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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

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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