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Led Zeppelin IV (Remastered Original CD)
Audio CD | Remastered
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Vinyl, Original recording remastered, October 27, 2014
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In 1968, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant formed Led Zeppelin, one of the most influential, innovative and successful groups in modern music, having sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. The band rose from the ashes of The Yardbirds, when Page brought in Plant, Bonham and Jones to tour as The New Yardbirds. In 1969, Led Zeppelin released its self-titled debut. It marked the beginning of a 12-year reign, during which the group was widely considered to be the biggest and most innovative rock band in the world. The Led Zeppelin reissue campaign got off to an remarkable start in June 2014 as deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. The albums achieved similar international success with debuts near the top of the charts in more than a dozen territories, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. For the second round, the band prepared the reissues of Led Zeppelin IV (the third best-selling album in U.S. history) and Houses Of The Holy. As with the previous deluxe editions, both albums have been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and are accompanied by a second disc of companion audio comprised entirely of unreleased music related to that album. The second round of reissues begins with one of the most artistically influential and commercially successful albums in the history of music, Led Zeppelin IV. Released in November 1971, the album—which is officially untitled—defined the sound of rock music for a generation with ubiquitous anthems such as "Stairway To Heaven, " "Rock And Roll, " "Black Dog, " and "When The Levee Breaks. " The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, has been certified 23x platinum by the RIAA. The Led Zeppelin IV deluxe editions include unreleased versions of every song heard on the original album including alternate mixes of "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Four Sticks, " mixes of "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Going To California" heavy with guitar and mandolin, and the fabled, alternate version "Stairway To Heaven, " mixed at the Sunset Sound Studio in Los Angeles which lets fans hear one of the most revered songs of all time as they have never heard it before. 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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Top customer reviews
This is the album that put Led Zeppelin into the stratosphere. Yes they were already very popular when this was released but this bumped them up to a new level. Not a bad track on this album and Stairway to Heaven is arguably the best rock song of all time. All the members were in great form and simply put a great album.
Now the vinyl:
Commenting on the playback is pointless without knowing what it was played on, my system:
1999 Technics SL1200-M3D with KAB fluid damper, RCA jacks and cardas tonearm wire, Audio Technica AT120e cartridge with ATN150mlx stylus
Hagerman Cornet 2 phono stage
Yaqin MS-20L integrated amp
1981 Klipsch La Scala speakers with ALK crossovers
First of all the vinyl was perfectly flat and spotless, shipped in the appropriate mailer. No seam splits, no marks or scratches.
It plays perfectly, dead quiet so the opening of Stairway to Heaven is not ruined by pops and ticks.
The mastering is superb. I have a lot of reissues of classic rack and jazz albums, quite often the remastering screws up the sound making it not worth buying, usually from over compression. Not the case here, this is probably the best remastering job I have heard in the past couple of years. The bass is strong with plenty of detail from the other instruments. A lot of people attribute the Led Zeppelin sound to Jimmy Page's guitar sound but to me Bonzo's drum sound is among the most distinctive in rock n roll and that comes through loud and clear in this reissue. It pops out of my La Scalas like Bonzo is in the room.
The final verdict:
One of the top albums of all time regardless of genre, one of the best remasterings, a great pressing. Buy it!!
Growing up in the 1970's Led Zeppelin was easily the first band with whom I fell in love. What is now called classic rock filled the radio airwaves and I very well remember hearing "Stairway to Heaven" in quite regular play on the local AM station (WAPE - Jacksonville, Florida).
I cannot swear with certainty that my first every album purchased was Led Zeppelin IV, but I have a hard time imagining it wasn't (this was 40-years ago, so the memory isn't so clear any more). And so was born a long and well-enjoyed relationship with Zep until their untimely demise.
The fact my musical tastes changed, morphed, etc. in my very early 20's didn't stop me from enjoying many of the artists with whom I grew up, but the only one to remain prominent in my heart, if you will, was Led Zeppelin. Naturally I have long wanted some high-quality remasters and now we finally have them.
So far I have have really enjoyed the stroll down memory lane and am incredibly impressed with the quality of these remastered releases. It seems Page & Co. have listened to the criticisms of so many people regarding so many remasters and not turned these into very compressed PoS's.
These have all the wide dynamics of the albums I still own, but without all of the, and let's be honest, terribly vices of vinyl: rumble, WOW, clicks & pops, etc. Personally, I don't find anything 'warmer' or better about vinyl, but that's another story entirely. These remastered CDs truly stand on their own.
Two sonic qualities immediately jump out at me when compared to the vinyl releases: these are brighter (or more crisp as I prefer to say) and the noise floor is so low I don't know where it is. I believe the more crisp... accurate... higher frequencies make the recordings sound brighter than that to which we are accustomed via vinyl. I do not think this is a bad thing at all. Bonham's cymbal splashes sound more live now than they ever did.
The bottom line is if you are already a Led Zeppelin fan then you should own these remasters. Period. If you're younger and like classic rock, again, you should own these. Zeppelin was unlike any other band of their time. They had a dance and blues quality not really matched by anyone else. The music is powerful and Plant's vocals shine in ways I don't think vinyl could do justice.