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Customer Review

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars time for a re-evaluation, 19 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Presence (Audio CD)
Having got into Zeppelin at the time of Physical Graffiti, i was greatly excited with the news of the impending release of their next album. But when Presence finally came out in Spring 1976 I was pretty disappointed. I quite liked Achilles but I didnt think that or the other songs matched up to their previous works..Perhaps I was too young to appreciate the change of sound - Presence doesn't really sound like any other Zeppelin album even now.. Despite the guitar overdubs, the sound is still quite basic and stripped down and maybe that was the problem?

Fast forward 30 odd years and I've just purchased Presence again on CD this time. Either my musical tastes have broadened or the CD sounds far better than the vinyl ever did (no longer have the LP to compare)-I'm not sure. All I know is that I now love this album. There's rock, blues, rockabilly, funk. The key tracks for me are Achilles Last Stand, For your Life, Nobody's Fault but Mine and Tea for one. The other tracks are also excellent and as I listen more to this album they are definite growers. 'Tea for One' is a beautiful slow smouldering blues that perhaps owes more to Peter Green's 'Love to Burn' than the oft compared 'Since I've been loving you' from the third album. Jimmy Page's guitar work throughout is incredible. Listen to his solo in Achilles for example. And just listen to those drums. Bonham really was the best. All the band are on top form. Robert Plant recorded his vocals from a wheelchair following a near fatal accident in the summer of 1975. His singing does at times sound more subdued than usual but the vocals fit perfectly to the songs.

Although Presence doesn't quite reach the standard of Graffiti or indeed maybe some of the earlier albums, it is still a majestic album and certainly worth purchasing. It's interesting how opinions alter over the years. In the mid '70's, it was Led Zeppelin 2 that was the favourite followed closely by no. 4. Critics hailed Graffiti as the best since Zeppelin 2. Led Zeppelin 3 and 'Houses of the Holy' were the lesser albums, both getting mixed reviews upon release. Houses of the Holy was thought of as a letdown after the fourth album.

Within a year of the release of Presence it was all punk and zeppelin weren't in favour for many (well we were only 16)...but their music really has stood the test of time, unlike many of the punk bands. Long hair and bare chests aside, Zeppelin had the songs and virtuoso musicianship to back it up. To see and hear how good they were live, I recommend the DVD 'Led Zeppelin'. The same goes for the live cd 'How the West was Won'. And all the original Zeppelin albums are a must have - though to this day I haven't listened to the whole of 'In through the Out Door'....maybe next week...........
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Dec 2009 22:11:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Dec 2009 22:27:44 GMT
I agree with your review. Excellent summary of the album and very similar to my own experience of this album.

I never bought into the nihilism and influence of Punk Rock, btw. For me (differing from you) most of the music making up the airwaves in '76seemed to be Disco and Funk anyway - Punk as far as I was concerned was a mythical beast that occasionally worried the singles charts - and it was over almost as quickly as it arrived! Yet all we hear nowadays is how Punk Rock changed the Universe and how Punk kicked bloated Prog and Dinosaur Rock into oblivion, etc. Apart from the very good London Calling and Never Mind The Bollocks, I can't think of many other Punk Rock albums that transcended the genre and became mainstream. And just exactly where do the Sex Pistols and The Clash figure against LZ in terms of popularity, influence and acclaim? Also, the supposed popularity and success of Punk Rock makes me wonder just who was buying Saturday Night Fever, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Frampton, Boney M and Abba records during '76-'79 - everyone nowadays claims to have been into Punk at the time!

Some claim that Punk Rock proved that it was possible to form a band if you wanted it bad enough - you did not have to be a musician. This did give hope to some people who might have become fed up with the likes of ELP. Fine. But just how many two-chord wonders does the world need?


In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2013 15:05:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jan 2013 15:09:00 GMT
yerblues says:
im thinking more of 1977 (than '76) when punk was much more known about...not so much in the pop charts but lots of gigs were happening and there were albums of course from the Clash damned stranglers pistols and so on - defi8nitely a feeling in the air in london where i was etc... and it was in 77 that led zep (and other such bands) were not so important anymore..and unfashionable of course.. thankfully i got back into them 10 years later haha

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2015 14:09:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jun 2015 14:14:55 BDT
Alan McGuire says:
5 and 1/2 years later, but it seemed to me that the sound of this album anticipated punk as King Crimsons Red did in some ways and as for none musician involvement check out later developments such as rap and the legion of singer groups fronting electro backing tracks, makes punks seem positively Wagnerian and Presence sounding great - especially considering Robert Plants personal circumstances at the time
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