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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

May 31, 1948 - John Henry Bonham was born at Redditch, Worchestershire
May xx, 1969 - The band’s debut album enters the US Top 10
May xx, 1969 - Recording sessions for Led Zeppelin II begin
May xx, 1970 - The band works on new material at Bron-Y-Aur
May 03, 1971 - Richard Cole jams on Whole Lotta Love playing congas
May xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy recording sessions on location at Stargroves and Olympic studios
May 27, 1972 - Warm-up gigs kick off in Holland for an upcoming American tour
May 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin gross nearly $250,000 for their performance in Atlanta, GA
May 05, 1973 - 56,800 attend the second show of the 1973 US tour at Tampa. This sets a record for the largest attendance for a one-act performance, previously held by the Beatlesfor their Shea Stadium show in 1965
May 10, 1974 - Swan Song Records is officially launched
May 11, 1974 - Led Zeppelin attend an Elvis concert and are thrilled when Elvis announces that Led Zeppelin is in the building
May 10, 1975 - Showco ships their PA system and video screens for the Earls Court shows from Dallas to London
May 23, 1976 - Page and Plant join Bad Company onstage at the LA Forum
May 21, 1977 - The Houston Summit claims $500,000 in damages to their venue caused by rowdy fans
May xx, 1978 - The band reunite at Clearwater Castle to rehearse
May 22, 1979 - It is officially announce that Led Zeppelin will headline at the Knebworth Festival in August
May 15, 1980 - After many revisions the European tour dates are finalized and the band is scheduled to open in Germany
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