April 23: Ahead of the reissue of the first three Led Zeppelin albums in June, the band have unveiled two unheard recordings. An early version of Whole Lotta Love and an unreleased version of blues classic Keys to the Highway have been released.
Since Led Zeppelin split up in 1980, following the death of drummer John Bonham, they have rarely played together — the last being at a sell-out concert at the O2 Arena, London in 2007. In those 34 years they have never recorded any new material as a band and are fiercely protective over their work. They only made a deal to share their back catalogue with music streaming service Spotify in December last year.
The band still has no intention to reunite, singer Robert Plant told the BBC, but deluxe reissues of all nine of their studio albums, remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page, will include a raft of previously unheard material.
The first three, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III, will be released on June 3 and are already available for pre-order.
Each reissue will contain a bonus disc of previously unheard material which will include alternative versions of songs, works in progress and live performances, along with, Page promised, “a lot of surprises”. It gives fans a chance to hear the band’s work when it was in progress as well as insights from the recording process.
It’s the result of two and a half years of tireless work by Page, who combed the Led Zeppelin vaults and listened to hundreds of quarter-inch tapes from the Seventies. “I don’t want to die and have somebody else do it,” he said. “I'm authoritative about what was done in the first place.”