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Now And Zen
[Click above for album images]



Kronomyth 4.0: ZEN I BEEN LOVING YOU. And there I sat, transfixed with horror, as the great ghost of Zeppelin was shuffled across the stage, the punchline to Robert Plant's latest rap record. That was my initial reaction to Tall Cool One, although like so many other things I've softened on it some over the years. In fact, I would tell you that Now And Zen is one of Plant's best. New band, new blood, and a batch of new songs written by Plant and Phil Johnstone that stand out over a career, including Heaven Knows, Ship of Fools and Dance On My Own. Even TCO is a lot of fun to hear nowadays, since it turned out to be a dalliance (like The Honeydrippers); Plant wasn't about to divorce himself from his rock icon status for the role of an aging rap star. Over the years, the former Zep frontman has released a handful of very good albums, usually separated by merely average albums. For example: Pictures at Eleven (pretty good), The Principle of Moments (very good), The Hondeydrippers (Plant takes a mulligan), Shaken 'N' Stirred (pretty bad), Now And Zen (very good), Manic Nirvana (not so good), Fate of Nations (very good), etc. Commercially, Now And Zen is Plant's most popular work and his only multi-platinum record. It featured then state-of-the-art production (as had Shaken 'N' Stirred before it), which initially turned me off but apparently endeared it to a lot of other listeners. In fact, I remember at the time thinking that Robert Plant had sold out. (Sold out to whom I'm not sure, since it's not like he labored in obscurity with Led Zeppelin.) Today, of course, Plant is on less shaky ground, his iconic status assured, and I hear Now And Zen as an effective contemporary album from a peerless artist. The brief reunion with Jimmy Page, the seeming sacrilege of Tall Cool One, both are overshadowed by Now And Zen's achievement as a new album of modern, relevant music for the masses once more. Of minor interest, consumers who bought the original CD received a “bonus” track: Walking Towards Paradise, which had earlier appeared as the B side to the Heaven Knows single. The Rhino 2007 reissue includes that track plus a trio of live songs.

From: Connolly & Company
Statistics

Released:
Feb. 29, 1988 (US)
Feb. 29, 1988 (UK)
Apr. 3, 2007 (Remastered)

Chart Position:
#6 (US) #10 (UK)

Certified:
Gold: Apr. 19, 1988
Platinum: May 9, 1988
Platinum 3x: Sept. 7, 2001

Tracks

1. Heaven Knows
2. Dance on My Own
3. Tall Cool One
4. The Way I Feel
5. Helen of Troy
6. Billy's Revenge
7. Ship of Fools
8. Why
9. White, Clean and Neat
10. Walking Towards Paradise


2007 REMASTER BONUS TRACKS
11. Billy's Revenge (live)
12. Ship of Fools (live)
13. Tall Cool One (live)
Quick Fact

In response to the Beastie Boys' unauthorised sampling of some Led Zeppelin songs on their 1986 album Licensed to Ill, Plant also used samples from Led Zeppelin songs Whole Lotta Love, The Ocean, Black Dog, and Custard Pie on Tall Cool One.
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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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