I happen to own Led Zeppelin’s “Remasters” Box Set.
So, I’ve been listening to a whole lotta Led Zeppelin today.
Though I consider myself a jazz musician/drummer, I have roots in Rock music, and I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and other rock bands of the early 1970’s.
My favorite rock bands from that era included Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Led Zeppelin. I think I was pretty selective during that time. I didn’t get into Pink Floyd’s music (for instance) and Genesis’ music until years later.
But, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was the very first Rock album I had in my collection. As a matter of fact, my music tastes were pretty diverse even back then. My first two albums were Led Zeppelin IV and Roberta Flack’s “First Take”, which included the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”.
One thing that sticks out in my mind regarding Led Zeppelin’s fourth album (aka Zoso) is the sound quality. Even today the remastered versions of these classic songs sound exceptionally great. The drums especially seem to thunder throughout the album, with a depth and attack I’ve not heard in other albums, past or present.
Upon its release, Led Zeppelin IV was a huge commercial and critical success. Most of the album’s songs are staples on classic rock radio stations, including “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Misty Mountain Hop”, “Going to California”, and “When the Levee Breaks”. The album is one of the best-selling albums in history at 37 million units. It has shipped over 23 million units in the United States alone, putting it third on the all-time list.
Robert Plant’s screaming vocals complement Jimmy Page’s amazing guitar work, while bassist John Paul Jones contributes amazingly solid bass lines. And, one simply can not forget John Bonham’s signature drum sound and performance.
Of course, the main reason I had gotten the album was because of Stairway to Heaven, and there’s not much more that I can say that hasn’t already been said about this classic, unforgettable song.
“Stairway to Heaven” was never released as a single, which explains the reason why I ended up having to buy the album.
At the time it first hit the airwaves, people weren’t bothered by the length of the song at 8 minutes, breaking the rule of being too long for radio play, but Stairway to Heaven was the exception.
The entire Led Zeppelin IV album (released in November of 1971) was recorded at Headley Grange, in the drawing room, that was said to have had perfect acoustics.
There, early in 1971, “Out of the clear blue pool of creativity arose the eight-minute extravaganza which would become Led Zeppelin’s ultimate trademark, a song of shimmering and flourishing beauty, a supreme accomplishment which Robert Plant would later describe as ‘our single most important achievement’ … Stairway to Heaven.” [‘Led Zeppelin, the definitive biography,’ by Ritchie Yorke]
Anyway, I’m enjoying listening to the entire Led Zeppelin IV album again. But, I like other random songs from other albums, on my playlist. Particularly, “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin III, and “Kashmir” from Physical Graffiti.
For some reason, I never get tired of listening to their music. It seems to have aged quite well. The music now seems timeless…