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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


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December 16, 1968 - Zep plays Bath Pavilion for a mere £75.
December 26, 1968 - First American concert at the Coliseum in Denver, CO
December xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are reported to have sold 5 million dollars worth of albums in the US
December 11, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are presented gold and platinum discs for their first two albums
December xx, 1970 - The band enters Island Studios to begin work on the fourth album
December xx, 1971 - The band plays a few low-key shows back in England
December 23, 1972 - The band break for Christmas holiday after a London gig
December xx, 1973 - John Paul Jones works on studio productions for Madeline Bell
December xx, 1973 - Joe Massot films Jimmy Page’s fantasy sequence at Loch Ness
December 19, 1974 - John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page jam with Bad Company at the Rainbow Theater
December 10, 1975 - Led Zeppelin play a 45-minute show with Norman Hale at Behan’s in Jersey
December xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin rehearses for the 1977 tour
December 25, 1976 - It’s announced that Plant and Bonham will reunite with the Band of Joy for three shows in the new year
December xx, 1977 - The band minus Robert gather to discuss Led Zeppelin’s future plans
December xx, 1978 - The new album is completed quickly at Polar Studios and mixed at Jimmy’s Plumpton Studio
December xx, 1979 - John Bonham considers joining Paul McCartney’s Wings
December 29, 1979 - The band minus Jimmy Page attend the Paul McCartney And Wings Kampuchea befefit show
December 04, 1980 - Led Zeppelin issue the following statement not to carry on as a band: "We wish it to be known, that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the deep sense of harmony felt by ourselves and our manager have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."
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