Friday, March 22, 2013

It Will Go Over Like a Lead Balloon

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Led Zeppelin is the 14th best musical group of all time. NBC news ranked them #6 all time in a piece by Eric Olsen. AVR ranked them #1 overall.  Polls and lists created by most musical sites and publications have ranked this band close to their top ten, and for good reason. It is, after all, a hard rocking, blues based band that has influenced countless musicians since their debut, as well as many of their own contemporaries. I, like many people who like music, have a few of their albums.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin II
1969, Atlantic
produced by Jimmy Page
Robert Plant - vocals, harmonica
Jimmy Page - guitars
John Paul Jones - bass, organ
John Bonham - drums, percussion

singles -
  • Whole Lotta Love/ Living Loving Maid
  • Heart Breaker/ Bring it on Home
  • Living Loving Maid/ Bring it on Home
The Brown Bomber album is my favorite Zeppelin album. This is one of those albums I picked up when I was younger because I wanted to know more about a band that everyone talked about.  My dad didn't really play Zeppelin in the house, and I heard stuff on the radio, but radio play only gives a little window into a band.  So, I asked for this album, and received it as a gift, for a birthday or Christmas, or something.

This album made me appreciate Jimmy Page as a guitar player. Many people talked about how great he was, but discovering things for myself was always the best plan.  I still don't think Eddie Van Halen was such a great player, since I haven't heard a shred of evidence to tell me otherwise. There has been no "holy crap" moment like I've had many times listening to Page.

The bluesiness (I'm sure that's a word) on this album has made it my favorite. Whole Lotta Love, of course, is an epic song, full of rocking guitar rifts, and a crazy feedback induced breakdown in the middle. The Lemon Song, Ramble On, and Bring it on Home are my favorite tracks.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III
1970, Atlantic
produced by Jimmy Page
singles -
  • Immigrant Song/ Hey Hey What can I do?
I think, the biggest issue I have with this album, is the best song was left off. Hey Hey What can I Do? still gets radio play, more than the A side of the single. Anyway, this album is good regardless, I suppose.  Most of the album has a softer, folkier type of sound to it, which is a contrast to other Zeppelin stuff of the past, and future. This album is definitely worth buying, if only for the song Tangerine. There are a few traditional cover pieces done also. This album incorporates the band's folk influences, and starts to show their weird wiccan/occult/mythology psuedo religious beliefs.  Live Magazine called this album "the best of all time" in 2007.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin IV
1971, Atlantic
produced by Jimmy Page
  • Black Dog/ Misty Mountain Hop
  • Rock and Roll/ Four Sticks
Some people refer to this album as Zoso, or the four symbols album, or whatever. I think these people are dumb. The whole point of the album was to not call it anything, not even the name of the band appears on the cover. It is Led Zeppelin's fourth album, though, and since the last three were numbered, and the Zoso symbol refers to Jimmy Page only, I call this one Led Zeppelin 4. Deal with it.

This is probably the hardest rocking, most well known album by the band. Most tracks receive radio play, and it incorporates just about everything the band was and had been into. There is blues, there is folk, there is traditional Celtic/Wiccan mythos, and there is just good loud rock.  

It is amazing to me what one can be subjected to without even realizing it. I saw Wayne's World back in the day, before I really understood who Led Zeppelin was... and that scene about not being allowed to play Stairway in the music shop was funny, but I didn't know what Stairway was. At least, I didn't think I did. But when a friend played it for me, I realized that I had heard it before, a lot, on the radio. Radio doesn't always tell you what they play, you know.

Speaking of knowing things I thought I didn't know... Battle for Evermore features Sandy Denny. I knew who she was before I heard this album, because I knew Fairport Convention and their album Liege and Lief. This was the first time I realized that musicians from different genres can and do hang out together.

I learned so much when I was 12 because of music!  
As a side note, my favorite track on this album is When the Levee Breaks.  

Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy
1973, Atlantic
produced by Jimmy Page
singles - 
  • Over the Hills and Far Away/ Dancing Days
  • D'yer Maker/ The Crunge
This album is so strange. Comparing it to the four previous albums, it is just plain weird. First of all, it is the first album they release with an actual title. Second, where did the blues go? The entire album is different than anything else the band has done before. Sometimes different is good. Sometimes it is just strange. And sometimes, when you realize where the band goes after this record, it isn't really that big of a surprise. This one is worth it, if only for the funkiness of certain tracks, and the melodic song writing. I still can't find that confounded bridge, but I'm okay with that.

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