Happy Anniversary: Led Zeppelin, Presence

Monday, March 31, 2014
Happy Anniversary: Led Zeppelin, Presence

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Led Zeppelin album that, despite being the slowest-selling studio album in the band’s catalog, has been cited by Jimmy Page as the most important. Why? Because it showed that the band could persevere in the face of turmoil.

In this case, the turmoil came from Robert Plant’s unfortunate car accident while on the Greek island of Rhodes in August 1975, which took him out of commission for a fair while, but even as he convalesced, Plant was writing lyrics. He soon reunited with Page in Malibu to get their ducks in a row, songwriting-wise, and in short order the twosome was back together with John Bonham and John Paul Jones to begin rehearsals of the new material.

espite the problems the band had to endure to get the songs in a position to record, the process of recording and mastering Presence was done with staggering speed, with the entire thing wrapped up in only 18 days, the fastest Led Zeppelin had knocked out an album since their self-titled debut.

Although it shipped gold on its day of release, Presence proved to be an album that took a bit of time for the band’s fans to properly digest, possibly because the material has a different sound, one informed by the circumstances surrounding its writing. As Page told Uncut in 2005, “It's not an easy album for a lot of people to access… It’s not an easy album for a lot of people to listen to.” With that said, however, it’s also an album that’s earned considerably positive reappraisal over the decades. If you’ve been a bit sketchy on it yourself, today would be a perfect day to give it another spin and see maybe you can hear something you’ve missed.