On September 7, 1968, more than 1200 people turned up at the Gladsaxe Teen Club near Copenhagen to see the latest incarnation of a band with a big reputation and a string of hits behind them. But The New Yardbirds, as they were billed, had instead become something really new, Led Zeppelin, by the time their leader, Jimmy Page took the stage with his new recruits Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham.
Fifty years later, Led Zep have passed into legend and all that remains is the occasional remastering of their eight studio albums (nine if you count the outtakes of Coda) and one live double album, The Song Remains The Same. That last one is about to be released again, this time in extended form. No doubt it will be very good but here at The Record Album we prefer our masterpieces in their original form. We have a very nice copy of The Song Remains The Same in the racks now that has a mint cover and booklet and records that appear hardly played. We have rare or unusual copies of all the others too.
We’re delighted to have for sale this full set of all the material they released during the band’s lifetime, all the first four albums on red and plum labels and all in beautiful condition, but if we had to single one out to start it would be a dazzling first pressing of Led Zeppelin III.
Our copy is the top-of-the-line version for collectors, with the Peter Grant credit on the label and complete with Do What Thou Wilt inscribed on the dead wax, and comes in a beautifully preserved example of what at the time was one of the most expensive LP sleeves ever commissioned, designed by Richard Drew, and complete with a still rotatable wheel. Record executives at Atlantic were outraged at the cost but the result was one of the most famous and admired album covers ever made. The music is not half bad either and has grown in reputation over the years.
None of these albums come cheap of course (although we do have some less expensive pressings of most of them too) but it’s worth remembering that Led Zeppelin albums are not only good to have and to listen to, they have also proved to be very sound investments over the last decade. Treat yourself, as we say, at 8 Terminus Road, just a few steps from Brighton Station.
Just a note to finish: some of the facts above come from Chris Salewicz’s excellent new biography of Jimmy Page, published by Harper Collins at £20. Highly recommended.