on February 10, 2004
I was one of the suckers who bought the orignial CD catalogue from the 1980s, then bought the original four-disk remasters box set in 1990 (with its supplement from 1993). But THIS box set is the way to go.
First, unlike the 1990 4-disk box set and its 1993 2-disk supplement, you get the orignal records in the original running order, and unlike the orignal catalog releases in the 1980s, you get all the original artwork, which was previously unavailable. These original studio records include the following:
1. Led Zeppelin I (1969) - "Communications Breakdown", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "Good Times Bad Times"
2. Led Zeppelin II (1969) - "Whole Lotta Love", "Thank You", "Ramble On", "Heartbreaker", "What Is and What Should Never Be"
3. Led Zeppelin III (1970) - "Immigrant Song", "Since I've Been Loving You", "Gallow's Pole"
4. "IV" (1971) - "Stairway to Heaven", "Rock and Roll", "Black Dog", "Going to California"
5. Houses of the Holy (1973) - "Over the Hills and Far Away", "Dancing Days", "D'yer Mak'er", "The Ocean"
6. Physical Graphitti (1975) (2CD) - "Kashmir", "Housses of the Holy", "Trampled Underfoot", "Black Country Woman"
7. Presence (1976) - "Nobody's Fault But Mine"
8. In Through the Out Door (1979) - "All My Love", "Fool in the Rain", "In the Evening"
9. Coda (1982) - "We're Gonna Groove", "I Can't Quit You Babe"
Second, on the 'Coda' disk (which was nothing more than a posthumous collection of unreleased tracks to begin with), you get four of the five nonalbum tracks released with the 1990 box set - "White Summer/Black Mountain Side", a semi-live track from 1969, "Traveling Riverside Blues" and "Baby Come Home", recorded between the first and second records, and the hit b-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do", orignially a b-side of "Immigrant Song", one of the few singles released by this quintessential AOR band. The only thing missing is the remixed version of "Moby Dick", which was included on the first 1990 box set, but which is hardly essential.
on February 17, 2003
At college, a bunch of my CDs were stolen, including every Led Zeppelin CD I owned. My insurance replaced them within a week. I didn't own every Zeppelin album on CD, and I owned two of the pre-remastered editions. When I replaced them, I got this set to compensated for my stolen Zep. I could not be more pleased with the results of this box set. There are three great things about it that will be discussed here.
THE MUSIC: Every true rock fan knows the greatness of Led Zeppelin. Every song and album is a gem, and is essential to any music collection. Everyone has heard songs such as "Whole Lotta Love," "Stairway to Heaven," "The Song Remains the Same," and "Kashmir," to name a few. There are also many not so well known great tracks here, including "Achilles Last Stand," "In My Time of Dying," "All My Love," "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp," and "Black Mountain Side," to name a few. Plus, with the album Coda, you get bonus tracks unavailable anywhere else unless you buy the other two box sets, including the non-LP B-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do," the outtake "Baby Come On Home," and the excellent songs recorded for the BBC "Travelling Riverside Blues" and "White Summer/Black Mountain Side." Once you buy one Zeppelin album, you will want to buy more, and more, and more (just ask anyone), so you may as well get it all and more now instead of buying all the albums separately and wishing you had just bought all of them this way and also gotten the great bonus tracks. Plus, though not in the short run but definitely in the long run, it is cheaper to buy all the albums this way than to buy them separately, and this way, you get more for less.
THE SOUND: Having heard two of the albums before Jimmy Page himself took control and remastered them, I know from personal experience that the new sound shows a difference between night and day. Before, they sounded like a lot of old, unremastered CDs do, dull, not enough volume, and need improvement. Here every single track from start to finish sounds so fresh, almost as if it were recorded quite recently. It shows that Jimmy Page really cares about the fans, as there are many under 21 who are discovering or will discover Led Zeppelin, and fans from the time upgrading their music collection to CD, and the sound should be as sharp and "current sounding" as possible. And here, Jimmy Page not only satisfied himself, but also satisfied CD buyers everywhere with the incredible sounds coming off of these 10 discs.
THE PACKAGING: The way this box set is packaged is excellent. What exactly is on the cover of the box, I do not know, but it is cool. The lid of the box set fold up and can be pushed in so you can access the CDs right from your shelf without having to take the box off the shelf and disassemble it, which is quite convenient. Inside there are five hardcover books, each housing 2 CDs. In order for the packaging to work, the Presence album is coupled with Houses of the Holy in order to give the double Physical Graffiti its own book. But that doesn't matter, you can listen to the CDs in any order you want. Each of the books contain graphics of the original vinyl packaging, such as the six different covers (front and back) from In Through the Out Door, the turning wheel from III, all the inner sleeves, everything is here. There is also a very entertaining booklet, filled with a biography and plenty of pictures.
If you like Led Zeppelin at all, this is the way to go. All the studio albums with graphics of the original vinyl and as originally sequenced. Please take my advice, if you like Led Zeppelin, invest your money and buy this set. If you have any hesitations at all, it is very likely that you have friends that like Led Zeppelin. Listen to their copies of the ablums and find out for yourself. Even if you have to make sure that the investment is worth it, you will not be disappointed in the end. This is sure to provide you enjoyment for a long time to come.
on April 9, 2003
Led Zeppelin's complete studio recordings gathered together in one great box set, with all original artwork, plus a book about the band. Could you possibly ask for more?
Ok, so for Zeppelin fans that have all or most of the albums already this set is pretty much worthless. But, for someone with only two albums or someone who has lost all or most of their Zeppelin albums (me) this set is a godsend. It's almost worthless to review, because the content is well known and speaks for itself.
So then why should you buy this instead of individual albums? If you have just begun to get into the band, have liked a couple albums and want more, this set will save you money, because let's face it, you will end up with all or nearly all of these CD's anyway. The set costs significantly less than buying the albums seperately. With this set you get an interesting booklet about the band, as well as all the albums packaged nicely in a great looking, relatively small box.
The one minor, VERY minor downside to this set is that it doesn't include Zeppelins live album, The Song Remains the Same. Some people may expect this even though the title of the box is Complete STUDIO Recordings, since it was released back around the time of Physical Graffiti. It's a small incovenience that honestly I feel stupid complaining about.
In short, anyone thinking of buying this should. It will be a great investment that you will not ever regret.
on January 5, 2001
Owning this collection is a much better idea than owning the other 2 box set collection for one simple reason: every Zeppelin album had a certain atmosphere and mood which is totally lost if you just string together random Zeppelin hits. How can you compare the acoustic sound and feel of Zeppelin III with a raucous and wild album like Presence? The band strived for unity and cohesion in their albums and sometimes refused to release any singles until much later than the album's release. To break up their hits into a best of collection seems like a crime.
That's why this collection is so great -- all the original art work is preserved along with liner notes, an extra booklet is included with a complete retrospective/overview, the CD's are all remastered from the originals (and boy does that make a difference) and you have all 10 studio albums plus some bonus tracks like Hey Hey which were only released as B sides. There's really no way you could go wrong with this set unless you own all 10 albums. I owned maybe 4 of them, but I'm still glad I have the whole set now. It's very high quality too with nice cases, artwork, and extras. A first class release all the way and a must for Zeppelin collectors.
on October 22, 2005
The following is my opinion. Listen, compare, and decide for yourself. Led Zeppelin is my most favorite group. I would give this set 5 stars except for a major shortcoming. Jimmy Page let his ego get in the way when digitally remastering these studio albums. Remastering also means track remixing. Mr. Page has put his guitar work front and center throughout the CDs. Of course, his guitar is legendary, but the other members of Led Zeppelin were not his personal backup band. The Led Zeppelin sound was a well mixed blend of instruments and vocals. Now his remixed guitar tracks often upstage Robert Plant's voice tracks in the remixes, especially in passages where he is simply strumming or plucking backup notes. It's a bit like a stew with too much salt, where just enough would have been fine.
A followup on the Glue Issue:
After owning the studio set for a month, I must agree with a previous customer that the construction of the box set housing, though artisticly creative, is poorly engineered. If the box case is left with it's door side facing up, gravity eventually forces the CDs to slip into the glued bindings of their sleeves. The result is glue on the edges of your CDs. Luckily, the original albums were signifigantly shorter in duration than the CD's capacity. Since CD tracking starts from the center and goes out, there is usually a buffer at the outer edge of the CD. Still you don't want glue on your CDs. I would recommend inverting the whole case with the lid closed and face down. Then gently tap the case so all the CDs inside fall away from their glued sleeve bindings. Finally, store the case with the lid facing out like a garrage door and the internal CDs laying horizontal. Better yet, invest a few bucks in a set of slim plastic cases and just store the 10 CDs in new clean cases. I removed a small bit of glue using 70% isopropyl alchohol and a soft tissue, such a toilet paper. I applied the alcohol sparingly to the tissue and very gently pushed the glue radially toward the edge of the CD, until it dissolved onto the tissue.
I emphasize "gently" and "sparingly" and of course, you do this at your own risk. You may call all this being nit-picky, but hey it is a $110+ music investment.
on September 1, 2005
Ordinarily only a fanatical groupie would shell out $120 for a band's complete studio recordings, but Led Zeppelin has put out enough good music to make the purchase of this box set reasonable for even a normal person. I bought it a few years ago, when I was in high school (a week's earnings for 10 Zeppelin CDs when my entire CD collection at that time was less than ten CDs), and I have never regretted it--because, as it turns out, Led Zep never made a bad album.
I will say, however, that the cases they come in are very annoying. It is hard to get the CDs out of the cardboard slips without scratching the CDs or getting finger smudges on them. The result is that the albums I've played the most--Led II, Led IV--now skip on some CD players.
But there are advantages over buying the CDs individually: not only is the box set slightly cheaper (less than $12 per CD), but the liner notes are really good, and the bonus tracks are great ("Hey Hey What Can I Do" is one of my 3 favorite Led Zep songs, and is not on any album--only box sets and the "Immigrant Song" single). Also, the music sounds great; I don't know if the individual albums have also been remastered, but the remastering Page did on this box set was very good.
Overall, this is an excellent investment for connoisseurs of Rock. But if you do get it, take all the CDs out of the sleeves they come in and keep them in a CD carrying case, which will protect them better. Sorry this was so long and thanks for reading.
on December 21, 2006
If you're considering buying this set, there's a more than decent chance that you already know most if not all of the music, and you know how you feel about that. Overall, I'd give the music here a four star rating; there are classic records here and arguably three or four masterpieces -- nothing to be sneezed at -- but there is also less than perfect stuff: Presence (underrated, but not great), In through the Out Door (not bad), and Coda (self-explanatory title). Those drag the overall rating down.
So why do I give the set three stars? The packaging. It's attractive, certainly, but whoever designed it hadn't thought much about its function. CDs are paired off in slipcases which need to be returned to the box with some care, because everything fits too tightly and can get banged up. The cardboard slipcases are like drawers, and the box has a number of slots or runners, so it's a little awkward. Worse yet are the cardboard sleeves themselves, which hold onto the discs so stubbornly you can't help but know that you risk scratching them -- smudging them is a certainty -- each time you wrestle the platter out of the sleeve and then on its return. That's difficulty enough with play at home; I can't imagine trying to manage the operation when driving on the highway.
So the packaging itself actually discourages play, which is a pretty big and obvious conceptual problem. And since the package is what you're buying here -- not just the CDs -- I have to dock this box one star.
My suggestion would be that if you want to buy this box, order a number of empty jewel cases as well. The cover art won't transfer from the cardboard sleeves' booklets (not without some scissors, anyway), but at least the CDs themselves will be accessible, and that's what all this should service, anyway: the music.
on January 4, 2002
A must have for all Led Zeppelin fans! I discovered Led Zeppelin some years after the surviving members of the band had called it quits as a result of the untimely death of drummer John Bonham. All I had ever heard up to that point of the Led Zeppelin legacy was that they are considered to be the granddaddies of Heavy Metal and although this a genre of music that I do enjoy from time to time, I was less then interested in hearing how its "forefathers" had sounded in their heydays. This was until one day I heard one of the most innovative rock songs ever, the song was "Over the Hills and Far Away" and to my astonishment I heard the DJ say that the band was Led Zeppelin. I was amazed and was hooked immediately to the hypnotic sound of Page's guitar, the raunchiness of Plant's raw voice and the hardest playing make-your-ears-bleed rhythm section ever with Bonham on drums and Jones on bass. I wanted all their records and I wanted them NOW but slowly collecting the CD's was beginning to be a pain, Thank God for this box set which is absolutely the best Led Zeppelin box set available. It has all their studio recordings plus Coda that was released after the band called it quits. The box set is beautifully packaged, each CD comes inside its own little hardcover booklet which contains pictures of the original artwork used on the LP's (including all the different artwork used in the multiple releasing of "In through the Outdoor" which was originally released in a brown paper bag so you never knew which art cover was on it, sneaky) plus you get an extra booklet which contains a bio, a discography and beautiful pictures of the band and it all comes in a beautiful little box which you can proudly display.
A note on the whole Led Zeppelin/Heavy Metal thing: Yes they played hard but they also played soft. They wrote ballads (i.e. "Thank You", "The Rain Song") as good as any of their heavier songs, they even delved into reggae ("D'yer Mak'er") they were innovative; they were trendsetters (look at all the bands that have attempted to recapture the old Zeppelin magic). There is no way one can label a band that embraced so many different styles of music, always found ways of reinventing themselves and captured such a wide ranging audience that expands through decades and will continue to do so.
on December 11, 2005
The albums speak for themselves. But what really makes this one of the best box sets on the market is the sound quality. Superbly remastered under the supervision of Jimmy Page himself.
The packaging and box design are first rate also. Very high quality. I have had my box for years now and it still looks brand new. For those of us who purchased the original vinyl (in the year they were originally released!) this set is nothing short of a sonic epiphany. What this set brings out is the little nuances and subtleties in the sound & production you never really heard before.
Page & Plant were always in the forefront and this set propels them even further. Personally, what I realized (for the second time around) is the expert musicianship & "teamwork" of John Paul Jones & the late, greatest John Bonham. This is not mp3, iPod, earbud music....this is 200 watt, 12" Cerwin-Vega Woofer rock!
Any Zeppelin fan owes themself this box set. Hey, you can't take the $$$$$ with you! Even if you own some of the individual cds already, trade them in ASAP & upgrade to the Mount Olympus (or should I say Misty Mountain Top) of rock n' roll!! I guarantee you'll be happy you did!
on June 1, 2001
How do you review a boxed set of an artist's complete studio recordings? I guess you would first review the band, and then review the features of the boxset. So, that is what i'm going to do.
First off, Led Zeppelin, how could you describe them? They're so versitile. The only adjective that comes to my mind is "raw". They have a raw sound, something that makes you know they're real. They had an awesome attitude about their music, and were always attempting to grow as artists. There is no use trying to pick a best album, or a best song, they are all masterpieces. This set tells the story of Led Zeppelin. If you like Led Zeppelin, you'll like the box set. If you don't like Led Zeppelin, you probably won't. In my opinion, they are a perfect mix between being serious and having fun, a perfect mix for rock and roll (in my opinion).
Next off- The boxset. It's great. It's an awesome package, and is well priced for the items contained inside. Inside is a book with an essay and pictures, which is well written, and is very informative. Also, inside are the five other booklets which contain two cds each and the original album art on a black background. It has every page of all the booklets and sleeves that came with the original albums, which is always a plus. Overall, the box has no problems. I get paranoid sometimes, though, pulling out the cds of their cardboard holders in fear of scratching them. So far, though, they haven't been scratched. That's why it's only paranoia, and nothing real. If you are careful, they won't get scratched from the cardboard containers.
If you are looking for all the Led Zeppelin songs, there is no other way to go. If you buy all the albums seperatly, you'll have them all at the same price, but with no booklet or no cool box. If you buy the other box set and the two cds to compensate for the songs not on that box set you'll have all the songs in mixed up order with no original cover art and no essay. So that is why, in my opinion, this is the only way to go. The songs should not be mixed up, because they are put in an order for a reason.
So, the only thing wrong with this boxset is the fear I get from maybe scratching the CDs. Again, If you're careful this won't happen. That's why this boxset gets 5 Stars (4.9).