How Led Zeppelin’s “Coda” Marked the Final End of an Era


Most people wouldn’t blame Led Zeppelin for having persevered with a new drummer following the untimely death of John Bonham in 1980; they certainly wouldn’t have been the first band to do so. In place, Jimmy Page, Robert Plante and John Paul Jones set their conquest of the world strip in bedgiving a final farewell with odds and ends compilation Coda November 19, 1982.

The lean, contractually obligated LP doesn’t keep pace with Zeppelin’s true studio albums, but its eight tracks paint a compelling portrait of their musical evolution over their staggering 12-year career. Live renditions of “I Can’t Quit You Baby” and the unreleased “I’m Gonna Groove” from a 1970 Royal Albert Hall performance demonstrate Zep’s reverence for blues and R&B (which they flew free in their debut) and their unparalleled thunder on stage. “Poor Tom” and “Walter’s Walk”, excerpts from Led Zeppelin III and Houses of the Holy sessions, respectively, show the band’s ability to switch effortlessly between nostalgia, acoustic folk-rock and swaggering electric blues.

CodaThe second side, meanwhile, contains three excerpts from the group’s last studio album, 1979 Enter through the outer door. Both “Ozone Baby” and “Darlene” are safe rock ‘n’ roll antics, the former anchored by Page’s slinky riffs and the latter by Jones’ urgent piano playing. The thunderous “Wearing and Tearing”, written in reaction to the nascent punk revolution, is the group’s most catchy track. And “Bonzo’s Montreux,” the instrumental “drum orchestra” that Page dressed up with studio effects, is a succinct presentation of Bonham’s inimitable groove and a touching tribute to the late skinsman.

Listen to “Wearing and Tearing” by Led Zeppelin

It would have been easy for Led Zeppelin to hastily assemble a cheap and naive collection of archival material to satisfy Atlantic Records, but they wanted Coda to honor their legacy and stand up to the rest of their towering discography. “When I originally started thinking about it, we wanted to do something in the best taste possible, under the circumstances,” Page told the daily beast in 2017. “Obviously some people were disappointed, because they would have liked a new album rather than something posthumous, and they didn’t want John Bonham to be gone anymore. But who did it, man?”

Commercially, Coda fell short of Led Zeppelin’s previous multi-platinum hits, but it was no slouch. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 9 and eventually peaked at No. 6, going platinum within months of its release. It was a fitting ode to one of the most dizzying careers in rock history, and it marked the final end of an era.

By the time Coda in stores, Plant had already launched his solo career by leaving Photos at eleven in June 1982. Significantly more subdued than Zeppelin’s output and a victim in places of sterile ’80s production, the album nonetheless peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went platinum. Photos at eleven began a decade-long six-album solo streak for Plant that culminated in 1988 Now and Zenwho married the digitized pop-rock of the day with the swaggering hard rock of his former band to the tune of 3 million sales in the United States.

Page, meanwhile, made a more lukewarm foray into solo territory, barely scratching the Top 50 of the Billboard 200 with his soundtrack for Death wish IIreleased in February 1982. His next album and first real post-Zeppelin commercial release ironically reunited him with Plant for rock/R&B supergroup the honey drops. The band’s first EP and only release, 1984 The Honeydrippers: Volume 1also featured Jeff BeckNile Rodgers of Chic and David Lettermanmusic director Paul Shaffer. It climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum, spawning the No. 3 hit “Sea of ​​Love” in the process.

Despite Plant’s promises, a full Honeydrippers album never materialized. Page instead formed a new supergroup, the Solidifywith then-ex-bad company singer Paul Rodgers. Their self-titled debut in 1985 went gold and produced a moderate hit in “Radioactive”, but the band disbanded after 1986 Business Average critically and commercially underperforming. A 1985 collaborative album with the folk-rock singer-songwriter Roy Harper (including Zep honored the Led Zeppelin III) entitled What happened to Jugula? also flew under the radar.

During the company’s brief tenure, the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin staged a ballyhooed – and disastrous – meeting at Live help in July 1985. Supported by a time difference Phil Collins, who had flown to Philadelphia immediately after performing in London, the band fumbled through a three-song set that featured raspy vocals from Plant and sloppy, out-of-tune guitar playing from a clearly insane Page. drunk. “It was awful,” Plant said. rolling stone in 1988. “Emotionally, I ate every word I said. And I was hoarse. I had done three concerts in a row before arriving at Live Aid. We rehearsed in the afternoon, and by the time I got on stage, my voice was long gone.

Watch Led Zeppelin’s Live Aid reunion

After Live Aid and the dissolution of the Firm, Page released his first (and only) solo album, Rider, in June 1988. It performed respectably, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard 200 and going gold. Perhaps most notably, the album and supporting tour featured Jason Bonham on drums. Bonham, 21, also supported Page, Plant and Jones in another aborted reunion show in 1988, for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden. As with Live Aid, the band argued over whether to perform “Stairway to Heaven”, with Plant reluctantly agreeing again at the last minute. And as with Live Aid, they were unhappy with the performance, which Plant later described as “foul”.

Page and Plant won’t reunite for several years after their messy 1988 reunion. In the meantime, Page has bonded with the former white snake and Dark purple singer David Coverdale for the years 1993 Coverdale-Page. The album was a Top 5 platinum-selling success and earned favorable reviews, as well as the inevitable unsavory Zeppelin comparisons. That certainly didn’t make a fan of Plant, who for years had referred to Page’s new partner as a “David Cover-version.” But the Leonine singer didn’t have to simmer for long: Page and Plant reunited in 1994 for a MTV Unplugged special, which became the platinum record Show no mercy live album, released in October.

The supported duo Show no mercy with an extensive world tour, followed by the 1998 studio album Walk in Clarksdale. None of these ventures featured Jones, who learned of the reunion through media reports. The bassist had only recorded sporadically since Zeppelin disbanded, marking the Cry out for help soundtrack in 1985 and collaboration with avant-garde singer Diamanda Galas on the years 1994 sports life. Jones’ dissatisfaction with his exclusion was evident at Zeppelin in 1995 Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame induction, when he shot his former bandmates, “Thank you, my friends, for finally remembering my phone number.” He then released two real solo albums, 1999 Zoom and 2001 The Thunder Thiefin small pump.

Both Page and Plant insisted they didn’t mean to snub Jones and that their reunion was never meant to be a Led Zeppelin project. This legendary gathering wouldn’t take place until December 10, 2007, when Page, Plant, Jones and Jason Bonham held their first – and last – full concert in nearly 30 years at the O2 Arena in London to pay tribute to the late founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun. The historic spectacle, which was much better received than Zeppelin’s previous reunion attempts, was commemorated on the 2012 live album and film. Celebration day.

Watch Led Zeppelin Perform ‘Kashmir’ Live From ‘Celebration Day’

Page and Jones both expressed interest in a full reunion tour, but Plant firmly refused to take up the mantle. During his 2008 tour with Alison Krauss in support of their 2007 collaborative album raise sandthe singer released a statement debunking other Zeppelin reunion rumors. “It’s both frustrating and ridiculous that this story continues to resurface as all of the musicians surrounding the story are eager to pursue their individual projects and move forward,” Plant said. “I wish Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham success in their future endeavours.”

Plant kept his word, releasing additional solo albums with Band of Joy, the Sensational Space Shifters and Krauss throughout the 2010s and early 2020s. Jones returned to his hard-rock roots by teaming up with Dave Grohl and Josh Man form twisted vultureswho published their self-titled debut album in 2009. Page, meanwhile, has remained the self-proclaimed steward of Led Zeppelin’s legacy, re-releasing the band’s discography with hordes of previously unreleased bonus material. The latest reissue, Coda, arrived in 2015 as a three-disc set, full of alternate mixes, takes, and live cuts. It was undoubtedly a cathartic outing for Page, the group’s loyal archivist.

“When I was mapping the whole project, I had already decided that Coda was going to be a huge celebration of everything again,” Page told The Daily Beast. “By the simple act of doing Coda a double, I really wanted to get it all out [in the vaults]. I knew I was going to end up with two companion discs for the last one, with all the studio stuff that people might have heard about, the stuff that helped create the Led Zeppelin mythology. So here it is, friends. I give you everything !”

Led Zeppelin album chart

Countdown to every canonical Led Zeppelin album, from worst (relatively speaking, of course) to best.

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