cut my chops writing a few times a week. I looked forward to finding out the latest news about anyone named Page, Plant, Jones or Bonham and sharing it online with my own approach. In total, I wrote nearly 365 editions of "On This Day in Led Zeppelin History" per year for half a decade. Later, I wrote about 150 Led Zeppelin News updates each year for another half a decade.

The drop-off in my Led Zeppelin writing activity in February 2011 coincided with the first of several changes in my life. That was a road trip through the South, with myself, my car, and a big but portable keyboard. I took off to Mississippi by way of Nashville and Memphis, and all sorts of destinations in Texas and Arkansas. I spent a few weeks in each setting I chose. There's no denying my itinerary was inspired by the people covered here on this site, and their music was part of the journey.

In the South, I was seeing and doing things, having all sorts of new experiences, and I was bringing music to people. And I was soaking in theirs. I basked in the glory of my life's passions: music and travel. One of the effects of my road trip was my decision not to write for a living anymore, to trade in my notepad for a new keyboard. I insisted that live music become the biggest pursuit of my life. It has been that way ever since.

Apart from taking up music full-time, I am thrilled to report that I found an amazing woman and married her. I'm still writing, though much less and barely any of it is on this site. There's tons of Led Zeppelin news being made, and other fan sites are doing a great job of tracking it all. I haven't. My priority has been playing live music, and now I'm 35 and enjoying every weekend playing somewhere with somebody.

On a side note, Jimmy Page is putting together a new band, and I want to be his keyboardist. I'm declaring this on the off chance somebody reading this is interested in getting me an audition.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Reissues series to feature on Carol Miller show

New York radio personality Carol Miller will be proudly presenting the Led Zeppelin reissues on her program. The first of six weekly broadcasts dedicated to the original three Led Zeppelin albums will air on her flagship station, Q104.3, next Monday, May 26.

  • Shows 1 & 2 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on the debut album Led Zeppelin
  • June 3 - The box sets for the first three albums become available for purchase in the United States
  • Shows 3 & 4 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on Led Zeppelin II
  • Shows 5 & 6 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on Led Zeppelin III

Throughout the six weeks, the show will also be airing the recording of Carol Miller's "exclusive conversation with Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page." From the show's official press release: "Page was intimately involved with the re-mastering process of the original Led Zeppelin material and also with the bonus tracks that will be included on the new deluxe editions of these classic albums."

The radio show is distributed nationwide to classic rock stations. If your classic rock station doesn't already get the Led out properly with Carol Miller, then you'll be missing out! Call your program director and ask for Carol Miller's Get the Led Out. As a disclosure, I contribute to the show, and I'm a fan too.

It just so happens that at the time the last of these six shows airs in New York, I'll be 132 miles away, onstage with the band Get the Led Out, The American Led Zeppelin, at the Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace, in Ocean City, N.J. This will be my ninth time sitting in with the band, playing all the keyboard parts. We'll be performing live the album versions of songs from all over Led Zeppelin's catalog, not just the first three albums.

Just think of all the things I might be brushing up on playing now! Maybe the Clavi on "Trampled Under Foot."What about the synths on "All My Love"? Perhaps the fluty recorders and electric piano on "Stairway to Heaven"? See you in Ocean City!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Well, that settles it. No Led Zeppelin reunion, and that's all anyone ever cared about

Isn't it interesting that nearly all of the Led Zeppelin news coverage anywhere on Thursday was centered on Robert Plant's declaration that there was "zero" chance of another Led Zeppelin reunion? In case you missed it, that's what he told the BBC in the very last second of a six-minute chat aired on BBC radio Wednesday morning and was available online for listening all over the world.

It's what he said in the very last second, the "zero" chance comment, that stole the headlines. Because there's always been an interest in a Led Zeppelin reunion, no matter when the last one was, or how discouragingly bad the last one was, or how astonishingly good the last one was. But Robert's closed the door.

Jimmy admitted, in his separate interview, also broadcast April 23, that he's more surprised than anyone there's not been a reunion. Furthermore, he's not the one to ask about a Led Zeppelin reunion. He's only the guitar player. He's not the singer. You should ask the singer. And so they did, and the singer said no. It was an outright no. And as Brian Gardiner astutely observed on his site, this is exactly what he could have said a long time ago and saved us all some agony.

I'm feeling really badly for Jimmy now. I think he put a whole lotta stock in the inevitability that Robert would change his mind once again. It's possible Jimmy didn't want to get any kind of a studio or live project going again unless Robert was going to be the frontman. Luckily, John Paul Jones doesn't feel that way, and we've gotten Them Crooked Vultures, Seasick Steve, Minibus Pimps, I won't repeat myself...

What was really cool is the fact that neither of the two Led Zeppelin bonus tracks premiered by the BBC at the same time was anything ardent fans have ever heard before. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) Jimmy truly dug into boxes of tapes, and took two years doing it, to arrive at the best stuff there is. And so far, this is stuff that never leaked to the masses.

We've now heard a minute's worth of the Led Zeppelin III outtake "Key to the Highway" (none of the "Trouble in Mind" portion expected later) and learned it was recorded 30 minutes after "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper." It features Robert Plant singing through the same reverberating filter also heard on another studio outtake already distributed and well known among bootleg collectors. But it's a totally different melody, and the chord progression features a nice two-five turnaround seldom heard in the blues.

Representing Led Zeppelin II's bonus disc is a rough mix of "Whole Lotta Love" with an alternate vocal. This is nothing that came out with the multitracks when they leaked online in February 2012. Hmm, just over two years ago, which we can now surmise is when Jimmy started working on this remasters-plus-bonus project taking advantage of technological advancements of the past two decades since the first remastered Led Zeppelin CDs ...

And this is all in addition to the sweet first track of the live CD accompanying the Led Zeppelin remaster, which we can stream on Spotify now whenever we want.

Also, it was fun hearing Robert admit he was imitating the stylings of Steve Marriott on "Whole Lotta Love." Isn't it funny how Jimmy wanted Steve Marriott as the singer and instead got a Steve Marriott imitator? Not that Robert was a Steve Marriott imitator all the time. He says he was this for one three-minute song, then onto something else entirely different for another. Great point!

It sure would be nice hearing from John Paul Jones on these matters. I wonder why not.

Anyway, now that Robert closed the door to any future Led Zeppelin reunions, what impact will that make on whether Jimmy picks up a guitar again, in his 70s, and goes out there with somebody else?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Video for 1st Led Zep album showcases live audio, memorabilia galore

The first minute of audio from a previously unreleased Led Zeppelin concert in Paris 1969 is contained in a trailer posted online today for the upcoming expanded re-releases of the group's self-titled first album.


This official trailer also showcases a plethora of memorabilia from Zep's first year flashing by the screen, including photos from the era, ads, promo items and white labels from original, rare vinyl. Tickets and posters shown from 1969 appearances include US clubs such as the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles and the Boston Tea Party, as well as UK destinations the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Bath Festival. Another feature of the trailer is pieces of handwritten studio notes from the album's recording process.

As previously announced, Led Zeppelin's first album package comes out June 2 (June 3 in the US) with several different editions available. Packages developed for the second and third albums will be released are the same day, so similar trailers for those packages can now be expected.

One of the first people publicizing the link for the trailer soon after it was posted was John Davis, who was involved in the remastering project for these releases. On Twitter, Davis (@daftfader) wrote: "official trailer for Led Zep remastering project I just finished!" Also nearly as fast in sharing the link was the official Facebook page for John Paul Jones.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Minibus Pimps LP proves Jonesy'll do anything to progress in new ways and old

Say there is a new album featuring John Paul Jones. You'll never know what to expect. Come on, the guy's hard to pinpoint. The top session bassist and in-demand arranger in the 1960s, Jones has always been all over the map, arranging strings for the Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield, playing bass for Tom Jones and Memphis Slim, and maybe even subbing in on bass for the Yardbirds in the studio (though he denied that vehemently when I interviewed him a dozen years ago).

The soundtrack to this post:

No matter what instrument or how daunting the musical task at hand, here is a man whose career has been defined by a constant (if not nagging) mantra of "Jonesy'll do it." There was the custom manufacture of a triple-neck guitar -- mandolin neck included -- exclusively to accommodate everything he had to reproduce simultaneously on live renditions of "Ten Years Gone" with Led Zeppelin, all while Jimmy Page was satisfied with two guitar necks at once. As a rule, Jones was always expected to handle bass duties even if it meant with his feet because his hands were otherwise engaged with other instruments. If there was a female call-and-response vocal part to cover at live shows, "Jonesy'll do it." This was demanding work!

Even apart from being a major contributing force in Led Zeppelin's songwriting and musicality, Jones persisted in finding time to dedicate his varied talents to discs by the likes of Roy Harper and Madeline Bell. Whatever the session called for, he's been there.

For instance: Need string arrangements on four -- count 'em, four -- of R.E.M.'s singles in 1992? "Jonesy'll do it."

If you were avant-garde singer Diamanda Galás in 1994 and you wanted to write a full-length album with somebody on bass who would also bust out a lap steel guitar to complement your unique voice, who else would you naturally turn to but the same guy who'd just co-produced the last Butthole Surfers album? "Jonesy'll do it."

The same guy composed three Spanish-language songs for a CD recorded by the Harp Collective called Amores Pasados, released in 1995. When that music resembled baroque from the 1600s, the question became inevitable: Is there anything Jonesy won't do?

While the decade proceeded, Jones's focus progressed. Frustrated that the perennial sideman hadn't been considered as a sideman for the widely acclaimed Page/Plant projects of the '90s, he concentrated on putting out two proper solo albums under his own name. On 1999's Zooma and the 2002/2003 release The Thunderthief, Jones really branched out, grabbing anything he could play, be it that triple-neck guitar, various keyboards, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, koto, autoharp, mandola, yadda yadda yadda. By the second album, he wasn't even content with just instrumentals; he relented and even recorded his own lead vocals. (It really wasn't his first time singing lead on a John Paul Jones album; two cuts he sang on and cowrote with his daughter Jacinda made their way onto the 1985 movie soundtrack for Scream for Help, which was his first full-length solo project.)

Perhaps a more notable attribute on that pair of solo releases was Jones's demonstrated mastery of a burgeoning digital soundscape environment known as Kyma. This sort of thing was nothing he hadn't attempted even in the Led Zeppelin days. When music reviewer Julian Marszalek recently called to mind the mysterious droning intro to the In Through the Out Door track "In the Evening," Jones was quick to take credit for most of the sound. He boasted:
Oh, thank you! That was me! Jimmy put some guitars on it, too, but I did that on the Yamaha GX-1. I found this programme where you have all the filters on the edge where they break up and keep trying to do something else and they keep coming back again. Yeah, that was great, that.
Consider Kyma as just an updated way of achieving a seemingly unlimited array of sounds, which allowed Jones's 1999-2003 solo recordings to take on whole new levels. Thus, if asked to name an artist who at that time was providing a new kind of fanfare for the millennium, one proper response would have been, "Jonesy'll do it."

In 2005, Dave Grohl said he wanted the Foo Fighters' next album to be a double album harnessing the broad musical diversity found on Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti 30 years earlier. Jones, who found himself in Los Angeles for the Grammys anyway, hopped on over to the Foos' recording studio and wound up guesting on the album. Need piano on an acoustic song called "Miracle"? "Jonesy'll do it." Need mandolin behind the harmonica solo on "Another Round"? "Jonesy'll do it."

Once he'd sufficiently made the rounds in the bluegrass/Americana/old-timey music circuit, Jones was the natural pick to produce Uncle Earl's third full-length release. Their session for a hoedown fiddle number for cloggers called "Streak O' Lean, Streak O' Fat" saw Jones playing some barrelhouse piano while one of the g'Earls served as a Chinese-language square dance caller. Oh, and what about some excess hollering in the background too? "Jonesy'll do it."

The following year, whilst producing Sara Watkins's self-titled debut album, Jones overdubbed three of his own instrument parts -- electric piano, mandolin and bass -- all onto an original of hers called "Will We Go." Even with the great Benmont Tench of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers band at his disposal, Jones took it upon himself to lay down the keyboard parts on two other songs as well. He joined the three-part harmony chorus of Sara's catchy album opener, "All This Time," while his bass skills graced about a third of the album as well, once again proving, "Jonesy'll do it."

His next in-studio collaboration with Grohl was a writing and recording project conducted in secrecy throughout much of 2009, resulting in a "supergroup" (like it or not) called Them Crooked Vultures and an eponymous disc that was an hour-plus of heavy yet trippy alternative rock. For this release, his supply closet was stocked with an array of keyboards (including keytar) and basses, plus a lap steel guitar and -- why not? -- mandolin. Round things out with some backing vocals, and you've got yourself a job to do. But fear not: "Jonesy'll do it."

If you were California-born bluesman Seasick Steve, and you'd gone in a short time from busking in obscurity to being suddenly pronounced Mojo magazine's Best Breakthrough Act and a festival mainstay, what would you do to further your the whirlwind acclaim you've been experiencing worldwide? Might a little name recognition help push your next two studio efforts in 2011 and 2013? The first time, how about getting John Paul Jones to play bass on two songs and mandolin on another? The second time, how about getting him back to play on no less than nine songs, this time adding to the instrument mix some Hammond organ, backing vocals, and even (yes, it exists) lap steel ukulele? "Jonesy'll do it."

By no means is this a comprehensive list. For more of his session, production and arranging work back in the day, I could have recited the familiar (hackneyed?) litany of names like Lulu, Donovan, Herman's Hermits, Engelbert Humperdinck, among many others. Led Zeppelin aficionados have been reciting these credits of Jones's since the earliest Led Zeppelin press releases at the end of the 1960s highlighted his earlier achievements. Since then, other studio accomplishments of his ranged from working with Sir Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Ben E. King, the Mission UK, Heart, Cinderella, Robyn Hitchcock, and under-appreciated New Zealand garage rock revivalists the Datsuns, whose Jones-produced 2004 CD Outta Sight/Outta Mind is a personal favorite of mine. Still, that less-than-comprehensive list represents the bulk of Jones's studio work available up until last week.

Bearing all of that in mind, whether or not you're aware of the operas Jones has been composing in his spare time, it was difficult to imagine what to expect when earlier this year the Norwegian indie label SusannaSonata announced the March 3 release of Cloud to Ground, a near 30-minute album featuring four live collaborations between Jones and fellow record producer Helge Sten (a.k.a. "Deathprod"). Together, they call themselves Minibus Pimps.

When you've long been conditioned to expect the unexpected, it may come as less of a surprise to realize this latest John Paul Jones album project resembles almost nothing else mentioned above. The Minibus Pimps album -- sold as a 180-gram LP that's packaged with a musically identical CD -- resides in a category all by itself, all but for the sheer fact that there's a lot of improvisation involved in the music.

Improvising is not a first for Jones by any stretch of the imagination, which anyone who's ever paid attention to any Led Zeppelin's live recordings could tell you. (In the above-referenced interview, Jones is quick to namecheck Zep's funk throwback "The Crunge" as their most avant-garde moment caught on album.) In the case of Minibus Pimps, improvisation is inevitable given their modus operandi consists solely of two skilled musicians battling each other in the live arena using not conventional instruments but stealth weapons of digital software. (There's that Kyma stuff again!)

This disc's four distinct titles were culled from live performances they'd made in multiple concert appearances. Here are eight observations about it after I've had a week to take it in.

  1. Most (and hardly not all, right?) pictures of the album cover currently shown online include a yellow sticker that is actually part of the plastic shrinkwrap. Remove the shrinkwrap, and the sticker is gone. So that yellow bit is not really part of the cover art.
  2. There aren't really any liner notes to speak of.
  3. The artist/title/label/catalog number info on the spine, so it's not exactly repeating the feat pioneered by Zep's untitled fourth album.
  4. They do list the song titles on the inside of the record. Side one of the LP consists of "Black Aurora" in four parts, 16 minutes total. It isn't obvious from looking at the vinyl where to drop the needle if you wanted, for example, to start with part 2 or 3 or 4. Discerning listeners can tell from listening where one part ends and the next begins.
  5. The album's flip side consists of three separate titles: "Cloud to Ground," "Arc" and "Superbolt." At roughly four minutes each, these are about equal in length to the four parts on side one.
  6. The US iTunes Store sells the album digitally, and that full album purchase is the only way iTunes lets you obtain "Black Aurora" in all its 16 minutes as one track. The remaining three songs can be acquired separately ($1.29 apiece) without the full album purchase.
  7. The CD included in the LP package contains a total of seven tracks. Evidently, the decision was made to separate "Black Aurora" parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 into CD tracks 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. The remaining three titles comprise tracks 5, 6 and 7.
  8. As far as physical copies are concerned, I didn't check everywhere the Interwebz had to often, nor did I even bother my local record store. That being said, my limited comparison on pricing for Cloud to Ground persuaded me to buy mine from Bull Moose, an indie record shop located in Maine, thankfully with a Web presence. Unless I'm mistaken, they're offering the best deal for American consumers hoping to own a physical copy of this limited-edition release. On the Bull Moose site, the LP/CD package was available for $19.97. (Compare to upwards of $50 direct from the Norwegian label when you factor in international shipping to US customers!) Now, Bull Moose charges $3 for standard shipping, but there's a loophole: They offer free shipping for orders of $20 or more. The Minibus Pimps release falls three short of qualifying for free shipping, so all you have to do is find another product in their store priced between $0.03 and $3.00 and you can make out like a bandit. For my shipping-free purchase, I opted to invest in a 2012 Michael Kiwanuka single for the princely sum of $1.97. It's like the place was paying me to put another record in my shopping cart!
Minibus Pimps collaborator Helge Sten, who perhaps most famously worked in the past with the group Supersilent, comes across as an obvious Zeppelin fan. As evidence, I'll refer you to one particular remark he made during Julian Marszalek's joint interview with him and Jones published last month by online music publication The Quietus. Quoth the Deathprod mastermind:
"I think there's so much interesting stuff going on in all of their [Led Zeppelin's] music. There's so much variety and energy going on there and that's what sets it apart from so much other music."
At this point, I must clarify that I myself am no stranger to ambient and avant-garde music. Whenever it's late at night and I'm zoning out, or trying to lull myself asleep, or just simply winding down from an adrenaline-filled night where I've just played a live classic rock tribute gig and still facing a few more hours of driving before I'm home again, I'll tune my radio to WXPN in hopes that a show like "Star's End" or "Echoes" will provide a soothing soundtrack to complement my trip into Dreamland. However, for me, this Minibus Pimps album is a little more nightmare-inducing.

Maybe it's also the pain meds I've been taking to mask a back injury I mysteriously suffered last week. Or maybe I was just off-put by the pitch-shifting sounds my questionable turntable was making when I sought to embark on the record's maiden voyage. Or maybe I'm just plain sour (Sauer?).

But so far, I'm deciding to file this Minibus Pimps release away with Jimmy Page's 2012 archival release, Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks. That particular mood doesn't often strike me, but I'll know where to go the next time it does.

If The Quietus's Julian Marszalek is to believed, he intends to "drop some mushrooms to [the album] and watch the Aurora Borealis." In that case, my only complaint would be the album's length. Is thirty minutes really enough to take it all in?

Moreover, does there remain anything musical Jonesy hasn't done?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

John Paul Jones' duo Minibus Pimps readies album for March 3 release; Cloud to Ground pairs him with Helge Sten

Source: Fact Magazine
A duo project featuring John Paul Jones is ready to release an album. Jones's partner in the project Minibus Pimps is Helge Sten, a composer and performer of ambient music. The album is due March 3 with the title Cloud to Ground.

"The music is highly avant garde electronic music," advises an announcement by the label SusannaSonata.

Sten worked as a solo artist under the moniker Deathprod and as a member of Supersilent. Jones jammed with Supersilent in live settings part of each year between 2011 and 2013. On other occasions over the same years, Sten and Jones also performed as a duo, using the name Minibus Pimps. Live clips follow after the jump.

Jones, aside from his live work with these acts, and an upcoming opera, most recently appeared on the two most recent studio albums by Seasick Steve: 2013's international release Hubcap Music and the UK-only 2011 release You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks. Prior to this, in 2009, Jones surprised everyone by releasing an album and touring extensively with the high-profile studio trio/live quartet Them Crooked Vultures.

For more insight on Sten's past work, try this Spotify playlist.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Classic Led Zeppelin posters unearthed for sale

In case you somehow missed these two big news items today:
  1. Happy 70th birthday to Jimmy Page!
  2. Robert Plant has just announced plans to tour Europe and Japan this June, July and August. Fourteen live shows are on the books with his band the Sensational Space Shifters. Check out his website for all the details.
Here's another item that will be of interest to collectors of Led Zeppelin concert posters. We've probably all seen these UK posters from the Bath Festival 1969 and 1970.

The Bath Festival in 1969 featured Led Zeppelin fourth on the bill.
Although Led Zeppelin headlined the Bath Festival 1970, all band names were printed in the same size, much to the chagrin of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant.

Henrietta Bannister, daughter of Bath Festival promoter Freddy Bannister, emailed me today about two forgotten posters her family had just discovered. Reprints are now available for sale through her company, Rock Music Memorabilia.

Bath Pavilion 1968
One is the poster for Led Zeppelin's show at the Bath Pavilion half a year before the first Bath Festival. The date was Dec. 16, 1968, within two weeks before the group left for their first tour of America. An earlier version of the poster advertised the Jeff Beck Group as the headliner, but Beck was becoming unreliable at that time and canceling shows. This was one of those instances. As the Rock Music Memorabilia website explains: "At short notice we received a phone call from Peter Grant's office saying Jeff Beck was unable to appear, but if we wished we could have the New Yardbirds, now known as Led Zeppelin." Henrietta Bannister's email to me expands on this: "Led Zeppelin replaced Jeff Beck because of illness. In fact, my father was quite annoyed because in 1968 Jeff Beck was a much bigger attraction than Led Zeppelin." The concert poster reprint being sold today lists Led Zeppelin in Beck's place and contains a disclaimer about the previously advertised headliner. This poster should also be of interest to fans of Muddy Waters and The Who as their own Bath Pavilion dates are also listed.

Alternate Bath Festival 1969
The other newly discovered Led Zeppelin artifact is an alternate Bath Festival 1969 poster. As the original poster features a faceless and bare-chested woman, some store owners complaining that it was obscene refused to advertise the show with it. They were given this alternate poster design instead, which features the side of the woman's face in a lot more detail.

For a limited time only, a set of these four posters is available from Rock Music Memorabilia at a special discount of over 30 percent off. For more specific information, visit In the spirit of full disclosure, I've been offered one of these sets for mentioning this here.

Friday, January 3, 2014

RIP Phil Everly

We mourn the loss of the remarkable Phil Everly, who today has died at the age of 74. Here's Robert Plant singing not one but two Everly Brothers songs with Allison Krauss on 2007's Raising Sand.

In 2008, Plant picked up an award for one of those Everlys tunes and said, "I'd like to thank Don and Phil Everly for getting me through my teenage years, and I'd like to thank Alison for helping me get through my late 50s."

Speaking of Robert's age, he is now decidedly in his mid 60s, specifically 65. John Paul Jones just celebrated his birthday today, making him 68. Jimmy Page is set to become the first Led Zeppelin member to make it to 70 this Thursday.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ushering in 2014, Jimmy Page announces future releases

"It's good news for the New Year," says a message posted Jan. 1, 2014, on Jimmy Page's website. "The first of the Led Zeppelin releases - comprising of Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III and their companion discs - will be released this year."

(Editor's note: So the title of Led Zeppelin's first album is Led Zeppelin I, Jimmy? What's the title of the one after Led Zeppelin III?)

In the New Year's message, Page also:
  • announces some solo material -- "I've also been working on some of my own material from the archives that will be unleashed in 2014."
  • sends fans his well wishes -- "Hello there and Happy New Year to you all. I hope you are enjoying the holidays. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the support you've given the website." []
  • references a blues song when he closed with the words, "Let The Good Times Roll!"
  • and signs the message with his name and autograph.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), New Year's Day 2010 was when UK's The Independent caught Page admitting that he was already "a year behind" on a project with "lots of new music to present."

Page followed up in July 2011 by launching his website and using it twice in its first nine months to sell vinyl pressings of his past solo work. The first, Death Wish II, was a re-released soundtrack album Page had originally released on the Swan Song label in 1982. The second, Lucifer Rising and Other Soundtracks, contained instrumental solo material Page had recorded in the 1970s but had not released.

Walking into Clarksdale, the 1998 album he recorded with Robert Plant, marks the last time Page recorded a full album and released it within months. That disc will enjoy its 16th anniversary in April.

A literal interpretation of Page's remark today about future Led Zeppelin box sets holds that fans can expect one release this year, namely, what is presumably a 6-CD box set focusing on the first three Led Zeppelin albums, recorded in 1968, 1969 and 1970. The set would include the three albums in their original running order with as many as three additional discs of bonus material.

This year will then usher in the fourth intentional wave of rebranding and repackaging Led Zeppelin's studio material. Between 1990 and 1993 came the original self-titled 4-CD box set along with the Remasters, Box Set 2 and Complete Studio Recordings sets. A pair of single-CD sets, Early Days and Latter Days, followed between 1999 and 2000, later to be combined and sold as one. Mothership followed in 2007, offering a remastered look at an updated 2-CD summation of the group's studio tracks.