Led Zeppelin: CODA (SDE) – [Record 211]

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Coda is the ninth and final studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in 1982. The album is a collection of unused tracks from various sessions during Led Zeppelin’s twelve-year career. It was released two years after the group had officially disbanded following the death of drummer John Bonham. The word coda, meaning a passage that ends a musical piece following the main body, was therefore chosen as the title.

Side One.
1. We’re Gonna Groove.
2. Poor Tom.
3. I Can’t Quit You Baby.
4. Walter’s Walk.

Side Two.
5. Ozone Baby.
6. Darlene.7. Bonzo’s Montreux.
8. Wearing and Tearing.

Bonus Discs.
Disc One. Side One.
1. We’re Gonna Groove.
2. If It Keeps On Raining.
3. Bonzo’s Montreux.
4. Baby Come On Home.

Disc One. Side Two.
5. Sugar Mama.
6. Poor Tom.
7. Travelling Riverside Blues.
8. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do.

Disc Two. Side One.
1. Four Hands.
2. Friends.
3. St. Tristan’s Sword.

Disc Two. Side One.
4. Desire.
5. Bring It On Home.
6. Walter’s Walk.
7. Everybody Makes It Through.

Overview: Jimmy Page explained that part of the reasoning for the album’s release related to the popularity of unofficial Led Zeppelin recordings which continued to be circulated by fans:

“Coda was released, basically, because there was so much bootleg stuff out. We thought, “Well, if there’s that much interest, then we may as well put the rest of our studio stuff out”.

John Paul Jones recalled:

“They were good tracks. A lot of it was recorded around the time punk was really happening… basically there wasn’t a lot of Zeppelin tracks that didn’t go out. We used everything.”

The fifth Swan Song Records album for the band, Coda was released to honour contractual commitments to Atlantic Records and also to cover tax demands on previous monies earned, cleared away close to all the leftover tracks from the various studio sessions of the 1960s and ’70s. The album was a collection of eight tracks spanning the length of Zeppelin’s twelve-year history.

“We’re Gonna Groove” opens the album and, according to the album notes, was recorded at Morgan Studios in June 1969. It was later acknowledged to have come from a January 1970 concert at the Royal Albert Hall, with the guitar parts overdubbed and the original guitar part removed—this can be heard in the original Royal Albert Hall show on 9 January 1970. This song was used to open a number of concerts on their 1969 tours and was originally intended to be recorded for inclusion in Led Zeppelin II. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is taken from the same concert as “We’re Gonna Groove” but was listed as a rehearsal in the original liner notes. The recording was edited to remove the overall “live” feel: the crowd noise as well as the beginning and ending of the song were deleted. Crowd tracks were muted on the multitrack mixdown on this recording as with “We’re Gonna Groove.”

“Poor Tom” is from sessions for Led Zeppelin III, having been recorded at Olympic Studios in June 1970, and “Walter’s Walk” is a leftover from the sessions for Houses of the Holy. Side two consists of outtakes from the band’s previous album and an unused Bonham drum piece recorded in 1976.

The 1993 compact disc edition has four additional tracks from the box sets, Led Zeppelin Boxed Set (1990) and Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 (1993), the previously unreleased “Travelling Riverside Blues”, “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” and the “Immigrant Song” b-side “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do” from the former and the previously unreleased “Baby Come On Home” from the latter.

The album cover was designed by Hipgnosis, the fifth album cover the design group designed for Led Zeppelin. It was also the last album cover Hipgnosis designed before disbanding in 1983. The main four letters CODA are from an alphabet typeface design called “Neon” designed by Bernard Allum in 1978.

2015 reissue: A remastered version of Coda, along with Presence and In Through the Out Door were reissued on 31 July 2015. The reissue comes in six formats: a standard CD edition, a deluxe three-CD edition, a standard LP version, a deluxe three-LP version, a super deluxe three-CD plus three-LP version with a hardback book, and as high resolution 96k/24-bit digital downloads. The deluxe and super deluxe editions feature bonus material containing alternative takes and previously unreleased songs, “If It Keeps On Raining”, “Sugar Mama”, “Four Hands”, “St. Tristan’s Sword”, and “Desire”. The reissue was released with a negative version of the original album’s artwork as its bonus disc’s cover.

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