Thursday, 6 August 2015

Art of the Cover - Led Zeppelin's "Presence (Deluxe Edition)" (2015)

Zep's Presence LP, has been described by Jimmy Page as the band's "most important" album, proving they would continue and succeed despite the turmoil the group had found itself in. 

Presence was written and recorded during a tumultuous time in the band's history, as singer Robert Plant was recuperating from serious injuries he had sustained the previous year in a car accident.

The cover and inside sleeve of this album, created by an English art design group Hipgnosis, features various images of people interacting with a strange, black, obelisk-shaped object.

Inside the album sleeve, the item is referred to simply as "The Object." It was intended to represent the "force and presence" of Led Zeppelin. 

In the liner notes of the first Led Zeppelin boxed set, Page explained:
"There was no working title for the album. The record-jacket designer said 'When I think of the group, I always think of power and force. There's a definite presence there.' That was it. He wanted to call it Obelisk. To me, it was more important what was behind the obelisk. The cover is very tongue-in-cheek, to be quite honest. Sort of a joke on the film 2001. I think it's quite amusing."

The background used in the cover photograph is of an artificial marina that was installed inside London's Earl's Court Arena for the annual Earl's Court Boat Show that was held in the winter of 1974–75. This was the same venue where the band played a series of concerts a few months after the boat show, in May 1975.

In 1977, Hipgnosis and  graphic designer/ illustrator George Hardie were nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Album Package for the artwork here.

The good news is that Presence - as well as Zep's In Through The Out Door and Coda LPs have been remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and are now available accompanied by companion audio comprised of previously unreleased music related to the original release, selected and compiled by Page.

Originally released in 1976, Presence was recorded during a whirlwind 18-day session at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. 

The album which peaked at #1 in both the U.S. and UK and was certified triple platinum crackles with energy on Zeppelin classics like Nobody s Fault But Mine and Achilles Last Stand and delivers powerful jolts of the group at its visceral best.

The companion audio disc that accompanies Presence has five unreleased reference mixes from the sessions, which reveal works in progress. 

Along with alternate incarnations of For Your Life, Achilles Last Stand and Royal Orleans, there is also the previously unheard instrumental curiously titled 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod).

Presence, In Through The Out Door, and Coda are available from Atlantic/Swan Song in the following formats:

  • Single CD – Remastered original album. Presence and Coda will be packaged in a
    gatefold card wallet. All CD and LP versions of In Through The Out Door will be
    wrapped in a brown paper page replicating its initial release.
  • Deluxe Edition (2CD and 3CD) – Remastered album, plus a second disc of unreleased
    companion audio. Coda will feature two companion audio discs.
  • Single LP – Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl, packaged in a sleeve that replicates
    the LP’s first pressing in exacting detail. All vinyl versions of In Through The Out Door 
    will also include the water-sensitive insert that replicates the inner sleeve from the
    album’s initial release.
  • Deluxe Edition Vinyl – Remastered album and unreleased companion audio on
    180-gram vinyl. Coda will feature two companion LPs.
  • Digital Download – Remastered album and companion audio will both be available.
  • Super Deluxe Box Set – This collection includes:
    o Remastered album on CD in vinyl replica sleeve.
    o Companion audio on CD in card wallet.
    o Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve replicating first pressing.
    o Companion audio on 180-gram vinyl.
    o Hi-def audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit.
    o Hardbound, 72+ page book filled with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia.
    o High quality print of the original album cover, the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered


01. Achilles Last Stand
02. For Your Life
03. Royal Orleans
04. Nobody's Fault But Mine
05. Candy Store Rock
06. Hots On For Nowhere
07. Tea For One
08. Two Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand) (Reference Mix)
09. For Your Life (Reference Mix)
10. 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) (Reference Mix)
11. Royal Orleans (Reference Mix)
12. Hots On For Nowhere (Reference Mix)

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