Eagle-eyed fans have spotted that the upcoming remaster of Led Zeppelin live album How The West Was Won appears to have cut two minutes and nine seconds of audio from “Whole Lotta Love.”
The official image of the packaging for the three-CD release of the remastered album includes a view of the back of the packaging and the times for each track.
Fans on the Royal Orleans, Steve Hoffman, and official Led Zeppelin forums have spotted that “Whole Lotta Love” is listed with a track time of 20 minutes and 59 seconds on the upcoming remaster. That’s shorter than the 23 minutes and eight seconds track time for the same song on the album’s original release in 2003.
Here’s a zoomed-in view of a high-resolution packaging render of the remaster direct from Rhino Records:
And here’s a photograph of the back of the original CD release, via eBay:
The remaster clearly lists a track time of 20:59, while the original release lists a time of 23:08.
We don’t know for sure that the track has been shortened. It’s possible that the track time included on the packaging render is just a misprint that will be corrected before it’s released on March 23.
However, we double-checked the high-resolution images of the Blu-ray, vinyl, and super deluxe box sets, and the 20:59 track time appears to be listed on every single version of this remaster.
If the track has been shortened, one explanation that has been floated online is that Jimmy Page has chosen to cut the band’s performance in the medley of “Hello Mary Lou.”
You can hear the band’s cover of “Hello Mary Lou” from the original release of How The West Was Won at the start of this video:
The band’s brief cover of the song lasts for two minutes and eight seconds, which is almost exactly the amount of time that seems to have been cut from the remaster.
It’s unclear why Page would choose to cut the “Hello Mary Lou” section of the “Whole Lotta Love” medley. Perhaps he now feels unhappy about his performance in that section of the song.
Or perhaps Page has been unable to license “Hello Mary Lou” for this release. However, the original 2003 CD cover notes that the song was licensed from Warner Chappell, which is the music licensing arm of Warner Music, Led Zeppelin’s own record label.
LedZepNews contacted Rhino Records, the manufacturer of this release, to ask about the reduced track time but did not receive a reply.