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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

August xx, 1968 - Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham hold their first rehearsals in Gerrard Street, London
August xx, 1968 - Page, Grant and Chris Dreja go see Robert Plant perform at a Birmingham Teachers College. Page invites Plant to his Pangbourne house and offers him the vocalist position
August xx, 1969 - Peter Grant starts enforcing the 90/10 split in favor of the band
August 31, 1969 - The third US tour ends at the Texas International Festival in Dallas
August xx, 1970 - Zeppelin earn no less than $25,000 per show
August 17, 1970 - Page completes mixing of the Led Zeppelin III in Memphis
August 19, 1971 - The seventh North American tour opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
August xx, 1972 - Jimmy Page purchases Plumpton Manor in Sussex
August xx, 1973 - Jimmy starts arranging ideas for the next album
August xx, 1974 - Film maker Peter Clifton has the band re-enact scenes at Shepperton Studios
August 31, 1974 - John Paul Jones appears with David Gilmour and Steve Broughton as Roy Harper’s backing band for the night
August 04, 1975 - Robert Plant and his family are seriously injured as their car veers off the road on the island of Rhodes
August 08, 1975 - Rehearsal for Zeppelin’s Eleventh North American tour postponed after Robert is involved in a serious car accident
August xx, 1976 - Arrangements are made to show the upcoming Zep film in theaters
August xx, 1976 - Jimmy Page finishes mixing the soundtrack for the movie The Song Remains The Same
August 14, 1977 - Jimmy jams with Ron Wood at a charity golf tournament for underprivileged children
August xx, 1978 - Robert plays with Dr. Feelgood and Phil Carson in Ibiza, Spain while on holiday
August 11, 1979 - Led Zeppelin perform a second show at Knebworth due to overwhelming ticket demands
August xx, 1980 - Jimmy moves into his new Windsor home, which was purchased from Michael Caine
August 14, 2009 - It Might Get Loud opened in select theatres in NY, WA & CA.
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