Roughly a month before the first three Led Zeppelin albums get reissued as deluxe editions, Zeppelin guitarist/producer Jimmy Page received an honorary degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"What a spirit there is here," the legendary guitar wizard told the graduates on Friday during his remarks after receiving a doctoral degree in music at Agganis Arena.
"Music has so much power across so many avenues," Page continued. "To be in a position to do the thing you’re best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can’t be much better than that. I wish to pass that on to all of you. Congratulations with your degrees and lots of success in the future."
Berklee also presented honorary doctorates in 2014 to jazz pianist Geri Allen, R&B songwriter Valerie Simpson and American Music Program youth jazz orchestra founder Thara Memory. Past honorees have included Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler and Annie Lennox.
Of course, receiving his doctoral degree from Berklee isn't the only thing Page can be enormously proud of these days.
A monumental new series of Led Zeppelin reissues will land within the next year: deluxe versions of all nine Zeppelin albums, beginning with "Led Zeppelin," "Led Zeppelin II" and "Led Zeppelin III" on June 3.
In order to make this landmark series a reality, the riff-master and production mastermind spent the better part of the past several years in a London recording studio sifting through each take of every Zeppelin recording, choosing the best alternate versions, rarities, rough mixes, backing tracks, live cuts, you name it, Page told Rolling Stone in a face-to-face interview in London.
“I left no stone unturned,” the iconic ax-man said. “I can’t have anyone else do it because I want it done properly. I dread to think how it could have been thrown together if I wasn’t around.”
When Page found a bootleg of a 1969 concert at the Olympia Theatre in Paris that was broadcast live on radio, he hunted relentlessly for its original tapes. What he ultimately discovered can be heard via the bonus disc of the "Led Zeppelin I" reissue. The nine-song set features seven tracks from the album, including a 15-minute version of "Dazed and Confused."
The bonus disc that accompanies the "Led Zeppelin II" reissue features alternate mixes of five songs from the album, including "Whole Lotta Love," as well as backing tracks to "Thank You" and "Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)," and the previously unreleased track "La La," Reuters reported. That's right, an unreleased track.
And just wait until Zep enthusiasts get a hold of the "Led Zeppelin III" deluxe edition. In addition to outtakes of songs from the album -- the first album on which Zeppelin's moving acoustic material goes toe-to-toe with the band's thunderous electric rock -- there are three previously unheard songs: "Jennings Farm Blues", "Bathroom Sound" and the band's take on the blues classics "Keys To The Highway/Trouble In Mind."
"I see them as companion discs," Page told RS of the bonus material. "They comprise work done around the exact time of each album. They are fascinating to hear and they hold up alongside the original albums."
The reissues of "Led Zeppelin IV," "Houses of the Holy," "Physical Graffiti," "Presence" and "In Through The Out Door" are also ready for the Zeppelin faithful. But when Page discussed those deluxe editions, he said: "I want to surprise people. That's always been my game plan."
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