Studio Vaults

      Led Zeppelin collectors are quite fortunate when it comes to owning outtakes and rehearsals. Except for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, no other big group has as many and various behind the scene tapes as Zeppelin. So much of this material has been released that it is possible to trace the entire history of the band, from the first album sessions right through to their last.

      The first massive collection to be issued was the Antrabata eleven discs set "Studio Sessions" released more than a decade ago. This set collected every piece of tape known at the time and presented them in a chronological, cohesive order. Despite the knock against it for using inferior sounding tapes, it remains a popular and sought after item. Akashic was going to attempt a comprehensive box set to be called "The Final Option". This, however, was scrapped, and only five discs spread out over three titles, "Meet Led Zeppelin", "Scorpio Rising" and "The Smithereens", have been released (and even some of them collected totally faked songs). Just a few years after the "new" Scorpio label, with the massive release "Studio Sessions Ultimate", gives a much-needed overhaul of Antrabata. Spread over twelve discs, Scorpio not only included everything found in the older box set, but also added most of the material that has surfaced in the past decade and uses only the best sounding versions of the more familiar tapes. With a little announcement and without surprise, the Godfatherecords produced a much more extensive, eighteen disc compilation of all known studio stuff at the time of this release back in 2013 titled eponymously "Studio Magick". However, few of the session dates have been edited in some ways, omitting some contents and leaving more advanced collectors a free gate to search for a couple of other titles, where the same studio material is released in original form or add previously unhearded material.

      There are still some excerpts worth mentioning when speaking about 'extras', though. TDOLZ's "Sessions" presents more than thirty minutes of undocumented the Battle Of Evermore material. Empress Valley's "Lost Sessions Volume 2" debuts the first peak at some new outtakes from the second album. Celebration's "Alternative Graffiti" title releases the 'long version' of Trampled Underfoot from one of the so-called work tapes used to create Physical Graffiti double album. The ending is about a dozen seconds longer than the album version. Empress Valley's "Lost Sessions Volume 4" debuts drum tracks from In Through The Out Door's rehearsals. Empress Valley's "Lost Sessions Volume 8's" only contribution is Poor Tom. Its ending is a few seconds longer, but is most likely explained as a mixing error. The other material on the title can be found on other titles. Empress Valley's "Lost Sessions Volume 9" debuts with a new outtake of Stairway To Heaven. Empress Valley's "LZII Classic Records 45rpm" debuts Heartbreaker guitar takes. Empress Valley's "Mick Boy Remaster" offers a different track for Boogie With Stu. Empress Valley's "Mono Singles" offers three tracks that differ from the official releases. The label has also released a massive collection of unaltered takes for four individual tracks off Led Zeppelin II sessions on "The Making Of Led Zeppelin II" four disc set. Each separate track can be mixed to show a finished song that differs only in details from the album version.

      Finally, between 2014 and 2015 scope, the entire official catalogue (minus The Song Remains The Same move soundtrack) has been reissued by Jimmy Page himself from the original master tapes, and all nine studio albums have been carefully restored to be as close as possible to the original versions. All of them have been released as regular, deluxe and super deluxe editions. As expected, those extended deluxe versions featured a bunch of previously uncirculated material, such as alternative mixes and never-before-released tunes, of which the biggest surprise was the long rumoured St Tristan's Sword or the legendary (and believed to be erased) Sunset Sound mix of Stairway To Heaven.