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Jimmy Page Talks Led Zeppelin ‘Complete BBC Sessions’ Reissue

Swan Song
Swan Song

With the release of Led Zeppelin‘s expanded and remastered The Complete BBC Sessions right around the corner, Jimmy Page has shed a little extra light on what went into putting together the new package.

“It had to be included,” Page told Rolling Stone regarding the previously unreleased material appended to the set, which includes a three-song 1969 shortwave broadcast and the only recorded performance of their “Sunshine Woman” jam. “There is no point in putting out The Complete BBC Sessions and someone’s growling that you missed something. I made sure they can’t do that.”

In some cases, that involved what sounds like a fair bit of detective work. In the case of “Sunshine Woman,” which Page described as “something that we made up on the spot … for amusement, really,” the source recording was actually lost. “The tapes disappeared,” he admitted. “I’d done the original CDs of BBC Sessions many moons ago [in 1997]. After that, ‘Sunshine Woman’ starts to appear on the bootleg scene. From what I’m led to believe, it was recorded off the radio by someone in Eastern Europe. It managed to travel around, and we got a good source of that show.”

The sum total of the sessions, which Page credits to BBC DJ John Peel’s decision to “champion” the group at a time when they’d done far more promotional legwork in the U.S., offer a snapshot of the young Zeppelin when they were still growing — yet also willing to try anything.

“We were totally fearless,” Page recalled of their early years. “You can hear the energy and the attitude – and the fact that we could go in there and make up numbers but not tell the people in the control room. We were testing ourselves as much as anything else, just really going for it.”

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