As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!
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Led Zeppelin – Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda
Guitar god and Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page came to Toronto last week to unveil the last three reissues of his band’s studio work. Jimmy, archivist for the group’s entire back catalogue, carefully chose outtakes and alternative mixes of recordings made between 1969 and 1982 and paid special attention to rarities. Presence, originally released in 1976, now includes five unreleased reference mixes and one previously unreleased track: the gorgeous piano instrumental “10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod,” which is as odd-sounding for Zeppelin as the title suggests. In Through the Out Door, from 1979, gives listeners a chance to hear radio staples like “All My Love,” in their earliest forms. Going out with a bang, Jimmy saves his biggest for last: 1982’s Coda, which comes with two bonus companion discs. Among the gems on this blockbuster reissue are two previously unreleased tracks, a frisky “Sugar Mama” from 1968 and the funky instrumental “St. Tristan’s Sword.” For Zeppelin fanatics — and there are many — this is the end of the line for what remains in the band’s vault. “No more studio stuff,” says Page emphatically, “I made sure these reissues were thorough and complete.”
The Rolling Stones – Hyde Park Live 1969
Staged just two days after the death of guitarist Brian Jones and five months before Altamont, the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park performance represented a band in transition. With Mick Taylor as Brian’s replacement, the Stones gave a free show for upwards of half-a-million people in London’s Hyde Park. Now available in high-definition Blu-ray, the hour-long DVD gives insight into Mick Jagger and company before they became massive global superstars. There are glimpses of Marianne Faithfull and Paul McCartney, and performances of hits like “Satisfaction” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” plus an early version of “Honky Tonk Woman.” Clearly subdued by their bandmate's death (Jagger reads a Shelley poem in tribute to him), the group seems a little shaky on some numbers, but hit their stride on “Love in Vain.” Taylor really shines on the Johnny Winter song “I’m Yours & I’m Here,” the first and only time the Stones performed that song in concert. But the highlight of the eight songs featured is the closing, 10-minute version of “Sympathy for the Devil,” complete with African drummers on stage. The concert is essential viewing for Stones fans and a fascinating document of a time and place.
David Bowie - Fame 40th Anniversary 7-inch picture disc
Released in the summer of ’75 and co-written with John Lennon and Carlos Alomar, “Fame” became David's first number one in America. The singer later said he had no idea the song would be successful, saying “I wouldn’t know how to pick a single if it hit me in the face.” It’s since been featured in numerous films and TV shows and is considered one of rock’s most influential songs. The three-minute classic features Alomar’s iconic riff and a deliciously funky beat that even got David invited to perform it on TV’s Soul Train before an all-black audience. To celebrate the song’s enduring legacy, fans can enjoy a special vinyl reissue featuring colour and black-and-white images of the Thin White Duke. Suitable for framing.