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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I suspect like many fans - I bought all three of these 2CD DELUXE EDITIKNS on the day of release (Monday 2 June 2014 here in the UK). And after the initial disappointment of the "Led Zeppelin" debut version with its questionable sound on some tracks and its rubbish bootleg-sounding live bonus disc - I'm thrilled to say that "II" and "III" are entirely different beasts.

For me it's not the more applauded and revered "II" that tickles my spine - but the fabulous 'Acoustic' expansion of the British Super Group's songwriting chops on "III" that puts them head and shoulders above all the rest. This beauty has always made my eyes water and my quadruple bypass beat a little faster. Well - "III" now sounds fabulous - and the 'Companion Audio' CD actually warrants the word 'bonus' with some truly spine-tingling new additions. Here are the Tiny Flowers and Hangman Riding Many A Mile details...

UK released 2 June 2014 (3 June in the USA) - Atlantic/Swan Song 8122796449 breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 (43:11 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are the vinyl album "Led Zeppelin III" - originally released 5 October 1970 in the USA on Atlantic SD-7291 and Atlantic 2401 002 in the UK

Disc 2 (41:33 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 9 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED 'Rough/Alternate Mixes' of Seven album tracks with two New Songs - the Instrumental "Jennings Farm Blues" (which turns out to be an early version of "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp") and a stunning new double cover-version outtake called "Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind".

As luck would have it - the placing of the rear cover "III" photo in the centre inside flap with the gatefold of the original LP on the left and right flap - and the moveable 'wheel sleeve' of the original vinyl LP reproduced on the outside - gives quite a textural impact - it's beautiful in short. This has to be one of the loveliest repro's I've ever seen (though my Japanese 2012 SHM-CD repro isn't going anywhere soon). The Green and Orange coloured CDs themselves are placed in the centre and left flaps (with the inlay).

The 3-way gatefold card sleeve also features alternative colour artwork on the rear with a stuck-on track list (these new releases now reflect their Swan Song label as well as Atlantic Records for the first time). The 16-page booklet has gorgeous black and white/colour photos of the band live at the time (the three sat doing an Acoustic set), relaxing in Wales in the tiny knackered-looking 18th Century Cottage 'Bron-Yr-Aur' where much of the album was written/inspired by. But like "I" and "II" - there are only two pages at the rear that give you the basic track info - bugger all else. There's no liner notes - no history of the album and its importance (a huge fan favourite) - and nothing from Page or Plant. It's good - but it could have been great - and frankly why isn't it?

As Zep fans know the album was conceived in deepest Wales where the band was recovering after extensive world touring (recorded in Headley Grange). Perhaps all that head-banging abroad and rural lack of running water/electricity brought out the 'inner calm' in our heroes - because setting aside the Rock of "Immigrant Song" and the straight-up Blues of "Since I've Been Loving You" - the album primarily featured softer acoustic tracks (ballads even) - and is so much the better for it.

I moaned about the sound quality on some tracks on the debut - that problem doesn't appear here. From the opening "1, 2, 3..." count-in on "The Immigrant Song" you'll be hammering those Speaker Gods of yours with a possible neighborhood disturbance restraining order. It's HUGE. The double-whammy "Friends/Celebration Day" leaps out of each channel with new details while the squeaking of Bonham's drum seat can now be clearly heard on the lead-in to the mighty "Since I've Been Loving You". Ending Side 1 - "Out On The Tiles" has wonderful presence - especially on the "All I need is you and all your love...ooh yeah" sung chorus.

Now the magic starts - "Gallows Pole" has always sent fans - and 44 years later - it just blows you away. The mandolin and banjo build up are followed with Bonzo's manic drums - shooting the whole Acoustic/Rock song up into the stratosphere - fantastic stuff and aurally spiffing. "Tangerine" is gorgeous and the sloppy count-in only adds atmosphere to the tenderness. But then I'm in tears. I recently reviewed Mott The Hoople's 1974 CBS album "The Hoople" with the gorgeous Ian Hunter ballad "Trudi's Song" on it. It got me to compiling a 70's FEST CD-R called "Songs To Make A Grown Man Cry" (see separate review and list). Top of that bawl-crawl is Led Zeppelin's gorgeous "That's The Way" - which in its new 2014 guise will make true fans blub like a big girl's blouse. This is what I've waited decades to hear (Cameron Crowe too). And then it all ends with a chipper "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" and the slightly throwaway "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper". Job done.

But there's better to come. Disc 2 is a stunning addition. You get Alternate Mixes of "The Immigrant Song" and "Celebration Day" with Rough Mixes of "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Gallows Pole" - all of which feature fascinating different guitar parts and the occasional vocal flourish. "Bathroom Sound" is an early run through of "Out On The Tiles" without vocals and "Jennings Farm Blues" turns out to be a first version of "Misty Mountain Hop" with Page feeling for the song (it's very cool). But then you're hit with a solar plexus - the fabulous Big Bill Broonzy/Big Joe Turner double cover of "Key To The Highway/Trouble In Mind". It's a two-man show - Page on Acoustic guitar in the left speaker with Plant on treated warbling vocals and heavy harmonica on the right. It's just stunning - with Robert Plant blowing some truly hair-raising Blues Harp - fans will flip for it. Downside - the fab non-album B-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do Now" to the American 45 of "Immigrant Song" is AWOL - when in remastered form - it would have been a rather tasty cherry on top.

So there you have it. Not just brilliant but a legend intact and expanding.

Were Led Zeppelin really as good as we remember them? And in 1970 - were they even the best band in the world?

You bet your hairy-assed airship-sized balls they were...

PS: see also reviews for the 2CD DELUXE EDITION versions of "I" and "II"
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Finally a new Remaster that isnt trashed by the LOUDNESS WARS. Let an artist such as Jimmy Page at the helm and you dont get that crap! What you do get is a careful thoughtful remaster! SUPERB SOUND! Clean and fresh! We all know the the Led Zep III album by now and how its a true rock classic of all time! The new bonus disc adds some insight and is good to have but the songs are works in progress and thus doesnt equal to the finished work but again its great to own and to hear a new take on an old classic! I highly recommend the first 3 Deluxe Remastered versions that have been released this week of June 2014. New record producers could learn a ton from this volume of work, like the temptation to NOT jack up the volume and totally ruin a great album as is always the case it seems these days!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I must confess that I have purchased this CD three times (and the LP once). This is the best version I have heard of the original album. Details emerge in this remastering that are revelatory. But the real news here is the bonus disc. The instrumental tracks are lovely and support the idea that this is one of rock's most highly accomplished group of musical technicians. The "rough" tracks are simply amazing--one feels like s/he is sitting with the musicians in the recording studio (or in Page's Headley Grange estate!). "Since I've Been Loving You," especially gives me chills (in a good way!).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
For those of you sitting on the fence wondering if you should by this. The sound quailty is extremely noticable and the extra tracks are good, the price is right and the music is excellent. It's a real remastered masterpiece, worth every penny.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 3, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
On the heels of the highly successful "Celebration Day" live album and DVD from (whenever), Jimmy Page has begun the process of remastering the entire Led Zeppelin catalog, beginning with the first three, which are all being made available today, June 3rd, 2014. With the first two, I'm replacing my old copies, but I actually have never owned a CD copy of III. I almost bought one about a year ago, but then I read about Page working on these deluxe edition and decided to wait. I'm glad I did, because for not much more than I would have paid for the CD then, I get a newly remastered copy of the album, plus a bonus disc with several studio rough cuts, backing tracks, and alternate takes. I love all of Zeppelin's music, so it's great to hear songs in earlier stages in a slightly different form. It offers fresh perspective on how the final versions of the songs came to be, it gives new emphasis to the music in some cases, like on the tracks with no vocals where you can appreciate the music on its own, and it gives fans something new to hear, which is where the real value is. We've listened to these albums over and over throughout the years, and there's no guitar lick or solo, no vocal nuance, no drum fill that we don't know like the backs of our hands. Now, there are some new, or "newish" if you prefer, tracks to listen to from Led Zeppelin from the prime of their career. I'm very happy with the content, the packaging, and the timing of all three of today's new deluxe editions, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next batch. Bonus material for "Zoso" will make my year when Page decides to release it.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Led Zeppelin released its superb third album Led Zeppelin III in October of 1970.
By 1970, Led Zeppelin (which always comprised of guitarist/songwriter Jimmy Page, bass player/keyboard player John Paul Jones, lead singer Robert Plant and the sadly missed John Bonham on drums had released two albums which both hit the US Top 10 with the second reaching #1! Also the band quickly graduated from opening act to theaters to eventually arenas and stadiums.
When the band got to recording its third effort with Jimmy Page producing the album, the band decided to record with a mobile truck at a rural mansion called Headley Grange with the late Andy Johns and the band decided to go in a more folk/acoustic direction with their third album. Would this change work to Zep's benefit or ruin their credibility and pander to the Crosby/Stills/Nash sound popular at the time, read on and find out, as I did when I first acquired on cassette in August 1986 and of course upgraded over the years.
We open proceedings with the Top 30 rocking hit, the rocking "Immigrant Song" which just rocks and is a Page/Plant composition and would serve as an opener in concert for the next three years and the template for hard rock bands for years to come. Next is Page and Plant's acoustic number "Friends" which is just a great number. Also the song marked the band's first use of orchestrations on a Zeppelin tune. The ending segues into the Page/Plant/Jones rocker "Celebration Day" which is a stellar rocking number. Next is the Page/Plant/Jones blues number "Since I've Been Loving You" which is a stellar number which the band always would play live in later years and is just a stellar blues which was a band original. The first half closes with the Page/Plant/Bonahm rocker "Out On the Tiles" which is just a great rocking number which just rocks and is one of the few tunes that Bonzo would co-write.
The second half of the album begins with the acoustic Page/Plant composition "Gallows Pole" which is an adaptation of an old ancient folk tune and marked the first time that Jimmy Page would play banjo on a Zep tune and the only electric guitar on this track is the solo on the outro (not counting bass guitar) and is an excellent number. We then come to Page's composition ""Tangerine" which is another acoustic number. This track is a great short tune and has a stellar slide guitar solo from Page (only time he uses an electric guitar on this track). Next is another acoustic piece from Page/Plant's "That's the Way" which is another great song. Next is the Page/Plant/Jones collaboration called "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" which is a great toe-tapping country-ish sounding song and just a classic. We close the album with the wild warped blues of "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" which is some wild blues with Pagey playing maniaclal acoustic slide and Robert's voice sounding like a tremeloed harmonica and references the old blues track "Shake 'em On Down".
Led Zeppelin's third effort would go to #1 on the American album charts but was their least selling album initially but over the years fans appreciate it more and has sold six plus million copies in the US alone.
Now in 2014, the album is re-released and given a superb remastering treatment by Jimmy Page and also comes with a second CD featuring rough mix of "The Immigrant Song", "Celebration Day", "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Gallows Pole" with alternate vocal and guitar bits. Also a rough mix of "That's the Way" with the song restored to its original speed which was slowed down on the original recording. Then there is instrumental backing tracks of "Friends" and "Out On the Tiles" known as "Bathroom Song". Also there is an instrumental version of "Jennings Farm Blues" which is an electric version of "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp". Finally is a song not released before called "Key to the Highway/Trouble in Mind" which was recorded at the same time as "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper" and is a great piece. Also is packaged in a triple gatefold and replicates the original vinyl LP with the spindle cover and comes with a stellar booklet with awesome pictures.
RECOMMENDED!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2014
Format: Audio CD
As much as I love the first two Zeppelin 2014 remasters and I have reviewed them with great fanfare I think the LZ III remaster takes the cake. At a time when Led Zeppelin was looking to define themselves beyond the heavy rock/metal sterotypes III showed the band could make an album they could play for their families at home. The second side of acoustic, banjo, and mandolin sounds may have put some people off then and now but to me convey a band that has so much talent and soul in their music. The real question here of course is it worth getting the 2014 remaster? Yep, you should. The acoustic instruments will never sound better and that squeaky bass drum pedal on Since I've been loving you has never been more annoying yet so endearing to me then now. There is also a companion disc which for my money might be the best of the first three albums that have been issued. The alternate take of Immigrant Song has more menace and I love the different approach of Since I've been loving you. The cherry on the cake for me is Keys to the Highway. Why this didn't replace Hats off to Roy Harper I don't know. Jimmy Page and John Davis deserve a pat on the back for a job well done! I can't wait for the new remasters of the IV, HOTH, and PG! Don't hesistate get them and enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 6, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Released in 1970, Zeppelin's third album received a lukewarm reception after the explosive impact of the sensational debut and follow-up. What was an iconic world-class rock band doing, releasing an album containing so much acoustic music?

In retrospect we can now see `Zep 3' as a more mature release with the band stretching out to embrace styles other than R&B, hard rock and blues. Unlike the first two albums, they took their time composing and recording this one and it shows in the more complex and thoughtful musical arrangements. The developing writing partnership between Page & Plant, and the way the four gel at every level, comes through strongly.

So is it worth investing in this 2014 `2CD Deluxe Edition'? For my money the answer is yes.

The first disk contains the original album content, with more punch and significantly more nuanced detail evident in the mix. It's both richer and sharper than any previous CD release, and rivals the original vinyl album for warmth and overall sound quality.

The reason you should buy this package, however, is the material on the second disk. Some are alternate takes of the album songs from the same recording sessions, every bit as good in their way but slightly different. `The Immigrant Song' & `Celebration Day' are stormers. `Since I've been loving You', a gorgeous version of `That's the Way' and especially `Gallows Pole' with stripped-down sound, no piano and more impassioned vocal from Plant are - for my money - even better than the versions chosen for the original album release. `Jennings Farm Blues' is heard here for the first time, as is `Key to the Highway' - very reminiscent of the original closer `Hats off to Harper' with Plant playing some mean harmonica and reverbed-vocal over Page's busy acoustic slide guitar. The remaining two tracks are instrumental (or karaoke) versions of the originals: `Friends' and `Out on the Tiles' here curiously retitled `Bathroom Sound'. As other reviewers have pointed out, it would have been nice if `Hey Hey what can I do?' had been included too, but its absence doesn't really take away from the package as so much of the second disk is truly great.

The 1970 gatefold vinyl album cover was a real work of art, a rock classic (which the band reportedly didn't really like). Here it's carefully reproduced in detail with rotating wheel and myriad photo images visible through holes cut in a unique 3-gatefold sleeve. The 2x CDs bear the green/orange Atlantic Records artwork from the era. You also get a 16-page booklet with photos of the band onstage in 1970 and a couple of amateur snaps from Bron-y-Aur, the remote Snowdonia cottage where much of the material was conceived and worked out prior to studio recording. It recaptures the feel of the original twelve-inch gatefold album cover to near-perfection.

If you don't already have this classic, iconic album in your collection, this is the version to buy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
After The Beatles, I have a few other bands to which I am devoted enough to buy, buy, buy, and rebuy. I think that creatively, for those of us in the boomer generation, after The Beatles, that Led Zeppelin has probably been the most influential band in the history of modern music, even above and beyond The Beatles arch-competition, The Stones. I would throw The Stones under the bus before I would compromise LZ. One of my favorite of all the pieces in my music collection, is Led Zeppelin, The Complete Studio Recordings, an elaborate and perfect box set collection, complete with all the pages and art work from the original albums, and including a wonderful “history” book, all packaged neatly inside a box resembling the skeletal insides of a Zeppelin of course! It was released in 1993, is still rather expensive to purchase (when you can find it), and was remastered from the original master source tapes. You got the whole best sounding reproductions of the original studio albums available ever, with sound which rivaled and maybe even exceeded the vinyl albums, and the engineering did not use “loudness wars” chopping off high and low peaks in the sound recordings. Perfection. As with The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, and a number of other artists with mass audience appeal, new projects have recently ensued to reissue the original recordings remastered yet again, with bonus material, more bonus materials, and books and digital downloads, you name it.

Beginning in June of this year, 2014, the Zeppelin catalogue just got the Royal Highness treatment and what has been issued is far and above what came before (1993). This is one band where the cardinal rule SHOULD HAVE BEEN don’t touch the artist in order to put out “anthologies”, “greatest hits”, or other re-assembled Zeppelin tunes for the masses. And yet they did, many recently. I cannot fathom listening to LZ songs out of order, out of context, out of anything other than the way they were meant to be listened to, by an extremely album-oriented group of top notch artists with creativity dripping from every orifice.

So here come the “Deluxe CD Edition”s with a bonus disc full of Uber-Cool stuff fans never got before. Live recordings, rough mixes, alternate takes, and even occasionally tracks which never saw the light of day, even on CODA (an album which was supposedly released in order to, at the time, complete the Led Zeppelin discography through their disbanding). Thankfully once again, someone paid attention to engineering the reissue (Jimmy Page of course) so that the sound is even more perfect than the last perfection (you may be thinking how, think advancements in noise reduction since 1993, able to remove tape hiss even beyond the scope of normal human hearing and yet not removing one single 100th of a decibel of actual musical sound, as well as other perfections beyond my limited knowledge of sound engineering).

Like many other writers here, it is very, very, difficult to imagine anyone being a “newcomer” to Led Zeppelin, needing an “album review” of one of 8 of the greatest rock albums of all time, and yet, when one sees screaming adolescents gaping in awe, at an “American Idol” contestant doing a readers-digest condensed version of Dazed & Confused, it is not hard to imagine that a smart young man or girl might be inspecting these treasures for the first time. Allow me to introduce you very briefly:

(if you are interested, I would recommend reading my review of LED ZEPPELIN and II, first)

LED ZEPPELIN III

Okay, here is where I REALLY got off on Zeppelin. I guess it was Beatles and psychedelic rock background, my love of folk rock and the emerging “progressive” styles of Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues, but I found LED ZEPPELIN III to be a masterpiece! I immediately fell in love with it on first listen. The first two albums were great but this one was fantastic! Not everyone shared my views, there are a lot of die-hard fans out there who hold II as the best and others say the untitled fourth album (which I hold equal to this one), but the fact is that III was different in a personal way, both to me and to the band. LZ had retired into the magical hills of Wales, to a place called Bron-Yr-Aur (which would figure into a number of working titles through their career) and it imbued the band with an organic acoustic sound which would augment their “metal” and both metastasize in their music and become a muse for the band. Unfortunately, many of the not so open-minded metal-heads went looking elsewhere (Black Sabbath?) for their fix, and III seemed to wallow for sales on release (after word spread). Time has been very kind to this album and in some respects, new listeners and fans of other music genre have found this one to be a treasure (as it should be).

The acoustic-electric mixture of sounds and tempos, the Norse Saga inspired Immigrant Song, the perfected blues on Since I’ve Been Loving You, the Uber-Tastic That’s The Way and Bron-Y-Aur Stomp tracks, and the wacked out slide-guitar/tremolo from a vibrato amp Hats Off To Roy Harper, alone and together with all the other tracks, make this Led Zeppelin album a timeless classic for me. If variety is the spice of life for you, this album is the LZ achievement of them all. There would have been no untitled fourth album without the work they put into this one. LED ZEPPELIN III is their unaccredited acme pinnacle Everest and thankfully for some fans it is a “cult” favorite.

The deluxe edition bonus disc contains the best of the three initial release albums bonus material. The alternate mixes, instrumentals, and previously un-released songs are the most welcome and (at least by me) appreciated. It is also the most “fun” of the bonus discs and best sounding from an engineering point of view. Friends, as an instrumental, Immigrant Song’s alternate take, and Key/Trouble final track, these alone are worth the extra disc! If you are already a die-hard fan, like myself, you will most likely enjoy it a ton, complete with all the little idiosyncratic flourishes added to the packaging. If you are a fan, have the ’93 version, and not so much willing to part with your money just for another re-issue, you might think twice, especially if you were ambivalent to this album originally. Wait for fall and pick up the IV and Houses Of The Holy (if you enjoyed the prog-rock direction of Led Zeppelin).

If I had waited a little bit, I definitely would have picked this up from Amazon since the price has dropped some. I picked it up the day of release (along with I and II) from a big box store for just over the price which it is selling at now. So if you are “thinking” about it, save some shipping and get all three of the current releases, then pick up the next two at once in September, and you will have 5 of the most awesome rock albums ever made.

Each Led Zeppelin album (for me) got twice as much better than the previous effort, all the way through Houses Of The Holy which was just astonishing for me, and then they plateaued there with the leading edge of progressive rock. This album just holds a special place for me as my personal favorite even though I can critically look at the ones to follow as somehow “better”. And these new packaging for the re-issues is pretty great too! Especially this one!

THIS STORY BEGAN AT LED ZEPPELIN and LED ZEPPELIN II
ASIN: B00IXHBL7I and B00IXHBS6M
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I have no comments on the music of Led Zeppelin, we all like this band, i grew up having all of their early albums since 1969. Having released this deluxe edition made fans very happy. One thing i noticed is the packaging of the disc itself, it is very tight inside the sleeves and you can scratch it when you are not careful. Taking the disc in and out of the sleeves is kind a problem to me because like i've said i don't want to scratch the disc. They should have packed it with extra comfortable sleeves. THANK YOU!!!
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