SS 8416 Presence
Produced by Jimmy Page
Released on March 1976
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #1 . . .
PLATINUM RECORD (4/12/76), 2x PLATINUM (12/11/90)
Find it at GEMM
SS 8416 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I f you’re going to make a case for Led Zeppelin as the greatest rock band of all time, you might as well start with Presence. No, I don’t mean it that way. The truly great ones are the consistent ones, like The Beatles or The Police. Like them or not, it’s hard to find a weak link in their chain of studio releases. Cite The Rolling Stones and some smartass’ll bring up Their Satanic Majesties Request. Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd? Brilliant bands, but all blemished by at least one mediocre release. Presence is widely regarded as the weakest of the Zeppelin studio releases (it always comes down to this and In Through The Out Door), and it may still be a great album. Of course it pales in comparison to the double-elpee Physical Graffiti, which found Led Zeppelin playing the best music of their lives and upping the ante with old gems from the vaults. Any album that followed would seem meager by comparison, including Presence. Yet the fact remains that some will find in this music a diminished presence, a sapping of the vital energy that fueled earlier efforts. “Achilles Last Stand” and “Tea For One” sound haggard. As if to counter that, “Royal Orleans” and “Candy Store Rock” have a put-upon giddiness that seems almost cartoonish by comparison (although I love cartoons and I’m not complaining). But Led Zeppelin in the middle gear still comes up with some real winners: “For Your Life,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” These tracks would have felt right at home on Physical Graffiti. I’ve tried to hear this album without Zeppelin’s mythology sitting on my shoulder and I haven’t been successful. I suspect if this music had been released under another name, history would have branded it a half-inflated counterfeit. At the end of the day, any greatness that Presence can lay claim to may lie in the great demand for Zeppelin’s music and the magnitude of their achievement as a musical entity. After all, when you can have a serious discussion over whether an album that topped the charts in the US and UK is a band’s worst, well then, damn, maybe you are talking about the greatest rock band of all time.

SS 8416 inner gatefold SS 8416 back cover SS 8416 picture sleeve
SS 8416 inner gatefold SS 8416 back cover SS 8416 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. ACHILLES LAST STAND    10:26
  2. FOR YOUR LIFE    6:21
  3. ROYAL ORLEANS    (John Bonham/John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant)    2:58
  4. NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE    6:15
  5. CANDY STORE ROCK    4:10
  6. HOTS ON FOR NOWHERE    4:42
  7. TEA FOR ONE    9:27

    All titles written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant unless noted

CREDITS

JOHN BONHAM --
JOHN PAUL JONES --
JIMMY PAGE --
ROBERT PLANT --
Peter Grant -- executive producer
Keith Harwood -- engineer, mixing
Jeremy Gee -- tape engineer
Hipgnosis and Hardie -- sleeve

return to LED ZEPPELIN discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK/EUR March 1976 Swan Song LP/CS SSK/SK4 54902 gatefold cover, picture sleeve
US/AUS'L/CAN March 1976 Swan Song LP/8T SS 8416 gatefold cover, picture sleeve
ARG 1976 Swan Song LP MH 14222 gatefold cover, picture sleeve
BRA 1976 Swan Song LP 404050  
JPN 1976 Swan Song LP P-10160N gatefold cover, picture sleeve, lyric insert
MEX   Atlantic LP LDWA 5200 gatefold cover
BRA 1977 Swan Song LP 30009 gatefold cover
CAN   Swan Song CD/CS CD/CSS 8416  
GER   Swan Song CD/CS 90329  
RUS 1993 Antrop LP 9300517  
US August 16, 1994 Atlantic CD/CS 92439 digital remaster
JPN 1997 Swan Song CD AMCY-2438  
JPN 2003 Swan Song CD WPCR-11618 digital remaster
RUS   Ars CD 54876  

 

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