1969. A legendary year, we had Joni Mitchell, The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. From their 1969 debut album there has been many remixes, remasters and compilations, Coda being the most successful compilation album to date. The year 1990 saw a remastered version of the debut album emerge, which ultimately sharpened the rhythms, vocals and increased the Jimmy Page-esque guitar solos to new intensities.
‘Good Times Bad Times’ is a killer of an opening track for any album let alone a debut album that puts forward some of a band’s very first work, being a relatively short track for Zeppelin at a meek 2 minutes 46 seconds it doesn’t fail to deliver on impact. With a striking, attention-grabbing drum beat and rolling bass that evokes snake-like winding musical arrangements that is somewhat orchestral in the sudden, short-lived crescendo the bursts forth when you least expect it. ‘Black Mountain Side’ which comes in at sixth on the track-list is an interlude instrumental in the album which oozes Arabian-Nights psychedelia hippy vibes mixed with rock and roll. In live performances this was Jimmy Page’s moment, pulling out a stool the guitarist would sit with his 1959 Danelectro DC ‘Double Cutway’ guitar which was tuned differently from his favourite Les Paul. The over-all Eastern flavour structure of the track is one that was a regular in the setlist for 5 years until it was demoted to every now and then performances, quite like a party trick that Page would whip out unannounced.
Zeppelin themselves are responsible for almost every track they’re ever released, and being a band that had a strict no singles policy, and built their legacy around album orientated releases they couldn’t resist a cohesive album that as you listen coalesces into something that is undeniably what rock culture is. Its performative, its theatrical and 1969 was an album that had zero chills. The songs are either 8 minutes long with extensive verbose lyrics and guitar solos such as ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘How Many More Times’ or they’re short bursts of guitar and howling screaming vocal mania such as ‘Good Times Bad Times’ and ‘Communication Breakdown’. The album has a range, that’s for sure, and the fusion of blues and rock they created in the 60s was ridiculously successful causing them to shoot straight up the charts in UK and US; the popularity of their music is still flourishing as it was back in the original release and at the time of the Remastered, thirty bloody years ago. It is no doubt a favourite and will be so for years and years to come, everyone say thank you, Led Zeppelin. Legends.
Check out the ‘Good Times Bad Times’ remaster below: