Jimmy Page himself sequenced the running order of this 4-CD, 54-track boxed set, so it plays more like one of their albums than a mere compilation. Chief among the rarities are the classic B-side Hey, Hey, What Can I Do ; an unreleased version of Robert Johnson's Traveling Riverside Blues, and a live medley of Page's White Summer/Black Mountain Side . And then there are the classics- Whole Lotta Love; Communication Breakdown; Dazed and Confused; Black Dog; Rock and Roll; Kashmir; Dancing Days; When the Levee Breaks; Stairway to Heaven , and more.
Here are the original monsters of rock in all their epic, bombastic glory. The Who may have had more decibels (a dubious distinction), but no band took hard rock higher into the stratosphere than the Zep did with their cosmic mixture of deep blues, gothic melodrama and the supernatural chops of Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones. For listeners new to the Zep canon, there's no better primer of the band's range and power than this four CD box set, compiled and remixed in 1990 by Page himself. All the obvious song choices are here but even if you've already heard "Black Dog" once too often on the car radio, this set wisely spotlights several overlooked gems, including their ultimate blues lament "I'm Gonna Crawl". It's a blueprint that later generations of head-bangers tragically failed to follow. --Steve Appleford