Latter Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Vol.2 Enhanced
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The glory days of Led Zeppelin are chronicled comprehensively in Volume I, which leaves this package (covering the years between 1973 and 1979) with less of the obvious crowd-pleasers; but, 30 years on, it still succeeds as a potent reminder of just how powerful Zeppelin were at their zenith. Taken from the band's final four albums, the songs here--"No Quarter", "Houses Of the Holy", "Song Remains The Same"--brought audiences to their feet in stadiums across the world while the Zeppelin juggernaut trampled all competition underfoot. And, as with the first volume, there is the bonus of an enhanced track: a CD-ROM performance of one of the band's best-ever songs, "Kashmir", from their legendary 1975 Earl's Court shows. Zeppelin defined heavy metal and hard rock, but were also capable of a delicacy which sometimes gets overlooked, and if there was a criticism it would be that this dimension is missing from the picture of Zep offered here. Otherwise, these two companion volumes offer a rewarding introduction to Led Zeppelin.--Patrick Humphries
Top customer reviews
Volume 1 contains the universally popular tracks "Whole lotta love" and that golden "Stairway to Heaven" which have inspired so many enthusiastic musicians to pick up a guitar over the past 2 and half decades. Shockinlgy though many of you Zepplin fans will be devastated to hear that this is not the best album in the world.
I am sorry for this mortifying news but if you listen with great attention to Led Zepplin Volume 1- The early days you will intelligently conclude that although the two jewels emerged from this album, it was in fact just the foundations being laid. The foundations for a truly magnificent album in Led Zepplin Volume 2-The later days.
I would dare to forecast that many rock fans will not be familiar with the tracks on this album as they are not the most commercially recognised.
What they are though are indivdual polished masterpieces that have been sculptured by Zepplin's unmistakable style. After listening to this album it is immeadiately apparent that volume 1 was merely a platform to genius.
With this collection there's not that criteria of biggest selling or number one singles, and why? Well, Peter Grant (Zep's manager) decided not to play the singles game, making it an album oriented art-form. If you had to make a compilation disc of all the singles Led Zeppelin released, it'd be mighty slim pickings, though they did release a few singles. So we have Led Zeppelin doing some really stellar albums, releasing no compilations until the mighty box set of 1990 (which, btw, is the best selling box set ever). In 1993, the Boxed Set 2 shows up, catching all the stray tracks that have slipped through the cracks with the first one. This is how this listener came to know Zeppelin, and to be honest I own only two of their albums, HOUSES OF THE HOLY and UNTITLED (not counting BBC Sessions), though I've listened to dubbed tapes of them. Although it may seem shocking to Zepheads, the first box set does a marvelous job staying true to the album spirit of Zeppelin, while the second one just is a necessity, though I like quite a few of the songs on that better than some of the material making the first box set.
That's two box sets. But wait, there's more. The Remasters with an interview disc thrown in there for good measure, and then a Complete Studio recordings with a reworked CODA (which I wish they'd release separately, and throw in "Girl I Love" and "Something" from BBC Sessions).
It just strikes this listener as odd that there's been such a proliferation of these compilations when LZ's purpose has been album oriented rock. It seems Page is trying to make up for lost time by over-releasing the Zep catalogue. People may try to argue its a way to snag new listeners. That's certainly true for The Beatles' disc, but with this it just strikes me as redundant. There are several key songs missing throughout these two albums as well*, and the selections that did make it onto these discs simply don't get nearly as much radio play as a lot of other tracks. Some would say by putting these lesser known songs (defined as heard on the radio regularly) it will help others go to the original albums. But that goes against what a greatest hits package is supposed to be, doesn't it? And considering the band, they used to want them to go to the original albums anyway
And while some may argue UNTITLED stands as their best work, there is an over-emphasis on this, though its hard to argue with their (or Page's) selections. "Rock and Roll" has always been the most overrated song on that, and they should have eliminated that and put in "Going to California" instead. And while "When the Levee Breaks" is a great recording, perhaps it shouldn't be on a greatest hits disc, considering all the tracks they did leave off that DO get lots of radio play (Ramble on, Heartbreaker, Living Loving, Hey Hey, etc). Hey Hey should have been included just to have it in a relatively cheap package, and to this listener it stands as one of their best songs (listening to it now).
Bottom line: these albums are just product, and failed product at that. By now, either you like Led Zeppelin or you don't, and no one will really care about these two albums anyway. Even as greatest hits albums they don't work, because of the track selection includes material receiving little radio play while neglecting tracks that DO get a lot of radio play. Only thing that makes these good are the album covers. Other than that, ignore them, they're useless. I'd have a little more sympathy if they did have their bigger radio songs.
*This is a list of songs that may qualify as "Should have beens". The ones with the double asterisks are the ones I feel should have definitely put on instead of some of the other selections (such as "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Achilles' Last Stand) and get a lot of radio play. You'll notice I have half of HOUSES on there, simply because those tracks do get a lot of radio play, and since this is aimed at the causal fan things like "No Quarter", which is a great song, and "Houses of the Holy" and "Trampled Under Foot" which don't get near as much as these do and should have been cut. The other selections show my own tastes in the Zep catalogue.
Living Loving Maid**
That's the Way
Hey Hey What Can I Do**
Going to California**
Over the Hills and Far Away**
Black Country Woman
For Your Life
Fool in the Rain**
I'm Gonna Crawl
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