Album no. 155/1001
It’s the lads, those crazy English gents with an insanely good drummer who died too young. No it’s not The Who you fool, it’s Led Zeppelin!
This is the first Zeppelin album, and they’re already in good form. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham, giving it their all.
Prior to the recording the band had been on an intensive tour of Scandinavia, which they said was a massive help when it came to recording because they were already so well rehearsed. There are some big riffs on this, and the production is already head and shoulders above the bands who had been doing the same thing (I’m looking at you Jeff Beck). This is a real step towards heavy metal. Get into it.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: Yes I have.
CL: I’ve never gotten the Led out.
NK: Do you know, it’s a real relief to get to this album. I’m not a massive Zeppelin head, but it’s nice to hear a band that sounds like they know exactly what they’re doing. The standout track is ‘Communication Breakdown’ which remains a cracker, even if not quite as good as the line in Cool Hand Luke.
CL: ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ is my favourite here and absolutely the best song by a million miles – even if it does go for a solid 6 minutes.
NK: I also recommend ‘Good Times Bad Times’ and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’. ‘Dazed and Confused’ inspired a movie, but I have watched that movie and it didn’t work for me. Sorry Matthew McConaughey.
CL: WHAT THAT MOVIE IS GREAT YOUR TASTE SUCKS.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: Not when you’re in a rush. If you’ve got the time to get a bit heavy, this is your jam.
CL: It does go on a bit. If you’re into variations on a theme for 44 minutes – this is the album for you.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: This album is definitely comparable to The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group, but it’s more complete. Jimmy Page wrote most of the songs, plus he produced it, and on top of that he and Peter Grant (the band’s manager) paid for the recording before they sold it to a record company, so the band had complete creative control. And you can tell! They had toured extensively before they went in to record, and they are really tight.
CL: They definitely sound polished. I suppose it’s also moving us in this ‘hard rock’ direction, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
NK: Some of the songs here are not that different to what we encountered on Truth by Jeff Beck, but Robert Plant’s voice is much better suited to it than Rod Stewart’s was. Also, all the songs sound like they’re meant to be here. There’s nobody making it up as they go, no out of place acoustic pop number, it’s a proper album from start to finish. A weird mix of traditional blues, a singer who sounds like he’s in the next room down the hall, and some properly cranked guitars. It somehow works perfectly!
Will you be listening again?
NK: Yeah. It’s pretty good.
CL: See, I can certainly appreciate that people are CRAZY PASSIONATE about their love of Led Zeppelin – and good on them – but that is not me. I can enjoy a good song here and there, but whole albums are toooooo much.
Listen to Led Zeppelin on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.