Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

Double lp 6th studio album in die-cut sleeve

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti - cover

My intro into Led Zeppelin came on the same day as my intro to Pink Floyd. Dad and I were sifting through some stock that had come into The Diskery in Birmingham and started to throw out a few LPs we liked the look of. Amongst these was a copy of Physical Graffiti. "Get that", Dad said without looking at it in too much detail. There was no price on the record but we agreed on a tenner and left happy.

As always after a buying trip, the research started in earnest after we'd had a couple of pints and returned home. I knew (and still know) nothing about Led Zeppelin records other than the plum Atlantic Led Zeppelin I with turquoise text is the one to get. My knowledge ends there. I did a quick look up on discogs about prices first of all – as expected, it was worth anywhere between £15 and £200. After checking the sleeve, inners and matrixes it turns out that this was a first pressing and was worth around £150 in this 'very good' condition. Bargain!

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti - labelIn terms of music, it's diverse, challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Side 1 launches into classic Zep; Custard Pie, The Rover (my personal favourite) and In My Time Of Dying are a full onslaught, with their famed bluesy-rock swagger. Jimmy Page has that Gibson under full control and it screams with wah-wah and distortion. The fact that it's a double album really lets the band cover all aspects of their abilities. Kashmir drips with eastern influences, Boogie With Stu and Black Country Woman show their acoustic side, there's an instrumental (Bron-Yr-Aur), and driving funk in Trampled Under Foot.

The record was recorded over a period of months in 1973 and 1974 at Headley Grange. Initial recording was halted when John Paul Jones wanted to leave the band. Once they started they had too many songs for a single album so they 'filled' it with unreleased tracks such as Bron-Yr-Aur and Night Flight. It was eventually released in February 1975.

The die-cut sleeve shows a tenement in New York City, and the wraparound inner (once inserted) spells the name of the album through the windows of the outer sleeve. In fact, the sleeve won a Grammy award in 1976 for 'Best Album  Package' (thanks Wiki!).

The wraparound sleeve is open on three sides and has the track listing and credits for the first record on one side and track listing and credits for the second record on the other. Each of the two outers have different images in the windows of the building which means the image when combined with the outer is a different picture. They also have different window images on the reverse making for a total of 6 different combinations.

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti - rear sleeve

Physical Graffiti was the band's first release on the Swan Song label having been with Atlantic Records beforehand. It's gone multi-platinum and is featured on various 'greatest albums of all time' lists.

Criteria for a first pressing: 

  • Box Cover: The outer cover is of a top loading ‘box’ construction of thick ridged card with the following text printed on the back, top centre: SWAN SONG / 484 KINGS ROAD, LONDON SW10 Cullderstead Ltd., trading as Swan Song A Swan Song/Atlantic recording distributed by WEA Records Ltd., ? & © 1975
  • The group name, record title and catalogue number run down the left hand side spine, viewed from the front, these are printed in red. 
  • Inner Slip Cover: The gatefold 'slip' insert credits "Gothic Print Finishers Ltd., London SE9 2EQ" as the printers, along with the Swan Song SSK 89400 catalogue number and the address "SWAN SONG, 484 KINGS ROAD, LONDON SW10"
  • Inner Sleeves: The Inner sleeves are printed on thick card with a natural untreated grey finish to the inside surfaces. They have SSK 89400/A and SSK 89400/B respectively on the back (bottom right corner) of each of the inners. Later issues were thinner card with a smooth finish to the inside. 
  • Labels: The labels are the easiest identifying factors for an original UK 1st issue as they should be clearly marked "Made in UK" but most importantly have no small circular WB (Warner Brothers) Logo at the end of the bottom rim text. The WB logo was introduced onto the label in mid 1975 just a few months after the release, so any label with the WB logo is not from the very first batch of pressings.

This copy has general signs of age, with a small amount of shelfwear and hairline swirl marks on the records but is over all a strong VG.

Track listing

Side 1

  1. Custard Pie
  2. The Rover
  3. In My Time Of Dying

Side 2

  1. Houses Of The Holy
  2. Trampled Under Foot
  3. Kashmir

Side 3

  1. In The Light
  2. Bron-Yr-Aur
  3. Down By The Seaside
  4. Ten Years Gone

Side 4

  1. Night Flight
  2. The Wanton Song
  3. Boogie With Stu
  4. Black Country Woman
  5. Sick Again


Side 1 – SSK-89400-A1
Side 2 – SSK-89400-B4
Side 3 – SSK-89400-C1
Side 4 – SSK-89400-D1


Category: LP


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Article by: Brett

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