- Audio CD (Sept. 30 1993)
- Number of Discs: 10
- Format: Best of, Box set
- Label: Atlantic
- ASIN: B000002IWP
- In-Print Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 88 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,792 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
The Complete Studio Recordings (10CD) Best of, Box set
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Big enough for Led Zeppelin's towering sound, this 10-CD box set collects all nine of the legendary band's original studio albums released from 1969 to 1982. Included are: Led Zeppelin I (1969), Led Zeppelin II (1969), Led Zeppelin III (1970), IV (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffitti (1975) (2CD), Presence (1976), In Through the Out Door (1979), and Coda (1982). A true stairway to heaven for Zep fans, this massive box originally released in 1993 features each classic title with its original album artwork.
As Basil Bunting wrote about Ezra Pound's Cantos, "There are the Alps... you will have to go a long way round/if you want to avoid them." Led Zeppelin's work is the central fact of 1970s rock & roll; in its loving homage to and shameless piracy from the blues, its glorious and wretched excess, its transformation of hippie and folk-rock graces into a foundation-shaking kaboom, and its offhanded myth-making, the band turned everything caught in its wake into a reaction to it--or against it. The three non-album tracks the box includes are grace notes rather than lost jewels, but the point of the set is to be a Rosetta stone of album rock, the stairway to a gaudy paradise that they constructed. --Douglas Wolk
Showing 1-5 of 88 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
But I AM going to state that the quality of the packaging in this box is absolute crap. The CD sleeves within the CD covers are stapled in place very poorly, while the actual CDs fit very snugly in their sleeves. The result is that, if you remove the CD without taking excessive care, you pull the sleeve away from the cover. And because of the horrible design, this cannot be fixed once it's become detached. Brutal.
In closing, if you're buying this box as only a collector's item, and don't plan to remove the discs from their sleeves; go for it. If you're buying this box only to fulfill your Zeppelin listening needs and don't care about the package; go for it. If you're hoping to acquire all of Zeppelin's studio albums AND have a nice package for years to come; you're out of luck with this option.
Anyway, I listened to the entire box set last weekend once again, and it's always nice to revisit Zeppelin's back catalogue in that way. After all, each album is a portrait of where they were at that time, and are truly best when played as complete albums, not songs on a compilation. Zeppelin I and II are an embrionic, pseudo-heavy metal band with hippy tendencies, but you are immediately blown away by how GOOD this band was. All four members were simply stunning, a raging and ripping Plant included. By Zeppelin III they really started to explore the "light and shade" that Pagey speaks of in the included Cameron Crowe essay. It is a beautiful album. Zeppelin IV of course combines the sounds of the first three together into one multi-platinum work of art.
After Zeppelin IV, their albums become harder to characterize, but diversity is still key. Much like the Beatles before and Queen after, Zeppelin were not content to be a simple bass/guitar/drums combo. Strings, synth, and numerous other instruments are brought in to add to the Zeppelin mosiac. Houses of the Holy contains one of my favourite moments in "No Quarter" which is anchored by John Paul Jones' keyboard and synth work, a hauntingly beautiful piece. Physical Grafitti contains perhaps their highest achievement in "Kashmir", but certainly songs like "The Rover" continue the metallic goodness that spawned the band. Presence is an album misunderstood by many, a back-to-basics tour-de-force of power. The very Rush-like "Achiles Last Stand" combine progressive rock tendencies with Plant's lyrical mysticism. Finally In Through the Out Door represents Pagey taking a step back and Jones filling the gap with synth arrangements. "All My Love" is a ballad that came ten years too soon, a Plant/Jones penned masterpiece of beauty. "In The Evening" haunts with Plant's vocals buried in the mix under cascades of Jonesy's synth and Page's whammy bar. "Hot Dog" is a pure country ho-down, and Zeppelin ended their career with the diversity that they started it with. But it doesn't end there, as an expanded version of Coda is included, an odds-and-sods collection of outtakes. Certainly these are not the greatest of Zeppelin moments, but "Bonzo's Montreaux" represents the kind of experimentation that Zeppelin were founded on. A sequel of sorts to "Moby Dick", it is a drum orchestra and worthy of the albums before. The expanded edition includes one of my favourite tracks, Zeppelin's version of "Traveling Riverside Blues". Page's slide guitar is simply excellent.
A booklet with ample photos is included, as well as the afformentioned Cameron Crowe essay. Reading it, you can see where much of Almost Famous came from. Each CD is packaged with a reproduction of each LP's original artwork. That means, for In Through the Out Door, you get all six covers, plus an image of the paper bag, plus the inner sleeve. Zeppelin III gives you a miniature version of "the wheel", and Physical Grafitti, the "windows". If only you cuold manipulate them like the originals, but alas.
Remastering job is OK. I detected what I thought were a couple problems, I thought I heard some tape drop-out. I hate to say it, but maybe the Zeppelin catalogue could use a fresh remastering. 17 years have passed since this was released.
You can either go out and buy each album separately, or you can buy this set. Personally I think this set is the way to go, especially if you care about packaging.
John Paul Jones, bassist and keyboardist, once made the observation about so-called heavy metal bands that came in Zep's wake that they would all tend to imitate one facet of the group while overlooking all the rest. In other words, Zeppelin-influenced bands tend to mimic the riff-centered "mega-decibelity" of the group, while ignoring the side that employed mandolins, acoustic guitars, recorders, country blues, jazz chords, folk music -- and all the other diverse instrumental and music styles which combined to produce the unique synthesis that was Led Zeppelin. And unlike those other bands, who never seem to be able to figure out when in the middle of song to change tempos or switch gears to something new, Jimmy Page always understood that even the greatest riff becomes tiresome if is repeated too many times without variation, or if there's nothing else musically interesting going on in the song.
In song after song Page as a producer proves himself to have been blessed with the right instincts about how to best put each one over. To give one example among many: in "When the Levee Breaks" he has the band lay down the basic track by playing together live in the studio without separation -- as the Beatles did in "Yer Blues" -- which gives the music the rough bluesy edge that it needs. Or, to give another example, check out the subtle use of electric piano on "Stairway to Heaven." The point is, no matter where you turn, there's always something to learn. If other bands would take the time to learn what Jimmy teaches in these classic albums, instead of just trying to be rock star-idiots, there wouldn't be so much [stuff] on the airwaves.
Which I suppose is just a roundabout way of saying that you can't go wrong by investing in this box set.
Want to see more reviews on this item?