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Presence

Presence
[Click above for album images]

This is the forgotten Led Zeppelin album, largely because it features less memorable material than any of their other albums. Hastily recorded after the massive success of Physical Graffiti, this album was rushed together before they had gathered the customary allotment of first-rate material. That said, Presence is still a damn good album whose relatively simple songs are driven by powerful performances.

For example, Robert Plant, whose voice has grown rougher over the years, gives a compelling, stuttered vocal performance on Nobody's Fault But Mine, an excellent, hard rocking song in part due to some uncredited help from Blind Willie Johnson. Other highlights include For Your Life and Hots On For Nowhere, which feature strutting riffs and funky backbeats, with the latter adding a catchy “la la la” chorus as well.

The band remains an amazing instrumental unit, and though their reliance on overly repetitive song structures marks Presence as something of a placeholder release, Page still grabs many a great guitar part from his resourceful bag of tricks. Granted, Royal Orleans is forgettable, and the slow, understated blues of Tea For One is interminable, but Achilles Last Stand stands as one of the bands most powerful epics. In fact, this 10 minute track alone is worth the price of admission, led by its unwavering groove, a particularly haunting Plant vocal, and several show stopping give and take segments between Page and Bonham. During these thrilling exchanges, Bonham's volcanic drum fills interlock with Page's wailing guitar parts, seizing several moments of tension that build to the bursting point.

And, oh yeah, what's up with that statue?
Statistics

Released:
Mar. 31, 1976 (US)
Apr. 5, 1976 (UK)
Jul. 31, 2015 (Reissue)

Chart Position:
#1 (US) #1 (UK)

Certified:
Gold: Apr. 1, 1976
Multi Platinum: 3x Nov. 25, 1997

Tracks

1. Achilles Last Stand
2. For Your Life
3. Royal Orleans
4. Nobody's Fault But Mine
5. Candy Store Rock
6. Hots On For Nowhere
7. Tea For One


DELUXE EDITION BONUS DISC
1. Two Ones Are Won ("Achilles Last Stand") (Reference Mix)
2. For Your Life (Reference Mix)
3. 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix)
4. Royal Orleans (Reference Mix)
5. Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix)
Quick Fact

This is the only studio album without any keyboards in the songs.

The completion of Presence just prior to Thanksgiving prompted Jimmy to suggest "Thanksgiving" as an album title.
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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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