my top 3 led zeppelin albums

when i was in 6th grade i went to my first school dance and the night ended with “stairway to heaven” – as it would at literally every single dance through 8th grade – most of the other music was whatever pop was popular at the time (i remember “ice, ice baby” distinctly) and not so interesting to me – anyway, i loved “stairway to heaven” so i went home to find out who made it and then i went and bought the tape

by the time i hit high school and didn’t have dances ending in “stairway” i was intimately familiar with everything led zeppelin had ever done – i had all of their albums and knew all the songs, i had read book after book after book so i got to know things from indivdual playlists from every concert they played (save a few) to their alleged off-stage antics to the sad story of their demise

here are my top 3 favorite led zeppelin albums – they’re all great (i could live without coda, but whatever – i’ll love it because it’s them) but these 3 rise to the top for me. they are in order of my preference.

PRESENCE

released march 31, 1976

my favorite track: nobody’s fault but mine – john paul jones and john bonham really show how tight and powerful they are and how much they contributed to the heavy in led zeppelin, and the drum work during the syncopated passages is really well-played – jimmy page’s playing is just sloppy enough for the blues-inflected music that dominates the whole album (except for achilles’ last stand) and he’s doing a little bit of studio trickery, which he manages to do without it sounding gratuitous – and then robert plant is *feeling it* – he’s fucking letting. it. out. – symbolically exorcising the band’s collective demons

PHYSICAL GRAFFITI

released february 24, 1975

my favorite track: down by the seaside – like most of the songs on physical graffiti, this song was a leftover from another recording sessin – this time from the band’s time in bron-yr-aur in 1970 when they were writing their third album – the songs i like the best tend to be ones that evoke a unique sense of nostalgia for me and this song definitely does it, particularly john paul jones’ synth – this song is as light and spacious as “nobody’s fault but mine” is dark and gritty

LED ZEPPELIN I

released january 12, 1969

my favorite track: how many more times? – i taught myself to play bass when i was 14 and have always loved hearing good bass – the bass riff in this song is 5 notes played over and over, varied by note durations in alternating measures, and IS the song – also, this is the second song on the album where jimmy page uses a violin bow on his guitar – something he did a lot of (quite dramatically) when they played dazed and confused (the other song on the album with violin bow on the guitar) in concert – led zeppelin 1 is a blues rock debut album that’s the right amount of tight and rocks hard and closes with “how many more times?” where you get the sense the band knew they had started off well and decided to let down their hair and have some fun – this song also contains some of the first listens of robert plant almost-orgasming



3 thoughts on “my top 3 led zeppelin albums”

  • Getting stoned and listening to Led Zeppelin was the beginning of my linking music to horniness, though it was Pink Floyd that led me down the edging/popperbate path. But yeah the heaviness of the rhythm section and Robert Plant’s sex god status and primal voice…it got me going as a young lad first discovering his sexuality

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