This ‘Led Zeppelin’ article was written by Lucas Jones, a GIGsoup contributor
Coda in many ways marked the end of an era for Led Zeppelin. Released in 1982, two years after the death of drummer John Bonham, which brought the band to an abrupt end.
The original release of Coda was traditionally the black sheep of the Zeppelin discography, lacking the coherent narrative of earlier albums most notably III and Physical Graffiti. Made up exclusively of out-takes and originally lasting only thirty minutes, it transitioned awkwardly between their early blues roots with their more experimental phase during their latter years.
Adding fifteen songs to Coda, this remastered and expanded version feels more like a journey through the history of Led Zeppelin from blues band to the biggest rock band on the planet, than it did when first released over thirty years ago.
Included alongside a variety of unearthed alternate and rough mixes are two new songs, “Sugar Mama”, left off the debut album Led Zeppelin and the instrumental “St Tristain’s Sword” alongside a variety of unearthed alternate and rough mixes.
Coda gives us a fresh insight into Zeppelin’s record making process. An early version of “When The Levee Breaks” is included for the first time; “If It Keeps On Raining” brings a more nuanced bluesy urgency to the classic song. Also included are out-takes from an experimental trip to India collaborating with members of the Bombay Orchestra, sitars and all, bringing an additional spin to fan favourites “Friends” and “Four Sticks”.
Whilst still lacking coherence, the 2015 version of Coda adds depth and is a crowning achievement to Jimmy Page’s project of remastering Zeppelin’s nine albums. While it isn’t a classic album, akin to their earlier records, it brings the satisfying end to Led Zeppelin that they truly deserve, rather than the afterthought it has been for thirty years.