Led Zeppelin – The alternative take

What do you need to know about them?

Led Zeppelin were a fabulous hard rock group, from the seventies, perhaps the biggest at the time. – Oh come on I’m not going to explain the whole thing here, either you know them or you don’t. Look them up on wiki. Four geezers, Robert Plant (Vocals), Jon Paul Jones, (Bass and keyboards), Jon Bonham (Drums), brought together via the ashes of The Yardbirds, by Jimmy Page (Guitar). As hard rock groups go, they are pretty much the best. They started in 1968, seven years before I was born, and ended due to the death of John Bonham, in 1980. They briefly reformed to terrible effect at Live aid in 1985, and to tremendous effect in 2007 for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert.

All the members except Robert Plant wanted to continue from the 2007 concert. Robert has moved on with other successful projects. Personally I was too young to see the Zep play live, and would love to see them, but it’s hard not to agree with Roberts perspective also. Led Zep were the four original members and that ended when Bonzo passed away. Going back to all that now, having all the press attention when it is not wanted, moving aside current interests, – all too much hassle.

Where did I first become acquainted?

Well my dad had some albums and compilations so  I probably heard them growing up. I think I started with the remasters compilation in the early nineties and started buying the albums from there. It’s Led Zep, what’s not to like?

What to buy:

Depends what stage of Led Zep you want. However this is my post, so I’m choosing:

  • II – Their second album, the one written on tour. It’s a bit sexy dirty, and begins with Whole lotta love.
  • III – The third album (see the theme developing here), a mix of acoustic, some soft and some harder tunes. Starts with Immigrant song.
  • Houses of the Holy – Some might go with other albums ahead of this one, but I think this works better as an album than most of the others do. Plus it opens with The song remains the same.
  • IV – Contains Stairway to Heaven so is naturally one of the most popular. Also contains the much sampled (for Drum breaks) When the Levee breaks’
  • Physical Graffiti – Big two disk affair often considered to be their best. Contains Trampled underfoot, and Kashmir, those being two good examples for consideration.

Some key tracks to listen to:

Lots of tracks, and you could easily just pick up one of the compilations as they all give you the main ones. For arguments sake let me divide them up a bit

Short hard rock ones:

  • Good times, bad times
  • Communication breakdown
  • Whole lotta love
  • Bring it on home
  • Immigrant song
  • Trampled Underfoot
  • The Wanton Song
  • Custard pie
  • Rock & Roll

Long guitar twiddly ones:

  • Song remains the same
  • Since I’ve been loving you
  • Achilles last stand
  • Nobodies fault but mine
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Kashmir

“Lighter” ones

  • Tangerine
  • Thats the way
Blah, blah, so many good tracks. Or listen to some tracks here. Check out this fab version of Trampled underfoot.

Anything to avoid?

Coda, a collection of outtakes and unused tracks is a bit naff. The film The song remains the same, is amusing for all the stupid fantasy footage, but isn’t the greatest concert performance. I say 50/50 as to whether you watch or not, but don’t go in with high expectations.

Anything else?

They have their own website here. There is a good fan site here. There was not a lot of filmed concert footage, but the best was pooled together to make this dvd collection Led Zeppelin which became the biggest selling music dvd of all time. It is really good.

Robert Plant has some decent solo albums, I would check out:

  • Mighty Rearranger (with band the strange sensation)
  • Raising Sand (with Alison Krauss)
Jon Paul Jones joined with Foo Fighter man, and ex Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, plus Queens of the Stone age main man, Josh Homme under the name Them crooked vultures for:
  • Them Crooked Vultures (ok, self titled)
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page recorded two half decent albums together:
  • No quarter: Unledded
  • Walking into Clarksdale
And Jimmy Page was featured in this fabulous guitar film It might get loud (along with U2’s The Edge, and Jack White).

Enjoy!

Lexicon word of the day: Somniferous. 

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6 comments on “Led Zeppelin – The alternative take

  1. Beatles, Led Zep, Doors and a little Hendrix is all you need.

  2. I love Led Zeppelin!

  3. Dan says:

    I’m sure you know it, but Dolly Parton did a Robert Plant-approved cover of “Stairway to Heaven” in 2002.

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