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Hear Led Zeppelin's Upbeat 'When the Levee Breaks' Rough Mix

Although Led Zeppelin already released an alternate, darker-hued mix of "When the Levee Breaks" when they reissued their monumental fourth album last year, they've been holding onto a different rough mix. "If It Keeps On Raining" will appear on one of the companion discs to the upcoming remastered deluxe reissue of Coda, due out July 31st.

Three minutes shorter than the official version, the rough mix begins with a surprisingly upbeat R&B-style bass line and finds Robert Plant singing a slightly different vocal line. Also, Jimmy Page's guitar line lacks the monumental heft of the more familiar version and, similarly, this version does not play up John Bonham's earth-shaking bass drums the way it eventually would (the Coda companion disc makes up for that, though, by putting a different mix of "Bonzo's Montreux" immediately after). As an alternate version, it makes for a bluesier, more pensive interpretation of the track that the band developed from Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie's 1929 country-blues Mississippi flood tune.

"The fourth album was a commitment," Page recalled in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, about the record that eventually called "Levee" home. "We were living in a house with a recording truck, eating and sleeping music together. We could push everything we were doing, to the point of total extremes like 'When the Levee Breaks.' It's so dense and dark – there isn't a color to describe it. It's not black. It's darker than that." He laughed.

The track is one of many outtakes from the group's career that appear on the upcoming deluxe edition of Coda's two companion discs. Another notable tune that will appear as a bonus track is "Sugar Mama," a bluesy rave-up the group wrote and recorded for inclusion on its 1969 debut Led Zeppelin.

Along with Coda, Led Zeppelin are reissuing their last two studio records: 1976's Presence and 1979's In Through the Out Door. The companion disc to Presence includes reference mixes of several songs on the LP, including "Hots On for Nowhere" and a previously unreleased, oddly named instrumental "10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)." In Through the Out Door's companion disc contains rough mixes of every song on the record, including a raw-sounding version of "In the Evening."

As with the previous reissues, Page personally supervised remastering each of the records. Additionally, all three will be available in a variety of formats, from basic versions without the companion discs, to a super deluxe edition containing CDs, vinyl and digital versions of everything, along with a hardbound book and print of the album art.

For more information, visit the band's website.



Read more: Rolling Stone
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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