The Song Remains the Same (album)

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The Song Remains the Same
A drawing of a dilapidated theatre with a thick black border around it
Live album / soundtrack by Led Zeppelin
Released 22 October 1976 (1976-10-22) (original)
20 November 2007 (2007-11-20) (2007 reissue)
Recorded 27–29 July 1973 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Genre Hard rock
Length 99:45 (original)
131:55 (2007 reissue)
Label Swan Song
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin chronology
Presence
(1976)
The Song Remains the Same
(1976)
In Through the Out Door
(1979)

The Song Remains the Same is the soundtrack live album of the concert film of the same name by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. The album was originally released in October 1976, before being remastered and re-issued in 2007.

Overview[edit]

The recording of the album and the film took place during three nights of concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden, during the band's 1973 North American tour. All songs were recorded by Eddie Kramer using the Wally Heider Mobile Studio truck, and later mixed at Electric Lady Studios in New York and Trident Studios in London.

The album was released on 22 October 1976, by Swan Song Records. The sleeve design depicted a dilapidated movie house located on Old Street film studios in London, which was used by the group for rehearsals prior to their 1973 tour. [1]

Until both the album and the film were remastered and re-released in 2007, there were significant differences between the two in terms of the songs included on each. These differences were as follows:

In addition, of the songs that both the album and the film had in common, some of the recordings featured on the album were of different performances from those in the film. Other tracks which were recorded at Madison Square Garden, but omitted from both the film and the soundtrack album, included "Over The Hills and Far Away", "The Ocean" and "Misty Mountain Hop". A comprehensive analysis of the sources of the original album and the edits is available at The Garden Tapes.

2007 reissue[edit]

The Song Remains The Same soundtrack album was reissued on CD on 20 November 2007, with the surviving band members having overseen the remixing and remastering of the original release. This coincided with the re-issue of the film, released on HD-DVD, Blu-ray and DVD. The new version of the soundtrack included six songs that were not on the original album 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 Cameron Crowe.


Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page explained:

We have revisited The Song Remains The Same 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.[1]

Due to legal complications, the band decided not to change the video portion of the original movie for the re-release.[2] Instead, Shirley created an entirely new mix of the three 1973 Madison Square Garden concerts so that the audio portion of the film would better match the on-screen visuals. The audio on the new CD release was nearly identical to the soundtrack of the new DVD release. One difference was that the songs included on the CDs that were not featured in the original movie were included as bonus tracks on the DVD.[3]

The audio mixes also differed from those found on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD. The most obvious example is that "Black Dog" was two minutes longer on the 2003 DVD than on the 2007 releases, two of the four verses being cut from the song.

On 29 July 2008, a four-LP edition of the 2007 re-issue, on 180 gram audiophile vinyl, was released. It was presented in a deluxe archival two-piece box with foil-stamping. It includes a 12-page oversized full-color booklet with dozens of previously unpublished stills from the film, as well as four individual jackets with new and unique artwork. A special white vinyl edition was also printed in very limited numbers. Just 200 were produced, with only 100 being made available to the public from Led Zeppelin's official website.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[4]
Blender 3/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau C+[6]
The Daily Telegraph 3/5 stars[7]
Mojo (2007 reissue) 4/5 stars[8]
MusicHound 2/5 stars[9]
Q 2/5 stars[10]
Record Collector (2007 reissue) 4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[12]
Uncut (2007 reissue) 4/5 stars[13]

Upon its initial release in 1976, the album received some poor reviews, with some critics considering it to be over-produced and lumbering.[14] Indeed, the band's members themselves have since expressed a lack of fondness for the recording. Page has admitted that the end product was hardly the best representation of Led Zeppelin as a live band:

Obviously we were committed to putting this album out, although it wasn't necessarily the best live stuff we have. I don't look upon it as a live album...it's essentially a soundtrack.[15]

In an interview he gave to rock journalist Cameron Crowe, Page elaborated:

As far as Led Zeppelin's studio recordings went, every single one of them has a certain ambiance, certain atmospherics that made them special. When it came to the live shows, we were always trying to move things forward and we certainly weren't happy leaving them as they were. The songs were always in a state of change. On [The] Song Remains the Same you can hear the urgency and not much else. The live shows were an extension of the albums.[16]

In contrast, the 2007 reissued version received generally much more positive reviews. In a review published in Mojo magazine in December 2007 James McNair gave the album four out of five stars,[17] as did David Cavanagh in Uncut magazine, who wrote:

... The sound is vastly improved, as is the playing of the musicians (due to digital re-editing of the three MSG concerts, presumably). Not so much remastered as reconstructed, the 15 tracks (six previously unreleased) showboat, strut and snarl.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Rock and Roll" (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) 4:03
2. "Celebration Day" (Jones, Page, Plant) 3:49
3. "The Song Remains the Same" (Page, Plant) 6:00
4. "The Rain Song" (Page, Plant) 8:25
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Dazed and Confused" (Page) 26:53
Side three
No. Title Length
1. "No Quarter" (Jones, Page, Plant) 12:30
2. "Stairway to Heaven" (Page, Plant) 10:58
Side four
No. Title Length
1. "Moby Dick" (Bonham, Jones, Page) 12:47
2. "Whole Lotta Love" (Bonham, Willie Dixon, Jones, Page, Plant) 14:25

2007 reissue[edit]

Disc one
No. Title Length
1. "Rock and Roll"   3:56
2. "Celebration Day"   3:37
3. "Black Dog*" (with "Bring It On Home" intro) (Dixon, Jones, Page, Plant) 3:46
4. "Over the Hills and Far Away*" (Page, Plant) 6:11
5. "Misty Mountain Hop*"   4:43
6. "Since I've Been Loving You*" (Jones, Page, Plant) 8:23
7. "No Quarter**"   10:38
8. "The Song Remains the Same"   5:39
9. "The Rain Song"   8:20
10. "The Ocean*" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 5:13
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Dazed and Confused***"   29:18
2. "Stairway to Heaven"   10:53
3. "Moby Dick**"   11:02
4. "Heartbreaker*" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 6:19
5. "Whole Lotta Love**"   13:51

(*) Not on original soundtrack release
(**) Shorter than the original soundtrack release
(***) Longer than the original soundtrack release

Sales chart performance[edit]

Original release
Chart (1976–77) Peak position
Canadian RPM Top 100 Albums Chart[19] 8
Italian Albums Chart[20] 13
Japanese Albums Chart[21] 6
New Zealand Top 50 Albums Chart[22] 6
Norwegian Albums Chart[23] 21
Spanish Albums Chart[24] 23
Swedish Albums Chart[25] 29
UK Albums Chart[26] 1
US Billboard 200 Albums Chart[27] 2
West German Albums Chart[28] 28
Reissue
Chart (2007) Peak position
Belgian Albums Chart (Walloon)[29] 86
German Albums Chart[30] 65
Japanese Albums Chart[31] 5
UK Albums Chart[32] 73
US Billboard Top Soundtracks Chart[33] 9
US Billboard Tastemakers Chart[34] 11
US Billboard Top Hard Rock Chart[35] 11
US Billboard Top Pop Albums Chart[36] 23
US Billboard Comprehensive Albums Chart[37] 92
Digital download
Chart (2007) Peak position
US Billboard Top Digital Albums Chart[38] 24
US Billboard Top Internet Albums Chart[39] 18

Sales certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Argentina (CAPIF)[40] Gold 20,000x
France (SNEP)[41] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[42] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Personnel[edit]

Led Zeppelin
Additional personnel

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Led Zeppelin postpones reunion show", liveDaily.com, 2 November 2007.
  2. ^ Liner notes by Cameron Crowe for The Song Remains the Same, reissued version, 2007.
  3. ^ Kevin Shirley Talks about Revisiting Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains The Same
  4. ^ AllMusic Review
  5. ^ Blender Magazine review
  6. ^ Robert Christgau Review
  7. ^ McCormick, Neil (23 April 2014). "Led Zeppelin's albums ranked from worst to best". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  8. ^ Mojo magazine, December 2007, p. 83.
  9. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 662. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  10. ^ Q Magazine Review, October 2000
  11. ^ Staunton, Terry (Xmas 2007). "Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same (R1976)". Uncut. Retrieved 8 December 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ "Led Zeppelin: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Cavanagh, David (December 2007). "Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains The Same (R1976)". Uncut. p. 93. Retrieved 8 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, p. 68.
  15. ^ Dave Lewis and Simon Pallett (1997) Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4, p. 116.
  16. ^ Liner notes by Cameron Crowe for The Complete Studio Recordings.
  17. ^ McNair, James, "Vanity Fair!", Mojo magazine, December 2007, p. 83.
  18. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Review of Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same" Uncut Magazine.
  19. ^ "RPM Albums Chart – 25 December 1976". RPM. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 1976". Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 20 October 1976". Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  22. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Albums – December 1976". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8. 
  23. ^ "Top 20 Albums – 28 November 1976". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  24. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 5 March 1977". PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Top 60 Albums – 30 November 1976". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  26. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 13 November 1976". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  27. ^ "The Billboard 200 – 13 November 1976". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  28. ^ "Top 100 Albums – December 1976". charts-surfer.de. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  29. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 1 December 2007". ultratop.be. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 10 December 2007". musicline.de. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  31. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 11 November 2007". Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  32. ^ "Top 100 Albums – 1 December 2007". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  33. ^ "Top Soundtracks – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Tastemakers – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Top Hard Rock Albums – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Top Pop Albums – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Comprehensive Albums – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Top Digital Albums – 8 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  39. ^ "Top Internet Albums – 16 August 2008". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009. [dead link]
  40. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Led Zeppelin – The Song Remainds the Same". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  41. ^ "French album certifications – LedZeppelin – The Song Remains the Same" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select LEDZEPPELIN and click OK
  42. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Led Zeppelin; 'The Song Remains the Same')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Song Remains the Same in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

  • The Garden Tapes – a study of sources of the live material and the edits for release on this album.
Preceded by
Soul Motion by various artists
UK Albums Chart number one album
13–20 November 1976
Succeeded by
22 Golden Guitar Greats by Bert Weedon