The Song Remains the Same (album)

The Song Remains the Same is a 1976 double soundtrack album by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The album was recorded between 27 to 29 July 1973, at Madison Square Garden, New York with the Wally Heider Mobile Studio. It was released by Swan Song Records on 22 October 1976 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom. The album accompanied the band's motion picture The Song Remains the Same, which was released in cinemas globally in October and November 1976. As with the film, the band regarded the album as 'a compromise', but nonetheless a relatively honest statement where they were at that point in time. The album initially sold well, reaching number 2 on the US Billboard 200 Album chart, and was eventually remastered in 2007.

Overview

Producer and guitarist Jimmy Page had originally wanted to release a chronological live retrospective of Led Zeppelin during the enforced break the band undertook, following singer Robert Plant's car accident in August 1975. However the demands of their film project The Song Remains the Same, required that a good quality soundtrack was required, and the live album was dispensed with for a soundtrack based on recordings made in July 1973, during their concert appearances at Madison Square Garden. The soundtrack was recorded by engineer Eddie Kramer, using the Wally Heider Mobile Studio at Madison Square Garden, New York, over three nights - 27, 28 and 29 July 1973 on Led Zeppelin's North American tour. During the three years between the initial live recordings and the release of the album, the film project of The Song Remains the Same struck numerous problems, delaying both. This meant the music sounded dated to compared the band's recent 1975 set lists. Page also had to deal with the fact that the music on the album needed to follow the music on the film as closely as possible, and this meant leaving in mistakes that would otherwise have been normally edited out or replaced with an overdub.

Mixing of the tracks had begun in the summer of 1975, with Page working at first in his home studio, before flying to New York to work with Kramer at Electric Lady Studios prior to Christmas 1975. Both Page and Kramer spent a great deal of time on the project, before Page was able to return to London, and finish the mixes at Trident Studios in August 1976. Kramer travelled to Los Angeles to complete the synchronized film mix at Todd A. O. studios. There were major differences between the film and the soundtrack. 'Celebration Day' was included on the album but left off the film, while the album left off the hurdy-gurdy instrumental 'Autumn Lake', the acoustic 'Bron-Yr-Aur', 'Since I've Been Loving You', and the intro to 'Heartbreaker', from the film.

Cover

The Song Remains the Same sleeve was designed by Hipgnosis and depicted artwork of the Old Street Studios in London, a converted cinema, where Led Zeppelin had rehearsed prior to their 1973 North American tour. The inner gatefold contained liner notes by journalist Cameron Crowe and an eight-page booklet of colour stills from the film.

Reception

Upon its release, the album received mixed reviews, with some critics considering it to be over-produced. Indeed, the band's members themselves have since expressed a lack of fondness for the recording. Page admitted that the end product was hardly the best representation of Led Zeppelin as a live band. Unlike other releases, the album did not receive a remastering until 2007. Despite the criticisms, the album still managed to top the charts, going to number one in the UK, number two in the US, and sold over four million copies.

Track list

          Side one

  1. 'Rock and Roll' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham) – 4:03
  2. 'Celebration Day' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones) – 3:43
  3. 'The Song Remains the Same' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 6:00
  4. 'The Rain Song' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 8:24

          Side two

  1. 'Dazed and Confused' (Jimmy Page) – 26:53

          Side three

  1. 'No Quarter' (John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 12:30
  2. 'Stairway to Heaven' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 10:58

          Side four

  1. 'Moby Dick' (Bonham, Jones, Page) – 12:47
  2. 'Whole Lotta Love' (Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham) – 14:24

Re-issue (2007)

          Side one

  1. 'Rock and Roll' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham) – 4:03
  2. 'Celebration Day' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones) – 3:43
  3. 'Black Dog' [with 'Bring It On Home'] (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones) - 3:46
  4. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) - 6:11

          Side two:

  1. 'Misty Mountain Hop' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones) - 4:43
  2. 'Since I've Been Loving You' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones) - 8:23
  3. 'The Ocean' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham) - 5:13

          Side three:

  1. 'The Song Remains the Same' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 5:39
  2. 'The Rain Song' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 8:20

          Side four:

  1. 'No Quarter' (John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 10:38

          Side five:

  1. 'Dazed and Confused' [part 1] (Jimmy Page) – 19:57

          Side six:

  1. 'Dazed and Confused' [part 2] (Jimmy Page) – 8:57
  2. 'Moby Dick' (Bonham, Jones, Page) – 11:02

          Side seven:

  1. 'Stairway to Heaven' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant) – 10:52

          Side eight:

  1. 'Heartbreaker' (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham) - 6:19
  2. 'Whole Lotta Love' (Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham) – 13:51

Charts

Album

  • Japanese Albums Chart (1976) 6
  • UK Albums Chart (1976) 1
  • US Billboard The 200 Albums Chart (1976) 2
  • Norwegian Albums Chart (1976) 21
  • Swedish Albums Chart (1976) 29
  • Canadian RPM Top 100 Albums Chart (1976) 8
  • New Zealand Top 50 Albums Chart (1976) 6
  • German Albums Chart (1976) 28
  • Spanish Albums Chart (1977) 23

Album (Expanded remaster)

  • Japanese Albums Chart (2007) 5
  • UK Albums Chart (2007) 73
  • Belgian Albums Chart (Walloon) (2007) 86
  • US Billboard Top Soundtracks Chart (2007) 9
  • US Billboard Tastemakers Chart (2007) 11
  • US Billboard Top Hard Rock Chart (2007) 11
  • US Billboard Top Pop Albums Chart (2007) 23
  • US Billboard Comprehensive Albums Chart (2007) 92
  • German Albums Chart (2007) 65

Album (Digital download)*

  • US Billboard Top Digital Albums Chart (2007) 24
  • US Billboard Top Internet Albums Chart (2008) 18

Notes:
(*) Remastered and expanded edition

Sales certifications

  • United Kingdom (BPI) 300,000+ Platinum*
  • France (SNEP) 100,000+ Gold*
  • Germany (IFPI) 100,000+ Gold*
  • Argentina (CAPIF) 30,000+ Gold
  • United States (RIAA) 4,000,000+4× Multi-Platinum*

Note: (*) Pre-remastered sales only

Certification history

  • BPI – UK Silver 1 October 1976
  • BPI – UK Gold 1 October 1976
  • RIAA – USA Gold 3 November 1976
  • RIAA – USA Platinum 15 November 1976
  • BPI – UK Platinum 9 October 1979
  • RIAA – USA 2× Platinum 30 October 1984
  • RIAA – USA 4× Platinum 5 February 1997

Release history

  • US 1976 Swan Song Records Double LP SS 2-201 
  • UK 1976 Swan Song Records Double LP SSK 89402 
  • Canada 1976 Swan Song Records Double LP 2SS 201 
  • Germany 1985 Atlantic Records Double CD 7567-90303-2 
  • Japan 1997 Atlantic Records Double CD (replica sleeve) AMCY-2439/40 
  • Germany 2003 Warner Music Double CD (replica sleeve) 7567 90303 5 WPCR-11619/20 
  • Japan 2003 Warner Music Double CD (replica sleeve) WPCR-11619/20 
  • Japan 2005 Warner Music Double CD WPCR-75009/10 
  • Argentina 2007 Warner Music Double CDWPCR-12781/2 
  • Japan 2007 Warner Music Double CDR2 328252/8122-79961-1 
  • Japan 2008 Warner Music SHM-CDWPCR-13138/39 

Notes

Barcodes appeared on the rear covers in 1982.

Reissued as a remastered double CD with bonus tracks in 2008.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, theremin, backing vocals, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, keyboards, Mellotron, bass pedals
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion, backing vocals

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Eddie Kramer – engineer, mixing
  • Kevin Shirley - mixing (2007 re-release)
  • Bob Ludwig - mastering
  • Cameron Crowe - liner notes
  • George Hardie – sleeve design
  • Hipgnosis – sleeve design and packaging
  • Peter Halm - reissue design
  • Barry Diament - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)

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