Led Zeppelin - Selftitled (Classic Debut UK Release 1969)

Senin, 22 Oktober 2012

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Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut album of English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London and released on Atlantic Records on January 12, 1969. Because of the groundbreaking music and recording techniques displayed on the album, it is widely considered one of the most impressive and important debuts in rock, creating an entirely new interpretation of the rock and roll genre. The album featured integral contributions from each of the group's four musicians and established Led Zeppelin's unique fusion of blues and rock. Led Zeppelin also created a large and devoted following for the band, with their unique proto-metal and psychedelic rock sound endearing them to a section of the counterculture on both sides of the Atlantic.

In an interview for the Led Zeppelin Profiled radio promo CD (1990), Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page said that the album took only about 36 hours of studio time (over a span of a few weeks) to create (including mixing), adding that he knows this because of the amount charged on the studio bill. One of the primary reasons for the short recording time was that the material selected for the album had been well rehearsed and pre-arranged by the band on Led Zeppelin's tour of Scandinavia in September 1968. In addition, since the band had not yet signed their deal with Atlantic Records, Page and Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant paid for the sessions entirely themselves, thus there was no record company money to waste on excessive studio time.

The conceptual originality of the album was displayed on tracks such as "Good Times Bad Times" and "Communication Breakdown", which had a unique and distinctively heavy sound new to the ears of young music-buyers in the late-1960s. "Communication Breakdown" would become monumental in its influence: In the documentary "Ramones - The True Story", Page's sped up, downstroke guitar riff is cited as guitarist Johnny Ramone's inspiration for - and basis of - his punk-defining, strictly downstroke guitar strumming. Led Zeppelin also featured delicate steel-string acoustic guitar by Page on "Black Mountain Side", and a combination of acoustic and electric approaches on their adaptation of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You".

"Dazed and Confused" is arguably the album's centerpiece: a foreboding arrangement featuring a descending bass line from Jones, heavy drumming from Bonham and some powerful guitar riffs and soloing from Page. It also showcased Page playing guitar with a cello bow (an idea suggested by David McCallum Sr., whom Page had met while doing studio session work). The bowed guitar in the middle section of the song brought psychedelic rock to experimental new heights, especially in extended stage versions, building on Page's earlier renderings of the song during the latter days of The Yardbirds. "Dazed and Confused" would become Led Zeppelin's signature performance piece for years to come.

The bowed guitar technique is also used on "How Many More Times", a song which features a "Bolero" riff and a broken-down noise section in which Robert Plant howls Albert King's "The Hunter" (a blues song popularized by singer Koko Taylor). On this track, Plant vocally mimics Page's guitar effects - a metallicized version of the "call and response" blues technique.

Many of Led Zeppelin's earliest songs were based on blues standards, and the album also included three songs composed by others: "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You Baby", both by blues artist Willie Dixon; and "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You". Regarding the last of these, at the time guitarist Jimmy Page mistakenly believed he was adapting a traditional folk song he had heard on a Joan Baez record, but this was corrected on subsequent rereleases after it was revealed that the song was composed by Anne Bredon in the 1950s. Dixon, on the other hand, received proper credit as the composer of his two songs on this album (although "You Shook Me" would later be additionally credited to J. B. Lenoir) but would go on to sue Led Zeppelin over partial use of other material of his on the band's second album.

Jeff Beck had previously recorded "You Shook Me" for his album, Truth, and accused Page of stealing his idea. With John Paul Jones and drummer Keith Moon of The Who, Page had played on (and says he arranged) "Beck's Bolero", an instrumental on Truth that would be grooved into the mix of the Led Zeppelin jam "How Many More Times". These cross-pollinizations led to a rift between Beck and Page, who had played in the Yardbirds together and been friends since childhood.

Led Zeppelin was produced by Jimmy Page and engineered by Glyn Johns. The album was recorded on an analog 4-track machine, which helped to give the record its warm sound. Page reportedly used natural room ambience to enhance the reverb and recording texture on the record, demonstrating the innovations in sound recording he had learned during his session days. Up until the late 1960s, most music producers placed microphones directly in front of the amplifiers and drums. For Led Zeppelin Page developed the idea of placing an additional microphone some distance from the amplifier (as far as twenty feet) and then recording the balance between the two. By adopting this "distance equals depth" technique, Page became one of the first producers to record a band's "ambient sound" -- the distance of a note's time-lag from one end of the room to the other.

Another notable feature of the album was the "leakage" on the recordings of Robert Plant's vocals. In an interview Page gave to Guitar World magazine in 1998, Page stated that "Robert's voice was extremely powerful and, as a result, would get on some of the other tracks. But oddly, the leakage sounds intentional.

On "You Shook Me" Page used his "backward echo" technique, which involved hearing the echo before the main sound instead of after it, achieved by turning the tape over and employing the echo on a spare track, then turning the tape back over again to get the echo preceding the signal. Page had originally developed the method when recording the single "Ten Little Indians" with The Yardbirds in 1967..

The album cover features an artfully manipulated version of the most famous photograph (originally from UPI) of the Hindenburg disaster. It is in fact an illustration of this photograph drawn with a Rapidograph pen and ink by graphic artist George Hardie, a student at the Royal College of Art who had been recommended to Led Zeppelin by photographer Stephen Goldblatt. The back sleeve contained a portrait of the band taken by Chris Dreja, the former bassist in Page's previous band, The Yardbirds. Such originality in album cover art, as well as the band's control over artistic concept and packaging, would distinguish subsequent Led Zeppelin releases.

Hardie originally offered the group a design based on an old club sign in San Francisco, depicting a multi-sequential image of a Zeppelin airship in the clouds. Page turned down the idea, but it was retained as the logo that adorned the back cover of both the first and second albums and a number of early press advertisements.

Interestingly, during the first few weeks of the album's release in the United Kingdom, the sleeve was printed with the band's name and Atlantic Records logo in turquoise, before it was switched to the common orange print later in the year, creating a much sought-after collectors item.

The album was a massive fiscal success. In Stephen Davis' biography of the band, Hammer of the Gods, it is documented that Peter Grant put the cost of the album at £1,750 (including artwork). By 1975 it had grossed $7,000,000. The album was initially released in America on 17 January 1969 to capitalise on the band's first U.S. concert tour. Before that, Atlantic Records had distributed a few hundred advance white label copies to key radio stations and reviewers. A positive reaction to its contents, coupled with a good reaction to the band's opening concerts, resulted in the album generating 50,000 advance orders. It stayed on the Billboard chart for 73 weeks and held a 79-week run on the British chart.

Side one
01. "Good Times Bad Times" (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page) – 2:46 
02. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Bredon, Page, Robert Plant) – 6:41 
03. "You Shook Me" (Willie Dixon, J.B. Lenoir) – 6:28 
04. "Dazed and Confused" (Page) – 6:26 

Side two
05. "Your Time Is Gonna Come" (Jones, Page) – 4:34 
06. "Black Mountain Side" (Page) – 2:14 
07. "Communication Breakdown" (Bonham, Jones, Page) – 2:27 
08. "I Can't Quit You Baby" (Dixon) – 4:42 
09. "How Many More Times" (Bonham, Jones, Page) – 8:28 (listed as 3:30 on record sleeve deliberately by Jimmy Page in order to trick radio stations into playing the song.) 

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