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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

July xx, 1969 - The band play many festivals now on their third American tour
July xx, 1970 - Additional recording for Led Zeppelin III at London’s Island Studios
July 16, 1970 - Photographer Chris Welch films Led Zeppelin on his 8mm camera, some clips later used in the Whole Lotta Love promo video
July xx, 1971 - Untitled gets re-mixed in London
July 05, 1971 - A riot erupts mid-concert, forcing Led Zeppelin to stop after about 40 minutes
July xx, 1972 - After repeated bad press, Led Zeppelin hire their first publicity firm
July 20, 1973 - A last minute decision is made to film the remaining part of the tour
July xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin is filmed over the three nights for their film that will emerge as The Song Remains The Same
July xx, 1974 - After viewing their 1973 filmed performance, it is apparent critical errors were made
July xx, 1974 - Mixing for Physical Graffiti at Olympic Studios
July 05, 1975 - The band meet in Montreux to discuss adding South America and Japan to the end of their North American tour
July xx, 1976 - Bonham and Page fly to Montreux, Switzerland to check out some new sound and drum effects
July 17, 1977 - The last ever performance of Moby Dick played at the Seattle Kingdome
July 24, 1977 - The band plays its last US date at the Oakland Coliseum
July xx, 1978 - Led Zeppelin are invited to perform at Maggie Bell’s Festival Hall show
July xx, 1979 - Led Zeppelin film their rehearsal at Bray Studios
July 04, 1979 - Led Zeppelin confirm a second date at Knebworth in August 1979
July 05, 1980 - Simon Kirke joins in on drums for an encore in Munich
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