Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Atlantic Records, 1969


REVIEW BY: Scott Floman


After leaving The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page busied himself with session work (rumor has it he played the classic riff on The Kinks' "You Really Got Me") until he put together a new band of local musicians thirsty for the big time. Although he originally planned on naming the group The New Yardbirds, he thankfully changed his mind, partly due to the by-now famous Keith Moon quip that his new ensemble "would go over like a lead zeppelin."my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And what a band they were! Yeah, they ripped off old blues artists, but they did so brilliantly. Besides, that was just a small part of their recorded output, although for some reason most critics seem to harp on that side of their legacy. Anyway, I've yet to hear a bluesman record a song as majestic or powerful as "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" or "Dazed And Confused," with Robert Plant's anguished and orgasmic screams, John Bonham's monstrous drumming, and Jimmy Page's laser guitar solos and thundering riffs.

Page also lends great guitar solos to "Good Times Bad Times" and the relentless rocker "Communication Breakdown," whose breathtaking speed would make future punk bands' complaints about these "dinosaur rockers" laughable. "Your Time Is Gonna Come" should destroy any claims against Zeppelin's greatness, with its gorgeous acoustic and organ fills showcasing their versatility (their power was never questioned). "Black Mountain Side" is a surprisingly succinct acoustic instrumental showcase that once again proves that Page is far more than merely an over-amped blues imitator.

"How Many More Times" is a tremendous blues workout that closes out the album on a high. On this song Led Zeppelin shows their mastery of pacing with a series of sizzling climaxes, while each musician shines without getting in each other's way. A band in the truest sense, Led Zeppelin boast some of the greatest performers ever to try their chosen instruments, yet their songs always came before all else. "How Many More Times" also shows their willingness to go over the top, with Plant's outrageous, spastic singing leading the way.

Ironically, the two Willie Dixon covers, "You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You, Baby," are the album's weakest songs, proving that Led Zeppelin were at their best when unleashing a fury (or a beauty) all their own.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-


© 1997 Scott Floman and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Atlantic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.