How The West Was Won

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How The West Was Won by Led Zeppelin

“LA Drone”

“Immigrant Song” [live]

“Heartbreaker” [live]

“Black Dog” [live]

“Over The Hills And Far Away” [live]

“Since I’ve Been Loving You” [live]

“Stairway To Heaven” [live]

“Going To California” [live]

“That’s The Way” [live]

“Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” [live]

“Dazed And Confused” [live]

“What Is And What Should Never Be” [live]

“Dancing Days” [live]

“Moby Dick” [live]

“Whole Lotta Love (Medley)” [live]

“Rock And Roll” [live]

“The Ocean” [live]

“Bring It On Home” [live]

Coda

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Coda by Led Zeppelin

“We’re Gonna Groove”

“Poor Tom”

“I Can’t Quit You Baby”

“Walter’s Walk”

“Ozone Baby”

“Darlene”

“Bonzo’s Montreux”

“Wearing And Tearing”

In Through The Out Door

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In Through The Out Door by Led Zeppelin

“In The Evening”

“South Bound Saurez”

“Fool In The Rain”

“Hot Dog”

“Carouselambra”

“All My Love”

“I’m Gonna Crawl”

The Song Remains The Same

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The Song Remains The Same by Led Zeppelin

“Rock And Roll”

“Celebration Day”

“Black Dog (including Bring It On Home)”

“Over The Hills”

“Misty Mountain Hop”

“Since I’ve Been Loving You”

“No Quarter”

“The Song Remains The Same”

“Rain Song”

“The Ocean”

“Dazed And Confused”

“Stairway To Heaven”

“Moby Dick”

“Heartbreaker”

“Whole Lotta Love”

Presence

Presence, released on the Swan Song label in 1976, is the sixth Led Zeppelin album; it took them only two weeks to complete.

It’s a very passionate album and a rebellious stand for Led Zeppelin against all the things that were troubling them at this time. This can be seen from a quote by Robert Plant:

“Presence was our stand against everything. Our stand against the elements, against chance.”

You can see that there was already an inner angst surfacing that would play itself out throughout Presence.

Let us continue with the way all the band were feeling at the time (again Robert Plant from 1976):

“We were literally fighting against existence itself. We left home for twelve months and it seemed that everything was about to crumble.”

Members of Led Zeppelin at this time were feeling that they were being put in a position of outcasts and nomads. Jimmy Page said at the time:

“It was recorded while the group was on the move, technological gypsies. No base, no home, all you could relate to was a new horizon and a suitcase. So there’s a lot of movement and aggression. A lot of bad feeling towards being put in that situation.”

Throughout this time Robert Plant was coming to terms both psychologically and physically with the aftermath of a car accident. This shows itself especially on the track “Achilles Last Stand”, as can be seen on the official DVD, where he introduces the song as “The wheelchair powerful piece”.

Robert Plant, 1976:
“The lyrics were all reflections on the time near and before the accident and that time afterwards that contemplative thing, so I was very determined lyrically but Jimmy put his energy into it. He worked so hard and the guitar playing on this album surpasses anything I’ve heard for ages and ages. Brilliant… so much life in it.”

Jimmy Page continued at the same time along the same vain by adding:

“I think it was just a reflection of the total anxiety and emotion at the period of time during which it was recorded.

There was a lot of hurt evident at this time and feelings of being let down that can be seen from this quote:

“Alone of all the albums we’ve recorded, Presence relates specifically to a point in time. Presence isn’t a précis on aspects of life in general, but aspects of hurt. That’s what songs like “Tea For One” and “Hots On For Nowhere” are all about.”

All in all, having listened to this album several times I feel that it has been highly underrated. It is a real gem and deserves any listener’s serious attention.

Led Zeppelin — Presence: Track-by-track review

1. “Achilles’ Last Stand”
The gentle entry of Jimmy Page’s guitar almost fools the listener into believing this, the longest track on the CD, to be of mellow substance. Then the thunderous entry of Bonzo’s first hit of the drums confirms the track as anything but! Drumming that gathers momentum throughout as only Bonzo can deliver.

Robert Plant comes in with an almost folklore/mystical style lyrically and vocally while Jimmy Page’s mini guitar riff adds the awareness of an aloof kind of presence into the listener’s mind. This is coupled with Bonzo’s double background beat to accompany and compliment the guitar.

Towards the end, Robert Plant comes into his own stating, “I know the way”. The way to where? Perhaps another land not visible to the ordinary eye, only accessible through a third eye with Bonzo’s marked out beats pointing the way!

This is an upbeat track throughout.

2. “For Your Life”
This second track is not as intense as the first track on this album (“Achilles Last Stand”), allowing the listener time to relax somewhat with an intro where drums, guitar and vocals are all in unison.

Lyrically Robert Plant is depicting a journey of sorts as he proclaims “Oh, ho” and “in the city of the damned”, sounding almost irritated as he softly delivers the words. However, there is an undercurrent of tension as he shows his skill at holding long notes.

Jimmy delivers a beautiful solo in the middle of the song that ebbs and flows along, relaxing the listener’s ear, cruising along on a non-threatening wave of audible bliss.

Then Robert comes in, still following a vocal passage which is gathering momentum and culminates with him enthusiastically pronouncing “for your life”, repeating this to the echo of Bonzo’s drums.

3. “Royal Orleans”
This third offering on the album, being only 2 minutes 58 seconds, is the shortest track on here. It starts with a tumbling drum roll which is married perfectly to Jimmy’s guitar and joined to a pleasant flowing vocal from Robert.

The guitar moves with an almost funkadelic lead style travelling to a jazzy short solo. Double-beat drums then return which lead to a chorus of instruments topped with vocals.

This short melody is sharp and to the point, yet it can still leave the listener debating whether they feel at ease or on edge.

4. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
Guitar/synthesiser, followed by Robert’s non-lyrical vocals, is all tame enough until the crashing sound of Bonzo’s drums join in then we really get started.

Robert seems to be taking and shouldering the blame for something here, stating “it’s nobody’s fault but mine”. He then proceeds with more non-lyrical vocals travelling up and down the harmonic vocal scale which he follows with a solo on the harmonica.

Then it’s back to himself, blaring out “now there’s a monkey on my back”, indicating an irritant of sorts.

Jimmy then calms things down with a well timed guitar solo, but it’s no good because as they reach the climax of the tune Robert is still announcing that it’s his fault, “O Lordy, it’s nobody’s fault but mine”.

All in all this is a very powerful track lyrically, musically and vocally, my personal favourite on this particular CD.

5. “Candy Store Rock”
The first few riffs of this song are very reminiscent of the Stranglers “No More Heroes” but as this song pre-dates the Stranglers perhaps Hugh and company drew some inspiration from this track.

The guitar then develops a more country and western feel before descending into an almost 50s Buddy Holly style, with Robert Plant borrowing from Buddy’s unique style for a few bars chanting “Oh baby, baby” repeatedly.

Picture if you can Robert at the microphone dressed as Buddy Holly (lol). Not exactly the traditional Zep image but the whole thing works vocally, catching momentum to a rapturous end.

Robert manages to portray an undercurrent of loneliness coupled with high positive expectations as he states “Caught in the heat of the moment, or was it the heat of the day”, feelings that prevail throughout the track.

Watch out for a little treat from Jimmy with a sliding twang effect mid solo.

6. “Hots On For Nowhere”
This is an upbeat tune that jigs along in a jolly fashion, tempting you to sing along whilst washing up as Robert Plant encourages you to look on the bright side — “La la la la la yeah”.

The brightness fades somewhat however as an element of pain and hurt creeps in, echoed throughout the song.

Good clean cut guitar riffs effortlessly continue through the track, jarring here and there in a powerful way with drums skipping along, dancing away to take the lead with the guitar.

The sadness in the lyrics, however, prevails as Plant announces “hey babe I lost my way” and you almost want to shed a tear as the sorrow continues. It’s almost as if he cannot take this detachment for much longer.

Yet, despite this there is a powerful, positive feel instrumentally that makes you want to dance along, even though the whole undercurrent is lyrically quite melancholy.

7. “Tea For One”
The last track on Presence is a beauty. Guitar and drums create the picture, gently and easily taking you into a bluesy drowsy late afternoon “rocking chair” style guitar that sweeps the listener into such a state of relaxation they are almost lulled into peaceful sleep.

The truly exotic blend of guitar and gentle drums combine to create a blues-style number, with a soulful and sorrowful vocal track from Robert Plant that kind of reminds one of summer days or youthful first highs as he slurs his words in a dreamy fashion, announcing, “Slippin’ in a daze, slip sliding away”.

Then Robert returns to a more familiar vocal style with more gusto and rolling drums in the background. Now it seems as if there is a sense of underlying urgency and desperation depicted, as the vocal range reaches a climactic crescendo.

A fitting piece to close an album created at a time of great tension and personal sorrow for the Zep.

Presence by Led Zeppelin

“Achilles’ Last Stand”

“For Your Life”

“Royal Orleans”

“Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

“Candy Store Rock”

“Hots On For Nowhere”

“Tea For One”

Physical Graffiti

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Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin

“Custard Pie”

“The Rover”

“In My Time Of Dying”

“Houses Of The Holy”

“Trampled Underfoot”

“Kashmir”

“In The Light”

“Bron-Yr-Aur”

“Down By The Seaside”

“Ten Years Gone”

“Night Flight”

“Wanton Song”

“Boogie With Stu”

“Black Country Woman”

“Sick Again”

Houses Of The Holy

(Produced by Jimmy Page and released on the Atlantic label in 1973. Executive producer Peter Grant and original sleeve artwork by Hypnosis.)

This album has a kind of pagan/Celtic feel throughout, from the original artwork through to the tunes, especially “No Quarter”, the seventh track. (The number seven in numerology is a mystical number representing other forces at work.)

Although the album has a carefree element, it is also for the thinker, as can be seen by a quote from guitarist Jimmy Page:

“It’s not very easy one-time listening, and that’s good. You’ve got to sit down and listen, think about a few things.”

A little humour was introduced by Jimmy, putting forward the trials and tribulations circling around the graphic production of the album artwork:

“They just couldn’t seem to get it [the sleeve] right at the printers. The colours were so different from what we had anticipated. The basic thing is a photograph in a collage, and then some hand painting… We had to compromise because the sky started to look like an ad for Max Factor lipstick, and the children looked as if they’d been turned purple from the cold.” — Jimmy Page

And here is sounds as if Robert Plant had mystical license. He says:

“I’m proud of the lyrics… somebody pushed my pen for me I think. There are lots of catalysts which really bring out these sorts of things… Working with the group on the road, living where I live, having the friends I’ve got, my children, my animals.”

I would say that this album is essentially a folk type album with a mystical dark edge with a bit of a gothic twist in places!

Led Zeppelin — Houses Of The Holy: Track-by-track review

1. “The Song Remains The Same”
This first track starts on a very upbeat and uplifting note. Instrumental staccato drums, guitar and keyboard blend together harmoniously, all flowing along beautifully, with even a little Kentucky style guitar here and there.

Vocals enter smoothly in the forefront with the instruments blending into the background. It then starts to pick up momentum to a classic short twangy-jingle guitar solo.

This track is essentially soft rock with a sprinkle of “middle of the road” thrown in for good measure. Vocals are set at the very top range for Robert to conquer and he does so effortlessly.

The track then breaks into a ballad-style acoustic guitar and vocals with the occasional appearance of electric guitar. A beautiful keyboard solo puts the icing on the cake of this varied and original album opener.

It’s almost ‘love in motion’ expressed musically, vocally, instrumentally and lyrically. If you miss the point of this, you miss the sheer essence of tranquillity itself.

2. “The Rain Song”
Plucked mandolin style guitar starts off this gentle tune bringing to mind late summer/autumn. This vision of instrumental keyboards and guitar just coasts along, taking you to a land of romantic utopia.

Robert Plant is perhaps in love as he gently rocks the listener’s ear by saying “Speak to me only with your eyes”. The piece then bursts into fireworks of melody, vocals, keyboards and dreamy guitar lines to enhance the senses when Robert says “just a little rain must fall”.

Take a positive tune on top of a realistic vocal and we reach the last few acoustic bars to close the piece. A real knights of the round table track, chivalry in motion; Robert is indeed Merlin’s cousin here and king Arthur’s friend — hail a great track!

3. “Over The Hills And Far Away”
You got the love I need
Darling, darling, oh so much!

Robert Plant declares his deepest lyrical emotions for another and it is acoustic bliss on the guitar! Along come the drums, trotting along merrily, and you find yourself already swaying to the uplifting tempo of this ditty.

This tune in part should really belong to track two (“The Rain Song”) as they blend together, following on from each other exquisitely.

Robert jests, “I live for my dreams and a pocket full of gold”. The jolly nomad living off the land, but keeping those golden nuggets at the ready as he whistles along (well, in the head of the listener anyway).

Jimmy Page’s acoustic skips and turns through this track, drums bringing up the rear to a finale that fades out peacefully, absolute bliss!

4. “The Crunge”
You could almost believe this to be a funky — George Benson — number, judging by the guitar and keyboard style, but the vocals soon bring you to the realisation that this is how Led Zeppelin do funk.

Robert talks about his ‘good thing’, he declares ‘no names’; if he tells you, you won’t come again. This is sung to the background of a chic disco beat, leaving the listener no clue as to the identity of this mystery person. Just who could he be referring to?

There is a constant brass section winding in and out of the piece. Trumpets pipe urgently until Robert declares “have you seen the bridge?”. A mystery voice (possibly Robert speaking) replies, “Have you seen the bridge? I ain’t seen the bridge! Where’s that confounded bridge?”. The mysterious “good thing” perhaps that Robert refered to earlier? You decide!

All in all I love this one and Zep’s experimental dip into jazz-funk is refreshing.

5. “Dancing Days”
Melody, melody, heavenly melody. You will fall in love with this track just as I did.

Robert says almost shyly, “Dancing days are here again, summer evenings glow”. Oh my, this is so cute, harkening back to those flower power days, where anything and everything seemed possible. Jimmy’s sliding guitar riffs make you believe that all is still possible.

Drums keep up a measured, steady rhythm though Bonzo’s having a an easygoing day of it, not his usual intense, no-messing style.

You can just feel the positive rich measures from start to finish. What really does it is the simple yet effective guitar solo. A very good mid-entry to an album, a real winner.

6. “D’yer Mak’er”
A double drum trill starts it off, the jig of the guitar followed still by pleading lyrics of, “Oh, ho ho ho, you don’t have to go”. Desperate vocals hold the long notes, but this is in a minor key and mid-range for Robert, who is accustomed to reaching those high notes; it’s new territory for the listener and for Robert.

Later he enters with his trademark ‘mind the windows’, Robert Plant’s singing again, or they may just shatter. Ha.

Smooth instrumentals takes over, guitar charging along, caressed by a timid catchy drum beat.

Robert is off again, “All the tears I cried” and “Oh I do love you baby, I still love you so”. Please, whatever it was, forgive him and put him out of his misery. He really is sorry this time.

Drawing to a close, the catchy jig of the guitar continues, accompanied by trumpet, what a duo! What a tune! This will fulfil all your dreams of musical fantasy and a few more. I dare you to stop humming along if you can.

7. “No Quarter”
Prepare yourself, listener. We are entering into the realms of other worldly stuff, touching the gateways of the occult.

This floaty piece draws you in gently with keyboards. There is an eerie essence about this whole piece as the guitar confidently joins in.

Then it’s back to a few bars of keyboards, twinned with vocals as Robert states, “Close the door, put out the light, no they won’t be home tonight”.

Already the anticipation is growing. The allure of who, where, when and what happened to them. The uncertainty…

Look out for the emotion-drenched keyboard solo in the middle. Sheer perfection. A masterpiece of workmanship which is followed by middle of the road guitar riffs. You wish to be stoned at this point to capture the full effect of this passage.

Robert is back with doom:

Walking side by side with Death
The devil mocks their every step

If you like “Riders On The Storm” by the Doors, you will understand “No Quarter”. They walk in the same vein. Equal creamy vocals and silky musicianship. Take a bow, Zep boys!

8. “The Ocean”
The last track on this album has guitar and drums in perfect time. Rhythm rules the day here. The guitar backing steps on the notes to bring you part of that special signature tune Jimmy Page is so famous for, while Bonzo’s drums follow suit. Robert arrives with top range vocals here and there.

This is a simple, easy listening tune that engulfs the listener to reach a little deeper, and you will, especially when you witness Page’s solo and Robert’s harmonies.

There is a little interplay between guitar, drums and bass which, dare I say, reminds me of Status Quo, but don’t let that put you off. It works fantastically; the boys pull it off. A track that in parts was tricky to play, but easy to listen to. I give this eight sails out of 10!

Houses Of The Holy by Led Zeppelin

“The Song Remains The Same”

“The Rain Song”

“Over The Hills And Far Away”

“The Crunge”

“Dancing Days”

“D’yer Mak’er”

“No Quarter”

“The Ocean”

Led Zeppelin IV

Regarded by many as their definitive masterpiece, the fourth Led Zeppelin album remains their biggest seller on the strength of “Stairway To Heaven” alone.

After being hounded by the British music press as a load of hype, the band decided to release an album without its name anywhere on the cover, which was intended to sell the music on its own merit. Apoplectic record label officials warned of ‘commercial suicide’ (the band are represented on the album by four symbols, one for each member. The combined symbols are the real name of the album!).

The gamble paid off; Zep became the world’s biggest rock band.

In an attempt to break away from the normal studio environment, Jimmy Page took the band out to record at Headley Grange, an old manor house in the English countryside, with the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording truck used as a control room. Further overdubs and mix-downs were done at Island Studios in London.

Andy Johns, the engineer, was instrumental in the creation of this landmark album, with all the subtleties, explosive energy, intricate interplay and sonic other-worldliness that a Zep album should contain.

The main ingredient on this album is composition, and the band had been together long enough at this point (mid-1971) to trust each other’s instincts, allowing any sketch or idea to be adopted by the band as a whole and developed to full fruition, all the way from a couple of chords on guitar to the final mix.

Deservedly serving as the yardstick by which not only classic rock but rock in general should be measured, this album is a must-have testimonial of the freedom and creativity that rock musicians enjoyed in the first half of the 1970’s, and should be cherished by fans and non-fans alike.

Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin IV: Track-by-track review

1. “Black Dog”
The track opens with a few tentative strums on electric guitar. Robert Plant screams out one of the best-known opening verses in rock history, and the band answer in a riff of awesome rhythmic complexity: guitar and bass snake around and over and under the beat in unison (the concept being credited to John Paul Jones) while John Bonham pounds out the basic 4/4 beat on the drums, joining the bass and guitar on the syncopated off-beats.

The start-stop, call-and—response interaction between the vocals and rhythm section is a direct quote from early 20th century blues, taken here to its most skull-crunching conclusion. The guitar sound is in a league of its own, being triple-tracked from different microphone positions and panned out across the stereo, and the sustained notes link one band segment to the next as a backdrop for the a-cappella vocals.

After three verses the band extend the riff into one of the finest examples of polyrhythmic hard rock in music history, setting the stage for countless clone-bands. Bonham’s cross-syncopation in the latter half of this section is a drummer’s bible.

Another two verses lead into the ‘ah ah’ vocals (always a crowd favorite at shows), which lead into the mid section: a powerful blues riff played in unison, balancing out the complex polyrhythm of the other segments. The whole structure is repeated again, with more overdubbed guitars sneaking in on the last two verses.

Again, an ‘ah ah’ break leads to the outro, which is the riff from the mid-section played ad infinitum in a fade out that accompanies an angular guitar solo. “Black Dog” is breathtaking opener which sets the standards as high as possible for the following tracks.

2. “Rock And Roll”
Originally an impromptu jam, the track opens with Bonham hammering out the intro to Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly.” The rest joined in instinctively and the song was created out of thin air.

A true homage to its title, “Rock And Roll” includes all the trademarks of 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll, with Jimmy Page firing up a Scotty Moore-styled solo, Robert Plant crooning out the ‘lonely lonely’ lyrics Elvis Presley-style (especially on subsequent live versions), and John Paul Jones adding a touch of Jerry Lee Lewis piano bashing on the last verse.

Bonham holds the whole thing together with a big, open hi-hat that washes the mix delightfully. His mini-solo at the end of this track is another testament to his technique, finesse and creativity, borrowing classic chops from rock ‘n’ roll while incorporating his own, bridging the fifteen year gap between Zeppelin and their roots with deceptive ease.

3. “The Battle Of Evermore”
Another track that was created spontaneously by the group, this beautiful song appeared when Jimmy Page picked up John Paul Jones’ mandolin and started strumming out the now famous introductory chords. Jones joined in with acoustic guitar, and Plant started singing almost immediately, making up most of the lyrics on the spot.

Later perfected into a medieval tale of impending war, terrifying battle and weary victory, interlaced with the classic mythological metaphor of evening-night-dawn and abundant with borrowed references from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the lyrics are picturesque and create yet another Zeppelin blueprint for countless metal bands intent on wielding axes across the chasms of doom, etc.

John Paul Jones plays a dulcimer on this track, and to make things even folksier, Sandy Denny (formerly of The Strawbs and Fairport Convention) is featured as guest vocalist, singing responsive verses to Plant’s narrative, and the two join in harmony for the choruses (such as it is — they sing different lyrics).

The chord changes in the interlude before the coda are classic Page and Jones, and sound as intriguing and mysterious today as when the album was released. Plant’s vocal execution on this track is outstanding (as is Denny’s), and the entire song is a masterpiece of craftsmanship from start to finish.

4. “Stairway To Heaven”
The magnitude of this song undermines any attempt to review it. It has achieved immortal status and will remain a staple of late 20th Century Western culture for the rest of human history, whether you like it or not.

Considered to be the prototype power ballad, it starts off with acoustic guitar playing the beginner-guitarists textbook chord sequence. Jones adds double-tracked recorders to create a beautiful opening melody, quite unexpected from the world’s heaviest rock band.

Plant sings the opening line, an apt opener for a set of lyrics that balances mysticism, enlightenment and hippy mumbo-jumbo. The first two verses are sung with grace and delicate simplicity, before the guitar restates the opening as an arpeggio, thus concluding the first section.

A ringing chord on electric guitar introduces the next section; the acoustic is replaced with a twelve-string, an electric 6-string and an organ. Plant sings the immortal “it makes me wonder” line, and yet another electric guitar joins in to accompany the next two verses, each ending with another ‘makes me wonder’ interlude.

Drums and bass join in (along with yet another electric guitar overdub) and Plant changes the melody to accommodate a different meter for the vocals. The track speeds up a little (before the days of click tracks, it was possible for musicians to do this), and a general sense of excitement starts building up.

After two more verses the whole thing breaks down, and following a triumphant ringing fanfare — the twelve-string and four (!) electric guitars making up what Page called his ‘guitar army’ — the rock world’s most awe-inspiring solo is played on Page’s old Fender Telecaster, unused since the first album.

The acoustic elements are long gone by the end of the solo, Plant returning to scream out the final set of lyrics amidst an ever intensifying barrage of Led Zep rhythm section, and the song reaches the ultimate climax, breaking down to leave Plant to sing the last words unaccompanied.

Nothing more I can write will do this song justice, for better or worse.

5. “Misty Mountain Hop”
Jones’ organ opens this medium-tempo rocker, Robert Plant’s vocals double tracked in tight harmony (the lyrics tell of a silly encounter with hippies getting stoned in a park), a precursor to the style later developed by 1990’s rockers Alice In Chains.

The drums are very ambient, recorded with Bonham’s kit set up in the echoing hallway of Headley Grange. The guitar solo is double tracked to mirror the vocals, and serves as a possible influence on Irish rockers Thin Lizzy, and subsequently on Iron Maiden and Scorpions (although the dual lead guitar concept harkens back to the Yardbirds days when Page was playing live alongside Jeff Beck).

The outro fades out with Jones jazzing it up on the organ. A wonderful, playful track that shows Zeppelin in a slightly less serious mood (although still as professional as ever).

6. “Four Sticks”
Bonham literally plays with two sticks in each hand (hence the title) while Jones and Page nail down an atonal ostinato riff in 5/4, resolving occasionally to a pair of dramatic chords over 6/8.

Robert wails out an open letter of love gone wrong through paranoia, the lyrics as beautiful and disturbing as the backing track. A sort of major key chorus in 6/8 follows the first two verses, with jangling acoustic guitars and extra percussion entering the mix, reminiscent of “Ramble On” from Led Zeppelin II, although much more of a challenge to listen to.

Another verse is followed by another chorus, extended this time to include a mysterious theme underpinned by sustained direct-injection electric guitars that create a strange, other-worldly synthesizer-like drone. Another verse is extended into the fade-out, Plant wailing an ad-lib solo of spooky intensity.

This is experimental Zeppelin at its mysterious best, unsettling, beautifully crafted, and completely irresistible.

7. “Going To California”
A gentle acoustic piece, with Page playing guitar and Jones on mandolin. Heavily influenced by the American West-Coast folk-rock scene, this song owes as much to Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, and Nash as it does to traditional English and Celtic folk music.

The lyrics certainly speak of a man in search of a hippy version of the American dream, and Robert’s voice is beautifully multi-tracked on the coda. The song is a welcome breather after the intensity of “Four Sticks”, and before the onslaught of “When The Levee Breaks.”

8. “When The Levee Breaks”
Bonham’s drums set the stage once again. Beautifully recorded out in the hallway with just three microphones, the resulting percussion is so fantastically monumental, it has been sampled countless times since the mid 1980’s (starting with the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin'”) and remains a testament to the man’s ability to tune his kit appropriately for the musical demands of a song.

Although the track is just an adaptation of a classic Memphis Minnie blues tune from way-back-when, it is positively radiant with invention in both the performance and the production. The basic track is drums, bass, organ and two electric guitars, all pounding out a relentless blues riff, occasionally resolving via a minor sixth chord change.

The song starts off with a harmonica solo from Plant, and the instrument returns to underline certain verses along the track. The chorus has an uplifting major-key feel (with an extra electric twelve-string guitar adding a ringing chorused effect while Page plays simple yet effective phrases on electric slide guitar), and segues smoothly into another harmonica solo, doubled-up using tape delay for extra ornamentation.

Another verse follows, another major-key chorus, and the main riff returns for the coda with Plant’s phased vocals anchoring the stereo image while everything else starts floating between the speakers, recreating the tumbling chaos of a swollen river’s waters crashing through the levee and sweeping up everything in their path.

The track halts, Page gives a screech of slide guitar, and Jones plays the ending fanfare alone on the organ. While this may sound like a mistake, the decision to leave it ‘as is’ is yet another testament to Page’s immaculate taste in production: the drama and suspense created leave you breathlessly wanting more. An awesome closing track to a truly astounding album.

Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin

“Black Dog”

“Rock And Roll”

“The Battle Of Evermore”

“Stairway To Heaven”

“Misty Mountain Hop”

“Four Sticks”

“Going To California”

“When The Levee Breaks”

Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin III is an album that I originally had on CD. It was the 1994 remastered version, which I recieved as a birthday gift from a close friend; he and I played guitar together on a regular basis back then. At first I was very happy to see the CD; Zep was my favourite band, and this was an album I didn’t have yet. Then I noticed that the wrapping had already been removed, because he decided to tape a copy of it before giving it to me. I was kinda ticked that he had bought me a brand new gift, and then used it before giving it to me. Of course, it’s not that big of a deal, and all was forgiven in time. I mean, I can’t really blame a guy for wanting a Led Zeppelin tape, especially since he paid for it on CD.

I didn’t fully appreciate the album then as I did later, when I got my hands on a vinyl copy. The two sides are very different from one another; all the rock stuff is on side 1 and side 2 is considerably lighter. This made for a seemingly lopsided CD, what with all of the music being burned onto the one playable side that it has. The album sleeve, with its rotating collage of images is rather reminiscent of Terry Gilliams animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, is something I didn’t even know about when I only had this on CD. Vinyl is just better, period.

3:00 AM Saturday: Its’ the middle of the night, and I’m listening to side 1. I sit in my studio, lit by black light and candles. I’m high as a kite. Two different pairs of headphones, just for comparrison. Side 1 is the rowdy one, full of faster, heavier rock songs for the most part. Things slow down a bit after the flip…

3:16 AM Saturday: I am now on side 2. I thought I’d save this one for later, but I couldn’t wait. This is the side you can mellow out to. All the rock stuff was on side 1 and we partied the hell out of it, but now it’s time to flip. Now we have folk, country, and blooze.

Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin III: Track-by-track review

1. “Immigrant Song”
I consider this to be the first song ever in what has come to be known as the Viking ÌvÍetal genre. Stomping kicks, galloping guitars, and a mighty battlecry! It’s practically an Iron Madien song. It was brutally covered by thrash band Dark Angel (Leave Scars), and also slowed down by a local band I gigged with years ago.

III was the album on which Led Zeppelin wanted to prove to critics that it was not okay to label them a heavy metal band. This song however, is one of the heaviest of their career, so if you’d only ever heard their previous albums, you might think this album was going to be more in that vein. Familiar territory is a great place to start, especially on an album as surprisingly diverse as this one was at the time.

2. “Friends”
Before I heard this song, I saw its title in the track listing, hoping it wasn’t a 90s sitcom theme song. I kid of course; that song was written many years later and had a completely different title.

I has been said that Jimmy Page had placed a mic inside the acoustic guitar, instead of the usual placement in front of the instrument and its performer. I’ve tried this myself, and it ain’t too bad. It is not the best way to record acoustic guitar, but I’m sure I could find something worse if I really wanted to.

The combination of the guitar and the string arrangement is what really makes this song; I find it downright hypnotic. If it were looped and played back for 20 minutes, it might be just right for meditation. And then there’s the way the ending of this song blends in with the intro to…

3. “Celebration Day”
The original intro to this tune was accidentally erased by the recording engineer, which was led to the guitar riff being blended with the fading outro of the previous song. What that deleted track would have sounded like on this song is one of the great mysteries of the universe. It must have been super special if they were somehow unable to rerecord it.

“Celebration Day” is pretty great as far as early hard rock goes. It has a raunchy-sounding electric guitar, being played in a raunchy way. Oh, and the guitar solo is beautifully melodic, especially following the “my my my, I’m so happy”, of the chorus. It another fast song, which helps with the overall dynamic range of the album by leading into a slow blues tune.

4. “Since I’ve Been Loving You”
This is the slowest song on side 1, if not the whole album, and is also a must-have track in the collection of any blues-rock fan. It was recorded live in the studio, with the guitar solo overdubbed later. That guitar solo, by the way, is where this song gets really good At the end of the solo, everything just goes silent. The silence is then broken by soulful high notes from Robert Plant. The song builds in intensity, but remains mellow enough to fall asleep to if you really want to.

5. “Out On The Tiles”
Side 1 ends the way it started; with one of the fastest, heaviest songs on the album. After this, there is no more hard rock on this album but they sure made it count with this song. In short, it kicks ass. If “Immigrant Song” is viking metal, then is one could maybe be considered proto-thrash, even if just for its opening riff. This is actually one of my favourites from this album. As a rock guitarist, I just can’t help wishing I’d composed it myself.

6. “Gallows Pole”
Awesome. This was one of the first Led Zeppelin songs I’d ever heard, but it was the Page/Plant Unledded version, and to this day it remains of my my favourite Led Zeppelin songs. This one is side 2’s answer to “Immigrant Song”, tragic where the other was triumphant; yet still retaining that kickass stomp to keep things fun.

This one is actually an old folk song; Zep didn’t write it but they sure did a hell of a job arranging it. It starts off pretty light, but builds, layer upon layer of instruments, finally becoming as heavy as an all-acoustic song can get.

7. “Tangerine”
Hmmm, it seems we’ve slowed down again, this time with a country ballad. After a false start, we get into some lovely acoustic strumming. I used to really enjoy playing this one on the guitar, though it’s been years since I have; it’s just really nice and simple.

One really shining moment of this song is the guitar solo. It’s super pretty and melodic, and like many Page solos, it just builds and builds to the point where it almost tells it’s own story without need of lyrics. I’ve done this with my own music too; one of the many great ways in which Led Zeppelin has influenced me and countless others.

8. “That’s The Way”
This has to be the mellowest song on the whole album: no heavy drums or raunchy guitars; no bombastic battlecry or heavy keyboard orchestration. As for percussion, there is some light tamborine and that is all. I’d say this song is better suited for nap time than cardio. But hey, we can’t just boogie all the time, can we? Personally I love it when a band known more for hard rock produces a song I can fall asleep to, or even just relax a bit. This one makes me feel like I’m lying in a meadow on a summer day, eyes closed because the sun is bright.

9. “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”
Actually, this one has a sun-shiny feel to it as well, except instead of just lying there, I’m frolicking!

We start of with with some fast, folky fingerpicking, which leads to harder strumming, which is then accompanied by the drums, bass, and vocals. Not only is this one of the more fun tunes on the album, it’s also about as hard as you can rock without an electric guitar.

10. “Hats Off To (Roy) Harper”
For a side 2 song, this one’s actually pretty raunchy. It’s actually a medley of old blooze tunes. It’s Zep’s most psychidelic-sounding song since “Dazed And Confused” (Led Zeppelin), with the acoustic slide guitar panned hard left, and the vocal (which has distortion and a tremolo effect) panned hard right. That’s all there is, just guitar and vocal, but with headphones on it’s like having your brain divided in half but in a good way. There’s one really odd-sounding part about halfway through, where Robert Plant sings a sustained note which suddenly drops in pitch at the end. I hadn’t even noticed that until a very recent listening, and all in all this song is a very satisfying end to a somewhat odd rock album.

Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin

“Immigrant Song”

“Friends”

“Celebration Day”

“Since I’ve Been Loving You”

“Out On The Tiles”

“Gallows Pole”

“Tangerine”

“That’s The Way”

“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”

“Hats Off To (Roy) Harper”

Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin II is usually overlooked by music fans because it isn’t graced with “Kashmir” or “Stairway To Heaven.” But this is one of the heaviest, bluesiest albums your ear will ever hear. This is a perfect fusion of the three biggest things in music at the time: hard rock, blues, and Led Zeppelin.

This album is so powerful it’s not allowed to be played in the presence of explosive material. (Not really, but you get the point.) Led Zeppelin II is the mark by which all rock and blues musicians should set their standards.

To give you an idea of the album’s wonder: about three months ago I was a die-hard fan of The Who, then on my birthday I was given the CD version of Led Zeppelin II and I became a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan. If you’ve ever been at a party or an outing and one of your friends has said something about Led Zeppelin, and you’ve been unaware or not fond of them (Led Zeppelin, not your friend), buy this album. You’ll cherish it always.

I would recommend that you purchase this entire album, and not think of it as a Led Zeppelin album, but as a gateway to the many bands of that era that sounded like them; as a gateway to the many bands that have since been influenced by them; and to the younger readers out there, as a gateway into the world of rock & roll music.

Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin II: Track-by-track review

1. “Whole Lotta Love”
This is possibly the most popular or most famous track on the album. It has a very heavy rock sound. The atmosphere is set by the simplistic riff ripped out of Page’s guitar. It is a strong, bold song which is used to grab your attention long enough for you to hear the entire album.

“Whole Lotta Love” is a song about rude things, speaking about love not in the abstract, but rather its physical form. It’s a cock-rock song that really has little or no meaning — not to say that makes for a bad song.

The usual things make this song great: the creative use of cymbals by John Paul Jones, the screeching vocals of Plant, the wonderful, driving bass drumming of Bonham and the always perfect and thoughtful riff of Page.

It’s not one of my absolute favourites of the album, but I wouldn’t think that as an insult to the song, rather a testament to the awesome songs following this one.

2. “What Is And What Should Never Be”
The soft, loungy introduction belies the power and ferocious nature of “What Is And What Should Never Be.” This track shows the incredible range that the band had in their heyday.

Personally, this track is my favourite of the album. It’s odd, it’s psychedelic, it’s beautiful. You can listen to this song over and over and still not be bored by it. “What Is And What Should Never Be” is the perfect combination of music: fast, slow, soft, hard, spaced-out, theatric.

I just love this song, and like many things in life, the ones you love the most you don’t have enough words to explain. That’s why I’m going to put it plain and simple: buy “What Is And What Should Never Be.”

3. “The Lemon Song”
This song is no lemon.

“The Lemon Song” is a 12-bar blues song with a twist. In between the verses is a brilliant guitar solo by Page which will renew your faith that a weird British guy can play a six-string to a nub.

It’s a relaxing song. You can anticipate the note that comes after the sequence you just listened to, and in that you can enjoy the song. It may seem simple, but sometimes in life the simple things are the most enjoyable. “The Lemon Song” is not an exception to the rule.

4. “Thank You”
“Thank You” is a very involved song. it features many instruments like organs, mandolins and the set four pieces the band always played.

It’s one of those songs that puts a smile on your face every time you hear it. Not an amazing song, it’s not going to incite the masses to rise against the government or anything, but that’s part of its charm. It is, however, a song that always brings a feeling of contentment to me.

Whoever said “music can tame the savage beast” was listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” when they said it. Buy this song, for those days when you need something to be thankful for.

5. “Heartbreaker”
Heaviest song of the album, indisputably. “Heartbreaker” is a few guitar chords, a few plucks at a bass note, some lyrics and some offbeat drumming. All true, but I mean that in a good way. Whatever it is about this song, it works.

The powerful chords progress slowly but surely and are soon joined by the rhythm section of the band. It’s a song about an unfeeling, cheating girl who, funnily enough, is a “heartbreaker.”

If you have a problem girlfriend, or boyfriend, listen to this song, find the lyrics and sing along a few times. If you still don’t want to break it off with them, I’ll send you a handwritten apology

6. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”
To write reviews on www.Music-Nerds.com, it’s generally necessary to listen to the songs a few times to be as accurate as possible in your descriptions. To be very honest, I wasn’t looking forward to having to listen to this song. It was just by chance it flicked over to this song when I was polishing off “Heartbreaker.”

I must not have given “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)” a huge chance to win me over at first, but with fresh ears, I heard an entertaining song that is quite timeless. The song is a reminder of the music of the 1950’s and early 60’s, and maybe also a trendsetter for the rock & roll of the 70’s. It’s weird like that.

If, for whatever reason, you only want to get the songs that you’ll instantly like, I wouldn’t recommend this song, but perhaps if you could spare the change and space on your computer, I would say buy “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” put it in a cellar and age it two months or so. Then listen to it again and you’ll find it’s developed a much more palatable bouquet.

7. “Ramble On”
“Ramble On” is a playful little ditty which opens with Plant singing obscure lyrics over acoustic guitar and rich and deep electric bass. This is one of those songs that you just love and can drift off in your own thoughts and not hear a note of the song. It’s magically deceptive, like a nursery rhyme for adults.

There’s no doubt in my mind that you won’t like this song. So I stamp it a knock-out bargain at any price.

8. “Moby Dick”
“Moby Dick” is entirely instrumental, and for the most part a drum solo. This is a very good song and quite the enjoyable one at that. There’s not much to say about it, as there’s not a prevailing theme or chord progression, and where there is guitar and bass, it’s used more as a vehicle for the drum solo.

Don’t let the lack of description fool you, “Moby Dick” is a great song, and I highly recommend it.

9. “Bring It On Home”
“Bring It On Home” is a musical pun. Being the last song of the album, it’s actually bringing it on home, or to the end. This is a bluesy song that opens with a harmonica and bass guitar. It’s sung like a classic blues musician, like Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters, or a bad impersonation of them.

It’s a good, strong song which epitomizes the hard-rocking stylings of Led Zeppelin. It caps off the album very well, not too abruptly and not as a drawn-out time-filler, or a vehicle for the musicians’ satisfaction rather than the audience’s.

Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin

“Whole Lotta Love”

“What Is And What Should Never Be”

“The Lemon Song”

“Thank You”

“Heartbreaker”

“Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”

“Ramble On”

“Moby Dick”

“Bring It On Home”