Led Zeppelin will reissue the Japanese version of the “Immigrant Song” single to mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin III. The single will arrive on January 15th, 2021, but will be available to preorder starting Thursday, October 8th, at 10 a.m. ET via the Zeppelin website.
“Immigrant Song” was the only single released for III, and the B-side of the seven-inch boasts the non-album track, “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do.” In an ostensible nod to III’s October 5th, 1970 release date, the reissue will be limited to 19,700 copies, and it will come in a sleeve that replicates the original artwork.
While “Immigrant Song” was very much in line with the heavy blues-rock that defined Zeppelin’s first two albums, III was, overall, a significant sonic shift for the band. Guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant started writing the songs after decamping to a Welsh cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur, drawing on the rich folk tradition of Great Britain, as well as more contemporary American strains coming out of California at the time.
In a 1975 interview with Rolling Stone, Page told Cameron Crowe about the flat reception the album initially received. “People couldn’t understand, a lot of reviewers couldn’t understand why we put out an LP like Zeppelin II, then followed it up with III with ‘That’s the Way’ and acoustic numbers like that on it. They just couldn’t understand it. The fact was that Robert and I had gone away to Bron-Y-Aur cottage in Wales and started writing songs. Christ, that was the material we had, so we used it. It was nothing like, ‘We got to do some heavy rock & roll because that’s what our image demands …’ Album-wise, it usually takes a year for people to catch up with what we’re doing.”