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"It will be coming out, bit by bit," Jimmy Page says with a tantalizing lilt in his voice. The Led Zeppelin guitarist is referring to his current labors in the band's archive, preparing new deluxe editions of each of Zeppelin's studio albums, from 1969's Led Zeppelin to 1979's In Through the Out Door, plus the 1982 post-breakup collection, Coda. Page says the reissues will include "added sonic and visual thrills," and he expects to begin issuing the first albums in the series sometime next year.

Details of the project emerged during Page's interview for the new issue of Rolling Stone – his longest and most extensive conversation with the magazine, coinciding with the release of Celebration Day, the new film and album of Led Zeppelin's 2007 reunion concert at London 02's arena. I had asked Page about the reissues in a phone interview three days before our first session in London, but he preferred to wait and discuss them in person – which he did, as soon as we sat down in a lounge in his management's office in London.

"The catalog was last remastered 20 years ago," Page said, referring to the 1990 release of the four-CD box set, Led Zeppelin. "That's a long time. Everything is being transferred from analog to a higher-resolution digital format. That's one of the problems with the Zeppelin stuff. It sounds ridiculous on MP3. You can't hear what's there properly."

Whole Lotta Extras
Based on the unreleased studio tracks that have circulated on bootlegs since Led Zeppelin split in 1980, following the death of drummer John Bonham, the group did not record a lot of additional songs for each LP. "But there was an overage of material – different versions of things, different approaches to the mixes," Page explained. He mentioned experiments with equipment and sound on early alternative takes at Headley Grange, the English manor where Zeppelin recorded some of their most iconic work, particularly their 1971 untitled fourth album.

"The classic there was 'When the Levee Breaks,'" Page said, "where the drums were set up in the hallway. You know what it sounded like – immense – from the recorded version. But we used the drums in the hall for a number of things, like 'Kashmir' [on 1975's Physical Graffiti] – some with closer miking. So there were a lot of different approaches. It will be fascinating for people to witness the work in progress."

Page is also looking at relevant live recordings and film to accompany the reissues. "There are concerts that were recorded – some that might have appeared on bootleg in some shape or form – and a certain amount of footage, though not a lot," he said. "I started doing this with [2003's] Led Zeppelin DVD and [the 2003 three-CD set] How the West Was Won, which was a superb live performance." Page believes BBC Sessions, a 1997 release of Zeppelin's recordings for British radio, "didn't have that open horizon" of the group's best concerts, "where you're just going and going, right over that horizon.

"But all of it is good," Page said of the music his band left behind, on record and in the vaults. "It has its own character and validity."

Your Time Is Gonna Come
Pressed on a release date for the initial reissues, Page warned that "you've got to get to the point where all of the members of the group are in agreement," referring to singer Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones. "I would hope it is sooner rather than later. But it will be in the course of next year and going on for awhile.

"And I'm not just throwing on any old flotsam and jetsam," he insisted, referring to the bonus material. "This will be really substantial stuff."

Read more: Rolling Stone
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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