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7 December 2011 5,295 views 12 Comments

The Christmas issue of Record Collector is out now – it features Led Zeppelin as the cover subject and inside there is a ten page feature celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Led Zeppelin IV album written and compiled by Dave Lewis.

This chronicles the story of the making of the album, the origin of the sleeve design and four symbols, an analysis of the rare Led Zeppelin IV UK pressings plus an extensive Led Zeppelin IV Global Rarities guide compiled by renowned Zep vinyl collector Nick Anderson. There’s also a spotlight on Zep associated Christmas happenings through the years.
To order go to this link:

Here’s some examples of the various UK pressings – for details of which is the rarer pressing – check out the Christmas edition of Record Collector

The feature also reveals how the rare promo version of Led Zeppelin IV pictured below came into the possession of UK collector Dave Sands via Jimmy Page himself:

This is a rare seven inch pressing of Black Dog issued in Ecuador – courtesy the Nick Anderson collection:

Finally here’s a piece of additional content – a round up of Led Zeppelin IV related unofficial releases:


A variety of work in progress versions and full outtakes from the Led Zeppelin IV sessions have surfaced over the years. A rehearsal tape with early run downs of Black Dog, No Quarter and Stairway to Heaven can be found on a number of bootleg CD’s including Led Zeppelin IV Outtakes (Tarantura) and Stairway Sessions (Silver Rarities). There is also an outtake of The Battle Of Evermore without Sandy Denny’s contribution, monitor mixes of Black Dog and Four Sticks and two fascinating alternate takes of When The Levee Breaks, all of which can be found amongst titles such as All That Glitters is Gold (Celebration) and The Lost Monitor Mixes EP Vol 1 (Empress Valley)

The development of the Led Zeppelin IV material live on stage throughout 1971 is well documented via a series of unofficial CD’s drawn mostly from audience tapes. The famous 5 March 1971 show in Belfast’s’ Ulster Hall where they performed Black Dog, Going To California, Stairway To Heaven and Rock And Roll for the first time, can be found on Black Velvet (Empress Valley) and 911117 (Tarantura). Their BBC 1 April appearance at the Paris Theatre in London has been much bootlegged and also appeared officially in edited form on Atlantic’s 1997’s BBC Sessions. The highly recommended complete unedited performance is represented on titles such as BBC Zep (Tarantura) and Return To Paris Theatre (Scorpio).

Also of historical significance is their 3 May show at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen. This featured the only known live performance of Four Sticks plus the also rarely played Gallows Pole. Captured on a clear for the time audience tape, this excellent concert can be found on CD titles such as Previews And Novelties (Equinox), Poles And Sticks (Black Cat ) and Stick Out! (no label).
The on-going development of the Led Zeppelin IV material during the summer of 1971 is also tracked on Hot August Night, a great recording of their 23 August Fort Worth show (on CD via the TDOLZ label) and the legendary Going To California bootleg of their 14 September Berkeley Community Theatre show, first issued on the Trade Mark Of Quality label. Their five night run of September shows in Japan have been much bootlegged and feature some of their best performances of the era – notably the Tokyo Budokan Hall 23 September show, available on a variety of titles including Timeless Rock (Watch Tower) and the 29 September Osaka Festival Hall show, which can be found on You Were There in Spirits (Empress Valley) and Live In Japan 1971 (Cobra) and the superb just released 3 disc Geisha Smoke Gets In Your Eyes via Tarantura.

Finally from the winter UK tour, good audience tapes from their 16 November appearance at St Matthews Baths Ipswich and 25 November Leicester University show can be found on a number of CD titles including Ipswich 1971 (TDOLZ), and The Diploma (Tarantura) respectively. The Tarantura label’s lavishly packaged Empire Strikes Back is the definitive version of the audience recorded 20 November 1971 Electric Magic performance at the Empire Pool Wembley.

Compiled by Gerard Sparaco for TBL

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  • 69_In_Flames said:

    Such an amazing album, even after all this time has passed. I remember in about the fifth grade, having just gotten into the band that would remain a lifelong fascination and inspiration, buying Led Zeppelin II and being blown away. Then my uncle David visiting soon after from California with two things for me: Led Zeppelin’s fourth album and a very early copy of “Three Days After” from Los Angeles June 3, 1973 with a plain green cover and on the old TMOQ label. He put on the fourth album, and upon hearing Black Dog I remember saying, “I know this song – it’s great!” And him saying, “Wait till you hear the next one..” and so on, each song being better and better as the album wore on. 30 years later from that day the album is just as incredible to me – I’ll never understand those folks who say they’ve gotten sick of it. And it was already 10 years old when I first heard it! All those crazy labels pictured above make me miss the old vinyls. But yeah: all the bombast and beauty, the power and the mystery – it’s all there on the fourth LP. Gonna go buy that magazine now…

  • ann said:

    Music of Led Zeppelin will live for ever!!!

  • Kathy Urich said:

    My favorite, simply brilliant. To me the studio recording is one continuous piece of genuis. Rock & Roll at it’s finest. I agree with Lee 1971 was an amazing year for Rock & Roll fans. Thanks Dave as always a great read.

  • lee litif said:

    1971 you had the ultratranspirtizing led zeppelin iv deep purple fireball black sabbath masters of realty alice cooper killer grand funk e plurbus funk etc you won.t find a golden age like that again

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    It’s featured on page 77of Record Collector – available at your friendly newsagent!
    You don’t think I’d miss out the legendary Kinney/WEA pressings as supplied to our Bedford record shop
    emporiums by the legendary WEA sales representative Roger Williams – now there’s a name from our past!

  • Phil said:

    Where’s the K50008 Label?

  • andrew R said:

    Read the article dave, amazing that you bring a fresh perspective to something thats as ubiquitous as Zep IV!Top work as always from the Zepmaster!Our local record shop(remember when every town had one?)had it displayed prominently in the window with not a word of explanation.
    Iwalked past it for weeks as i had no idea what the cover looked like!
    Strange but true!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    I was a WH Smith man for eleven years 1974-1985 selling records and books -great days they were -and met the good lady Janet there too!

  • André Cruz said:

    Simply a masterpice ! 40 years old just like me.
    Listened again last saturday night at my wife birthday party.
    When The Leeve Breaks sounds better everytime.
    It´s so perfect that any deluxe double version was released – but I really would like to have one like The Who did with Who`s Next.
    But Zep Is Zep, is another dimension !
    What done is done but all of us would like to see Mr. Page play a full concert again !

  • John said:

    Left school at 4pm in 1971 to get bus into Brighton to buy Zepp 4 at W H Smiths. Dont know if it was release day but certainly November. Couldn’t find it in the racks so asked staff member who also couldn’t find it. No idea then about nothing on the cover etc. Found it in the end and back home to play. 2 years later worked in same shop in record department as my first job. Great memories

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    I think it was one of my first CD’s too back in 1988

  • FrontRowDave said:

    Excellent!!! Will never forget when CD players first came out I bought the CD player and Led Zeppelin IV the same day. Didn’t really want to hear anything else for awhile!

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