Sunday, 8 November 2009

Led Zeppelin IV

The sun was shining yesterday, it shone on Villa Park clearly as a 5-1 pummeling of Bolton happened. The soundtrack on the journey, and the next CD in my loosley alphabeticised CD album collection was, to quote Wikipedia, Four Symbols, , The Fourth Album, Sticks, ZoSo, Untitled, The Hermit, Runes, or simply, IV.
Led Zeppelin IV is what it is known as the most though and that is what I will call it.
I am realtively new to Led Zeppelin, relatively new to enjoying Led Zeppelin is more realistic. It would be difficult not to be aware of them, aware of their music, but I was resolutely anti them for quite some time. Then, as is the case more and more these days, I read a book, in this case it was "Hammer of The Gods", Stephen Davis's book. Following that I felt I needed to investigate the band and so I did, initially buying their debut and their 2 subsequent albums, then Led Zeppelin IV.
So some time later Led Zeppelin are a band that at this point in my life are pretty important to me, I went from not knowing much by them at all, to having all of their albums, and enjoying all of their albums, and loving most of their albums.
I think my co-blogger Kev could write a great piece on the blues "influence" on Led Zeppelin, but as someone who has limited knowledge of blues music and the origins of the songs that proliferate Led Zeppelin albums, I take this and their others at face value.
So onto Led Zeppelin IV, its only 8 tracks long, so difficult to go wrong in 8 tracks, and of course they don't, from the start of Black Dog to the end of When The Levee Breaks, and all points in between, it is just a stunning album that saw my strained voice try to recreate as I passed through the average speed check areas of the M6.
When The Levee Breaks in particular, a huge huge tune with Bonhams drums taking over the whole piece, that is until Plant comes in with arguably the best vocal, the best opening line on the whole album, screaming it, but controlling it, "If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break". Stunning. I could listen to the song up to that point and be happy with it.
Of course the most well known song on this album is Stairway To Heaven, there is no denying its a great song, its longevity and popularity have proven this but for me although I like that Led Zeppelin tone, a more considered tone, a quieter, more reflective tone, for me it is my least favourite track on the album, but that at this point in my life is like saying my least favourite child. Still a great track but there are so much more that are better on this album.
Through Going To California, Misty Mountain Hop, Rock and Roll and Battle of Evermore, this is an album that sways between the blues, thumping rock, traditional folk and more than anything, rock n roll.
You get all of that and on The Battle of Evermore you also get one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear in Sandy Denny, perfection upon perfection. A stunning album and as a run of Led Zeppelin starts, feel it is going to be a great week. 10 out of 10.

When The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin

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