This is an incredible item: an official promotional Led Zeppelin album that was never released by Swan Song Records. This rarity, titled “Led Zeppelin Past, Present and Future” has an amazing full-color cover and a test pressing of a 1979 interview with Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. The front shows the famous Michael Ochs photo (in color) of Led Zeppelin standing in a field, while the back has five interesting and revealing paragraphs of liner notes along with record company information.
This was to be a promotional-only release of an interview conducted at the August 11, 1979 Knebworth Festival concert, providing “true insight into Led Zeppelin.” Coordinating the conversation was J.J. Jackson, then of KLOS Radio in Los Angeles and later one of the first MTV VJs. The project got so far as a cover being designed by Led Zeppelin’s record company and a number was assigned (Swan Song PR-342) for production to continue. However, the venture was scrapped and, other than a very few test pressings, records were never manufactured. All covers were destroyed except just three that are known to exist.
This cover (and the other two known to exist) all came from the private collection of an employee who was working at Atlantic Records in the 1970s; a letter on record company stationary confirms that “These came from the Atlantic Production Department. The album was never issued and the remainder of the jackets were destroyed.”
Rick Barrett, a premier Led Zeppelin memorabilia dealer, acquired all three covers of “Led Zeppelin: Past, Present, and Future” in 1993. One was immediately offered to the buying public after being pictured on the front cover of his “Super Led Zeppelin Collectibles” specialty catalog (Number Zep-122). Soon thereafter, two test 12” test pressing LPs with the number PR-342 scratched onto the runoff area of the records were uncovered (one in Barrett’s own personal collection) and those discs were then paired up with the two remaining rare covers. Eventually, one was sold to a collector in Texas in March of 2000, and a Japanese buyer purchased the other one nine months later; both of those covers with test pressings sold for $5,000.00 each. The entire story behind this was documented in “Sonic Boom, The Impact of Led Zeppelin, Volume 1 (Break & Enter)” published in 2008 by Frank Reddon. (Pages 372-373)
This Zeppelin rarity is also mentioned in the book “Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979, 30 Years Gone” (Page 237) published in 2009 by renown Zeppelin author and expert Dave Lewis. It includes a picture of the album cover and states that this is “One of the rarest Zeppelin collectibles.” That is followed by some erroneous information regarding the initial acquisition of the covers, which is correctly stated above. Dave’s terrific Limited Edition numbered hardcover, however does indicate that the proper value of a complete set (album cover with record) would be £6,000.00 (British Pounds), or about $8,850.00…and that was six years ago! Some of the same information is also in Lewis’ excellent 2003 book “The Tight But Loose Files; Celebration II” (Page 62).
Rick Barrett will once again offer one of only two complete “Led Zeppelin: Past, Present and Future” albums (rare cover + test pressing LP); it is being auctioned on behalf of the original 2000 Texas buyer. The starting bid is $6,000.00 and the auction will run until Sunday April 26th, 2015 at 3pm.
Zeppelin collectors, this may be the only chance you ever have to own the rarest Led Zeppelin album in the entire world.
If you would like to add this rare Led Zeppelin item to your collection, then email your highest bid by 3pm, Sunday April 26th to email@example.com. The current high bid will be posted throughout the duration of the auction. Payment must be made by bank or cashier’s check within 10 days after auction ends (by May 6, 2015) or may be offered to the next highest bidder. All shipping details will be available from Rick Barrett.
As high bidder, you will receive:
a) The “Led Zeppelin: Past, Present and Future” LP cover; it is in Excellent Condition with
b) The original white label test pressing record (with matching PR-342 scratched in the runoff on both sides of the LP!); it is in Excellent Condition
c) A Xerox of the original letter on Atlantic Records stationary to Rick Barrett dated February 12, 1993 detailing the origin of the album covers; the back of it has a Xerox of the Atlantic Records envelope sent to Rick Barrett postmarked February 13, 1993
d) A complete “Super Led Zeppelin Collectibles” specialty catalog (Number Zep-122) issued by Rick Barrett in the spring of 1993; this has a picture of the “Led Zeppelin: Past, Present and Future cover on the front (which sold WITHOUT an accompanying record)
Remember, just email your highest bid by 8pm, Sunday April 26th to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to www.zeppelincollectables.com for more images, and to see other items.