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The Song Remains the Same (1976)

A documentary of a Led Zeppelin tour mixed with live concert footage, a unique fantasy, and interviews with those involved with the band.

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Peter Clifton
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Cast

Credited cast:
John Bonham ... Himself - Drummer (as Led Zeppelin)
John Paul Jones ... Himself - Bassist & Keyboardist (as Led Zeppelin)
Jimmy Page ... Himself - Guitarist (as Led Zeppelin)
Robert Plant ... Himself - Lead Singer (as Led Zeppelin)
Peter Grant Peter Grant ... Himself - Band Manager
Richard Cole Richard Cole ... Himself
Derek Skilton Derek Skilton ... Himself
Colin Rigdon Colin Rigdon ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Led Zeppelin
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Storyline

The members of Led Zeppelin are called back from vacation by manager Peter Grant to play Madison Square Garden. The film is enhanced by each of the band member's personal fantasies (hallucinations?), such as the opening scene (which is awfully confusing the first time around) in which Peter Grant, dressed in a 1930s black gangster suit drives a 1930s black Ford to a house and blasts everyone with a machine gun. Written by Michael Silva <silvamd@cleo.bc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In Concert And Beyond

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La canción es la misma See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Swan Song See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints)| 4-Track Stereo (with Dolby noise reduction)| Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The concert footage is based upon Led Zeppelin's Madison Square Garden Concerts. However, the opening of the film, in what is supposed to be the limousine ride into New York City, is actually the Parkway West in Pittsburgh and ultimately goes through the Pittsburgh Liberty Tunnels before cutting back again to New York City. See more »

Goofs

Prior to the montage in Whole Lotta Love you see Jimmy Page playing the Sunburst Les Paul. Moments later you see him walk to the right of the screen with the red one and exchange it for the Sunburst model (which he was already playing). See more »

Quotes

Robert Plant - Lead Singer: [prior to singing "Stairway to Heaven"] I think this is a song of hope.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Stairway to Heaven" is played in its entirely, resulting in several minutes of blackness after the credits have finished rolling as the music continues See more »

Connections

Referenced in Almost Famous (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Whole Lotta Love
Written by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham
Performed by Led Zeppelin
Music Published by Superhype Music, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The movie that immortalized the gods of rock
10 January 2000 | by miked-8See all my reviews

Led Zeppelin was the paradigm for rock in the 1970s, ushering in a new brand of harder rock that served as a bridge between the first wave of blues influenced british bands in the 60s and the heavy metal that defined the 1980s. The magic created by the legendary foursome - Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham - engendered hordes of imitators following their breakup in 1980, and whose music, from blues to folk to indian (and let's not forget pure rock), continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

The Song Remains the Same captures the feeling of a real Led Zeppelin concert, deep into their American tour of 1973. That year saw Led Zeppelin at it's most "professional" to date, which, despite not containing the same the youth-inspired looseness and frenziness of a concert from '69, did nevertheless present Led Zeppelin arguably at it's musical peak, with longer, more extended versions of songs like "Dazed and Confused" and "Moby Dick". The concerts were consistently good from that tour, and in my opinion, their Madison Square Garden appearance here, shown in all it's visual glory on the remastered DVD version, is no exception.

Page is captured in a unremitting show of virtuosity in numbers like "Since I've Been Loving You", "Dazed and Confused", and "Stairway to Heaven". This has to be my favorite version of "Since I've Been Loving You" amongst many others I've heard. The experience is almost emotionally moving, and there is one point where a dazzled young female audience member is shown shaking her head in amazement. The whole band seems inspired enough to put on an incredible version of "Stairway to Heaven", including Robert Plant who is not in top form during parts of this performance (relative to usual standards) - no doubt attributable to the exhaustion caused by dozens of previous concerts on almost as many days by the last leg of the tour. The movie still captures Plant's enduring image as a rock icon, with his golden mane and long bluejeans enveloping legs that sway with as much energy of a young Elvis Presley (thank you Chris Welch for that observation).

The DVD transfer itself does not do justice, though, to the singular official video document ever released of the band in concert (aside from documentary compilations). There are some bad volume fluctuations and other audio problems that are clearly noticeable, especially during "Dazed and Confused", that should have been fixed. Also, despite realistic hopes of hearing the songs remastered for a digital surround sound format, Time Warner settled for Dolby Surround Stereo. This of course is quite disappointing considering the number of other DVD titles encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1, and that one would think a movie in this genre would inherently require the greatest sound technology available. Also, as far as extras are concerned, only the original UK film trailer from 1976 are included, which dashes any hopes for newly released footage.

Still, it's a pleasurable experience to witness four of rock's greatest musicians performing some of their most exciting and celebrated pieces while they were at a personal and professional high. The movie is beautiful, presented in a 1.85:1 ratio widescreen format, and watching it on a large screen television is what DVD was made for. Hammer of the Gods!


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