Led Zeppelin return with new 'unheard' song after scouring vaults for unreleased recordings

'La La' will be made available for the first time on an album re-release in June

Adam Sherwin
Thursday 13 March 2014 15:00 GMT
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s (Rex)

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Led Zeppelin is 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 the sessions for Led Zeppelin II, the band’s 1969 album which defined their riff-heavy sound, will be made available for the first time on a companion disc of unheard recordings when the record is re-released in June.

Jimmy Page, Zeppelin’s guitarist, has re-mastered each of Zeppelin’s albums and raided the vaults for rarities, which will accompany each release in the reissue programme.

“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, alternate versions, and new material recorded at the time.”

All nine of the band’s studio albums will be released in chronological order, beginning with Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III. The band, who sold 300 million albums, also recently agreed to add their catalogue to the Spotify streaming service.

The renewed burst of Zeppelin activity will raise hopes that the heavy rock pioneers may tour once again. Their 2007 reunion gig at the O2 Arena was rapturously received. But whilst 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.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant perform a Led Zeppelin gig in 1976
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant perform a Led Zeppelin gig in 1976 (Rex)

The reissue of their 1969 self-titled debut, features a previously unreleased performance recorded on October 10, 1969 at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. The nine-song set features seven tracks from the album, including an epic 15-minute version of “Dazed And Confused,” as well as “Heartbreaker” and “Moby Dick,” which would debut on Led Zeppelin II later that month.

Led Zeppelin II, which includes the band’s signature hit “Whole Lotta Love”, features alternate mixes of five songs from the album, including backing tracks to “Thank You” and “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” as well as “La La.”

The nine tracks featured on the companion CD to Led Zeppelin III, released in 1970, offers a window into the band’s recording process with seven studio outtakes of songs from the album as well as three previously unheard compositions: “Jennings Farm Blues” (an instrumental forerunner of “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”), “Bathroom Sound” (an instrumental version of “Out On The Tiles”), and their take on the blues classics “Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind.”

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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.

Zeppelin in the 1970s
Zeppelin in the 1970s (Getty Images)

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

Interest in one of rock’s most innovative groups remains intense. In 2012, the band was invited to the White House and given a lifetime contribution to American culture award at the Kennedy Center Honors.

In January, the band won their first ever Grammy award when Celebration Day, which captured their live performance at the O2 tribute concert for Atlantic Record boss Ahmet Ertegun, was named Best Rock Album.

Formed in 1968, Led Zeppelin’s collision of blues-based rock and piledriving drums, allied to excursions into lyrical, acoustic folk, established the band as one of music’s biggest live attractions.

Notorious for their debauched behaviour on tour, 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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