"Presence" is the seventh studio album by Led Zeppelin, released by Swan Song Records on 31 March 1976. The cover, inside sleeve and back of the album features various images of people with a black obelisk-shaped object. Inside the album sleeve, the item is referred to simply as "The Object" aka "The Obelisk". It was intended to represent the "force and presence" of Led Zeppelin.
Jimmy Page explained: "There was no working title for the album. The record-jacket designer said 'When I think of the group, I always think of power and force. There's a definite presence there.' That was it. He wanted to call it 'Obelisk'. To me, it was more important what was behind the obelisk. The cover is very tongue-in-cheek, to be quite honest. Sort of a joke on [the film] 2001 A Space Odyessy. I think it's quite amusing."
Jimmy Page made the decision to record the album after Robert Plant sustained serious injuries from a car accident on the Greek island of Rhodes on 5 August 1975, which forced the band to cancel a proposed world tour that was due to commence on 23 August.
At this point, Led Zeppelin were arguably at the height of their popularity. When he was taken to a Greek hospital after the accident, Plant recalled:
"I was lying there in some pain trying to get cockroaches off the bed and the guy next to me, this drunken soldier, started singing "The Ocean" from Houses of the Holy."
The background used in the cover photograph is of an artificial marina that was installed inside London's Earl's Court Arena for the annual Earl's Court Boat Show that was held in the winter of 1974–75. This was the same venue where the band played a series of concerts a few months after the boat show, in May 1975.
In 1977 Hipgnosis and George Hardie were nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of best album package.
Led Zeppelin formed out of the ashes of The Yardbirds. Jimmy Page had joined the band in its final days, playing a pivotal role on the group's final album, 1967's Little Games, which also featured string arrangements from John Paul Jones. During 1967, the Yardbirds were fairly inactive. Whilst the band members decided the group's future, Page returned to session work in 1967. In the spring of 1968, he played on Jones' arrangement of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man." During the sessions, Jones requested to be part of any future project Page would develop. Page would have to assemble a band sooner than he had planned. In the summer of 1968, the Yardbirds' Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left, leaving Page and bassist Chris Dreja with the rights to the name, as well as the obligation of fulfilling an upcoming fall tour. Page set out to find a replacement vocalist and drummer. Initially, he wanted to enlist singer Terry Reid and Procol Harum's drummer B.J. Wilson, but neither musician was able to join the group. Reid suggested that Page contact Robert Plant, who was singing with a band called Hobbstweedle.
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