Led Zeppelin’s odds and ends album Coda was released in November of 1982.
How this album came to be, let’s set the stage shall we.
In 1980, Led Zeppelin were riding high on the success of In Through the Out Door which was on its way to selling 7 million copies in the US alone (not bad for Zep standards and outsold Led Zeppelin 3 and Presence). The band toured Europe and were selling out venues nightly but then tragedy struck, drummer John Bonham passed away on September 25, 1980 as the band was rehearsing for a US tour. Over two months later, the band broke up after the death of Bonham whose style was hard to replicate and deemed him irreplaceable.
Throughout 1981 and 1982, guitarist Jimmy Page worked on the soundtrack to Death Wish II and Robert Plant released his solo debut Pictures at Eleven (which hit #3 in the US) whilst bass player John Paul Jones went into soundtrack work. Also, Page went through the Zep vaults to cobble together a final Led Zeppelin album which would be called Coda.
The recordings were from between 1970 and 1978 with some fresh overdubs by Plant and Page where required as followed.
We open with the rocker “We’re Gonna Groove” which is the same version as it would appear on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD and recorded at The Royal Albert Hall in January, 1970 (not Morgan Studios like the notes stated). It’s the same version as on the DVD but Page overdubbed guitar solos in 1982 to fill out the song (the overdubs were removed on the DVD version) and Plant’s voice went through a phaser (unlike the version on the Led Zeppelin DVD). Next is “Poor Tom” which is a great countryish outtake from Led Zeppelin III. The song has Page playing acoustic guitar over a classic Bonzo drum pattern with Jonesy filling out the bass and Plant singing and playing harmonica. Next is “I Can’t Quit You Baby” which is the same song as on Led Zeppelin I, but on steroids. Harder drumming and more furious guitar and singing than on the original. It has a very raw feel to it. This track is also on the Zep DVD from Royal Albert Hall but shortened for vinyl constraints (and not a rehearsal like the liner notes state). The first half ends with the Houses of the Holy outtake “Walter’s Walk”. This rocker just rocks and would have appeared on Houses save time constraints and there were no lyrics so Plant recorded the vocals in 1981/82 with fresh lyrics.
The album’s second half consists of the outtakes from In Through the Out Door except as noted. The rocker “Ozone Baby” is from the ITtOD sessions and was one of the rock radio hits from the album. “Darlene” is next and is one of the album’s best tracks and the biggest rock radio hit from the album. Another ITtOD outtake which just rocks. Next is “Bonzo’s Montreux” which is a John Bonham drum workout that was recorded in Montreux in 1976. It just features Bonham and Page messing around in the studio one day and Page later added some electronic stuff to it. The closing “Wearing and Tearing” is Zeppelin’s answer to the punk music movement that was popular in Europe at the time (it didn’t get big in the US until years later) and is from the ITtOD sessions. It has a very fast-paced beat and is a killer rocker.
Coda, when released, quickly stormed to #4 on the Billboard album chart and went Platinum quick but by then Men at Work, Michael Jackson, A Flock of Seagulls and later Duran Duran were all dominating the US music scene.
In 1993, this album was re-issued on The Complete Studio Recordings box set (see review) with the four bonus tracks that appeared on Led Zeppelin’s 1990 and 1993 box sets.
If you are an unbiased Zep fan (like myself), pick this up, if not your loss.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
Led Zeppelin’s odds and ends album Coda was released in November of 1982.
and indeed everything did go…sort of. though later it would be realized that at least one more track hadn’t been used (“baby come on home”, included on the second zep box set in 93), this album does an admirable job of sating fans thirst for zeppelin one last time. i personally think they could have made the album better by including “hey hey what can i do” and “travelling riverside blues” on it, but that’s not for me to decide. at least those tracks were made available later. anyway, on to the matter at hand. this album lacks the cohesiveness of a zep album proper, but given that the songs were collected from a 12 year span, this is to be expected. “ozone baby” is the standout here, to me anyway. jonesy’s bass really anchors this song. plant’s vocals are a thing of beauty here, and page’s guitar rocks out fifties style only better. “wearing and tearing” must’ve been their attempt to sound punk. it doesn’t sound punk, but that’s okay with me. “we’re gonna groove” cooks, “poor tom” would’ve been better on “III” than “hats off to (roy) harper”, and “walter’s walk” is pretty decent. i never cared for “darlene” too much, or for “i can’t quit you baby.” and the drum solo “bonzo’s montreux” is good for at least a couple of listens, but the lack of accompaniment makes it get old after that. a good lp to round out the collection but you don’t want to start here.
First off, it’s interesting to notice the years that each of these eight songs were released — spanning from 1969 to 1978. Like all past Led Zeppelin albums, “Coda” contains its share of varied styles and highly memorable jam sessions by each talented musician. It opens with the fun and highly energetic “We’re Gonna Groove,” done originally by Ben E. King and James Bethea. “Coda” boasts plenty of energy, and the songs are nowhere near as lame as many have claimed they are over the years. The Page/Plant team did a wonderful job on “Poor Tom,” a folksy, high-energy ditty with great background drumming, some notable harmonica, a cool bass line and a nice bridge where Plant gently sings and the guitars gently chime.
Though Led Zeppelin influenced every hard rock band under the sun, they themselves also blatantly played their own influences on record, and one such song is the popular Willie Dixon blues track, “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” a song also heard on Zeppelin’s debut album, Led Zeppelin 1, where it expertly melds blues and rock together. Though it was written in 1972, “Walter’s Walk” sounds vaguely like an 1980s-era Plant song, with its sharp sound and raring-to-go vocals. Likewise, “Ozone Baby” is a fairly rocking, almost danceable track that displays a band still very much in top form when they recorded it in 1978. In fact, it’s unfortunate that some of these late 70s “Coda” songs didn’t find their way on Zeppelin’s last studio album, In Through the Out Door.
Clicking on all cyclinders throughout “Coda” was the legendary drummer John Bonham. His own song, which truly pays homage to his unbelievable talent, “Bonzo’s Montreux,” in some ways steals the album. Bonham is a one-man orchestra on the all-drum song, and you simply have to hear it to believe it. “Darlene” feautures great instrumentation by John Paul Jones, who plays a rollicking piano. Finally, the closing song, “Wearing and Tearing,” is appropriately titled. The rocking song shows a great band on its way out with a fast riff to speed the song along and wild-fire vocals. Interestingly, it’s the sort of style Zeppelin didn’t always attempt during their massive heyday, preferring instead a slower pace and long solos by Page.
In my opinion, every song in the Zeppelin catalog is to be treasured, and the songs on “Coda” are no exception. Those that say this record is nearly a complete throwaway are mistaken. Zep were cool because they never over-produced themselves, and they played like a bar band and stadium rockers all at once. Zeppelin always sounded natural together, and that’s one of the reasons I like “Coda” so much.
This album was released after LZ’s breakup. It consists of the studio album outtakes that weren’t used to fill the gaps on Physical Graffiti. Basically, its the eight worst tracks by the best rock band in the world. However, LZ (apparently) never wasted studio tape: all these tracks are worthwhile. I Can’t Quit You is a 1970 rehearsal of a blues cover found on the first album. Ozone Baby, Darlene, and Wearing and Tearing were three punk-influenced tracks recorded with In Through The Out Door. Bonzo’s Montreax is a drum solo in the spirit of Moby Dick. The others are tracks from 1970-2. Although the tracks are weaker than other Zep material, these songs are worth a listen from time to time. After the other 9 CD’s, buy this.
In November 1982, “Coda” was released to an unsuspecting public, two years after the death of John Bonham. While there are no standout pieces, this collection of songs does succeed in chronicling Zeppelin’s 12 year flight.”We’re Gonna Groove” opens the album and is taken from the recording sessions that yielded “Led Zeppelin II”. This track was a one time show opener and it’s easy to see why. Jimmy Page adds sub-octdivider effects on guitar while a young Robert Anthony Plant screams his head off. “Poor Tom” is an interesting piece left over from the “Led Zeppelin III” era. Bonham supplies a fine rhythm track under Page’s stellar 12-string acoustic work and Plant’s harp. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is taken from a soundcheck from the Royal Albert Hall in 1970. This take is far more explosive than the version found on “Led Zeppelin” (and better, too). “Walter’s Walk” is from the 1972 “Houses Of The Holy” sessions and is easily one of the better songs on the album. Bonham’s drum sound is massive, and Page stays in the pocket…until the final refrain when he goes postal. Plant’s vocals *must* have been overdubed during the compiling of this collection because the quality of his voice is more consistant with the 1978 “In Through The Out Door” sessions, range-wise, whereas if you listen to a song from “Houses” (“Over The Hills And Far Away”), his voice is more powerful.”Ozone Baby”, “Darlene”, and “Wearing and Tearing” are all outtakes from the “Out Door” sessions. “Ozone Baby” is a nice, uptempo rocker which obviously would not have belonged on “Out Door”. “Darlene” is another highlight of the album. John Paul Jones’ piano work is fantastic, while Jimmy Page slips into his Scotty Moore/Jimmy Burton persona to deliver some inspired lead work. Why this song was left off “In Through The Out Door” in favor of “Hot Dog” or “South Bound Saurez” I’ll never understand. “Wearing and Tearing” is a two million mile-an-hour punk/thrash piece with acappella vocals ala “Black Dog”. Plant does sound hoarse, though, and while the energy level is remarkable, Plant’s Drano-induced yelling/screeching brings this track down a peg or two. That leaves “Bonzo’s Montreux”, a 1976 John Bonham drum instrumental with electronic effects added by Page. It’s a nice tribute, but not something you will listen to over and over.So, that’s “Coda”. There is nothing timeless on this album, but there is nothing on here that diminishes the legacy of Led Zeppelin, either. It’s an album that you take out every so often to hear some ideas that didn’t see the light of day the first time around, and there are some good ideas to be heard. Buy “Coda” with the knowledge that it is a summary of a bygone era, nothing more, nothing less.