This review is dedicated to everyone who likes this compilation.
As of 2005, Led Zeppelin have ranked as number two in the world as highest selling music artists in history, second only to the Beatles. I believe I am not being biased when I say that Zeppelin are the most talked about band in rock history. With ten full length albums under their belt, and worldwide notoriety, things could not have been better for the four, during their peak. But unfortunately, in 1980, drummer John Bonham tragically passed away from consuming an inhumane amount of alcohol, and drowning in his own bile. After this wretched occurrence, the remaining three members, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones, called it quits immediately following Bonham’s death. Surely enough, after the years, countless compilations have been made to pay homage to the most influential (and talented) rock band during the 69-79 decade. But none have really gained the distributive popularity like the Early Days and Latter Days two disc set. And since so many people like the set, I decided to give it a shot. Being an avid classic rock fan, and LZ nut, I was less than impressed.
I’ll be quite frank with you, and maturely say, the Early Days disc is absolutely horrid. It caters way too much towards I and IV and leaves out many gems of the band’s career at the time. I really can’t complain about the choices from the debut, however, because ‘Good Times, Bad Times’ and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ are easily two of their best songs, and ‘Dazed and Confused’ is without a doubt the best off of the entire album. But the songs taken from Zoso are disgusting. Does every listener need to hear ‘Stairway to Heaven’ again? The same goes for ‘Black Dog and Rock N Roll’. But what is most appalling about the choices from IV are ‘When the Levee Breaks’ and ‘Battle of Evermore’. I already disliked Zoso in the first place, but those two songs in particular make me feel uneasy. ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ would’ve been a much smarter choice, and include more songs from II and III. The two picks from LZ II are mediocre at best. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is just a copyright objection and ‘What Is and What Should Never Be’ is too tame for the set. ‘Ramble On’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ are two far better choices, because of their contrasting moods, and brilliant musicianship. The two song ‘block’ of III is just insulting. The two songs are great, but there should’ve been more. Did we honestly need 5 songs from Zoso, just to fill the space with two songs from one of their most overlooked albums. It’s almost disgusting. The point of a ‘Best Of’ compilation is to include some of the band’s best songs; not blow half an album on newbie material. Kids- When will they learn? :upset:
The Latter Days half is far superior to the abject Early Days. It is much more diverse and tastefully picked. The varying choices from different albums is better, but turns bittersweet with two acrimonious songs from ‘In Through the Out Door’. As far as the good portion goes, it’s almost flawless. I would’ve liked to have seen my favorite Zep song, ‘The Rover’ and ‘In My Time of Dying’, though. ‘Houses of the Holy’, ‘Physical Graffiti’, and ‘Presence’ are showcased beautifully, in my opinion. ‘Song Remains the Same’ is stunning and energetic, and ‘No Quarter’ is trippy and the perfect relaxation song. The diversity between songs on the same album is so mystifying, and that’s what made Led Zeppelin so well liked. The block from ‘Physical Graffiti’ is wonderful. The first two are the album’s keyboard, Jones’ driven songs- the first being the bouncy disco of ‘Trampled Underfoot’ and the latter being the middle eastern, trippy ‘Kashmir’. ‘Ten Years Gone’ is one of the best songs on the double album, and is pure and beautiful, with the light guitar, and Robert Plant’s soft voice. Meanwhile, ‘Presence’ only had two GOOD songs on it, and thankfully, they both made it on here. ‘Achilles Last Stand’ is a ten minute epic with a booming bassline and a wall of guitars, while ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ is a six minute distorted suite. However, the last two songs, ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Evening’ are pure filler. As much as I dislike ‘Coda’, the song ‘We’re Gonna Groove’ would have made a great pick, and ‘In My Time of Dying’ is a pure later era gem. That is the only downside to disc 2.
As you can see, the Latter Days disc completely destroys the Early Days set. The Early Days disc is dead weight among disc 2 and should’ve been obliterated. I advise you not to spend twenty five dollars on this, and just buy ‘Physical Graffiti’ or ‘Houses of the Holy’ instead. They are worth much more money, and time. That is my final word of warning.
Personally I think if your a new fan, just get Led Zeppelin 1-4 and Houses of the holy. That would probably be much better than getting this and all their albums. Get the rest of the albums later for people who get Led Zeppelin 1-4 and Houses of the Holy.
Great review. For the most part I agree. The Early Day's compilation lacks some incredible songs from Zeppelin II(Heartbreaker,Ramble On like you already stated)and from Zeppelin III(Tangerine,Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,Out On The Tiles). Stairway To Heaven, Black Dog, and Rock n Roll are all understandable additions. Not to sure how The Battle of Evermore got there instead of Going To California.
I'm not to fond of the 2nd disc either. I would've liked to hear the The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song medly not to mention Dancing Days, The Ocean, and D'Yer Maker. From Phsyical Graffiti Trampled Underfoot and Kashmir are excellent choices, but the 2nd disc of Phys. is neglected. No In The Light, Down By The Seaside, or Sick Again. The choices from Presence are, of course, absolutely the best from the otherwise dismal album. In The Evening is nice and I know Jimmy loved the song when ITTOD came out, but no Fool In The Rain?
As from We're Gonna Grove, the version on Coda is horrible. Maybe an uncut live version from Royal Albert Hall which is brilliant.