The cover of the 2 CD deluxe album
In a span of 10 years, Led Zeppelin released 8 studio albums during the bands existence with it’s 4 original members. That’s less than 10 hours of studio recorded music for a band as legendary as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. Of those 8 albums, I owned all of them on vinyl at one point. You could say I was a fan. And still am. The vinyl LPs were sonically perfect and I miss them, as I do my many turntables I’ve owned over the years.
The back of the 2 CD deluxe album
I liked pretty much all of their albums, but over the years, I’ve ended up ranking them all in order of favorites to least favorites. Today, I am reviewing the deluxe version of my favorite: Houses Of The Holy. Why is it my favorite? For many reasons, but I think it’s where they found both their original creative groove as well as still continuing to be just as popular as they were. Yes, Zeppelin IV, the self titled album that contains “Stairway To Heaven” [also known as Zoso], was their biggest selling. It sold 23 million albums so far. Not withstanding, “Houses Of The Holy” has sold 11 million. Nothing to sneeze at, compared to many other artists album sales in the history of album sales.
The left part of the inside fold of the CD packaging
Starting with “The Song Remains The Same” and ending with “The Ocean”, the 8 original songs had a great flow to them, all rocking and ballad worthy tracks. I always listened to this album from start to finish and this deluxe CD is no different. Clocking in at barely less than 41 minutes, this album celebrating more than 40 years, it’s stood the test of rock time.
The right part of the inside fold of the CD packaging
The deluxe version of the album comes on 2 CDs. There are more expanded versions of this remastered album, but this was the version I wanted to own. Disc 1 contains the original 8 songs, all remastered by Jimmy Page and approved by the remaining living members. I own the original album on CD [alas, I no longer own any of the original vinyl copies I used to] and listening to both the old CD and the new CD, I can’t really tell a huge difference in quality. I would say that there are some minor differences given not much had been done to the album when it was first available on CD came when it came out in the 1980’s. The last remastered version of this album was in 1993, which did a good amount of cleanup, so I can’t expect much more was done here. Still, comparing the various versions of the songs I own, I would gather to say this is the best overall release.
The original songs sound just as sonic as they did on the last remasters. Each note shines on in a level of brilliance. I am reliving this great album all over again, minus the title track, which still appears on the band’s next album “Physical Graffiti”, which recently got it’s own deluxe release.
The second disc is all rough mixes of the same songs as the original, track by track taking unreleased studio outtakes and giving us fans a different sound of what mixes could have been. To be honest, I was really hoping for new songs that were part of the studio outtakes, but even the super deluxe version of the album [which came with a lot more artwork and 2 vinyl LPs]didn’t contain any extra tracks for the $200 asking price, we must remain silent in our wishes. I was plenty happy to spend $15 for this deluxe version when it came out last October.
The CD packaging really shines here, as documented here on this post in the photos. I’ve always been a long time fan of album art, which physical media gives us and the digital media takes away, although sometimes as a PDF file.
If you are as big a fan of this 5th Led Zeppelin album as I am, you won’t be disappointed, unless of course you were wanting unreleased new tracks.