I love Led Zeppelin, but I’d say there’s a good third of their catalog that I can’t hear anymore. I don’t mean I don’t want to listen to it; I mean I cannot hear it — I’ve heard it so much that it’s just white noise, like the sounds of midtown traffic outside Stereogum’s offices. And for me, no song has been worn thinner than “Rock And Roll,” from “Led Zep IV,” which might as well be “Happy Birthday” by this point. So I love hearing alternate versions of these tracks, because if even one aspect of the mix is different, it can change my entire listening experience. Next Monday, Zep will release re-mastered, expanded versions of both “IV” and Houses Of The Holy, and those reissues will include a bunch of alternate takes, including this one, of “Rock And Roll.” Frankly, this take hews too close to the album version to actually reinvigorate the song for me, but according to Pagey, it offers a “different perspective.” Read his explanation and watch the lyric video for the track below.
“Rock And Roll” is something that came more or less out of thin air. John Bonham played the drum introduction, and we were doing something else at the time, and I came in with the riff and stopped what we were doing and did it. It was spontaneous. You can tell everyone is having a real good time. The piano is by Ian Stewart (longtime sideman with the Rolling Stones). This version is a different mix, a different perspective on the song.
[Via USA Today]