If you thought that you had heard everything there was to hear from Led Zeppelin, you’d be quite wrong. Thanks to the production of Jimmy Page, throughout 2014, fans have had the privilege of feasting upon chronological reissues of Zeppelin’s entire legendary catalogue. This series of reissues includes “a selection of work in progress with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternate versions and new material recorded at the time,” says Page. Deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin 1-3 hit the shelves last June, followed by Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy last October. A deluxe reissue of Physical Graffiti continues this fascinating journey deep into the attics of Led Zeppelin.
On February 24th 1975, Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin’s highly ambitious sixth album was released. One day after the album’s 40th anniversary, this enthralling reissue is the perfect commemoration to one of the most impressive masterpieces in Rock n’ Roll history. Physical Graffiti gave the world such massive smash hits as, “Kashmir,” “Houses of the Holy,” “Trampled Under Foot,” “The Wanton Song,” and “Ten Years Gone” as well as Rock classics like, “Custard Pie,” “The Rover” and the 11-minute remake of blues standard, “In My Time of Dying.” This highly renowned double album still stands as one of the band’s greatest accomplishments and the reissue takes us deeper than ever before into the heart of Physical Graffiti.
The first of seven bonus tracks is “Brandy & Coke,” an early rough mix of what would eventually become “Trampled Under Foot.” Zeppelin broadly expanded their sound on Physical Graffiti and “Trampled Under Foot” was a fitting example, with its flawless blend of Rock, Funk and the ripping vocal stylings of Robert Plant. It’s followed by an early instrumental version of “Sick Again.” Plant’s vocals are absent on this track, but the bare structure of this Rock n’ Roll gem is openly revealed in all of its splendor. The listener can, for the first time, hear these songs in their beginning stages; a very special treat for any Zeppelin fan.
An obvious highlight is the rough mix of the classic, “Houses of the Holy” which features added percussion and vocal overdubs. You can really hear the strong bass & drum element of the song, which is not as immediately apparent in the final mix that we are all familiar with.
“Everybody Makes It Through,” which is an early version of “In The Light,“ is the fifth of seven bonus tracks and is another interesting listen. The album finishes off with captivating alternate mixes of “Boogie With Stu” and “Kashmir.” Once again, we fall in love all over again with this classic and legendary album.
Jimmy Page’s decision to dive into the Zeppelin archives has made these songs, that have been over-played by mainstream radio, once again something interesting and new. Hindsight is 20/20 and by looking back at these recordings we get a glimpse into the blueprints of Physical Graffiti. We are reminded, once again, as to why these Led Zeppelin records are so incredibly important to music.
-By Joseph Conlon