Led Zeppelin have always retained a sense of myth about them and they remain intact as an iconic representation of 70s rock music. They released their first six essential albums over six years and split when drummer John Bonham died in 1980 which effectively froze them in rock n roll carbonite. Sporadic one-off live reunions and various live compilations have done little to satiate obsessive fans which makes the remastering and reissue of the band’s first three albums a major event.
Jimmy Page has spent years working on this project and the amount of care and sensitivity to the music is apparent from the first stabbing chords of ‘Good Times, Bad Times‘ before John Bonham’s drums bring the song alive. Gone are the brash edges the guitars often had on the original recordings, the bass is richer and rounder and Robert Plant’s vocals are generally elevated in both volume and clarity. Bonham’s drums are a revelation, alive and kicking with a tonal quality greatly improved over the late 60s releases. In essence everything sounds bigger, warmer and more balanced.
Extras across these first three reissues range from a blistering 1969 Paris concert to alternate and instrumental versions of songs including the unreleased La La. As with the best reissues, the focus is kept on the original albums, enhancing and improving the sound of the music and throwing in some tasty extras without drowning the listener in additional content. CD, LP or digital, whatever your choice of format these reissues are essential.