Vinyl Blog #11. Led Zeppelin IV Super Deluxe Edition
This is going to be one of the many blogs I do on these recent Led Zeppelin reissues. Mainly because I own the first six albums reissued, and also because they were done very well. As a matter of fact, the Led Zeppelin catalog has never sounded better.
I have been buying vinyl since I was a little kid-probably 9 or 10 years of age. I have been in dozens and dozens of records stores over the years, and honestly, I have never found a decent vinyl copy of ANY of the Led Zeppelin records. The covers are always worn down, beat up, with cigarette burns on them. The records themselves always looked like a gaggle of hippies chopped a bunch of cocaine on them, and then promptly sat on them directly afterward. Its just another sign of the greatness of Led Zeppelin. Back in their day, the fans consumed every bit of the band. The records were played over and over at parties around the world, until they were worn down to worthless bits of cardboard and wax. This was evidence to me, of rabid fandom. And for good reason. This is honestly some of the best music ever recorded. The talent of the individual players was primal and unmatched. The recording techniques revolutionary and effective in creating timeless recordings. Whoever says that Zeppelin is over rated can go fuck off to their bedroom as far as I am concerned. Calm down folks. Its just an opinion. Anyway, it got to the point that when I went to any record store, I wouldn't even look at the Zeppelin records anymore. I knew what I was going to get, and it wasn't good. Records lovingly murdered by rock fans of the past.
I was fairly enthusiastic to hear about the coming Led Zeppelin vinyl reissues when the news broke. It was even more comforting to know that Jimmy Page himself would be overseeing the entire project of revamping the Zeppelin catalog. As the original producer of the albums, this only made sense, and I knew it would be done correctly. Not to mention that some of the project was to be done in the famous Olympic Studios in London, where Led Zeppelin recorded portions of their now legendary second album "II". How fucking cool is that? Page elaborated on the project when interviewed by Andy Greene for Rolling Stone Magazine last year: “I left no stone unturned,” says the 70-year-old Page, sitting by a fireplace in the lobby of a posh hotel near the Royal Albert Hall. “I can’t have anyone else do it because I want it done properly. I dread to think how it could have been thrown together if I wasn’t around.”
Once my copy of the Super Deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin IV arrived at my doorstep, my enthusiasm was through the roof. I immediately ignored the CD editions included with the package and dug out the vinyl copy, which aside from a hologram Swan Song sticker on the back of the sleeve is an exact replica of the original release. The only other difference, is that the new records are on 180 gram. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the music on this album- that we all have heard so many times in the past, never sounded better sonically. The mastering was perfect. The instrumentation was crystal clear, warm, and punchy. Hidden nuances of instrumentation also poked through, something of which I have never heard before. This gave an enjoyable and new listening experience to this now classic album. Another cool thing about the new Zeppelin vinyl is that these copies are finally mine. I am not forced to share them with a reckless fan of the past. No hippie will be chopping coke and sitting on them. These magical black circles will be taken care of, and treated like heirlooms to a future generation, who will no doubt need this music just as bad as we did, and still do.