Four Words: Led Zep, High Def

Good news, bad news . . .

It's a safe bet that you've heard about this in general already, since the story broke on Friday. (That's what I get for taking the day off! See complete press release below.) But the big news is that Led Zeppelin's concert film, The Song Remains the Same, is finally getting a new restoration, to replace the lousy DVD that was released in December 1999.

What you might not have heard is that, besides the new DVD edition, the film will also be released on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. And the sound has been remixed in 5.1 by engineer Kevin Shirley.

How good is that news? Well, reviewing the old DVD (S&V, May 2000), I noted: "The mix here is in Dolby Surround, not 5.1, and it's erratic to the point of being schizophrenic. From song to song, Jimmy Page's guitar either drops down or lunges forward in the sound field. In one single song, 'Dazed and Confused,' the field itself changes three times. And overall, there is precious little suggestion of any hall ambience."

So, yes, it'll be wonderful to have this on Blu-ray and HD DVD - and even on regular DVD, for that matter - all of which are due November 20 from Warner Home Video, along with a restored two-CD soundtrack from Atlantic/Rhino. And the week before, Atlantic/Rhino will release Mothership, a two-CD best-of that has a slightly different lineup than the 2002 sandwiching together of Early Days & Latter Days.

The bad news? Well, lemme see, we're getting Song on four different formats, and we're getting Mothership in four different editions - but still, STILL no studio albums remixed in surround sound for DVD-Audio or (hell, we'll take it!) DVD-Video.

"When it comes to The Song Remains the Same," says Jimmy Page, "the expansion of the DVD and the soundtrack is as good as it gets on the Led Zeppelin wish list."

Oh yeah? Us surround-sound fans beg to differ. Sigh. The vigil continues. -Ken Richardson

(Click below for press release)

RHINO PRESS RELEASE

(Los Angeles, July 27, 2007) -- After nearly 40 years, Led Zeppelin continues to inspire generations with their groundbreaking blues-infused, guitar-driven rock 'n' roll. Arguably the biggest rock band in the world throughout their 12-year reign, they remain one of the most influential and innovative groups in music history. With over 200 million albums sold worldwide, their catalog is one of the most enduring bodies of musical composition to come out of the 20th century.

Available November 13, Atlantic Records/Rhino Entertainment will honor the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers with the release of Mothership, a 24-track, two-CD comprehensive collection that spans their illustrious career. All eight of the band's classic studio albums are represented here, with the tracks being personally selected by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones. Mothership includes landmark songs such as "Whole Lotta Love," "Immigrant Song," "Kashmir," "Rock and Roll," "Dazed and Confused," and "Stairway to Heaven." The set will also include new liner notes by famed rock writer David Fricke.

Available at all physical retail outlets and www.ledzeppelin.com, Mothership collectible packages will be available in multiple configurations:

+ Standard Package -- 2-CD set ($19.98 SRP)
+ Deluxe Edition -- 2-CD / 1-DVD featuring the premiere-version (90 minutes) of live performance footage culled from Led Zeppelin DVD ($24.98 SRP)
+ Collector's Edition -- 2-CD /1-DVD ultra-deluxe, collectible limited edition ($TBA)
+ Vinyl Edition -- 4 LPs, high-end, audiophile-quality vinyl with collectible memorabilia ($74.98 SRP)

Originally released in 1976, The Song Remains the Same soundtrack album of the concert film features songs from the band's three-night stint at Madison Square Garden in July 1973. On November 20, The Song Remains the Same soundtrack gets the deluxe reissue treatment, with the band members overseeing the remixing and remastering of the original release. The new version of the soundtrack includes six songs that were not on the original release -- "Black Dog," "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Misty Mountain Hop," "Since I've Been Loving You," "The Ocean," and "Heartbreaker," plus new liner notes by Academy Award-winning director Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous).

Slated for a simultaneous release, Warner Home Video debuts brand-new DVD editions of The Song Remains the Same, now for the first time with all 14 songs from the original concert. The DVD features newly remixed and remastered sound, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, and more than 40 minutes of added bonus material*, including never-before-released performance footage of "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "Celebration Day" plus performances of "Misty Mountain Hop" and "The Ocean," a rare 1976 BBC interview with Robert Plant and Peter Grant, vintage TV footage from the Drake Hotel robbery during the New York concert stand, and a Cameron Crowe radio show. The discs will be available as follows:

+ Deluxe Edition DVD -- ($19.97 SRP*)
+ Deluxe Edition HD DVD and Blu-ray -- ($28.99 SRP each*)
+ Limited Collector's Edition -- 2-disc set includes collectible vintage T-shirt with original album artwork design, soundtrack CD, lobby cards, reproductions of original premiere invites, tour schedule, and more ($TBA*)

"We have revisited The Song Remains the Same," says Jimmy Page, "and can now offer the complete set as played at Madison Square Garden. This differs substantially from the original soundtrack released in 1976, and highlights the technical prowess of Kevin Shirley, who worked with us on How the West Was Won. When it comes to The Song Remains the Same, the expansion of the DVD and the soundtrack is as good as it gets on the Led Zeppelin wish list."

MOTHERSHIP
Track Listing:

Disc One
1. Good Times Bad Times
2. Communication Breakdown
3. Dazed and Confused
4. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
5. Whole Lotta Love
6. Ramble On
7. Heartbreaker
8. Immigrant Song
9. Since I've Been Loving You
10. Rock and Roll
11. Black Dog
12. When the Levee Breaks
13. Stairway to Heaven

Disc Two
1. The Song Remains the Same
2. Over the Hills and Far Away
3. D'Yer Maker
4. No Quarter
5. Trampled Under Foot
6. Houses of the Holy
7. Kashmir
8. Nobody's Fault but Mine
9. Achilles Last Stand
10. In the Evening
11. All My Love

THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Track Listing

Disc One
1. Rock and Roll
2. Celebration Day
3. Black Dog*
4. Over the Hills and Far Away*
5. Misty Mountain Hop*
6. Since I've Been Loving You*
7. No Quarter
8. The Song Remains the Same
9. The Rain Song
10. The Ocean*

Disc Two
1. Dazed and Confused
2. Stairway to Heaven
3. Moby Dick
4. Heartbreaker*
5. Whole Lotta Love

* Not on original soundtrack release

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