Superhype Music appears briefly on the 1st pressing label for Led Zeppelin’s debut album in 1969. And this is what helps identify 1st pressings to ardent Led Zeppelin collectors as the second pressing switched the publishing to Warner Bros. But just who were Superhype Music and where did they go? Here’s a brief summary of the publishing for Led Zeppelin:
LED ZEPPELIN PUBLISHING
Firstly, Superhype Music is the publishing company for self-penned Led Zeppelin songs and appears on the 1st album for a matter of a few weeks and then is replaced by Warner Bros./7 Arts. The cover song of “You Shook Me” was written by Willie Dixon and published by Jewel Music. Superhype does not make any further appearance on another Zeppelin album until the 4th Untitled one in 1971.
Publishing of original Led Zeppelin songs on 2nd and 3rd albums is handled by Warner Bros. Music. Note that this changes to Kinney Music on reissues of Led Zeppelin II and III. (This is because Kinney Music Group acquired the Atlantic label and Warner Bros in late 1970 which is why the previous catalogue numbering system changed to a ‘K’ prefix followed by 5 digits from 1972 onwards).
The 4th Untitled album is published by Kinney Music Ltd AND Superhype. It’s also the last Led Zeppelin album with the old catalogue numbering system and the so-called ‘red/plum’ label.
Despite the Kinney Music acquisition, “Houses Of The Holy” bizarrely goes back to Warner Music AND Superhype.
“Physical Graffiti” is published by JOANELINE MUSIC INC. Which suggests to me an American publishing company.
“Presence”, “In Through The Out Door” and even the previously unreleased original LZ tracks off “Coda” are published by Flames Of Albion Music.
LED ZEPPELIN AND SUPERHYPE MUSIC
I was recently asked a question about the validity of Superhype being used as a means of spotting 1st pressings…here’s the question:
“I’ve always had doubts concerning the order in which the various releases of this album actually appeared (1-Turqouise lettering on cover and Superhype credits on labels; 2-Orange lettering on cover and Warner credits on labels; 3-Orange lettering on cover and Superhype credits on labels).
The Superhype company was created at the end of 1968 and Led Zeppelin allegedly recorded their album in September of the same year. It is much likely that they initially gave the publishing rights to an already existing company like Warner and soon switched them to the newly created Superhype. Otherwise I can’t see the point of songs credited to Superhype, then to Warner and again to Superhype in just a few months.
In my opinion, the original pressing of this album is the one with orange lettering on the cover and the Warner credits; the turquoise lettering cover may well have been produced by mistake or as an intended variation of the design which was not well received and soon switched back to the original colour.
Hope you can give me further details.”
So, with a bit of digging around, here’s what I found.
Superhype Company Limited (now dissolved) was incorporated 22 October 1968 (according to UK Data.com). The registered address was at 91 TABERNACLE ST, LONDON, EC2A 4BA – now the offices of Joan Hudson & Co, Accountants…
Led Zeppelin recorded their debut album over a 4 week period during September and October 1968 at Olympic Sound Studios, London. (117 Church Road, London, SW13 9HL).
Album released 12 January 1969.
Page stated it took 36 hours of studio time recorded over a few weeks at a total cost of £1,782 (which equates to £49.50 per hour, although this was pre-decimalisation, so in reality it would have been £49 and 10 shillings per hour…!) In today’s money, the economic equivalent cost of that recording session would be around £57,000 (taking into account inflation, and other assumed increases in costs, equipment, resources, labour rates etc).
So the timing of the publishing rights assigned to Superhype does make sense…(to answer the initial query above).
With regards to finding a Superhype credited vinyl in an orange lettered sleeve, I think it is more likely to have been swapped or substituted over the years…or simply that once the production run of the turquoise sleeve was halted and replaced with the familiar orange one, any existing vinyls were placed in these new orange sleeves. The Warner credit was then (for some reason) introduced for the second pressing.
WHO WAS ‘SUPERHYPE MUSIC’?
So why did Page, Plant, Bonham, Jones plump for Superhype…what with it being newly incorporated just as their debut album was being finished? The answer is quite simple. Even though Superhype Music is now dissolved as a company, there is another company in existence called Superhype Tapes Limited, the directors are James Patrick Page, born 1944, registered address is 91 Tabernacle Street, London…any of this sounding familiar?!!! …the other directors for Superhype Tapes Limited are Mr Robert Anthony Plant, Mr John Baldwin and Ms Joan Hudson. One would reasonably assume that the other original director of Superhype Music Ltd would have been one John Henry Bonham.
James Patrick Page is also a director of Flames Of Albion Music Limited (along with Baldwin, Plant, Hudson and one Susan Jacqueline Frankland Haile), Jimmy Page.com Ltd, Three P Films Ltd, (directors same as Superhype), Succubus Music Ltd (with Hudson and Haile), United Blag Productions Ltd (directors as Flames Of Albion), Classicberry Ltd (directors as Succubus), The Equinox Book Sellers and Publishers Ltd (with Hudson), Mythgem Ltd (directors as Superhype but also with Mrs Patricia Bonham).
They were also directors of three other companies now dissolved, Cap Ten Limited, C+P Eighty Six Limited and Langwest Limited.
Therefore, it looks like it was Page himself (along with making his band members co-directors) who founded Superhype back in 1968 in order to control his own publishing rights…which, given the future control Peter Grant managed to exercise over record deals, concert promoters, merchandise etc, this would make perfect sense to control as much of the artiste’s output (and also finances) as possible.
This company was founded in August 1961 at 45-51 WHITFIELD STREET, LONDON, W1P 5RJ. It was dissolved 28th August 1990. The company records (including directors etc) have been archived and are no longer freely available. Quite why this was used for “Physical Graffiti” publishing is unknown.
FLAMES OF ALBION
Following the incorporation of Swan Song as a record label to further give Led Zeppelin even more control over their music, they created yet another company – Flames Of Albion Music. Why they didn’t use Superhype any longer is a mystery…
Flames of Albion Music is registered to 91 TABERNACLE STREET, LONDON EC2A 4JN – same as Superhype (see above) – the offices of Joan Hudson, Accountants. Here’s the street view (thanks Google) of the seemingly modest office address of the Led Zeppelin empire…