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Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won album cover
4.37 | 251 ratings | 13 reviews | 56% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Live, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. LA Drone (0:14)
2. Immigrant Song (3:42)
3. Heartbreaker (7:25)
4. Black Dog (5:41)
5. Over The Hills And Far Away (5:08)
6. Since I've Been Loving You (8:02)
7. Stairway To Heaven (9:38)
8. Going To California (5:37)
9. That's The Way (5:54)
10. Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp (4:55)


1. Dazed And Confused (25:25)
2. What Is And What Should Never Be (4:41)
3. Dancing Days (3:42)
4. Moby Dick (19:20)


1. Whole Lotta Love (Medley) (23:08)
2. Rock And Roll (3:56)
3. The Ocean (4:21)
4. Bring It On Home (9:30)

Line-up / Musicians

Jimmy Page / acoustic and electric guitars
Robert Plant / vocals and harmonica
John Paul Jones / bass guitar, keyboards, and mandolin
John Bonham / drums and percussion

Releases information

Original Release Date: May 27, 2003
Number of Discs: 3
Label: Atlantic / Wea

Thanks to chipiron for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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LED ZEPPELIN How The West Was Won ratings distribution

(251 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(56%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LED ZEPPELIN How The West Was Won reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Australian
3 stars "How the West Was Won" is an amazing depiction of Led Zeppelin in top form. It was compiled from two performances, one in the Long Beach Arena and the other in the LA Forum in 1972, at the peak of their powers. As usual it was met with great success charting at number 1 on the American Pop charts being the first album by them to do so since "In Through the Out Door" in 1979.

The Performance itself is full of powerful energy and the band plays as hard as ever. Some of the magic of the original tracks is lost amidst the crowd and not overly great recording quality. It may just be me complaining but I don't think the sound quality is all that flash hot. As is done in live performances most if not all the songs are adapted to be performed live. This may involve less parts, longer or shorter length and just general adjustments to the music.

In addition to all the good old classic Zeppelin tracks there is also the incorporation of other rock songs by people like Jerry Leiber and John Lee Hooker in some of the 20+ minute pieces. These pieces along with the 19 minute version of "Moby Dick" take up most of discs 2 and 3, while the first disc contains many of the legendary classics of the band.

Jimmy Page really seems to dominate this set of performances with his powerful and sometimes hectic guitar playing. John Bonham's drum solo on "Moby Dick" is what one could call repetitive but it shows skill. John Paul Jones' Mandolin of "That's the Way" sounds beautiful when combined with the acoustic guitar and his bass work is good throughout the album. Lastly, Robert Plant's vocals are over the top a little here and lack some of the original magic which can be found in the studio versions of the Led Zeppelin tracks.

I'm not sure what others think of this album but I for one quite like it as a whole and although it runs for a very long time it is well worth listening to now and then. Not too often though. All that said some of the variations and live gimmicks of the band detracts from the overall wonder of the album, therefore I give "How the West Was Won" a high three stars. Every hard-core Led Zeppelin fan would enjoy this, also check out the DVD version also! The dynamic packaging looks really cool. Good, but non-essential

Review by ZowieZiggy
5 stars Two live albums were released to highlight the band's performances on stage prior to this one. Not really very much for a band that was famously renowned for its live gigs.

These recordings dated from two 1972 Californian concerts. Like in "The Song.", Page will use the cut and paste technique but not with such fury, and that's better.

Most of the tracks featured on this triple CD already exist on previous live records. But most of them are performed in such a great way that IMO it is the best live record that Led Zep has put onto the market so far (maybe will Jimmy do some more research for their fortieth anniversary) ?

Plant was rather hesitant in "Immigrant Song" on the BBC recordings. At this time (1971) the song was not as polished as during this tour. Plant sounds great in this difficult song. It is the best live version I know of the band (all recordings considered). Of course, this result was achieved by pasting (from LA) or duplicating (from Long Beach) the "screams" several times There will be the traditional wink to the Tull during "Heartbreaker" : Jimmy Page will play some notes from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Lute Suite No 5" better known as "Bouree". But this will often take place. First part is from Long Beach, the remainder of the song is from LA.

"Black Dog" is also superior to both the BBC and "The Song Remains The Same" (the movie) one. It will feature a wild and great guitar solo. Great hard-rock.

"Over The Hills And Far Away" although being played during their 1973, will neither took place in the film nor in the movie. And even if they played it already as soon as in 1971, this song from HOTH is only featured once on a live album. The acoustic side of the song is almost skipped here. The song is really wild. As most of the Led Zep ones during a live performance. No compromise while on stage : the hardest rock is featured.

All the ingredients of "Since." are running properly. They play it now for more than two years and the complicity amongst the band member is really great in this number. Can you imagine the luck of the audience ? They will hear "Since." and then "Stairway." one after the other. Isn't it heaven ? This will also be the sequence during the original concerts. These are my two favorite songs in the Led Zep repertoire. So, no need for a stairway, just need to listen and you're going there.(I'm sure you see what I mean). This song (one of the very few) will be rendered as it was played without pasting work.

What's make a Led Zep concert rather different than his fellow hard-rockers colleagues is that they will integrate a truly acoustic set which will feature three or four songs. "Bron-Yr-Aur-Stomp" (correctly spelled on the sleeve of this record - not on III) is my fave of the genre : probably because of its rhythm.

It closes disc one superbly. IMO it is the best live CD ever produced by Led Zep. Let's see what is featured on the other two ones.

Two great and "normal" songs "What Is and What Should Never Be" and "Dancing Days". And two of the three highlights of any Led Zep show in the early seventies (till 1973) : crazy versions for "Dazed" and "Moby Dick". Both songs serving as pretext to Page and Bonham to show their skills to a devoted audience. Again, if you're not really in Led Zep, these will be painful moments for you. For maniacs like me, you'll say at the end of each song : oh, it's already over ! These are not the longest of the genre (by no means). Just average in length : only twenty-five minutes for "Dazed" and almost twenty for "Moby Dick". A lot of fun.

Disc three features one of the most interesting long version of "Whole Lotta Love" with a great boogie and rock'n'roll medley. A fantastic moment for this third legendary track (from 1975 onwards, this track will be more standardized again and will be played closer to its original version (which is also great).

"Rock'n'Roll" is again far superior to the version from "TSRTS". It sounds fresher, faster, less heavy. The rhythm is really wild. A great rendition. It is not featured in the proper sequence here. It was the last encore of the Long Beach Arena concert. "The Ocean" while one of the weak tracks of HOTH sounds good live and "Bring It On Home" closes this live album quite remarkably.

It is my Led Zeppelin favorite live album. Of course three songs almost reach seventy minutes (at times they clocked at ninety!) but that WAS Led Zep on stage. Shows will be extended to over three hours of music. No need for supporting act. Led Zep. And only Led Zep. Take it or leave it !

If this had been released in 1972, I guess it would have been considered as another monument of live rock albums like the few ones I have already named in some reviews ("Rock'n'Roll Animal" , "Slade Alive!", "Made In Japan", "Uriah Heep Live" and "Live At Leeds"). Five stars.

I'm sure you can not wait any longer to get the whole track list of these two concerts, right ? Here you go.

LA Forum, 25th June : Immigrant Song, Heartbreaker, Over The Hill, Black Dog, Since I've Been Loving You, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California, That's The Way, Tangerine, Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Dazed, What Is And What Should Never Be, Dancing Days, Moby Dick, Whola Lotta Love, Rock And Roll, The Ocean, Louie Louie, Thank You, Communication Breakdown, Bring It On Home and Weekend (from Eddie Cochran).

In Long Beach, on the 27th, the order of songs will slightly differ (Black Dog being played before Over The Hill). Dazed won't be featured. The concert will stop with Rock And roll.

Five stars.

Ps : Information referring to the cut and paste work from Jimmy comes from Eddie Edwards (thanks to your great job). If you are interested in having the full picture, ffeel free to post me a message. I'll be glad to provide you with his full details).

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I knew this album was released, I immediately thought of the like of the band's "The Song Remains The Same" soundtrack live album which I really love. But when I got this beautifully packaged CD from a close friend of mine who is the best Led Zeppeling collector I have ever seen, Tatan Taufik, who have given me this CD as a gift. Thank you, mas Tatan, You rock, man! I was amazed with this CD package. Not that the songs contained in this package but with overall appearance of the CD. Firstr off, I really love the cover art design depicting the band's members in painting style and it is a reminiscent of the 70s. It made my pulse race faster than usual speed with the fact that the cover stimulated me to the memories of glory days of rock music. Even the cover rocks already! Second, the design of three CDs being put inside the package is also awesome. In total, this is beyond my expectation of any Led Zeppelin release and it's on par excellent with the Flower Kings' "Meet The Flower Kings" combo DVD and CD package.

Recorded live at both the Los Angeles Forum and the Long Beach Arena, "How The West Was Won" showcases the days when one of the greatest bands in rock history was at their absolute peak. "How The West Was Won" captures a time in history when the band was between one of their most commercially successful records and very popular not in the rock community but also those normal music buffs who did not focus their taste on rock music only. This was also what my colleague Tatan had stated when he was as key speaker in a Saturday Night Rock program at FM radio station in Jakarta, sometime in March 2007.

In Disc One of the live set, I found the opening "LA Drone" (0:14) has made a very successful ambient creation just right before the seminal and powerful song "Immigrant Song" (3:42) enters the scene. My oh my . how great the first blast of the music the first time I spun the CD! I could immediately notice the explosive sound, led by John Bonham, the drumbeats are amazingly powerful. Recent performances from Robert Plant highlight his reduced vocal range, but in 1972 he could go balls to the wall and "Immigrant Song" is a perfect example where Plant could reach that others could not.

"Heartbreaker" follows in a mood much better than the studio version. Later comes the second most-played song in the acoustic guitar section of most guitar repertoires "Over The Hills and Far Away." Jimmy Page sets his guitar tone down to an eerie sounds but still electric country feel for the first verse, but as soon as first chorus arrives, the tune explodes into a full-blown rock song. The energy and enthusiasm are much better than the studio version that it breathes new life into a tired song.

At the later part of Disc One, the band plays their great acoustic material from third album. From the way the music is played I can sense that owning a live record of Led Zeppelin one must be prepared to hear something different (or in some cases "totally different) from their studio records. This also happened when I owned "The Song Remains The Song", and now with the "How The West Won" which shows the entire band's ability to improvise their music, from some vocal changes from Plant to alternative solos from Page to bombastic fills from Bonham and beyond.

Disc Two kicks off with a very long (25-and-one-half-minute) performance of "Dazed and Confused" which, sorry to say, very boring and tiring for me especially improvisation part where Page uses violin bow to his guitar. Well, if it's not that long, this track is really great. I can say that the best live version of this song is I think those presented under "BBC Sessions" as they don't have a very long guitar effects solo. The "What Is and What Should Never Be," offers great solo by Page. The band also performed "Dancing Days," which would be be released as a studio track on the next album "House of the Holy". "How The West Won" also features long version of "Moby Dick" (nearly 20-minute duration).

What makes me wondering is the fact that I enjoy the long version of jamming and improvisation in "Whole Lotta Love" of CD Three with a total of 23 minute duration! It sounds cool to my ears with some analog effects, presumably with a violin bow.

Overall, I would say that this is an excellent rock live record with many jamming and improvisations by members of the band and make some songs do not sound like the original studio version. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars Were you disappointed by Sound Remains the Same? Trust me, you're not alone. However, after three decades, Jimmy Page has unearthed a concert from the House of the Holy tour that was recorded with good equipment. The result: a killer live album that proves to younger fans like me what a live monster Zeppelin was. Plant sounds great, JPJ lays down his rock-solid rhythms, Jimmy Page plays every stringed instrument he can get his hands on, and the thunder god John Bonham cements his status as a drum god.

Picking highlights on this massive three disc set is very difficult. Whereas the long improvs of Sound Remains the Same dragged on and were quite boring at times, these extended jams are mesmerizing. Bonham unleashes on his kit during a 20 minute rendition of Moby Dick. At one point he actually tosses away his sticks and hits the kit with his bare hands! What stamina! "Stairway to Heaven", the "Whole Lotta Love" medley and "Dazed and Confused" are Page showcases through and through. "Immigrant Song" and my favorite Zep tune "Since I've Been Loving You" give the spotlight to Plant. Jones, in my opinion, shines throughout; he never hogs the potlight yet he holds the band together.

HTWWW shows how well the band played with one another, and how they didn't get lost in their jams (liek they did on SRTS). Very rarely does a live album stay fun over three discs. The only other two I can think of are Bruce Springsteen's Live 1975-85 and Iced Earth's Alive in Athens. The stunning instrumental prowess is sure to please prog fans, but any fan of good rock should adore this album. I'd rank it up with The Who's Live at Leeds and Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East as the greatest live album of all time.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'How The West Was Won' - Led Zeppelin (9/10)

At three discs, this is certainly an epic compilation of Led Zeppelin live in concert. Listening to it yesterday, I was really amazed by the power the tracks of 'epic length' have. A casual listener might be daunted by the prospect of having a rendition of 'Whole Lotta Love' that has the same length of 'A Change Of Seasons' and '2112' but it just gives the band alot of room to jam around and show a side of the band that wouldn't be appropriate on a studio release.

There's a very good selection of songs here to perform live. While I love the performances of 'That's The Way' (better than the studio version for sure!) and 'Over The Hills And Far Away' to name a few, the highlights are definately the extended jams.

This is not simply a rehash of material that was on studio. Live in concert, Led Zeppelin goes beyond the call of duty and does not simply play their songs, but does something fresh. Usually I'm not one for live albums but 'How The West Was Won' really goes beyond my expectations and stands as being my favourite release from the band.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have been such a huge ZEPPELIN fan since I bought my first LP of theirs at "Sam The Record Man" located in downtown Toronto. It was around 1978 and I was 17 years old. I bought "Farewell To Kings" by RUSH the same day. It's funny how LED ZEPPELIN have lost the shine for me over the years, I suppose i've played them to death for too long. I can't say the same about RUSH though. Anyway back in 2003 when I heard Jimmy Page had unearthed some live material there was a real buzz about it including some excitement from yours truly. When the three disc set from the 2 concerts in California from June 1972 saw the light of day I bought both the CDs and the DVDs. It was like re-living my youth for a few months as I saw and heard my four heroes blaze their way through all these songs I knew and loved.They were in their prime and there was Bonham (God bless him) showing what a force he was behind the kit, and Page the guitar god who seemed to have no end to his talent as he showed off his diverse skills. And Jones on keys and bass who may have been the most obscure member, yet watching him live it shows how valuable he was. And Plant who had a swagger that could make the girls blush, and a voice that every guy tried to mimic.

There are so many highlights that it's hard to pick out just a few."Black Dog" is one I have to mention if only because it was one of the few ZEP songs I wasn't crazy about back in the day. Well the version here is my favourite by far. I first heard this version on the radio and that's when I knew I had to have this. Page offers up some blistering guitar after 4 minutes and check out Bonham 5 minutes in ! "Over The Hills And Far Away" reminds me of high times in the summer. "I live for my dreams and a pocketful of gold". Jimmy's on fire 3 minutes in. Oh and "Since I've Been Loving You" is so well done, this straight up Blues number where Plant and Page really shine. Disc one ends with three acoustic songs in a row of which "Going To California" is my favourite. Disc two features the 25 minute "Dazed And Confused" where we see ZEPPELIN get experimental and proggy. The crowd roars when Page gets out his bow 6 minutes in. Page is ripping it up before 12 minutes and later after 13 minutes.

They break into a new song after 16 minutes called "Walkers Walk" followed by "The Cringe" before coming back to "Dazed And Confused" 21 minutes in. Some nice bass from Jones in the song "What Is And What Should Never Be". Plant introduces "Dancing Days" by saying "'s from our new album (Houses Of The Holy"), it's about summertime and good times". A song us Canadians can appreciate. The third disc opens with "Whole Lotta Love" a 23 minute version and one of the highlights of this recording.They break into a medley as well around 6 minutes and do 4 different songs before coming back before 21 minutes.There's a bit of a BLACK SABBATH vibe with the last song they cover in the medley called "Going Down Slow". "Bring It On Home" is the final track and it might be my favourite of the bunch. Plant's playing his harmonica and the song kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. When it's all over Plant says "See ya".

Back in the day I would have given this 5 stars for sure, but now 4 stars seems the right rating, anything less would be a crime.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For years the Led Zeppelin fan had been hard done by in terms of live recordings, the soundtrack to the film The Song Remains The Same being the only official live album they released. Then in 2003 after much trawling through the archives and remastering etc from Jimmy Page we were rewarded with not only this three disc live album but the ultimate live Zeppelin document, the self titled DVD featuring the best footage of the band ever seen. How The West Was Won can't compete with that but it's still an excellent live recording of one of the most influential bands ever.

Led Zeppelin's blues based heavy rock/proto metal/folk rock needs little introduction to anyone with even the slightest interest in rock over the age of thirty, such is the mark they have left, even thirty years after disbanding after the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.

The most obvious reference point as a comparison with this album is of course The Song Remains The Same, a performance that many who were lucky enough to see the band live at their peak felt was average to good at best. In the liner notes to How The West Was Won Page states "This is Led Zeppelin at its best". Well I disagree as that can be found on the previously mentioned DVD but despite some flaws there's much to recommend here. The performance here has a more energetic feel in the main over The Song.... but it's an overall sloppier performance, particularly from Page with fluffed notes appearing fairly regularly. I have to admit that in the majority of cases the tracks that appear on both live albums, Dazed and Confused being a prime example are superior on The Song.... in terms of performance. Where HTWWW beats it is in the expansiveness of the set which spread over three discs is able to include far more songs which cut out the flab, which lets face it, live versions of their songs often had in spades. This sometimes worked to great effect but when it didn't things could become a little monotonous. Sure Dazed and Confused is just as long, Moby Dick and Whole Lotta Love are twice as long, but interspersed with the shorter hard hitting moments things seem to work better.

For highlights we can go straight to the start of the album with a stonking version of The Immigrant Song followed by an almost equally impressive Heartbreaker. In fact if I could only keep one disc from this set it would be the first which contains the bulk of the shorter songs as well as being the most contrasting. Black Dog and Over The Hills And Far Away are fine versions and after the inevitable Stairway To Heaven they get into acoustic mode for the rest of the disc with the lovely Going To California, That's The Way and Bron Yr-Aur Stomp.

Of the other two discs Dazed and Confused loses its way a bit, especially in Page's violin bow on the guitar section, Whole Lotta Love outstays its welcome, particularly on the rock'n'roll covers and Bonhams, who incidently is as tight as the proverbial ducks throughout, drum solo goes on far too long. Still there's very welcome versions of What Is And What Should Never Be, Dancing Days and Bring It On Home. John Paul Jones is equally solid as Bonham and Robert Plant's vocal performance is an overall strong one despite the odd bum note here and there which come more often when ad-libbing.

How The West Was Won may not be perfect, few live albums are, but is nevertheless an excellent live document of one of the greatest bands to have ever strode the planet. Essential for Zeppelin fans and highly recommended to anyone else.

Latest members reviews

5 stars ........And justice for Led Zeppelin........ Finally, Led Zeppelin has got the epitaph they so richly deserved. It is a well known fact that Led Zeppelin first of all established their reputation on the roads in the USA before their studio albums cemented their status. They came, they conquer ... (read more)

Report this review (#464523) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, June 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars First of all, I am a massive Led Zeppelin fan. I adore Jimmy Page's guitars hooks and riffs and Plants moanful wailing on the mic. Despite having some of the best riffs ever recorded, Page's improvisation and solos are suprisingly poor and very messy. I say this as someone who was taught guitar v ... (read more)

Report this review (#223319) | Posted by lordwatty | Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Here's the best Led Zeppelin live album ever made. Recorded in 1972 in two different places (L.A. Forum and Long Beach Arena), taken from bootleg tapes and newly remixed, How The West Was Won is perfect. What more could I say ? From Immigrant Song to Bring It On Home (better than the studio ve ... (read more)

Report this review (#164066) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I bought the record a cupple of years ago I made few of my friends jelous because they did not have the money to buy it at the time...but I don't blame them, the album is great! it takes you to back to seventies and straigth to a zeppelin concert. the cheers from the crowd add to the expe ... (read more)

Report this review (#121717) | Posted by Pseudonym | Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The best of the Led Zeppelin live albums. For years the only official live album for Zep fans to add to their collections was the disappointing soundtrack album "The Song Remains the Same." In 1997, the BBC Sessions were released, which offered an improvement. However, both would be eclipsed ... (read more)

Report this review (#100877) | Posted by East of Lyra | Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Awesome! Led Zeppelin in the progarchives! I knew they would add them sooner or later, I mean, they had to. I always wondered why they weren't considered in this site, they had their progressive sound with them, although not entirely prog. But, anyway, here they are! I'll start with a review on ... (read more)

Report this review (#100520) | Posted by N-man | Sunday, November 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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