Tracks recorded by
members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page with Indian musicians during a visit to Mumbai more than four decades ago will finally be released next month.
The members of the hard rock band visited Mumbai at least four times during 1971-72 while touring Asia and during one of those trips, vocalist Plant and guitarist Page participated in a session with a group of veteran Bollywood session musicians that resulted in reworked versions of the Led Zeppelin songs Friends and Four Sticks.
The recording was done at the EMI Recording Studios in Mumbai’s Pherozeshah Mehta Road with an ensemble that included sarangi player Ustad Sultan Khan, percussionists and violin, shehnai and tambura players. Page and Plant worked with late flutist and composer Vijay Raghav Rao to communicate with the Indian musicians, most of whom didn’t speak English.
Led Zeppelin had not officially released any tracks from the Mumbai session till now though several bootlegs have emerged of the recording. In one bootleg, Page can be heard explaining bars and scales to Rao, who gamely tries to convey his instructions to the Indian musicians who had clearly never collaborated with rock musicians.
A deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin’s final album Coda, to be released on July 31 with two discs of unreleased material, will feature two tracks recorded in Mumbai.
"In 1972, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page took a fabled trip to India to perform with the Bombay Orchestra and now, for the first time, recordings from these sessions will be officially released with dynamic takes on Friends and Four Hands (an alternate version of Four Sticks from the album Led Zeppelin IV)," said a statement on the band’s website.
The deluxe edition of Coda is part of Led Zeppelin’s ongoing release of remastered versions of the band’s nine studio albums. Since last year, the band has released each album with additional unreleased material.
On July 31, deluxe editions of Led Zeppelin’s final three studio albums – Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda – will be released. All the albums have been newly remastered by Page and are accompanied by previously unreleased tracks selected and compiled by the guitarist.
Presence, originally released in 1976, will include an additional disc of five unreleased reference mixes from its recording sessions. In Through The Out Door, the last album Led Zeppelin recorded before drummer John Bonham’s death, was released in 1979. Its additional disc features unreleased rough mixes of every track from the original album.
Besides the tracks recorded in Mumbai, the deluxe edition of Coda will have two additional discs with 15 songs recorded between 1968 and 1974. The oldest track in the collection is the blues jam Sugar Mama, recorded in 1968 during sessions for the band’s first debut but never released until now.