Led Zeppelin’s 4th album is arguably their greatest, with seminal works including Black Dog, Rock And Roll, When The Levee Breaks and of course, Stairway To Heaven. Officially the album is untitled, but is widely known by various monikers, including Led Zeppelin IV or 4, Four Symbols, Zoso or Zofo (depending on how you decide to read Jimmy Page’s ‘rune’). Whatever it’s known as, it’s high on any rare record collector’s list of desirable albums, as long as it’s on the Atlantic ‘red/plum’ label.
What is less well known though, is that the label design itself has been littered with mistakes and changes in its short lifespan. I have located 5 possible variations of ‘issue’. What will never be known unfortunately is just how rare each individual variant may be, although it it is likely that the ‘stickered’ variant, by its obvious temporary nature, is probably the rarest type.
Seemingly all ‘present and correct’ for the very 1st release, but no! The feather symbol on Side Two has strangely been inverted.
The feather symbol appears upside down on this label only…
Virtually identical to the 1st issue, but some sharp-eyed Atlantic Records employee (perhaps!) has spotted the errant feather symbol on Side Two and this has been corrected.
A side label is identical to ‘1st issue’ above
Upside down feather has been corrected
Jimmy Page (allegedly) was furious at the presence of an Executive Production credit to Peter Grant (he’d had a previous credit removed from Led Zeppelin III on later issues) and as a hasty correction, stickers were applied to remove this credit and also to correct the erroneous publishing credits from “Kinney Music Ltd” to “Kinney Music Ltd./Superhype Music Inc.”. To make room for this sticker (which obliterated the band’s name from the bottom half of the label), a second sticker “LED ZEPPELIN” was added to the top half of the label, beneath the four symbols.
‘LED ZEPPELIN’ sticker in top, ‘red’ half due to lack of room in bottom, ‘plum’ half
Corrected publishing credits now include ‘Superhype Music Inc.’ and Peter Grant Executive Producer credit has been obliterated by the new sticker
With all of the stickered label corrections now correctly printed…they (designers, printers…who knows!) somehow now get the song title wrong for ‘MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP’…and turn it into ‘MISTY MOUNTAIN TOP’…! How many drugs were these guys taking?!
Correctly printed labels with LED ZEPPELIN now in top half, correct publishing credits and no Peter Grant credit.
“Under licence from Atlantic Recording Corpn.,” is now within the central white stripe
‘MISTY MOUNTAIN TOP’ tracklisting error
‘MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP’ is correctly restored on the Side Two label (for now!). This is the last Led Zeppelin issue on red/plum. The next release of Houses Of The Holy would be on the orange/green label design…
Identical label design to ‘4th issue’ A side above
‘MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP’ restored
The next release/reissue of this album would be on the orange and green Atlantic label, but somehow those trippy designers or printers managed to reprint the ‘MISTY MOUNTAIN TOP’ label error…! This was subsequently corrected again to ‘HOP’ on the next reissue…