.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/3f35b7e1fca6137568743e2141e82b61ff238c39.jpg Coda

Led Zeppelin

Coda

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
January 20, 1983

Coda is a resounding farewell from the greatest heavy-metal band that ever strutted the boards. Produced by Jimmy Page, the album chronicles a ten-year adventure in high guitar drama and maximum blast. If the record seems a bit of a cheat timewise — it clocks in at 32:40 — the song selection is a marvel of compression, deftly tracing the Zeppelin decade with eight powerful, previously unreleased tracks, and no unnecessary elaboration.

Side one is early days. The opener, a frontal assault on Ben E. King and James Bethea's "We're Gonna Groove," is definitive 1969 raunch. The essential elements of Zeppelin's sound are already firmly in place: Page's propulsive guitar playing, Robert Plant's pealing vocal, John Paul Jones' duty-bound bass, and the late John Bonham's creature with - the - atom - brain drumming. "Poor Tom," from 1970, isn't completely successful at mating an acoustic-guitar turn with an insistent drum tattoo, but it does demonstrate Page's links to the Bert Jansch-John Renbourn school of urbane folk picking. The walking-bass rendition of Willie Dixon's "I Can't Quit You Baby," tossed off at a sound check that same year, perfectly captures the bluesmania of the period, complete with a classically overwrought guitar solo. More impressive is Page's frantic, trebly chording on "Walter's Walk," which recalls Paul Burlison's steaming leads with Johnny Burnette's Rock 'n' Roll Trio in the mid-Fifties.

Side two skips ahead to November 1978 for three outtakes from the Stockholm sessions for In through the Out Door, Zeppelin's last LP before the group-sundering death of John Bonham. Recorded at Abba's state-of-the-art Polar Studios, these tracks — the bone-rattling "Ozone Baby," the hypnotic "Darlene" and "Wearing and Tearing" — are about as wonderful as hard rock & roll gets.

Completing the picture — there was no getting around this — is "Bonzo's Montreux," recorded in Switzerland in 1976. Extended rock drum solos are notoriously the pits, but this one, electronically enhanced by Page and executed with considerable panache by Bonham's "drum orchestra," is true to the spirit of Sandy Nelson, and thus vestigially nifty at the very least. Coda is an honest and honorable career profile, and a classy way to go out.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Wake Up Everybody”

    John Legend and the Roots | 2010

    A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com