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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

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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