Led Zeppelin Premieres Alternate Version of Rock and Roll
In June, Atlantic/Swan Song Records released deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III to great acclaim. Getting yet another lease on life—and worming into the ears of a new generation of listeners—the albums debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page pored over a treasure trove of unreleased material, but with his tinkerer’s ear, he discovered material in the originally released albums that might have sounded better.
On October 28, Page and Atlantic/Swan Song release reissues of Led Zeppelin IV (the third best-selling album in U.S. history) and Houses of the Holy. As with the previous deluxe editions, both are accompanied by a second disc of companion audio comprised entirely of unreleased music related to that album.
The Led Zeppelin IV deluxe edition includes unreleased versions of every song heard on the original album including alternate mixes of “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Four Sticks,” mixes of “The Battle Of Evermore” and “Going To California” heavy with guitar and mandolin, and the fabled, alternate version “Stairway To Heaven,” mixed at the Sunset Sound Studio in Los Angeles.
Today, Page and the label have released the alternate mix of “Rock and Roll” from the deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin IV. In the companion audio version that accompanies the deluxe edition, Page comments on the song: “‘Rock and Roll’ has just got that cheeky energy about. It’s a party. ‘It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled.’ It says it all really. It’s great lyrics and it’s a great performance.” John Paul Jones also comments: “As a song, it was actually kind of punky; pre-punk. It was really fast too, on stage anyway. It just got really quick, a lot of energy. It’s a lot of fun to play. The crowd loved it. We loved it.”
Zep purists will hear the differences in pace and timing of the alternate version, as well as the guitar riffs that underlie the opening bars of the song.