Without fail, every year there are bits of Led Zeppelin news to share. In December, they finally released their catalog to Spotify. In January, Jimmy Page claimed he would start releasing remastered albums this year. This week, you can listen to sample practice recordings made during Physical Graffiti sessions.
I’d like to take a moment to wax about this reissue announcement.
First, let me rant a little in hi-fi geek mode. Zeppelin fans have released a collective groan every time Jimmy Page has attempted to remaster Zeppelin material. There are plenty of great albums that still sound good when they’ve been digitally remastered, but for whatever reason, none of Led Zeppelin’s albums have good dynamic range off wax. I must say, though, that Page’s announcement (from his 2012 interview that I somehow overlooked until today) sounds much more promising this time around:
“The catalog was last remastered 20 years ago,” he said. “That’s a long time. Everything is being transferred from analog to a higher-resolution digital format. That’s one of the problems with the Zeppelin stuff. It sounds ridiculous on MP3. You can’t hear what’s there properly.”
Equally exciting as the audio quality improvement of the reissues is the addition of new content with each album release. You can read the details from the interview, but there’s really no indication yet of how extensive the new content will be. I’ll be happy if there is even just one great track from each of their nine studio album release bonus CDs/DVDs.
As for the Physical Graffiti auction material (reels 1 and 2, coincidentally recorded exactly 40 years ago today), I’ve heard a lot of rare Led Zeppelin recordings, but never this drastically-different version of “In the Light”:
Also, this isn’t news, but I just ran across it today. Michael Winslow’s still got it, giving a beat-box rendition of Whole Lotta Love: