Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition)
by David Chiu
One of the greatest double albums in rock, Led Zeppelin’s opus Physical Graffiti is recently marked its 40th anniversary this month. Unlike other multi-record sets before and after its release, Physical Graffiti doesn’t feel overdone or bloated with just one great song and the rest consisting of throwaways—rather, it’s a seamless collection of one sturdy track after another. Frankly, there’s so much breadth and diversity from this set: from the blister rock of “Custard Pie” and the frenetic “The Wanton Song,” through the hazy and gentle “Down by the Seaside,” and the majestic “In the Light”; to the blues-cum-fiery rocker epic “In My Time of Dying” and the haunting “Ten Years Gone.” Of course, Physical Graffiti is forever remembered for three of the band’s most beloved songs in the catalog: the slink funk of “Trampled Under Foot”; the macho swagger of “Houses of the Holy”; and the mystical and memorable “Kashmir,” which captures the band at its most ambitious and daring at that point. (Personally, the playful, jazzy-tinged “Boogie with Stu” is perhaps one of the band’s most underrated as it is finest) Physical Graffiti shows how much the band had evolved stylistically in leaps and bounds since those first two albums — it still sounds timeless 40 years on. The album’s follow-up Presence, however would provide a challenge for the members. Like the previous installments in the Zep reissue program that began last year, this new edition of Physical Graffiti contains a bonus disc of rough mixes and early version of tracks, including those for “Trampled Under Foot” (titled “Brandy and Coke”), “Driving Through Kashimir,” and an in-progress version of In the Light (named here as “Everybody Makes It Through”).