Reviews

Led Zeppelin’s Anthem – Theresa Smith

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Album: Anthem
Year: 1975
Label: Unreleased
Catalog : 000000

Perhaps no other album in the history of British rock has generated more speculation and less certainty than Led Zeppelin’s 1975 lost progressive folk opus, Anthem. Even the fate of the original master reels is widely disputed. Well into the ’90s, it was rumored that everyone from Roger Waters to Kim Fowley owned the tapes, with Robyn Hitchcock famously claiming in a 1978 interview to have run them over with his Renault. A box of reels discovered in a pawn shop in Coventry were suspected to be the lost tapes, but were later identified by Andy Ellison as a John’s Children demo recorded at half-speed. During a 1997 interview in Bateria Total, Carmine Appice repeated John Paul Jones’ purported claim that the tapes were confiscated by Indian officials during the 1976 tour. Among the less reputable rumors is the story by which Jimmy Page himself hid the master reels in a Louis XVI vase in his front hallway during a periodic police raid on his secluded residence deep in the Black Hills. The antique vase was subsequently sold at auction to Sir Alec Douglas-Home and remained in his possession until his death, whereupon it was donated as part of a large collection to the British Museum, with the tapes still concealed inside. With apparent mistrust in the ability of a professional appraisal to reveal two quarter-inch reels lodged inside the mouth of a vessel worth approximately 1.5 million British pounds sterling, some Zeppelin fans have made the arduous pilgrimage down Great Russell Street to pay homage to the lost album. Forbidden from congregating or erecting temporary structures within the museum, the pilgrims settled for doling out ceremonial names to the other artifacts and historical ephemera surrounding the vase. Thus, a tricorner hat belonging to Peter the Great, worn on his landmark visit to the British Isles in 1697, and located in a glass case to the immediate left of the exhibit, has been christened “Roy Harper”. Other artifacts include a fragment of an 8th century Moorish building named “Crowley”, an Elizabethan saltcellar named “Frodo”, and a 10-foot statue of a winged, man-headed bull referred to as “Tangerine”.

Perhaps the only clue to the true nature of this missing link can be found in the putative tracklisting  revealed by John Bonham to Mickey Dolenz at the fabled Rainbow Room in 1975. It is left to us to imagine what might have been.

Tracklisting:
1. Morning Song
2. Blues For Dead Che
3. Tallahassee Lassie
4. St. Peter’s Golden String (mono)
5. Terry O’Riley
6. Black Is The Color (Of My True Love’s Hair)
7. Onion Pie
8. The Fountainhead