So, over the past few days, besides fervently reading "Song of Ice & Fire," I've been listening to Led Zeppelin's nine studio albums and have come to the conclusion that they are my favorite band, overtaking, what was always Radiohead.
The past few Radiohead albums have been great, but as I've gotten older, I've wanted more soul & emotion in the music that moves me and I choose to listen too. Radiohead will always be the most artistic, creative & amazing music I've heard, and they do have deeply emotional songs like "True Love Waits," "Gagging Order" & "How To Disappear Completely" - but their music has recently become an exercise in thought. They've always been a cold band, like the movies of Stanley Kubrick, but recently, I've needed more... soul.
I've been listening to Led Zeppelin here and there for a while. I got a "Greatest Hits" double album back in High School, and my Dad, as I remember, had "In Through the Out Door" on vinyl. But, as I listened to their albums, while reading their history of the albums & songs, it just hit me.
This band was amazing.
Page's riffs, Plant's vocals... and some of their songs move me to tears. Like "Since I've Been Loving You" from my favorite of their albums, LZIII.
I like their story too. A true rock group. With epic guitar solos, epic drum solos (Moby Dick) and a true root soul in blues, rock n roll.
Their first album, Led Zeppelin, has the same feel for me as The Strokes' "This is It" - raw, live & immediate. Their second album, written during their second tour, is just as good, if not better. Where The Strokes took their second album to be much more polished & clean, LZII was just as immediate as their first.
But, it's their third album, LZIII, where things were perfectly aligned. They wrote the album at Bron-Yr-Aur and it reflected a more pastoral & acoustic side. Emotionally, I just love this album.
Critics, as they are, didn't and made the band release their fourth album, without a title. Most call it LZIV but some call it "The Hermit" based on the cover, while name it after the four symbols each of the band members chose to use on the back cover.
Of course, on IV you get "Stairway to Heaven" but you also get "Battle of Evermore," "Going to California," & "When the Levee Breaks." Easily making this album my second favorite.
Going on down, they released their last album with Atlantic, "Houses of the Holy" named after what the fans would call the concert halls that LZ would play in. This album has my least favorite Zeppelin song, "The Crunge" - eek.
My third favorite album is their next, a double album entitled "Physical Graffiti." This, is I believe is similar to Radiohead's "In Rainbows" in which they incorporated all they LZ was in one epic tour-de-force. Like Beatles' "The White Album" or Smashing Pumpkins' "Melon Collie & the Infinite Sadness."
And then, from here, LZ started to shed. First, Plant got into a car accident and had to record "Presence" in a wheelchair, and save for "Achilles Last Stand," is probably my least favorite album (if you consider Coda just to be an official "bootleg" album).
I do like the raw rock nature of it, that is 180 degrees from "In Through the Out Door," written after Plant's second tragedy, the loss of his son. The songs here are so, unlike LZ but yet, pretty innovative and sweet. "All My Love" is crazy cool. But, "Hot Dog" - huh?
After this, their drummer, Bonham, died from what I believe is just total excessive excessiveness... sad.
Coda, was released two years later, a response to the overwhelming "bootleg albums" being released. It was a collection of eight songs that were previously unreleased. Nothing too spectacular, save for the awesome drum solo, "Bonzo's Montreux."
All in all, Led Zeppelin was just... amazing.
Here's them in the beginning, from their self titled album, back in 1969... imagine, in the dying age of The Beatles, the height of the Vietnam War, the coming of a new decade, it must of been MIND BLOWING...