Led Zeppelin return with whole lotta rock

By Adam Sherwin

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page on stage at their 2007 reunion show.
Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page on stage at their 2007 reunion show.

Led Zeppelin are stirring once again. A previously unheard song will be aired, alongside dozens of unreleased live and studio recordings, after the legendary rockers scoured their vaults for an extensive reissue programme.

La La, recorded during sessions for Led Zeppelin II, the bands 1969 album which helped to define their riff-heavy sound, will be made available for the first time on a companion disc of unheard recordings when the album is re-released in June.

Jimmy Page, Led Zep's guitarist, has remastered each of their albums and raided the vaults for rarities, which will accompany each release in the reissue programme. The re-releases will contain the first unheard Led Zeppelin material since 1982.

"The material on the companion discs presents a portal to the time of the recording of Led Zeppelin," said Page, 70. "It is a selection of work in progress, with rough mixes, backing tracks, alternative versions, and new material recorded at the time."

All nine of the bands studio albums will be released in chronological order, beginning this summer. The band, who have sold 300 million albums, also recently agreed to add their catalogue to the Spotify streaming service.

The renewed burst of activity will raise hopes that the heavy-rock pioneers may tour once again. Their 2007 reunion gig at London's O2 Arena was rapturously received. But while Page and bassist John Paul Jones are keen to hit the road, vocalist Robert Plant has declined, preferring to pursue his Grammy-winning solo career.

With physical music sales in apparently permanent decline, the industry is seeking to cash in on the purchasing power of older fans who are willing to buy deluxe versions of classic material.

The releases include an 180g vinyl version, replicating the original sleeves. A super deluxe boxed set includes vinyl, a High-def audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit, and a 70-page hard-bound book including unseen photos and memorabilia.

Interest in one of rocks most innovative groups remains intense. In 2012, the band were invited to the White House, and were given a Lifetime Contribution to American Culture award.

In January, the band won their first Grammy (discounting Hall of Fame awards) when Celebration Day, capturing their show at the O2 tribute concert for the Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun, was named Best Rock Album.

Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham. They have been cited as an influence since by artists ranging from Madonna to Metallica and Jack White.

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