After Bonham died, there was no question that Led Zeppelin was over. "It just couldn't go on because it was the four of them," their manager Peter Grant said. But they still owed Atlantic Records one more album and tax collectors a lot of money, and they were sitting on a handful of finished and semi-finished tracks. In particular, "Wearing and Tearing," "Ozone Baby" and "Darlene," three hard rockers from the In Through the Out Door sessions, had all been held over for a future release. So, two years after they had officially broken up, Zeppelin released their final (and briefest) studio album, and shut down their Swan Song imprint.
As Coda's title suggests, it's not a grand summation of their work, despite containing recordings that span most of the group’s existence. Page assembled Coda at his studio beginning in mid-1981, and as with the 2003 live album, How the West Was Won, he doctored the old tapes rather extensively, bringing in Plant and Jones for overdubs and mixing. Among other changes, Page added electronic effects to "Bonzo's Montreux," a Bonham drum solo from 1976; he also recorded a new guitar track to replace the original one from a III-era recording of Ben E. King's "We’re Gonna Groove." The album's highlight, though, is "Wearing and Tearing," a blistering, hyperspeed homage to the punk generation that suggested where Led Zeppelin might've gone if tragedy hadn't ended their story.
– Douglas Wolk