Close the door, put out the light.
No, they won't be home tonight.
The snow falls hard and don't you know?
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They're wearing steel that's bright and true,
They carry news that must get through,
To build a dream for me and you,
They choose the path where no-one goes.
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter.
The pain, the pain, without quarter,
They ask no quarter.
The dogs of doom are howling more.
LED ZEPPELIN: "Houses Of The Holy" LP. THE VERY FIRST UK PRESSING, 28th MARCH,1973.
After eight years of hunting for a first UK pressing of "Houses Of The Holy" in Mint, I have finally bought a stunning unplayed
very first pressed record. In 2010 I sold an unplayed first pressing with 'A3 / B3' maitrix endings,this record has the starting
point of the pressings with 'A2 / B2', shame the paper title slashs or Obi was lost somewhere along the last 45 years, but an
unplayed record is ultra rare.... so rare, I will have to accept not personally playing such a major rarity becaue the next owner
will have the pleasure of being the first to hear the record in nearly half a century.
THICKLY TEXTURED ORANGE & GREEN ATLANTIC LABEL: K 50014.
Complete with the concave and convex inner grooves on the labels, this record is without any doubt the very first UK pressing of
the wonderful "Houses Of The Holy"album
MAITRIX: K 50014 A2 / K 50014 B2 (Machine stamped, not hand scribed, if stamped with the usual CBS streaky finish)
because only the much later re-issues had that. This record has not risen any digits per side from the starting point, placing
this unquestionable as the first of the massive volume manufactured as the first pressings, made before the March, 1973 release.
THE RUN-OUT GROOVES ALSO HAVE 'Sterling' STAMPED ON BOTH SIDES, THE LOGO OF NEW YORK'S FAMOUS
'Sterling Sound' STUDIO WHERE "Houses Of The Holy" WAS MASTERED IN LATE 1972.
OF EQUAL SIGNIFICANCE TO BOTH THE STATUS OF FIRST UK PRESSINGS AND THE STAGGERING SOUND QUALITY
UNIQUE TO THEM, THE VINYL CUTTER'S INITIALS 'RL' ARE HAND SCRIBED ALONGSIDE THE "Sterling" LOGO.
Full maitrix and vinyl cutting details below, better still, you can see those 'Sterling' and 'RL' (Bob Ludwig) logo's together in
in a compiled picture.
RARE VERY FIRST ISSUE, MATT GATEFOLD COVER WITH A WIDER SQUARE SHAPE SPINE, THE PRINTER WAS NOT
CREDITED ON THE COVER, ONLY GENUINE FIRST ISSUE LYRICS INNER SLEEVES HAVE 'MacNeill Press Ltd. CREDIT.
LITERALLY UNUSED AND STORED INSIDE A PLASTIC OUTER SLEEVE FROM MARCH 1973, A TRULY OUTSTANDING
EARLIEST MADE UK "Houses Of The Holy" COVER.
Still very close to how it was first made all those years ago, a stunning cover, without any ageing or the common wear of the
decades, it looks and feels like it was just bought in 1973. Unfortunately the slip over album title band, or Obi, was removed
and discarded, maybe in March, 1973, to my regret, I did the same with my original because England was not used to anything
preventing easy access to the record. Unlike most Japanese Obi's, the thin paper band was printed to be placed horizontally and
and therefore blocked the back compartment's opening edges across the centre. Sad to say, it was just a nuisance back then and
even if you put it inside with the record, it was too wide to fit and obstructed removing and replacing the inner sleeve, so most
people threw it away. After all, this was the first ever Led Zeppelin inner sleeve containing the full LP's lyrics and it also had
two versions of the album title, one printed normally and the reverse side's lettering was backwards like a mirror image, there
was no practical reason to retain what appeared to be, an initial packaging aid only.
Jimmy Page wanted the cover to be like the previous "Led Zeppelin 4"gatefold cover, artwork only and no text on the outside or
the inside. Record companies were wary of not having album titles, artist names or even a catalogue number, especially for the
the spine, so Warner Brothers / Atlantic had the slashes made at the last moment. A very silly idea under the circumstances of the
artwork on the outside and inside, being continued over both panels, it was pulled off to see the artwork. Keeping an unplayed
record was a noble gesture, but that did not not include being unable to see the intriguing outside artwork clearly, or open the
gatefold and look at the internal artwork. The thin paper tore easily and as I said, it was a nuisance in 1973 and today!
THERE IS NOTHING TO DETAIL OR WEAR BEYOND THE SLIGHTEST SIGNS OF STORAGE FROM JUST STANDING FOR ALL
THOSE YEARS. I INCLUDED A CLOSE-UP PICTURE OF THE SPINE EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NO TEXT ON THE SPINE,
IT SERVED TO SHOW THE CONDITION AND SQUARE, WIDE SHAPE.
THE COVER WAS ASSEMBLED AT A SLIGHT ANGLE, IS JUST ABOUT ALL LEFT TO WRITE ABOUT HERE.
THE VERY FIRST EDITION COVER IS IN UNUSED, NEAR MINT CONDITION.
STRICTLY FIRST ISSUE ONLY, MATT EMBOSSED / TEXTURED, CREDITS & LYRICS INNER SLEEVE, ONE SIDE
HAS THE PRINTER'S CREDIT ON THE BOTTOM RIM;
"Printed In England By MacNeill Press Ltd."
BEING UNUSED, THE TOP OPENING IS UNWORN, UNCREASED, CRISP AND SHARP EDGED, UNSPLIT ON THE USUAL
CENTRAL SIDE AND BOTTOM RECORD CONTACT POINTS. HIGHLY ABSORBENT, THICKLY EMBOSSED TOP SURFACES
OF THESE FIRST MADE INNER SLEEVES SEEM TO ALWAYS HAVE A POSITIVE DEGREE OF AGEING EVEN WHEN PERFECTLY
STORED LIKE THIS, IN A PLASTIC OUTER SLEEVE. THE AGEING HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH USE OR STORAGE, I WATCHED
MY ORIGINAL DEVELOP THE SAME AGEING SPOTS, IT WAS JUST THE NATURE OF THE PAPER. IF NOT FOR THAT, I WOULD
HAVE GRADED THIS NEAR MINT, AS THAT WAS NOT FROM USE, I WILL GRADE IT LIKE THIS;
THE LYRIC INNER SLEEVE IS IN EXCELLENT+++ / NEAR MINT CONDITION.
THE LABELS AND THE RECORD ARE LITERALLY LIKE BRAND NEW, NO SCRATCHES OR SCUFFS, FACTORY HANDLING
WAS INVOLVED BUT THAT IS NEAR INVISIBLE IF NOT INVISIBLE.
THE RECORD IS IN VERY RARE UNPLAYED, MINT CONDITION.
"The Song Remains The Same" (Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"The Rain Song" (Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"Over The Hills And Far Away" (Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"The Crunge" (John Bonham / John Paul Jones /Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"Dancing Days" (Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"D'yer Mak'er" (John Bonham / John Paul Jones /Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"No Quarter" (John Paul Jones / Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
"The Ocean" (John Bonham / John Paul Jones /Jimmy Page / Robert Plant)
Robert Plant - vocals & harmonica Jimmy Page - acoustic, electric & pedal steel guitars & backing vocals
John Paul Jones - bass, organ, mellotron, piano, synthesizers, harpsichord & backing vocals
John Bonham - drums & backing vocals
Recorded January /August 1972, Mostly In England:
Stargroves - The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio on an estate in Berkshire, owned by Mick Jagger.
Headley Grange - A studio in Hampshire, England
Olympic Studios in London.
Completed in America, At Electric Lady Studios in New York, the vinyl mastering in New York is detailed above.
Produced by Jimmy Page
Eddie Kramer - Engineering & mixing
Andy Johns - Engineering & mixing on "No Quarter"
Bob Ludwig - Mastering engineer / vinyl cutting
What a long time to go without locating this loved album years, "Houses Of The Holy" is worth waiting for because I refuse to
list this fantastic Led Zeppelin album unless in Mint or at least Near Mint. That has proven to be extremely difficult due to the
heavy playing the record received, the punishment dished out to the gatefold covers and inner sleeves were befitting such a
magnificent and inspired album. To now have an unplayed first pressing record, in an unused first issue lyric inner sleeve and
a Near Mint first issue cover to offer on ebay, a dream scenario for an old Led Zeppelin fan. My first and still original copy was
bought as a birthday present by my brother, he wrote a dedicated and dated message inside the gatefold cover so I have never
replaced it and having lavished great care on the record, the cover and inner sleeve, I have no need to. My big mistake was not
keeping the Obi, as I explained above, most people did the same because it was completely impractical and served no purpose,
plus 45 years ago, it was a very different world in 1973. To say I am rather familiar with "Houses Of The Holy" as the very first
UK pressing is an understatement, I can concentrate fully on pressing details etc. because I simply have to leave this record in
the ultimate unplayed condition. Please see my label pictures for the difintive definition of 'unplayed' vinyl, thickly textured
paper like that instantly leaves marks from spindles, it's not easy to resist the magnetic like compulsion records have always
had on me!
Especially today, "Houses Of The Holy" is a very special album in it's entirety and contains my all time favourite Led Zeppelin
track, the magical and mythical "No Quarter." A Mint first pressing was as tempting as it gets, that spine tingling intro alone is
worth hearing "Houses Of The Holy" for. You do not need to be a Led Zeppelin fanatic to demand audio perfection from a first
pressing, but to appreciate how stunning it sounded in March 1973, you do need a UK first pressing. I mentioned a vinyl cutter
logo in the run-out grooves to identify these first issues, but never forget to acknowledge how Bob Ludwig made a fantastic job
of mastering a track like the deep, mood intensive sounds of "No Quarter" but he also applied his skills to the joyous, infectious
melody of "D'yer Mak'er," what an album this is!
However talented any band were, trying to follow up their 1971 "Led Zeppelin IV" or "Four Symbols" album required the level of
inspiration that would have been a daunting task for lesser mortals. As ever, the band drew the necessary inspiration from their
fans and even the album's title was their way of thanking those who attended the concerts, I know the stunning mystical artwork
outside and inside the gatefold cover is deemed as being connected with the LP's title, but the band were naming the sites of the
concerts as the "Houses Of The Holy." The track actually titled "Houses Of The Holy," never even made the album and the 1972
recording sessions were so fruitful,"Walter's Walk", "Black Country Woman" and "The Rover" made it four tracks considered to be
surplus to requirements and would be released on later albums. The days of Led Zeppelin relying on blues standards or re-writes
were now over and it was no surprise their next studio album in 1975 would be a double, "Houses Of The Holy" was their fifth and
last released on the Atlantic label, since 1971 it had been re-designed to a green and orange colour. Which in itself has become
a problem today because the colour scheme remained unchanged for the next few decades, leading to the majority sold on ebay to
the uninitiated as the 'first pressings', being either later 1970's UK re-issues or the far more commonly found, German imports.
The same is true for all the subsequent titles released on the 'Swan Song' label, from a 'sound' perspective "Houses Of The Holy"
represents the point the band now spent a greater deal of time and care over the production, so much time you can trace the first
attempt made at recording "No Quarter," all the way back to early 1972 at Headley Grange, a full year before the album would be
released. I had better steer clear of what is really an area fellow bootleg collector's have knowledge about, instead I will have to
concentrate on UK first pressings, there should never be a problem identifying first pressings when all the facts are laid out.
out. Does it really matter? An emphatic.... 'Yes!!'
The fantastic sounds heard on these genuine UK first pressings were never again mastered to that mentioned absolutely stunning
pressings level of audio perfection, massive power and impact, by that I am referring directly to the original analogue sound, as
I first heard in March, 1973. I need to briefly return to the fodder of bootlegs, initial earliest recordings began life as demo's,
and really owed a great deal to the fact Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones belatedly had recording studio's installed in their homes,
so the arrangements were very near complete before the band set about the sessions. Pete Townshend was working in exactly the
same way, which meant the Who could listen to the songs as fully arranged demo's before applying their special interpretations
and a musical chemistry did the rest. For Led Zeppelin, it did not rest there either, there would also be input from two of the
world's finest recording and mixing sound engineers, from England Andy Johns for "No Quarter" and from America, Eddie Kramer
for the rest of the tracks. A third name enters the equation and ties us directly into the UK and USA first pressings, I am only
dealing with the British records, made before the release date in the early Spring of '73, in other words the first pressings or
first editions / originals etc etc. because they were on sale on the release date. Regardless of the actual order they were being
manufactured in, they were distributed and bought regionally in Great Britain at random and we bought them....at random. A new
younger generation of vinyl collecting has been a refreshing addition, the enthusiasm began at record fairs when CD's arrived and
ever since the internet has widened the interest. "Houses Of the Holy" was scheduled for a January release but the album artwork
was not the one originally presented to the band by Pink Floyd's artistic album cover and programme designer, Storm Thorgerson.
Thorgerson had designed a bizarre tennis court scene, hardly in tune with, "The winds of Thor blowing cold," or to their previous
covers, the implication of a tennis racket, was the music was also making a 'racket.' Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis was brought
in, the fantastic outside artwork, seen in full in my pictures opened out, was arrived at after taking photo's in Northern Ireland
at the 'Giant's Causeway.' For the inside panels of the gatefold, Powel stayed close to the 'Giant's Causeway' and two figures
with a child being held above head height, were imposed onto a photo of the crumbling ruins of Dunluce Castle. The delay in the
re-designed artwork caused the extra delay until March, 1973, in reality, "Houses Of the Holy" was very much a 1972 album.
As well as the great Eddie Kramer's full involvement, Bob Ludwig in the USA is,acknowledged as one of the world's finest vinyl
cutting / mastering, has his logo 'RL' hand etched onto UK first pressings, we had our own 'Pecko/Porky' on "Led Zeppelin 1V'
and other great albums, like John Lennon's "Imagine" in 1971. So much to tell here, George 'Pecko / Porky' Peckham did get
involved with "Houses Of The Holy" but years later and by then the Atlantic label had a distinguishing feature that makes those
later re-issues simplicity itself to identify, 'Pecko / Porky' is on the later UK re-issues not the first pressings. So much later,
they even followed the release of the follow up double LP, "Physical Graffiti. " Ludwig's legendary status with Led Zeppelin
began in 1969 with their second album, first USA pressings also bearing his 'RL' logo in their run-out grooves are highly sought
after, due to the sheer power and the sonic properties he embedded into the grooves. Various stories circulated about either the
daughter of the Head of Atlantic Records who's copy jumped, or just other complaints because his loud mastering proved too much
for average cartridges to handle, particularly on Side 2. Two features on these genuine UK very first pressings or first editions
identify"Houses Of The Holy" in the run-out grooves, the logo of the famous New York studio who employed Bob Ludwig, have their
"Sterling" logo stamped next to where 'RL' etched his own logo. Pictures do help collector's, you can see those by scrolling up.
The labels also have part to play, they are distinctively textured and normally 'pitted' in places, there are also four concentric
circles with raised ridges unique to the first pressings. I still see blatant re-issues from late 1975 onward, with a circled late
logo on the rims at approximately 2 o'clock, being sold as 1973 'first pressings' on ebay. Right from their 1969 debut album,
every single UK Led Zeppelin LP has distinguishing features for the very first pressings, and their connected printing for covers
and any inserts or lyric inner sleeves. Once established as major selling artists, anticipation of their huge sales, had Atlantic
busily accumulating enough records and printed items in vast numbers in preparation to meet the demands a new album brought.
They were also working overtime to publicise and promote the first new Led Zeppelin album for two years, at the very beginning
of multiple printing and pressing ,there will be found positive differences, I am not just referring to German pressed imports after
1973, they were brought in immediately the pre-prepared UK initial batch were sold. During the actual long sequence of the initial
batch, those right at the front of the manufacturing queue had differences unique to them alone, "Houses Of The Holy" was a No.1
LP in Britain and remained in the charts for over four months of intensive sales, then continued as a regularly re-issued album
to this very day.
The very 'first of the first' made gatefold covers, were made with a much wider spine and the finish was almost completely matt,
all that stood between severe wear, rubbing/ring wear was an ultra thin sheen, amazingly this still has the ultra thin 'top skin',
thanks to a plastic outer sleeve being used from day one. During a very long printing run before and not long after the release,
a positively shiny top surface became the standard, by the 1980's pre-bar codes, that became even shinier but of the plasticised
kind, no longer lamination. With the usual excessive playing of the record, constant handling soon wore those matt covers and
the fantastic artwork on the outside and inside deteriorated into a shadow of their former glory. Ring wear became drastic and the
spine, the edges and corners became just as battered as the records, like the previous 1971"Four Symbols", the gatefold covers
came without even an album title, a catalogue number, track listings, credits or even the artist's name found anywhere on the
inside or outside of the gatefold cover. Including not having a catalogue number or a record company's logo, the spine had the
continuation of the artwork between the front and the back panels. First issues came with a band slipped across the centre but
unlike Japanese Obi's this was printed vertically not horizontally. I noted this above, but without a record to play I am giving
full attention the details as important as this, the title bands were nothing but a nuisance, every time a record was accessed or
replaced the strip had to be removed first, it soon tore or more likely became discarded. Beware of seeing then looking too good
to be true because they will be the 1980's German re-issue Obi's taken and placed on original covers, the catalogue numbers
are wrong and so is the fact they have "Made In Germany" printed on the backs. The same happened to this copy so it no longer
exists, but those titles and album credits were comprehensively covered on a superb lyrics inner sleeve.
Here is another major difference, these very first made covers came with a textured, embossed inner sleeve, in truth they were
very weak, the record's edges soon split the bottom and both of the sides. They were re-designed to being made from far stronger
matt , non ntextured paper, next it was onto a shiny paper type all the re-issues have. Thanks to this record only being unplayed and
perfectly stored for the last 45 years, not only is this first issue inner unsplit, there are no creases and the record impression is
so gentle it prevented any of the printing from being worn or scuffed away. The textured paper has a consistency of absorbent
blotting paper, even left inside they still absorbed the atmospheric humidity, this has ageing but unused means totally unworn,
uncreased, and unsplit is extremely rare....unless re-issue switching raises it's ugly head. This far into describing the inner, I
may as well describe the fantastic condition cover with a few more details as I am being starved of the music.
Not that this take very long because there is no wear and even the common fading of the colours was prevented but such caring
storage and no handling in all those 38 years. The outside's art work runs from the front in a continuous painting of young blonde
children scaling the ancient stones, in reality only two were present for the photography, it was possibly inspired by the lyrics
on the album's masterpiece and centerpiece, "No Quater". With still vividly bright colours on the surreal scene, the tangerine
sky was maybe drawn from Lennon's imagery within the lyrics to "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". I think I have exhausted all
information, for the first time I have slipped out of factual details by suggesting a tangerine sky was inspired by John Lennon.
A surreal note is the best way to sign out from describing this wonderful, ultimate condition first issue "Houses Of The Holy."
R & M RECORDS.
My lifetime's love of music and records began at a very young age, the arrival of the Beatles and the 1960's decade
in general had a very profound effect. It was only natural to bring all my first hand experience of collecting vinyl
into becoming a professional record seller. Nearly thirty years ago we entered into the wonderful atmosphere
of record fairs with the highest possible standards set. When the Internet became the world's new market place for
vinyl, in 2001 it was time to join ebay. Those standards were rigidly adhered to as they will always continue to be,
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and very efficient service we are proud to provide;
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