Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Led Zeppelin

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions album cover
4.28 | 198 ratings | 6 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

Write a review

from partners
Live, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1:
1. You Shook Me (5:14) *
2. I Can't Quit You Baby (4:22) *
3. Communication Breakdown (3:12)
4. Dazed and Confused (6:39)
5. The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair (3:00)
6. What Is and What Should Never Be (4:20)
7. Communication Breakdown (2:40)
8. Traveling Riverside Blues (5:12)
9. Whole Lotta Love (6:09)
10. Somethin' Else (2:06) *
11. Communication Breakdown (Live) (3:05)
12. Can't Quit You Baby (Live) (6:21) *
13. You Shook Me (Live) (10:19) *
14. How Many More Times (Live) (11:51)

CD 2: **
1. Immigrant Song (Live) (3:20)
2. Heartbreaker (Live) (5:16)
3. Since I've Been Loving You (Live) (6:56)
4. Black Dog (Live) (5:17)
5. Dazed and Confused (Live) (18:36)
6. Stairway to Heaven (Live) (8:49)
7. Going to California (Live) (3:54)
8. That's the Way (Live) (5:43)
9. Whole Lotta Love (Live) (13:45)
10. Thank You (Live) (6:37)

Total Time: 153:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Jimmy Page / guitars
- Robert Plant / vocals
- John "Bonzo" Bonham / drums
- John Paul Jones / bass

* Track 1 (CD1) by Dixon/Lenoir
Track 2 (CD1) by Dixon
Track 10 (CD1) by Cochran/Sheeley
Track 12 (CD1) by Dixon
Track 13 (CD1) By Dixon/Lenoir

Releases information

Published and remastered by Atlantic Records the 11 November 1997.

Tracks 11 - 14 (CD1) recorded LIVE at the Playhouse Theatre (London) 27.6.69 and transmitted 10.8.69

** All songs on CD 2 recorded LIVE at the Paris Theatre (London) 1.4.71

Thanks to Barla for the addition
and to for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy LED ZEPPELIN BBC Sessions Music

LED ZEPPELIN BBC Sessions ratings distribution

(198 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LED ZEPPELIN BBC Sessions reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy

When I saw this release in the bins, I just bought it without looking at the tracklist, really. Led Zep fan hasn't been overwhelmed with live material, so no hesitation with this one. This is actually a live Led Zep compilation, Jimmy was responsible for the track selection (but choice was very mimited in this case). There are really two separate parts of their live career represented here, both being recorded by the BBC for their radio programmes. It is the second official live release of the band since, "The Song Remains The Same" in 1976 ! For a band that was so impressive during their live sets, it is rather bizarre.

CD one is made of four different recordings.

1. TOP GEAR : recorded on March 3rd, 1969 and aired on March 23rd.

It features three songs : "You Shook Me", I Can't Quit You Baby" and "Dazed & Confused". The latter being represented in a "short" live version (which means without the middle-part extravaganza), pretty close to the studio version. It is how most casual fans will prefer "Dazed". The other two songs are blues numbers featured on their debut album. Plant had a fame in the blues circuit before he joined Led Zep. They were classics of the early live performances of the band. Not my cup of tea as I mentioned in my review of their first album. One track of this session is not featured here : "Dazed & Confused".

2. CHRIS GRANT TASTY POP SUNDAE" : recorded on June 16th, 1969 and aired on June 22nd.

Three songs as well : "Communication Breakdown" : features a small middle-part with a bit of the known section "Squeeze My Lemon". Rather unusual and therefore interesting of course. Then "The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" which is an unreleased song so far. It will be the only live performance of this track (originally a blues song written by "Sleepy John Estes". This song sounds quite rocky. Actually they re-write the musical part (which almost sounds as the "Moby Dick" intro) but kept the original lyrics. Not bad a number I have to say. "Something Else" is a rock'n'roll cover from a number written by Sharon Sheeley and Eddie Cochran (Sharon was his girlfriend and was flying in the same plane as Eddie while it crashed. She survived but he died on the next day. Honestly, this number is not a great one and is only a curiosity. I guess that it was put here on purpose since extremely few recordings of it existed. There was one additional song played during this recording and not featured here : "What Is And What Should Never Be".

3. TOP GEAR : recorded on June 24th, 1969 and aired on June 29th.

This is the most interesting part of CD1. It features four tracks of which "What Is..." but above all "Whole Lotta Love". This is the first broadcast of this fabulous song. Format is like the studio version but rawer, straighter. It is my favourite version of this all-time high. The other two songs are "Travelling Riverside Blues" which features a section that will be used in "The Lemon Song" and another version of "Communication Beakdown". these four tracks were the complete recording.

4. ONE NIGHT STAND - PLAYHOUSE THEATRE : recorded on June 27th, 1969 and aired on August 10th.

It was just two days ahead of their first appearence at the Royal Albert Hall. Four track as well from these recording. A third version of "Communication", "I Can't Quit You Baby", an extended version for "You Shook Me" and another highlight of CD one : "How Many More Times". The full concert lasted for about an hour. It will include "Dazed" (in an extended format already) and "White Summer/Black Mountain Side".

To be honest with you, I almost never listen to CD one in its entirety. There are really too many pure blues moments featured here for my ears. Also several redundancies (three times "Communication and twice "Can't Quit You" and "You Shook Me". But these are almost everything Jimmy could gather from these recordings. So, it is rather a document (with good audio quality) than a real great live moment. This will considerably change with CD two.

CD TWO : PARIS THEATER, LONDON. Recorded on April 1st, 1971. Broadcasted on April 4th. Originally planned on March 25th, the show was rescheduled as Plant had a voice problem.

This CD is more consistent of course. Recorded in one session. The band has already gained an incredible fame. They had released their third album some six months ago and they were already busy with the sessions of their fourth one which started in December 1970 (in the same studio than Jethro Tull for "Aqualung"). Three songs from their future album will be performed and were completely unknown to the audience.

This concert starts with "Immigrant Song". While the band shows an incredible power, the vocals from Plant are somewhat weak (specially the "screams" section which is really poor - sorry Robert). Page displays a great guitar solo, unfeatured in the studio album. It's funny to compare the end of the track when the following number "Heartbreaker". It sounds exactly as on their second album when "Livin' Lovin' (She's Just A Woman)" ends and "Heartbreaker" starts. One track abruptedly stops, while the other one powerfully starts. Die-hard fans will understand what I mean. If not try and listen to both sequence. It will be obvious to your ears. "Heartbreaker" : one of their most violent studio number. You can imagine how it will sound on stage ! Raw power (not mimicking the Stooges...). Still, Led Zep will offer a rather moment here : while this song rocks like hell, there is a short, slow break in the studio version. Led Zep will almost always include this part in "Heartbreaker" : a subtle, short excerpts of a Tull classic : "Bourée". Yes man, "Bourée" in the middle of "Heartbreaker". Would you believe ? This is a great example of how Led Zep could combine the heaviest rock with delicate music. Almost unmatched (actually, Purple will also do these combinations on stage when Lord would play almost classic numbers as introduction to Purple anthems).

"Since I've Been Loving You" is one of the two songs I like the lost in the Led Zep repertoire. This live execution is brilliant. Page offering an incredible and passionate solo. One has to recognize that this concert might well be one of their best ever in terms of track listing, feeling, punch, mastery and technicity. Plant is so emotional, maybe even more than in the studio version. This is a great live version.

Next song must have been quite a shock for the audience. How fortunate they were ! This reminds me the concert that Deep Purple will play on 9th March 1972 in the same studio. They will play almost the entirety of "Machine Head" a few weeks ahead its release. We'll have the same here with the next song. As if the band was willing to mislead the audience, they will play the intro of "Out On The Tiles" and switch to ... "Black Dog" ! I have never heard a rawer version than this one (the sessions are far from being finalized but the song is almost ready for release already). Really powerful, mighty I should say. GORGEOUS.

Some wild extravaganza now with "Dazed". "Only" 18'36". It's maybe not the best official release (the one on "The Song Remains The Same" is even more exhilarating) but it is a damned good one. Page is again very wild during the long instrumental part. You really need to listen to it a FULL volume to get its power. If this is prog, I can enter the seminar and pray the rest of my life to be forgiven of my ignorance. This is hard, heavy rock. In all its grandeur. INCREDIBLE. As I have mentioned in my comments for the first CD of this effort, the extended version of "Dazed" is only appreciated by die- hard fans. It could be extended to over forty minutes. So, this one might be a good compromise : not too short but not too long (still almost twenty minutes). Another highlight (but each number featured on this CD IS a highlight, except the last one, probably).

Second BIG surprise : the first ever broadcast version of "Stairway To Heaven". Format is almost identical as the original will be a few months later. Again (but this is a general remark for both CD's featured here) : raw material. The audience discovered this number with such intensity, almost religiously. When the song is over, one can easily perceive the emotion coming out from the audience. Applause are stronger than for any other numbers. Something special took place that evening. Something strong. The birth of a myth.

Since their last album featured alomost a whole acoustic side, Led Zep will usually play an acoustic set (three to four songs). During this concert, we'll have two of them : a new one "Going To California" (unreleased so far and to be available on their fourth album) and "That's The Way". This was a expected moment during the concerts. A moment to breathe a little bit. After such powerful songs, it was like getting some fresh air to be able to survive to the rest of the concert. In this case "Whole Lotta Love".

The format for WLL will vary according their inspiration. On par with the original track (like the version featured onthe first CD) or extremely extended (almost twenty minutes). During these extended versions, the middle part will feature some old blues covers or at times some good old rock'n'roll ones. In this one we'll have a bit of both with "Boogie Chillung", "Truckin' Little Mama", Fixin' to die", "That's Alright Mama", "For What It's Worth", "Mess O'Blues", "Honey Bee", and "The Lemon Song". A great compilation work I must say. It is said that both "Truckin' Little Mama" and "Fixin' to Die" were edited in from an earlier show.

This fantastic CD ends with "Thank You". This song will not be broadcasted. There is an incredible guitar solo from Page. Really hard. It sounds miles above the nice and gentle studio counterpart : rockier, extended : beautiful. A nice way to say "Hello".

The complete concert featured a few more songs : "What Is And What Should Never Be" and the closing number "Communication Breakdown". But even the CD format couldn't hold them. Since both songs were already present on the first CD, it was a logical choice to drop them here.

IMO, CD two is a great "official" Led Zep live recording and deserves the five stars rating. Wild, raw, brutal yet tranquil at times. This is Led Zeppelin how I love them. As hard as you can get. Around three percents of the music here might be considered as prog-related.

Four stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Precious few broadcast documents of Led Zeppelin can be found, and until recently, none of them in an official release. The BBC Sessions capture the essence of early Led Zeppelin as its rawest and freshest. [opening sentences of the CD's sleeve notes by Luis Rey, London, 1997].

I owned the CD quite late after the CD was available in the market with one assumption: I had had enjoyed the excellent live record under previous double CD "The Song Remains The Same" that showed the band's live performances at Madison Square Garden. The live record had made me satisfied so that I doubted the other live record in its "rawest" style would satisfy me as well. That's why I was no so anxious about this BBC Sessions. When the album was displayed at a supermarket, while I was shopping other things, I saw the retail price was quite cheap so I just purchased it. Oh man . to my surprise, this double CD album is superb! Oh yes, many of songs I had known them before but there were couple of tracks that I had no clue at all like "The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" (3:00) captured at "Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae", recorded 16.6.69 and transmitted 22.6.69; "Traveling Riverside Blues" recorded for "Top Gear" on 24.6.69 and transmitted 29.6.69; "Something Else", recorded 16.6.69 and transmitted 22.6.69 for "Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae".

What surprised me was the excellent sonic quality of most of songs (even all of them) featured here. While musically, I find that the interesting point for live performance is the different nuance and style (especially with Page guitar work) from one performance to another. You can even see from the tracklist that "Dazed and Confused" was captured twice with totally different style, looking at the track duration - from 6 minuter to 18 minutes!

It's definitely an excellent addition to any rock music collection, especially for those who love blues-rock and/or classic rock. Keep on rockin' ..!

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Led Zeppelin fans were hungry for band's live recordings for years because of lack of official live releases. This space was filled with different bootlegs though.

BBC Sessions is release, which at last covered all this area - double album is compilation of almost all possible known band's early live recordings. First album contains very early sessions from 1969, from few different shows. This is an excellent possibility to hear band playing raw and heavy blues-rock, still very angular, showing its roots. As always early Led Zeppelin can't play bad, so compositions are great, and all recordings sound really interesting. But - whenever there are recordings from few different dates, some songs are repeating, recording and especially mix quality is not always good. Being a great legacy for band's hard fans, CD 1 is not so interesting for just casual listener (I believe first studio albums are better in all cases).

CD 2 is different case. Recorded live in 1971, it contains one of the best band's recordings ever. Excellent psychedelic folksy and funky blues-based heavy rock is their trade mark, and they play it live at the highest level there. Musical material beside of early songs contains some fresh and more different material.

I believe if it will be possible to have CD 2 only, it will be a great live release for fans and new listeners as well. As double album, this release still stays excellent band's legacy for collectors, but possibly a bit overloaded release for newcomers. Still a really great release in whole.

Review by thehallway
5 stars A wonderfully fruitful chunk of early Led Zep history; rare within their minimal discography.

The sessions on disc 1 capture perfectly everything that the 1969 band was about: hard yet funky electric blues rock drenched in howling impulse guitar and sexual vocals. The rhythm section is as tight and groovy as on the first two studio albums, and Plant chucks the phrase "Squeeze my lemon..." into almost every song. We have various live cuts, mainly from the debut but with a couple from 'Led Zep II' and some unreleased songs; it is therefore both of high quality and freshness (even the familar songs deviate from their studio counterparts, with the loose improvisational style that embodied the band at this time). Collectors/diehards will be in heaven with some songs appearing twice ('Communication Breakdown' three times) allowing for critical comparison, or simply more variety for those with the "I want as much material as possible from this band" approach. It may isolate lesser fans but hey, that's what the skip button is for!

And if over an hour of blues in the key of E demands for some variation, then disc 2 has that covered nicely. It is a ten-song set from a live gig in 1971, featuring an amazing choice of songs that are pretty much evenly distributed from the first four albums (a personal shame that none of 'Houses of the Holy' is here, but the cream of that album would appear on the concert film 'The Song Remains The Same' anyway). The first few songs vary in interest, with most being an improvement on the original songs, but 'Since I've Been Loving You' lacking it's earlier power unfortunately. 'Dazed and Confused' is 18 minutes long, actually considered medium-length for this song, and has some nice spontaneous moments. 'Stairway...' and the remaining acoustic tracks are well-chosen and well delivered, but I have heard better versions of the famous epic. And in a brown-bomber finale, 'Whole Lotta Love' and a rare but beautiful 'Thank You' close off the album. The world-tour days and beyond would never see a set-list quite as interesting and varied as this one. It also has a very clean and intimate sound (the venue wasn't massive) and no weak tracks at all. Some are indifferent to their original versions, but that by no means makes them bad.

This unique capsule of early Led Zeppelin has been unmatched in it's variety, charm, and energy. There's two and a half hours to indulge in, much of which will be new and exciting. In performance, this band was quite a different beast. If only for the intimate nature of the recordings, I thoroughly recommend this gem.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Absolutely wonderful. The disc 1 proposes some excerpts from different mini-shows at the BBC, 1969- 1970 (that's why there are many songs which are played twice or triple, as Communication Breakdown or You Shook Me). The disc 2 proposes the entirety of one show at the BBC, 1971, and in this secon ... (read more)

Report this review (#164067) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My favourite Led Zeppelin compilation! "BBC Sessions" is an excellent 2 CD compliation, that captures the essence of early Led Zeppelin at its rawest and freshest. Really, few broadcast documents of Zeppelin can be found, and until recently, none of them in an official release. First of all, l ... (read more)

Report this review (#101012) | Posted by Barla | Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of LED ZEPPELIN "BBC Sessions"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.