Released in 1982, two years after the death of drummer John Bonham, Coda was a late goodbye from the rest of Led Zeppelin — singer Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones and founding guitarist Jimmy Page — and paltry closure for everyone else: a mere half-hour of outtakes, including a drum solo. Three tracks were unused songs from 1979's In Through the Out Door, an awkward embrace of New Wave electronics and pop romanticism. The contrast between those songs and Coda's opener, the early-prime bonfire "We're Gonna Groove," was not flattering.
Led Zeppelin’s red-carpet reissue series comes to a messy, intriguing climax with Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda. This latter-day triumvirate documents a period clouded by clashing creativity, debilitating injury, substance abuse and, ultimately, the tragic death of drummer John Bonham—drama that tends to overwhelm the music itself. Sure, by the mid-‘70s, Zeppelin were past their spellbinding Zoso prime, but they never experimented with as much vigor as they did on these three underrated LPs.
In the first six years of Led Zeppelin's existence, they released seven albums' worth of music, and nearly all of it was brilliant. During that time, everything seemed to go their way: they had a bottomless well of songs built on the blues, early rock, British and American folk, psychedelia, and R&B; they had the greatest riff machine the world had ever known in Jimmy Page, and they had hard rock's quintessential drummer in John Bonham. But given their penchant for excess and the hyper-intense life they lived as the world's biggest rock band in the '70s, there was no way it could last.
Though widely and justifiably regarded as Led Zeppelin's three least satisfying albums, these re-mastered, re-packaged and re-released editions of Presence, In Through The Outdoor and Coda actually contain some of the most interesting moments of the band's recent re-issue campaign. Indeed, who'd ….
Fabled lost tracks. Wholly new versions of classics. Final trio of reissues unearths the diamonds. And so to the third act, the denouement; the last tranche of reissues wherein the mothership’s fins had started to loosen, and a slow, drawn-out decline ensued. At least that’s how the ….