Unseen, Unheard, Unearthed…and Erupting: Zeppelin Live DVD & CD Sets to Ship Multi-Platinum

By | May 22, 2003 at 12:00 AM

With anticipation building to a feverish pitch in advance of the imminent release of the eagerly awaited Led Zeppelin live recordings, Atlantic Records has announced that “LED ZEPPELIN DVD,” a 2-DVD set, will be shipping quadruple-platinum in the U.S. alone, and “HOW THE WEST WAS WON,” a 3-CD set, will ship platinum.

“The enormous pre-release response from retailers and fans alike to the announcement of these Zeppelin releases dramatically demonstrates the enduring power, timeless influence, and undiminished popularity of this truly phenomenal band,” said Atlantic Group Co-Chairman/CEO Val Azzoli. “To have been associated with Zeppelin for their entire career has been an honor and a privilege for everyone at Atlantic Records over the past 35 years. Their contribution to the world of contemporary music and to the legacy of Atlantic is immeasurable. And now at last to be able to release these brilliant and legendary recordings of Led Zeppelin in their true element – on stage – is a truly historic moment.”

On Tuesday, May 27th, members of Led Zeppelin will attend a special premiere of “LED ZEPPELIN DVD” at Loew’s 34th Street Theatre in New York City. The red carpet screening, hosted by Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Premiere Radio Networks, and Atlantic Records, will feature 2 hours of spectacular Led Zeppelin live concert footage – taken from the full 5-hour DVD set, digitally restored and remixed in surround sound by Jimmy Page himself. The screening will be followed by an exclusive invitation-only VIP party. On May 15th, more than 1000 people were on hand to watch the UK premiere of “LED ZEPPELIN DVD” at London’s Leicester Square, with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones in attendance.

These landmark Led Zeppelin recordings mark the first-ever official release of rare and extraordinary Led Zeppelin performances, which span the band’s entire career. Long-rumored and eagerly anticipated, the sets each contain entirely different material, with no overlap between the two releases. With over 200 million albums sold worldwide, Led Zeppelin is the biggest-selling rock group in history.

Clocking in at over five hours, “LED ZEPPELIN DVD” has been culled from just a handful of performances which were ever filmed during the band’s extraordinary lifetime. As guitarist Jimmy Page explains, “We were never really part of the pop scene. It was never what Led Zeppelin was supposed to be about. Our thing was playing live. In that sense, Zeppelin was very much an underground band. The fact that it became as successful as it did was something that was almost out of our control. We actually shunned commercialism, which is why so little official footage of the band has ever been seen before.”

Featured on the DVD are performances from: London’s Royal Albert Hall in January 1970, just one year after the release of their debut album; their triumphant five-night run at London’s Earls Court in May 1975; and their record-breaking shows at England’s Knebworth Festival in August 1979, just one year before the death of drummer John Bonham led to the band’s dissolution. Also included are songs from New York’s Madison Square Garden in July 1973 which were not included in “THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME” concert film, the only previously released live Zeppelin footage. Other highlights of the DVD include: extremely rare television appearances, among them a performance for Danish television in March 1969; promotional clips; TV interviews; behind-the scenes material; and even a bit of fan-shot “bootleg” footage.

Visually and sonically stunning, “LED ZEPPELIN DVD” has been painstakingly restored, remixed, and remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, DTS, and PCM Two-Channel Stereo – under the personal supervision of Jimmy Page and director Dick Carruthers. “LED ZEPPELIN DVD” is being marketed by Atlantic Records in collaboration with Warner Strategic Marketing.

Recorded in California, “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” is a brilliant audio complement to the DVD. The material on the three CDs has been culled from two of the most legendary and incendiary live performances by Led Zeppelin, at the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena on June 25th and 27th, 1972. Melded together and sequenced to replicate a single concert from beginning to end, it captures the band at the height of their formidable powers. Among the highlights are a 25-plus minute version of “Dazed And Confused” and a 23-minute medley based around “Whole Lotta Love.” Alongside such classics as “Stairway To Heaven” and “Rock And Roll,” these shows find the band introducing songs from their forthcoming “HOUSES OF THE HOLY” album, which would not be released for another nine months.

2003 marks the 35th anniversary of the first fateful rehearsal which brought together the talents of guitarist Jimmy Page, vocalist Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham in the summer of 1968. In the decade between 1969 and 1979, the British quartet released eight studio albums and a live soundtrack (a posthumous set of previously unreleased studio material followed in ’82). 23 years since their final concert performance (on July 7, 1980), they continue to be recognized as one of the most original, innovative, powerful, and influential groups in rock history.

While their work in the studio was brilliant, Led Zeppelin’s work onstage was transforming. In concert, the band displayed a power and charisma unparalleled in modern music. Never content to simply replay their recordings, Zeppelin used the stage as a creative platform in its own right – introducing material live before it was recorded, and always expanding, improvising, and pushing into uncharted territory. Their legendary, epic live sets – often lasting more than three hours – were shamanistic experiences which traversed exceptional musical territory, sonic journeys which were truly cathartic experiences for the band and audience alike.

Related Content