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Led Zeppelin - How the West Was Won

On May 27, 2003 "Led Zeppelin'" released "How the West Was Won".


This album was a long-awaited treasure for fans who craved a definitive live album from the band for decades since it's breakup. While previous releases like "The Song Remains the Same" and "BBC Sessions" had their merits, they failed to capture the full force and brilliance of "Led Zeppelin" at their peak as this album does. Finally, in 2003, Jimmy Page curated a remarkable collection of previously unreleased live recordings from the band's monumental performances in Los Angeles California during their tour of North America: "L.A. Forum" (25 June 1972) and "Long Beach Arena" (27 June 1972)


The album showcases "Led Zeppelin's" sheer power and artistry performed live, with guitarist Jimmy Page considering this era as the band's artistic peak. The concerts at the "L.A. Forum" and "Long Beach Arena" were legendary, and although bootleg recordings of these shows circulated among fans for years, "How the West Was Won" provided the first opportunity to hear the soundboard versions of these performances. The meticulous editing and audio engineering by Jimmy Page at Island Studios in London further enhanced the album's quality.


From the opening notes of "LA Drone" to the epic finale of "Bring It On Home", this triple album captures the band's majestic sweep and their ability to create musical tempests. "Led Zeppelin's" mastery of light and shade is on full display. With Jimmy Page's genius in summoning storms of guitar virtuosity, John Paul Jones delivering high level of his multi-instrument playing The musicianship of the entire band, including the invaluable contributions of John Bonham, and Robert Plant's iconic vocals, allowed Page to bring his visionary musical ideas to life.


The album features both the band's longer, exploratory numbers and their concise, powerful songs. Tracks like the 25-minute tour de force "Dazed and Confused", the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love", and the 19-minute drum showcase "Moby Dick" showcase "Led Zeppelin's" ability to improvise and create grandiose musical experiences. The band's talent shines brightest on the shorter songs, like "Immigrant Song", "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll", where their sound is distilled to its essence. "Led Zeppelin's" studio intricacies are transformed into wild, dynamic live performances that hit hard and leave a lasting impact.


But it is definitely the acoustic "Unplugged" moments where this album really shines. the "Moby Grape"-flavored "Going to California", the pastoral beauty of "That's the Way" and the stomp-beat "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" showcase "Led Zeppelin's" diversity and innovation and prove it as one of the best live acts of the era.


And then, of course, there is the chilling and mesmerizing live performance of "Stairway to Heaven", mixed by the wizardry hands of Jimmy Page from both performances at the "L.A. Forum" and "Long Beach Arena", while John Paul Jones's Mellotron was "borrowed" from the band performance at Southampton University, England, on 22 January 1973.


"How the West Was Won" has received notable recognition in the music industry. It has appeared on several prestigious lists of the greatest live albums. "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked it 23rd on their "The 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time" list, "Guitar World" magazine also recognized it as one of "The 10 Best Live Albums You Must Hear", "Classic Rock magazine" included it in their "The 50 Greatest Live Albums Ever", "Rock Hard" magazine included it in their extensive list of "The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time".


But While it received glowing reviews upon its initial release, its sales did not match the critical acclaim. However, as a heritage piece, it continues to enthrall and captivate fans who appreciate "Led Zeppelin's" unrivaled rock prowess.


In conclusion, Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won" is a majestic live showcase of the band's rock power at its height. The album encapsulates "Led Zeppelin's" at its best live performance. This definitive live recording solidifies "Led Zeppelin's" status as one of the greatest bands ever.


For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music


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