Led Zeppelin redefined rock in the Seventies and for all time. They were as influential in that decade as the Beatles were in the prior one. Their impact extends to classic and alternative rockers alike. Then and now, Led Zeppelin looms larger than life on the rock landscape as a band for the ages with an almost mystical power to evoke primal passions.
- from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's web page on the band s 1995 induction
It's rare that a group can truly rock today s world, but the arrival of MOTHERSHIP, the first-ever comprehensive 2CD Led Zeppelin compilation with the soon to follow re-release of The Song Remains The Same on CD & DVD and a concert event reuniting Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones qualifies. Produced by Page and mixed by Kevin Shirley, MOTHERSHIP's 24 monolithic tracks were selected and sequenced by the band, who also oversaw the painstaking remastering. Spanning their epic career, the unprecedented collection pulls immortal songs from all eight of the band s classic studio albums, one of the 20th century s most enduring bodies of musical work. Arguably the most influential and innovative rock band ever, Led Zeppelin has sold over 200 million records worldwide. They continue to inspire successive generations with their passionate, groundbreaking, genre-transcendent, mystic, heavy and blues-infused rock n roll. Forty years since they formed, the song indeed remains the same.
For years, as playlists and multidisc players put Led Zeppelin tracks into a mix, there was a perpetual need to adjust the volume when Zep came on. Their tunes languished in the haze of substandard remastering--until now, at least for the 24 tracks on Mothership
and the final fullness of the new Song Remains the Same
reissue. For its part, Mothership
's crisper, warmer audio owes its heft to the troika of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who helped oversee the mastering, bringing out untold shades even in the throes of "Heartbreaker" and the sinews of "No Quarter." It's an impressive sonic leap. Where tinny high-ends and muffled lows used to co-exist, fatter and louder depths prevail. It's ever more astonishing that Zep got on with just four blokes. You can quibble with the 24 tracks here (where's "The Ocean"?), but the band picked each track here, from the stone-cold locks ("Communication Breakdown" and "Stairway to Heaven," no, duh) to the robust throb of "When the Levee Breaks." As for "The Ocean," you can find that in fantastically full form, along with five other gems on the newly remastered Song Remains the Same
, which shows up for 2007's holiday season on DVD, too. Only rarely have four lads from England made so memorable an auditory and visual blast. --Andrew Bartlett