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Early Days: Best of Led Zeppelin Volume One

Early Days: Best of Led Zeppelin Volume One (1999)
[Click above for album images]

As legend has it, Led Zeppelin never played the singles game. That's not entirely true -- Whole Lotta Love was a gold-selling, Top Five single, while Immigrant Song, Black Dog, and D'yer Mak'er all went Top 20. But since their reputation was built in part through album-rock radio, and since they never released Stairway To Heaven as a single, the impression that they were above hits and singles grew and grew. Zeppelin fostered it by refusing to issue compilations for years, forcing every fan to become familiar with the group on an album-by-album basis. Things began to change a bit in 1990, when Jimmy Page assembled the four-disc Led Zeppelin box, the group's first official compilation; it eventually opened the door for the 1999 release of Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin, Volume One. Early Days focuses on the first four Zeppelin albums, taking four songs from the first, just two apiece from the second and third, and the entire first side of IV, along with When the Levee Breaks. And for the diehards, a video clip of Zeppelin performing Communication Breakdown on a Swedish TV show is thrown onto the enhanced CD portion of the disc. It's basically the album longtime Zeppelin fans thought would never be released: a straight-up greatest-hits album. At one point, this may have been seen as sacrilege among devotees, but at this point, it's hard to imagine who would care about Early Days one way or another. Apart from the handful of casual fans who just want the radio staples on one disc -- while not caring that other classics are absent -- there really is no audience for this, since it doesn't recontextualize the catalog like the box sets. It's still pretty entertaining, yet Early Days feels unnecessary. Yet that cover photo is priceless.

Statistics

Released:
Nov. 23, 1999 (US)
Nov. 23, 1999 (UK)

Chart Position:
#71 (US) #? (UK)

Certified:
Gold: 1-11-2000
Platinum: 9-26-2001

Tracks

1. Good Times Bad Times
2. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
3. Dazed And Confused
4. Communication Breakdown
5. Whole Lotta Love
6. What Is And What Should Never Be
7. Immigrant Song
8. Since I've Been Loving You
9. Black Dog
10. Rock And Roll
11. The Battle Of Evermore
12. When The Levee Breaks
13. Stairway To Heaven
Quick Fact

This is an enhanced CD that contains a video from March 14, 1969 of the band lip-syncing in a Swedish studio to Communication Breakdown. It was footage that was re-discovered in February 1999.

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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