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Hear Led Zeppelin’s Previously Unreleased Version of ‘When the Levee Breaks’

Atlantic Catalog Group

We’re just days away from the last few releases in Led Zeppelin‘s deluxe reissue series, and the band has offered one last advance sneak peek at the newly remastered and expanded albums by posting a previously unreleased version of “When the Levee Breaks.”

This version will be included on one of the bonus discs appended to the deluxe edition of Coda — which, along with similarly expanded versions of Presence and In Through the Out Door, arrives in stores July 31. As with some of the other alternate takes and rough mixes we’ve heard on previous entries in the Zep reissue series, this “Levee” is noticeably different from its better-known counterpart, which surfaced as part of Led Zeppelin IV — it clocks in three minutes shorter than the final recording, is far less produced and even has a different name (“If It Keeps On Raining”).

Rolling Stone offers a U.S. premiere of the track along with a quote from guitarist Jimmy Page, who looks back on the Led Zeppelin IV sessions by chuckling, “We were living in a house with a recording truck, eating and sleeping music together. We could push everything we were doing, to the point of total extremes like ‘When the Levee Breaks.’ It’s so dense and dark – there isn’t a color to describe it. It’s not black. It’s darker than that.” You can listen to the song below.

In the U.K., “If It Keeps On Raining”‘s premiere is hosted by the Guardian, where they observe this stripped-down recording: “It doesn’t have the grandeur of the finished version, but you can’t help but suspect that scores of early ’70s bands would have killed even to be able to manage this.”

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