Led Zeppelin unearth alternate version of “Stairway To Heaven” — listen

On October 28th, Led Zeppelin will continue its year-long archival campaign by releasing deluxe reissues of Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy. Similar to June’s reissues of the band’s first three studio albums, both records were remastered by Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and come accompanied by a second disc of unreleased music.

Already we’ve heard a grittier version of Led Zeppelin IV’s “Black Dog”, a stripped-down rendering of “The Rain Song” off Houses Of The Holy, and a decidedly gentler take of the Led Zeppelin IV jam “Rock and Roll”. Now comes a previously unheard mix of the band’s unequivocal signature song, “Stairway To Heaven”.

This specific mix was recorded during a week-long stay at Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound Recorders during the summer of 1971. This version of the normally mammoth rock anthem is a lot more nuanced, as the opening pipes feel less anthemic, the drums pound with reduced intensity, and the guitars have a much more distinct role. It’s subtle, but this new mix definitely emphasizes more of the song’s inherently romantic vibes. Listen to it below.

“It’s always interesting to hear stuff that you know really well and hear it differently, but the same,” bassist John Paul Jones told Rolling Stone. “It does give a different perspective on it. You hear different things. I did read somewhere that the end of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ contained one of the best rock bass parts ever recorded. Unfortunately it comes underneath one of the greatest rock guitars so … But ‘Stairway’ is a favorite still. It’s just got everything that we are about.”

(Read: The Continuing Stories Of…Houses of the Holy)

Both reissues will be available in a variety of configurations, including as a single-disc and double-disc CD, a single and double-edition vinyl LP, and a super deluxe box set. The contents will also be released digitally.

Led Zeppelin IV Deluxe Reissue Tracklist:

Disc One:
01. Black Dog
02. Rock And Roll
03. The Battle of Evermore
04. Stairway To Heaven
05. Misty Mountain Hop
06. Four Sticks
07. Going To California
08. When The Levee Breaks

Disc Two:
01. Black Dog – Basic Track With Guitar Overdubs
02. Rock And Roll – Alternate Mix
03. The Battle Of Evermore – Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange
04. Stairway To Heaven – Sunset Sound Mix
05. Misty Mountain Hop – Alternate Mix
06. Four Sticks – Alternate Mix
07. Going To California – Mandolin/Guitar Mix
08. When The Levee Breaks – Alternate UK Mix

Houses of the Holy
 Deluxe Reissue Tracklist:

Disc One:
01. The Song Remains The Same
02. The Rain Song
03. Over The Hills And Far Away
04. The Crunge
05. Dancing Days
06. D’yer Mak’er
07. No Quarter
08. The Ocean

Disc Two:
01. The Song Remains The Same – Guitar Overdub Reference Mix
02. The Rain Song – Mix Minus Piano
03. Over The Hills And Far Away – Guitar Mix Backing Track
04. The Crunge – Rough Mix – Keys Up
05. Dancing Days – Rough Mix With Vocal
06. No Quarter – Rough Mix With JPJ Keyboard Overdubs – No Vocal
07. The Ocean – Working Mix


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