Led Zeppelin II Remastered Original
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Led Zeppelin II (Deluxe Edition)
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John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came together in 1968 as Led Zeppelin. Over the next decade, the band would become one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, selling more than 300 million albums worldwide. Their songs are some of the most celebrated in rock n roll history that, to this day, resonate with fans young and old around the globe. Still, no matter how many times you may have listened to their music, you ve never heard Led Zeppelin like this before.
With the 2014 release of deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, & Led Zeppelin III, the band will launch an extensive reissue program of all nine of its studio albums in chronological order, each remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page.
The band wrote and recorded nearly all of Led Zeppelin II while touring relentlessly to support its debut album. Incredibly, the album was released just seven months after Led Zeppelin in October of 1969. Led Zeppelin II features some of the band s most beloved tracks including "Ramble On" and "Heartbreaker" as well as "Whole Lotta Love, " considered by many to be one of the greatest rock n roll songs of all time. The album is certified diamond by the RIAA with sales of over 12 million copies.
Led Zeppelin continues to be honored for its pivotal role in music history. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, and a year later was awarded with the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm. Founding members Jones, Page and Plant along with Jason Bonham, the son of John Bonham took the stage at London s O2 Arena in 2007 to headline a tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegun, a dear friend and Atlantic Records founder. The band was honored for its lifetime contribution to American culture at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. In January of 2014, the band won their first ever Grammy award as Celebration Day, which captured their live performance at the Ertegun tribute concert, was named Best Rock Album.
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As I said, though, now is a good time to pick this up because the deluxe edition pricing is about the same price as a regular CD, but you get a bonus disc and the deluxe packaging. The bonus disc for II will appeal more to the Zeppelin aficionados than the casual classic rock radio fan. It has several rough cuts from the studio and a couple of backing tracks that are completely cool to a Zep fanatic, but might be unappealing to people who mainly like the band's hit songs. Personally, I love hearing earlier incarnations of songs, early demo versions, and alternate takes that weren't used just to hear all of the ideas that went into the finished track that ended up on the album.
However, the one gem among these miscellaneous extras is the previously unheard instrumental, “La La.” I won't claim it's a new Zeppelin classic, but it's a definite treat to hear this obviously very early version of a Led Zeppelin tune. The first half has a happy, Partridge Family kind of vibe, but a little over two minutes in, it begins to sound like the familiar blues rock of the first couple albums. It's a great bonus, and when you add it to the other songs on the bonus disc, the remastered sound, the packaging and liner notes, it adds up to a top-notch deluxe edition. Mine will end up as worn out as my last copy of this album.
As anyone who's ever heard even one song by the band knows, Led Zeppelin are something special. If you don't believe so, stop lying to youself. Or get your head checked. What made them so great is simply the fact that they were extremely talented musicians who loved what they did and did it differently. Remember, this was the 70s. There weren't all those bands that sounded the same yet. Really, only the mighty Zeppelin could make something like this.
Things start off great as the band deliver a great blues-rock riff as "Whole Lotta Love" begins. The lyrics are supposely "stolen" from an old Muddy Waters song "You Need Love" but in all honesty, who cares? Jimmy Page shows his diversity by playing guitar and even theremin, while John Bonham backs him up with some good drum fills. You know you're in a for a great album when you hear this song.
This record is filled with great standout tracks, some even becoming hits. "What hits?" you ask. "There's no 'Stairway' or 'Black Dog'!" That is true, but I feel the strong songs on here are as good or even better. "Ramble On" is famous for its acoustic mystical fashion, heavy choruses (with superb vocals), and fantasy 'Lord of the Rings'-inspired lyrics. Some of my favorite lyrics of all time appear in this song: "Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair...But Gollum, and the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her...". Really mystical.
"Bring It On Home" can be cited as another "hit", albeit a lesser known one. The band pay tribute to old blues musician Sonny Boy Williams II as Plant sings in a quiet tone and plays harmonica as well. Things kick in to another great riff and rhythm as Zeppelin make their closing track a great standout. Another song not commonly known by fans (except supreme ones) would be "Living Loving Maid". Plant sings of a woman who thinks she can get anything she wants. Supposely he wrote these about a groupie who annoyed the crap out of the band around that time. Oddly enough, Page really seems to dislike this one, citing it as his "least favorite Led Zeppelin song". Maybe because the solo isn't top notch, or because he doesn't care for the almost pop feel of it, I don't know. I still believe it's a good one.
Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the album. The real jaw-droppers on this record: the solos. John Pual Jones gets a little room on a few tracks, Page has his moments (Whole Lotta Love) but in all honesty it's the big things in life most people care about. And if Moby Dick and Heartbreaker aren't the big ones here, I can't think of what is. The former is a catchy riff (which includes some guitar soloing too!) that dies off after a minute or so and launches into Bonzo mode. He starts things off soft and a little slow, but don't let him fool you. This cat can play. He builds it all up and even throws away his drum sticks because I guess he feels his hands will do better to play this one. The guy is just full of power and monstrousity. I mean hey, he isn't nicknamed Bonzo for no reason. The latter isn''t nearly as long a solo as the former, but Page gives something powerful with his guitar skills. One need only five seconds of it to see what a legend he is, and why he's ranked as my favorite guitarist.
This album really demonstrates different talent and styles. "The Lemon Song" showcases the blues, while "Thank You" and "What Is And What Should Never Be" allows toneful and soft songs with heavy choruses to sparkle. Jimmy Page shines the most on here, and it really gives you a sense of why people should listen to Zeppelin besides just the "big songs". John Bonham isn't as productive as I'd like him to be throughout here (although Moby Dick makes up for it I suppose) but that's alright. It's only their second release (in less than a year) and it kicks major butt. All in all, this is REALLY good and worth the buy.
What I didn't like personally is the quality of the cover, the paper itself isn't glossy (unlike III album from the same reissue) and can be damaged easily during unpacking or daily usage, thus my recommendation is - put it to the sleeve right away. Also there are no photos, lyrics or fancy stuff like this inside the gatefold.
Other than that the vintl made me a little happier which I like )
Great CD, all remastered sound as of 2014. I don't see any reason to bother with MP3 downloads, especially with Apple including your iTunes account information in the digital download.
I also like that these CDs are packed only with paper/cardboard, as opposed to plastic. The plastic jewel cases always or usually break anyway. It's just not necessary to use plastic to store CDs in. This cover is made well enough that it will store just fine, using less space, and without all that plastic.