Led Zeppelin Vinyl Records

Led Zeppelin is one of the most influential and successful rock bands of all time, having released highly valued and collectable vinyl records throughout their career. Vinyl records have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and Led Zeppelin vinyl records, in particular, are highly sought after by collectors and music enthusiasts.

Page and Plant playing acoustically in Hamburg, 1973.
Title: Led Zeppelin in Hamburg, Germany 1973. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page. Author: Heinrich Klaffs
Source: originally posted to Flickr as Led Zeppelin 2203730017. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Formation of Led Zeppelin

Featuring Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, Led Zeppelin was formed in London in 1968. They were initially borne out of the Yardbirds. Page who had been a member since 1966 was tasked with finding a singer to fulfil a tour of Scandinavia after the Yardbirds broke up in July 1968.

Initially, he had thought of vocalist and composer Terry Reid as vocalist, but since he was unable to commit, Page turned to an unknown singer, Robert Plant. Plant brought with him drummer John Bonham, whom he had known since childhood. As a session musician, John Paul Jones was already on good terms with Page and had already contributed to The Yardbirds’ 1967 album Little Games. He was therefore a natural fit for Page’s new fourpiece – The New Yardbirds.

After completing the tour of Scandinavia, and upon their return to London, the band took on their new moniker, Led Zeppelin. They were soon hard at work at Olympic Studios recording their eponymous debut album.

With the death of John Bonham in 1980, the band decided to disband. In the eleven years since Led Zeppelin, the band had released a total of eight studio albums. The last was 1979’s In Through the Out Door.

Led Zeppelin (1969)

Often referred to as Led Zeppelin I (presumably because the next two were called Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III), the band’s debut features iconic tracks like Good Times Bad Times and Dazed and Confused.

The original UK pressing on the Atlantic label is particularly valuable because of the cover design. Instead of the orange lettering of later releases, the first UK pressing had the band’s name and the Atlantic Records logo in turquoise. Only 2 000 of these were produced. In 2022, Heritage Auctions, TX sold two of these first pressings for $8,750 and $5,500 respectively.

Also of note is a test pressing released with white labels on each side of the disc, with typewritten information. Included with this auction lot was a letter from June Harris on Atlantic-headed paper introducing the album. An example of this issue was sold, again by Heritage Auctions, for $4,000 in 2023.

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Released hot on the heels of their debut, the band’s second studio album includes hits such as Whole Lotta Love and “Heartbreaker.” A white-label promo release was recalled due to issues with the mastering which created tracking issues when the album was played. It was just too darn loud, or ‘hot’ as per industry parlance.

Complete with a promotional sticker on the sleeve and known as the Robert Ludwig “hot mix”, one was sold by Heritage Auctions for $4,750 in 2023.

Led Zeppelin III (1970)

The third album, imaginatively titled (????), has a cover design showing the heads of all four band members. As for the music, it is an album known for folk and acoustic elements. This was partly because of time spent at Bron-Yr-Aur (a cottage in North Wales with no running water or electricity).

Of course, there are the driven (electric) guitar-driven tracks, such as the first track, Immigrant Song. Then there is the 7:25 minute-long epic Since I’ve Been Loving You.

Whilst copies can go for between $500 – $600, in April 2019, Heritage Auctions sold a signed copy for $18,750. The autographs notwithstanding, it’s a rare version of the UK release, with a seldom-seen orange and purple label.

It has a sticker on the back detailing how the stereo record could be played on mono equipment provided a suitable stereo cartridge is used. The sticker also refers to the year of issue as 1972, so it is a reissued pressing.

Untitled (commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV) (1971)

Led Zeppelin’s fourth studio album is perhaps their most impressive work. Again, they had retreated to North Wales so there is a strong acoustic thread running through it. Instead of a title, Page had decided that each member should design their own symbol, and these would serve as the album’s title.

Page’s symbol looked like the word Zoso and this is another alternative title. The album contains some of the group’s most memorable songs. Stairway to Heaven and Black Dog are stand-out tracks, along with the seven-minute epic, When the Levee Breaks.

At an auction in July 2022, a copy of Led Zeppelin IV signed by Robert Plant was sold for a total of £11,000 ($13,000). The auction house in Worcestershire, England sold five signed albums by the group to the same buyer for a total of around $71,000.

Houses of the Holy (1973)

Led Zeppelin’s fifth studio album contains a much greater range of musical styles than any of their previous four albums. From rock ballads to fifties style rock ‘n’ roll through funk and reggae plus their previous stock in trade, the out-and-out rocker.

Perhaps the standout track is D’yer Mak’er. It’s a cross between a reggae sound and almost a fifties doo-wop style.  The drum work by Bonham is especially innovative and was recorded with three mics all quite a distance from his drum set.

John Paul Jones was less than enamoured with the track, but Plant was keen to see it released as a single. The rest of the band were less keen though, and although it was released in the US it wasn’t in the UK. Advance copies, backed with another track from the album, The Crunge, were produced for the UK market though, and these have been known to sell for around £300 ($420).

As for the album itself in the July 2022 Worcestershire sale, a Robert Plant signed copy of Houses of the Holy sold for $15,000. They generally don’t reach that level though, generally going for around $500. That said, Heritage Auctions sold a white-label mono demo copy for $1,015 in 2006.

Physical Graffiti (1975)

Released on February 24, 1975, Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album is a double album. As had been the case with their previous five albums, Jimmy Page continued in his role as producer.

The album was recorded over several different sessions, over several years. Many tracks are listed as outtakes from sessions for Houses of the Holy and Led Zeppelin III and IV.

The new tracks were recorded in January and February 1974. These include the eight-minutes-plus epic, Kashmir and the only single from the album, the funk-influenced Trampled Under Foot.

Physical Graffiti was the first album to be released on the band’s record label, Swan Song Records. Commercially released copies of the album sell nowadays for around $600 (Heritage Auctions).

In 2021, Bonhams of London sold a gold award for the album and cassette, for £1,147 ($1,600). This had been awarded, in 1975, to Peter Corriston for RIAA-certified sales of 500,000. Corriston was the designer of the album’s record sleeve.

Presence (1976)

Commercially successful, but not acclaimed critically, Presence
was a single album, with just seven songs, albeit coming in at around 44 minutes. Ten minutes of side one is devoted to Achilles Last Stand, a song which uses mythological imagery and references William Blake.

It is also a more literal reference to Plant’s recent accident where he had severely injured his ankle. Consequently, he had carried out his role in recording confined, in great pain, to a wheelchair.

For many, Achilles is the album’s high point. It is regarded as a return to hard rock of their earliest days but doesn’t quite indicate a return to form.

In 2016, Heritage Auctions sold a signed copy of Presence
for $10,625. The signatures were obtained by a fan at one of their legendary 1979 performances at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England. The value of the signatures is enhanced by the fact that the shows at Knebworth were the band’s first in the UK since 1975, due to their self-imposed status as tax exiles.

In Through the Out Door (1979)

This is Led Zeppelin’s eighth and final studio album before the death of John Bonham and their subsequent breakup. Featuring tracks such as All My Love and Fool in the Rain, it was recorded at the Abba studio in Stockholm over two months in the winter of 1978. It was released, finally, on August 15, 1979.

Musically it is a creative shift away from Page and Plant axis to one of Jones and Plant. This is primarily due to the ongoing addictions of Page and Bonham.

The album artwork featured the gimmick of an outer sleeve made to look like a plain brown paper bag. This was probably, but not necessarily, a dig at bootleg album sleeves which would be similarly packaged.

Then there were six different sleeves featuring a different pair of photos which the external brown paper sleeve concealed from record buyers so they wouldn’t know which sleeve they were getting.

Designed by Hipgnosis artist Storm Thorgerson, each picture shows the same scene in a New Orleans Absinthe bar. However, each was taken from the point of view of the different people who appeared in the others.

Then, containing the record itself was an inner dust jacket. This featured black and white line artwork which when washed with water would become permanently coloured.

In June 2016 Heritage Auctions sold a copy of the album, signed by all four band members for $10,625. This was version C of the Absinthe bar view – i.e., from the bartender’s point of view.

It is the brown paper outer wrapper that is signed, in blue ballpoint pen. The record, which was a raffle prize at a May 1980 Motocross event, is accompanied by a colour snapshot of Bonham taken at the event.

The seller of the album, a gentleman by the name of Robert Johnson, supplied a note of provenance, as recorded on HA.com, which states:

“During the 1980s my sons raced Motocross bikes and were members of the same Wyre Forest School Boy Motocross Club, as Jason Bonham, (John Bonham’s Son) the Drummer of Led Zeppelin. One of the events was sponsored by John Bonham who donated all the prizes. Being the signed LPs In Through The Out Door and Presence. I confirm that I won 2nd prize in the raffle, the 1st prize being Gold Disc Record of Swan Song and the 2nd being the records above….All these items were signed 24th/25th May 1980 at the event…”

Coda (1982)

The band’s first compilation album, Coda was a mishmash of rejected tracks taken from throughout their recording career. It was released after the band’s breakup and was considered by their ultimate label, Atlantic Records as a studio album thus meeting the band’s contractual obligation.

In December 2021, a copy signed by the three living members of the band was sold on invaluable.com for $900. In 2007, a gold disc, awarded by the RIAA to recognise sales of 500,000 copies was sold for a similar amount by Heritage Auctions.

Live Albums

In addition to Led Zeppelin’s studio albums, they released several live and compilation/remastered albums. Their stock in trade was live performance, so it is perhaps surprising that they only released four such albums.

The first was 1976’s The Song Remains the Same. This was a recording of their 1973 three-night residency at Madison Square Garden. It is considered by neither critics nor the band to showcase them at their best.

That said, a platinum award copy of the album, awarded to the band’s management attorney, Stevens Weiss, was sold by Heritage Auctions for $3,250 in 2013.

A reissue box set on white vinyl was produced in 2008 in a quantity of just 200, but never distributed. The band had not been consulted first and they were not happy with the idea. Consequently, very few have survived.

According to longlivevinyl.net, sealed copies can achieve £1,300 ($1,630). Even opened copies can make a thousand pounds ($1,250). Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell what colour the vinyl is if it’s sealed, so there may be latent copies out there.

And Finally…

Here is my usual note of caution regarding vinyl records which you may believe to be worth a pretty penny. The value of vinyl records can vary based on factors such as condition, rarity, and demand.

First pressings, limited editions, unique variations, and as we have seen, band signatures all go towards helping to determine the value of a record. Furthermore, the presence of inserts, posters, or other accompanying items can also impact a record’s desirability and value.

You may be thinking of splashing out to buy a highly-priced Led Zeppelin vinyl record or you may one you believe to be worth a lot of money. Either way, please do your research and consult with reputable record dealers or collectors for more accurate pricing information.

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4 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin Vinyl Records”

  1. Led Zeppelin is one of my all-time favorite banks. I actually remember when they came out with their first album as I was in high school in 1969 and a friend brought it to school. I had many types of vinyl from old-time bands including Led Zeppelin but lost them all when my garage got flooded. Oh well, that is unfortunate but I did enjoy them for several years. I saved your site for this article because it contains a lot of great info.

    • Thanks Joseph. Yep, Led Zep are one of the icon bands. When I researched the article, I just loved the reading about certain aspects of their recording methods. John Bonham having multiple mics around his drum kit; disappearing up into North Wales without electricity or mains plumbing.

      It’s a shame about your garage flood. I hope you have been able to enjoy them by other means since. Or even re-collecting them on vinyl.

  2. Wow thanks for this article about Led Zeppelin’s vinyl albums! It’s funny how they are making a huge come back, when we are at the era of technology and AI. Personally, I don’t know lots of Led Zeppelin, but I fell in love with the few songs I know about them. My favorite so far is Kashmir, followed by Stairway to Heaven. I hope that all the fans of Led Zeppelin will start a collection of their vinyls very soon!

    • Led Zeppelin were getting together just as I was born and they disbanded before I was a teenager. Consequently, my discovery of them was through a friend at University who was a fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, just like Robert Plant. So, he was a great influence on getting me into them.

      Vinyl is the best way to enjoy them. It’s not quite as accessible as streaming, but so worth the effort.


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