Led Zeppelin
BBC Sessions



by Rocksta71 USER (5 Reviews)
July 20th, 2006 | 27 replies

Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions

I recently bought this album after eyeing it for months and ended up enjoyed it so much I decided to review it. These recordings are a testament to the great live act that was Led Zeppelin, it shows how this great band can play 10 different versions of the same song and still keep it fresh and interesting.

Countless bootlegs of these recordings circulated for years before Jimmy Page authorized an official release in November of 1997. This is one of only three live Led Zeppelin albums (not including the Led Zeppelin DVD) the others being �The Song Remains the same� and �How the west was won�
BBC Sessions contains two discs with a total of 24 tracks, disc 1 has recordings from three different sessions recorded between 3 March 1969 and 27 June 1969. Disc 2 contains 10 tracks performed in concert at the Paris theatre in London on the 1st of April 1971. Now seeing as I intend to make this review shorter than my others I must move onto the bulk of the review.

I usually do track by track reviews but this album is a bit long for that, so I�m going to only go over the highlights that make this album well worth the listen.
Some people for unknown reasons discredit the mighty Led Zeppelin as a live outfit. I, having listened to this and countless bootleg recordings beg to differ. The opening track of disc 1 (You shook me) was recorded by Led Zeppelin for the British television show �Top Gear� and is proof that zeppelin were a better live band than a studio band. The studio recording of �You shook me� featured on their debut album Led Zeppelin I is boring and bit of a let down, but the live version on this album is nothing short of epic, Page�s solo is much more interesting and Bonham and John Paul Jones are amazing, Plant is also on top form. The overall tempo of the track is slower than the studio recording but it has as much feeling as possible with a live take.
Seven out of the fourteen tracks on disc one were recorded for �Top Gear� and if I must be honest, are all excellent and leave you wanting more. Among these is their signature, �Dazed and confused� The familiar Bass line from Jones opens as Page puts in his insane bending notes, Plant is soulful and Bonham is on time with the beats, I again prefer this to the studio recording as it is never static and surprises you at every turn.
�Traveling Riverside Blues� is a track which cannot be found on any of the bands studio albums and is a real treat. It kicks of with an unorthodox Page riff and moves on as JPJ adds some bass. Plants vocals on this track are not perfect but do the job.
Other highlights include Pages Wah wah debut (Communication Breakdown) and the rare gem �The girl I love she got long black wavy hair�

Disc 2 contains a live performance of tracks featured on the bands first four albums.
The �Immigrant song� kicks off the concert in style as Plant sings out of key, otherwise this track is okay. Next up is one of my favorites, �Heartbreaker� has an infectious Page riff and an off the wall solo, JPJ again shines, with his bass turned to 11 he delivers an admirable performance.
�Since I�ve been loving you� is complimented with a stellar performance, the live energy is captured beautifully as Jimmy�s guitar weeps with emotion, Plant sings like a bird here and Bonham is in excellent form.
�Black Dog� is opened with a riff borrowed from �Out of the Tiles� and again shows the bands onstage prowess, the tempo is fast but fun and Plant does well belting out this tongue in cheek number.
Next is the 18 min 36 second epic that is �Dazed and Confused� this rendition of a Zeppelin staple is anything but boring and opens with an extended bass intro from Jonesey. Bonham shines through with a series of drum fills, Page is also incredible with spine curling sounds emulating from his Gibson Les Paul, he later pulls out the violin bow for a series of slapping noises. there is really nothing left wanted on this pillar track except maybe a little more length. 18 minutes may seem long but it goes by in a flash.
�Stairway to heaven� then makes its live debut (7 months before Led Zeppelin IV is even released) This performance is nothing special but is worth a listen just because it is Zeppelin�s first live performance of the epic that would become.
Amongst other entertaining tracks �Going to California� is beautiful from start to finish, and is yet another live track that could replace its studio counterpart.
�That�s the way� hits the spot nicely as the album winds down to the more mellow tracks. Page shows his ability on acoustic guitar as he is complimented by Jones on mandolin, Plant is definitely better suited for singing the slower folk numbers and even adds tambourine to towards the close.
Just when you�re nice and relaxed, Zeppelin throws a spanner in the works and the recognizable riff of �Whole lotta love� can be heard. I think its played in a different key as it sounds noticeably different from the one I�m accustomed to. At nearly 14 minutes this track can get a little bit much. �Whole lotta love� has the spotlight for just over 3 minutes and then a full on jam session prevails and Plant can be heard singing the lyrics to other blues obscurities such as: Boogie Chillun/Fixin� to die, that�s alright mama and a mess of blues, the crowd applauds and then the band ease back into the song they started, Page puts in a decent solo and then its all over.
Bonham opens up the Baez cover (Thank you)with a mighty symbol crash, the beautiful number is then aided a minute later by a very rhythmic Page solo, Plant sings excellently and shows just why he was picked by Page to sing in the greatest rock band ever.

Overall, an excellent listen, lots of Page solos, Bonham fills and the maestro that is John Baldwin (John Paul Jones) Plant is really great on most of the tracks even if on occasion he hits an off note.
I would highly recommend this album to anyone who loves the early Led Zeppelin and their blues inspired material (if you don�t like the blues don�t bother with it, you will hate it)

-Long track list
-A good variety of tracks from 4 different albums
-Excellent musicianship

-Some may be put off by price
-Plants voice is not always perfect

Anyway enjoy!

user ratings (245)
other reviews of this album
Hernan M. Campbell STAFF (4.5)
"...To be a rock, and not to roll."...

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 21st 2006


I was planning to write something short but yet again I went on and on and on.
Anyway enjoy!

July 21st 2006


Nah, it's still relatively short. It's a pretty decent review, but you should really fix the formatting.

July 21st 2006


Yeah, i always have trouble with that, thanks though.

July 21st 2006


It's a decent new zep review, good enough to get my vote.

John Paul Harrison
July 21st 2006


A fine review. It seems to be written exclusively for those already familiar with Zeppelin, but hey- what does John Paul know?

July 21st 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

great review for a great album!

July 21st 2006


I didn't really like this review too much and you screwed up some of the spacing which is kind of an eye sore

/doesn't vote pos or negThis Message Edited On 07.21.06

The Jungler
July 21st 2006


I'm with Metallicaman on this one. I've heard a couple songs off this, but I'm not huge on Zep anymore.

July 21st 2006


i dont mind the format. this is an ok review.
/votes pos

July 21st 2006


I've been wanting to buy this for a while. I have everything Zeppelin's released except this and TSRTS (I've heard it's meh at best, so I'll stick to LZ Live). I plan to buy it as soon as I see it in a store. Pretty good review, I'd split it up a little more though.

July 21st 2006


Thanx for the votes guys!
If you see it buy it, you won't be disapointed.

July 26th 2006


I took your adviceand got this, great album I didnt know it existed before I read this review.
I also think zep is a great live band, this album is proof.
great review too.

September 28th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

i got this one a year ago.. in my country... argentina (:S) this is one of the best live albums i ever heard, i'm in desagree with you about stairway... this version is the best of all... the album version is too short... and the version from how the west was won has a poor sound quality (all the album is poor in sound.. but doesn't mather right??)

:D but great review... i made the previous review but it wasn't weel written (i have problems with english..)


September 28th 2006


Thanx dude :0)
I am yet to find a decent recording of "Stairway to Heaven" or "Whole Lotta Love" that are not studio recordings, maybe Zeppelin just couldn't recreate their studio magic live?

The Door Mouse
September 28th 2006


the one a msg was really good!

John Paul Harrison
September 28th 2006


the one a msg was really good!


October 15th 2006


^what he said

May 18th 2007


WHat the hell Zep Mouse?

June 24th 2009


To the reviewer, you said that "Thank You" is a Joan Baez cover, which isn't true. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is the Baez cover.

November 20th 2010


almost as long as rush in rio

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