(LONDON-AFP) – Led Zeppelin is to issue an unreleased version of their most famous song, “Stairway to Heaven”, the legendary rock band said Tuesday, after more than four decades hidden in the vaults.
The alternative mix of the epic track will be released alongside a reissue of the British heavy rock group’s untitled fourth album, commonly referred to as “Led Zeppelin IV”, due out on October 27.
It will appear on a companion disc accompanying the album, as part of a remastering of the group’s entire catalogue.
Guitarist Jimmy Page has sifted through vintage studio recordings to unearth different versions of the eight tracks on the album, which first came out in 1971.
The unreleased version of “Stairway to Heaven” comes from mixing sessions done at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles.
The final released version was mixed at the Island Records studio in London.
Led Zeppelin’s fourth album has sold more than 29 million copies, and in the United States has gone platinum more than 23 times over.
“Stairway to Heaven” was in the news earlier this year when a US lawyer said he was gearing up to sue Led Zeppelin for allegedly pilfering another band’s music for the classic song.
Contacted by AFP in May, Francis Alexander Malofiy confirmed a report in Bloomberg Businessweek saying a copyright lawsuit is in the works, but declined to give details.
According to the magazine, the plaintiffs allege Led Zeppelin lifted the song’s opening riffs from a 1968 instrumental called “Taurus” recorded by the Los Angeles psychedelic band Spirit.
Spirit and Led Zeppelin shared the stage during a US tour in 1969.
Also to be issued on October 27 is a remastered version of the group’s fifth album “Houses Of The Holy”, also with archive takes alongside it.
New editions of the band’s first three albums came out last month.
Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham.
Page, singer Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones reunited in 2007 with Bonham’s son Jason on the drums for a one-off tribute concert for the late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who signed the group in 1968.
But Plant is not interested in doing it again, saying he does not want to be part of his own tribute act, touring old hits just to make money.