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How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won

4.7 25
by Led Zeppelin

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While the seemingly endless archive of Led Zeppelin studio material has been tapped again and again since the band's demise, there's been precious little official material to back up their reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their era -- until now. This three-disc set, culled from what was arguably Zeppelin's peak period, specifically over two shows


While the seemingly endless archive of Led Zeppelin studio material has been tapped again and again since the band's demise, there's been precious little official material to back up their reputation as one of the most powerful live bands of their era -- until now. This three-disc set, culled from what was arguably Zeppelin's peak period, specifically over two shows in Los Angeles, 1972. That's hot on the heels of their untitled fourth album ("Zoso") and headed full-bore for Houses of the Holy, a moment when the band were at their most gripping, and most excessive. The latter element is showcased in full flower on a version of "Dazed and Confused" that pushes well beyond the 20-minute mark, with Jimmy Page trotting out virtually every weapon of eardrum destruction at his disposal, from e-bow to distortion pedal to flat-out funky picking. Similarly, the percussive tour de force "Moby Dick" finds drummer John Bonham in full Ahab mode for 18 of the most sweat-soaked minutes in recent live album history. Just as importantly, How the West Was Won demonstrates that Zeppelin knew when to keep things short and sweet: The one-two punch of "Immigrant Song" and "Heartbreaker" that opens the first disc is breathtaking in its galvanizing effect. Although the vast majority of the songs contained herein are well-known (to say the least), there's an undeniable freshness in the alternately playful and fierce sparring in which Page and singer Robert Plant engage on a mega medley grounded in "Whole Lotta Love" and on "Since I've Been Loving You." One part time capsule and one part time machine, How the West Was Won is a must -- not just for Zep-heads, but for anyone interested in where hard rock has been and is likely to head in the future. [Released concurrently is a two-DVD set entitled Led Zeppelin, containing five and a half hours of alternate live footage, recorded at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1970, Earl's Court in 1975, and the Knebworth Festival in 1979.]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
For years, Led Zeppelin fans complained that there was one missing item in the group's catalog: a good live album. It's not that there weren't live albums to be had. The Song Remains the Same, of course, was a soundtrack of a live performance, but it was a choppy, uneven performance, lacking the majesty of the group at its peak. BBC Sessions was an excellent, comprehensive double-disc set of their live radio sessions, necessary for any Zeppelin collection (particularly because it contained three songs, all covers, never recorded anywhere else), but some carped that the music suffered from not being taped in front of a large audience, which is how they built their legacy -- or, in the parlance of this triple-disc collection of previously unreleased live recordings compiled by Jimmy Page, How the West Was Won. The West in this case is the West Coast of California, since this contains selections from two 1972 concerts in Los Angeles: a show at the LA Forum on June 25, and one two days later at Long Beach Arena. This is the first archival release of live recordings of Zeppelin at their peak and while the wait has been nigh on interminable, the end result is certainly worth the wait. Both of these shows have been heavily bootlegged for years and while those same bootleggers may be frustrated by the sequencing that swaps the two shows interchangeably (they always prefer full shows wherever possible), by picking the best of the two nights, Page has assembled a killer live album that captures the full, majestic sweep of Zeppelin at their glorious peak. And, make no mistake, he tries to shove everything into these three discs -- tight, furious blasts of energy; gonzo freak-outs; blues; and rock, a sparkling acoustic set. Like always, the very long numbers -- the 25-minute "Dazed and Confused," the 23-minute "Whole Lotta Love," the 19-minute "Moby Dick" -- are alternately fascinating and indulgent, yet even when they meander, there is a real sense of grandeur, achieving a cinematic scale attempted by few of their peers (certainly no other hard rock or metal band could be this grand; only Queen or David Bowie truly attempted this). But the real power of the band comes through on the shorter songs, where their sound is distilled to its essence. In the studio, Zeppelin was all about subtle colors, textures, and shifts in the arrangement. On-stage, they were similarly epic, but they were looser, wilder, and hit harder; witness how "Black Dog" goes straight for the gut here, while the studio version escalates into a veritable guitar army -- it's the same song, but the song has not remained the same. That's the case throughout How the West Was Won, where songs that have grown overly familiar through years of play seem fresh and new because of these vigorous, muscular performances. For those who never got to see Zeppelin live, this -- or its accompanying two-DVD video set -- is as close as they'll ever get. For those who did see them live, this is a priceless souvenir. For either group, this is absolutely essential, as it is for anybody who really loves hard rock & roll. It doesn't get much better than this.
New York Times - Gerald Marzorati
Here, for history, is the best evidence there is likely to be of just how great Led Zeppelin, on a good night, could be. Here too, for pure listening pleasure, is the thrill of arguably the most influential rock sound of the last 35 years carefeully, deliriously arriving at itself.
Rolling Stone - Greg Kot
It captures Zep in prime swagger, fresh off their masterpiece, Led Zeppelin IV, with Houses of the Holy just around the corner.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Led Zeppelin   Primary Artist
Jimmy Page   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Robert Plant   Harmonica,Vocals
John Paul Jones   Mandolin,Bass Guitar,Keyboards
John Bonham   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
John Lee Hooker   Composer
Jimmy Page   Composer,Producer
Robert Plant   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
John Paul Jones   Composer
Bernard Besman   Composer
John Bonham   Composer
Eddie Kramer   Engineer
Kevin Shirley   Engineer
Ross Halfin   Creative Consultant
Phil Lemon   Artwork

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How the West Was Won 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this is this best live album ever! Even better than Peter Frampton's, "Frampton Comes Alive". You can feel the raw energy of songs like "Heartbreaker", "Since I've Been Loving You", "Stairway to Heaven", "Dazed and Confused", "Whole Lotta Love", and "The Ocean". This is just an absolute wonderfull mess of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. IF you have even thought about buying this CD, just stop thinking about it and BUT IT! I bought it, and I love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Led Zeppelin never sounded better than in DVD 5.1 Surround. The disks capture the essense of live Zeppelin performances, complete with improvizations, long solos and slight variations of familiar classics. My only criticism is of the over-long renditions and tedious drum solos. I would have preferred more, shorter songs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Led Zeppelin album I have bought, and I didn't know it was live until I started playing it. The songs sound a lot heavier and have more power than the studio tracks. Every time I hear a song from this album I am amazed that a '70s band like this was very powerful. I wish I could go back and see that concert.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest bands in the world, with their great sound and music. The CD- How the West Was Won, just shows their musical genius. Led Zeppelin covers all kinds of music, going from blues to hard rock, from jazz to fantasy, from rock’n’roll to just head banging music we all love to hear. In this CD, we hear Robert Plant’s great vocals that gives the sound of Zeppelin’s music. We hear the rocking, shredding, beautiful, awesome, great guitar solos by one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Jimmy Page. Then they are backed up by John Paul Jones, bassist and keyboardist, and then John Bonham, percussionist and drummer. Together, this band puts out a great live show, and as soon as they first song turns on, and you hear the audiences’ voices cheering them on, we are transported to that concert that happened so many years ago. This CD truly gets the led out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this album 2 months and I love it. I'm telling you, Led Zeppelin can certainly do no wrong. The 2 concerts have a good amount of personal favorites of mine (Immigrant Song, Over the hills and far away, Dancing Days, Rock and Roll) plus the epic extended live versions of Dazed and Confused and Moby Dick that traditionally has the mouth watering John Bonham drum solo. I recommend this to both new and old fans.
SS70 More than 1 year ago
You know the story. It's Zeppelin. It's almost a complete concert. It's been offically released (six years ago, at this writing). Oddly enough, even though there was plenty of room left on the CDs, "Communication Breakdown" and "Thank You" are MIA, as is a version of "Louie Louie" which I suspect was part of another performance of "Whole Lotta Love" to which Jimmy Page didn't want to add anything. As for what is there, is Zeppelin's live claim to be the fabled "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World", giving the Who and the Stones some serious competion. Everything one could want from Zeppelin is here, from the subtle acoustic set to the Panzer division marches on the listener's auditory nerves. Disc One is composed of the relatively shorter songs and the acoustic set, while the other two discs showcase the mammoth set pieces "Dazed and Confused" and "Whole Lotta Love". The former showcases the band's improvisational abilities, while the latter is a number-by-number example of how to wind up an audience past the point of no return. Most interestingly, there are many songs here which would wind up on the band's next studio album, Houses of the Holy. There weren't too many bands who would play unreleased material in concert then, and there's practically none now, so Zeppelin scores some points in the nerve department. The sound is excellent, considering that the source is a thirty year-old soundboard tape whose existence had been forgotten by all concerned until the compiling of the Led Zeppelin DVD set. There is no doubting that this is a LIVE album, from the occasional mistake by the band (in their words, they were "tight but loose") and the audience's reaction to what was being placed before them. So, there you have it. It's Zeppelin, live and in their prime. It's almost a full concert album. Hell, "Immigrant Song" alone is worth the price of admission. Go get it. Now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I own the dvd "Song Remains the Same" precisely because as a live album the soundtrack only version (at least the ancient vinyl) simply does not come across as a full decent show in any sense. The dvd at least convinces you visually you are seeing a Zep live show, although close your eyes and blah, mediocre at best; self-idulgent at worst. I prefer the BBC Sessions Live CD precisely because although embryonic, it does rock here and there and has clarity and strength of purpose. Well, ladies & gentleman, HOW THE WEST WAS WON is the best that will ever be, and sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime show (despite being grafted together from a couple of shows from the same tour). The sound is wonderful for 30 years time gone. The performances are mannic, and yet precise without EXTREME bravado, and you can close your eyes and literally be there, forever. This set holds together as one unit better than the current DVD (2003), but I suggest you get that TOO. Thanks boys, and may JB rest in peace, and be proud of this release!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Should You get this album, No Doubt. Its the best thing Ive ever heard. It covers a wide range of songs from the first five Zepp albums. Three Discs of the best music You will ever hear. It even beats there studio matirial. Ill also say that it murders Any other Bands trying the play Zeppelins matirial.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far the greatest live album of all time and the best Led Zeppelin release I have ever heard. From LA Drone to Bring it On Home the great music never stops and if I had enough money to buy everyone in the universe one of these cds including aliens and mexicans I would do it. I'd even give one to John Kerry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WOW...that pretty much sums it up. Zeppelin is just the greatest and most influential band in the history of rock (sorry John, Paul, George, & Ringo...but it's true). It's amazing that it took so long for something like this to be released -- this set gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "better late than never". They were truly pioneers at the time...and are again just awe-inspiring to hear. Your once complete Zeppelin collection is anemic without this set.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is quite possibly the finest disc/album I have ever heard. I didn't think it was possible for Led Zep to get any better, but all the songs on here are better than the album tracks. You will never find any better guitar work anywhere than what is right here on "Heartbreaker". This is the CD that all CD's prior to it and after will be measured. Click the add to cart button . . . now!!!! If you do not love this CD, I seriously doubt you musical listening abilities.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish that I had been around to see these shows. I wore out all their studio albums playin them so much, but this CD ups the ante. This gives me a whole new appreciation for Led Zeppelin. Their prowess on stage exceeds theirs in the studio. Page goes crazy up there, and I feel privledged to hear it. Oh and hearing these boys jam gives me chills... they can jam with the best of em.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is great. I was not a Led Zeppelin fan before I listened to this album. I like them a lot now. It is very different from some of their original sounding stuff, like the juiced up versions we hear on commercials. But, I am so used to the advances of modern music that I prefer the remastered versions much more than the original recordings. I recommend this album to anyone that likes rock music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well worth both your time and money, this is one of the handful of CDs that has blown me away. This is the greatest listen I have ever had, and you should soon find that out for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a Zeppelin fan and you don't own any old bootlegs then stop reading this review and buy this set NOW, you will not be disappointed, trust me. Now, before continuing I must state two facts: 1) I am a HUGE Zeppelin fan and 2) I am a recording musician that plays in a couple of bands. That being said I both loved and disliked this CD due to these facts. My disappointment came from the fact that I own a number of Zepp bootlegs, and many of them were, to put it plainly, better shows. Not that this is a bad Zeppelin show; it is just a rather average show for them at the time. If you don't own any Zeppelin boots and you like this CD then I suggest that you pick some up. As a musician I am somewhat disappointed in the drum sounds on this album. My ears tell me that there was a decent amount of Pro-Tools work and outboard eq'ing on the drums as they don't really sound quite like classic Bonham, they seem to shimmer a bit too much. In fact the overall album seems to have a bit of a “Modern” sound to it overall, which I both like and dislike; I mean I expect this to sound produced, but not in a nu-metal way. All in all this album kicks some serious tail, but they should have kept the overall sound a bit more “vintage”.
Guest More than 1 year ago
led zeppelins best no doubt. Live version of Over The Hills And Far Away is the greatest song i have ever heard
Guest More than 1 year ago
As much as I've always like the band, their live material never lived up to my expectations. So, it was a real pleasure to experience the band sounding as tight and in sync with each other as they are on this CD...they literally could not sound any better. In my opinion, their energy and execution on this CD also blows away their studio work. I suspect Jimmy Page was motivated to dig this material out of the archives after he cut the excellent live CD of Zeppelin material with The Black Crowes. This CD is even better!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this, CD because it's all digitaly remastered, and it has all the good songs. I mean hello, if it's going to be a 3 disc collection, then obviously it's a good CD!!! BUY this CD, I definitely reccomend it!!!!!! You will be satisfied with this CD!!! I SWEAR!!!!! ROCK ON LED ZEPPELIN!!!!!! Also be sure to check out the Led Zeppelin Boxed Set, it's even better!!!! Or Houses of The Holy, that CD kicks guitar!!! It's really cool also, but pretty Much all Led Zeppelin CD's are cool!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Led Zep's "How the West Won" CD, and their two-DVD set has reestablished the boys from Britain as THE rock band of all time. The footage on the DVDs is incredible, giving up-close looks at all four members of Zeppelin during performances throughtout their career. My favorites are the Knebworth sequence, questionably left off the CD set(?). Plant and Page are in rare form, calling-and-responding on vocals and guitar like some 1940's Georgia chain gang. Jimmy Page's use of the bow on a French television show, right in front of a fully-packed orchestra pit is simply mesmerizing, and full of the raw energy Led Zeppelin embodied. There is nothing contrived about Led Zeppelin. The machismo, bravado, braggodocio are all 100% real. Overstatement is not an issue when you are truly one of the greatest talents of all time. How many bands/ performers have tried to emulate and imitate the stylings of the great Robert Plant? How many drummers and guitarists wish they had the chops of Bonzo or Pagey? These DVDs chronicle the career of performers who will someday be remembered as being equally important to popular music as the great composers, such as Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach. Led Zeppelin's music is raw and complex at the same time. It can take you on a journey from an out of the way roadhouse on a Saturday nite, to the icy North Sea with the slash of a guitar riff, the rumble of the bass guitar, Plant's untouchable vocals, and Bonham's thunderous drums. All hail the ferocious four!!! Led Zep lives again!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is teh best set of songs of one band on the market today, it comes with 3 (count them) 3 CD's it is all live and some of the songs have the longest and best solo's ever (especially dazed and confused) this is just a great set for a great price
Guest More than 1 year ago
To capture a bands "live" sound the band must have a "live" sound to capture. Despite my respect for LZ it is with dismay I find their latest "live" material leaves so much to be desired.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd set rocks finally a live album that truly captures Led Zeppelin Im not saying I didint like The Song Remains the same I have it on tape and its definatley good and the songs arent bad on it only thing is songs like Black Dog just dont rock as hard live as they did studio on Song Remains The Same but on How The West Was one blown away this album completley rocks and has the first performances of Houses of The Holy songs which WERE NOT RELEASED YET!!!!!!!!! which is awsome not to mention the hugely extended Whole Lotta Love pick this one up as soon as possible The Song Remains the same definatley does not do Zeppelin true justice do not let it Jade you Of Live Zeppelin they rock just as hard on stage as in the studio.
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