BBC Sessions is a compilation album featuring studio sessions and a live concert recorded by English rock groupLed Zeppelin for the BBC. It was released on 11 November 1997, by Atlantic Records. This was the first release of new Led Zeppelin material in seven years. Disc one consists of material from four different 1969 BBC sessions. Disc two contains most of the 1 April 1971 concert from the Paris Theatre in London. Disc three was only included in a limited run of album releases and features rare interviews from 1969, 1976/1977, and 1990.
Countless bootlegs of these recordings circulated for years before the official release. This release was widely welcomed by Led Zeppelin fans as it was the first live release since The Song Remains the Same in 1976. Others have criticized the decision to edit some of the songs and drop others that were recorded for the BBC. Most notable are one session from 1969 which included the unreleased song "Sunshine Woman", and about seven minutes of the "Whole Lotta Love" medley from 1971. The album was re-released in September 2016 with further BBC recordings, including the "Sunshine Woman" session.
Eight unreleased recordings from a conglomerate of 1969 sessions, including "Dazed and Confused", "White Summer", "I Can't Quit You Baby", "You Shook Me" and "Sunshine Woman" along with two versions of both "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is and What Should Never Be" (recorded two years apart) were released on 16 September 2016, comprising a third disc of the previously two-disc BBC Sessions compilation. The lost March 1969 three-song session – by all accounts erased from its master tapes – appears on the disc sourced from a reputed AM radio recording. This session contains the oft-bootlegged, boogieing blues rocker "Sunshine Woman," a track that Zeppelin never formally released, and renditions of Willie Dixon's "I Can't Quit You Baby" and "You Shook Me." The session took place the same month (March 1969) that the band's debut album, Led Zeppelin, was released in the UK.
"Communication Breakdown" (Bonham, Jones, and Page)
"What Is and What Should Never Be" (Page and Plant)
Tracks: "I Can't Quit You Baby", "You Shook Me" and "Sunshine Woman". The session was wiped or lost by the BBC, although recordings survive on bootlegs. The show was re-run later in 1969, adding the recording of "What Is And What Should Never Be" from the June 16 session.
Producer: Jeff Griffin
Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae (although originally commissioned for Dave Symond's Symonds On Sunday show)
Venue: Aeolian Hall studio 2, Bond Street, London
Recording Date: Monday 16 June 1969
Original Broadcast: Sunday 22 June 1969
Tracks: Disc 1; 3,5 and 10. The session also included a prototype version of "What Is and What Should Never Be".
Producer: Paul Williams
John Peel's Top Gear (Double recording session)
Venue: Maida Vale studio 4, Delaware Road, London
Recording date: Tuesday 24 June 1969
Original broadcast: Sunday 29 June 1969
Tracks: Disc 1; 6-9. (track 8; Travelling Riverside Blues, is the same version that appears on the reissued/remaster of Coda as a bonus track)
Producer: John Walters
Engineer: Tony Wilson
One Night Stand
Venue: Playhouse Theatre
Recording date: Friday 27 June 1969
Original broadcast: Sunday 10 August 1969
Tracks: Disc 1; 11-14. Also included a version of "Dazed and Confused", plus "White Summer"/"Black Mountain Side" (which was released on the 1990 Led Zeppelin boxed set.)
In Concert (Emcee John Peel)
Venue: Paris Theatre, Lower Regent Street, London
Recording date: Thursday 1 April 1971
Original broadcast: Sunday 4 April 1971
Tracks: Disc 2; all tracks. Also included a version of "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is and What Should Never Be". The "Whole Lotta Love" medley has had "For What It's Worth", "Trucking Little Mama" and "Honey Bee" edited out, shortening the medley by about 7 minutes.