45 Years of Led Zeppelin IV
It’s been 45 years since Led Zeppelin released their hit album, Led Zeppelin IV. It’s hard to articulate the greatness or influence this album has had on rock music, but I’ll still try to explain why it’s one of the best rock and roll albums of all time. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones demonstrated the range of their artistic ability in their fourth studio album. The following list provides eight reasons why the album has reached untouchable rock and roll holiness.
1. “Black Dog”
An amazing way to open an album by any standards, “Black Dog” is a classic Led Zeppelin hit. The isolated vocals performed by the one and only Robert Plant on top of the bluesy, yet hard guitar makes you fall hard into the trance that is Led Zeppelin IV.
2. “Rock and Roll”
A ballad of rock and roll music, this song captures the essence of Led Zeppelin. You can feel the intoxicating chaos and cool of the rock and roll lifestyle, which is only made more alluring by the fact that this track is a spontaneous creation. “Rock and Roll” is the product of an impromptu jam session, a creation story that you can feel through the music, and so all four members of Zeppelin are credited for composing the track. Taste a piece of the magic of Zeppelin rock in this live performance.
3. “The Battle of Evermore”
If you're into folk music and Lord of the Rings, this is the song for you. In “The Battle of Evermore,” Led Zeppelin embraces it's softer, folkier side in this mandolin infused song, with an awesome duet featuring Sandy Denny.
4. “Stairway to Heaven”
Wow. I truly don’t know where to begin with this song, aside from the fact that it’s unarguably one of the best songs of all time. “Stairway to Heaven” is truly mesmerizing. I’ll never forget listening to it the first time and knowing that this was true rock music. The passion and soul radiates from every chord and lyric. Plant’s vocals will leave you with chills, and Page’s guitar is nothing but artistic genius. Along with its numerous awards and accolades, “Stairway to Heaven” has a pretty cool music video to match the mastery.
5. “Misty Mountain Hop”
The album’s fifth track, “Misty Mountain Hop” is a beacon to a lighter, more playful side of the album. Quite catchy, the song’s layered guitar and keyboard featuring lyrics about both The Lord of the Rings and weed trigger a nostalgic 70’s summer feel.
6. “Four Sticks”
While the guitar plays an ever-important role in “Four Sticks”, with repetitive riffs breaking to mix with a softer guitar sound, the drums truly steal the show. John Bonham never disappoints, but in “Four Sticks”, a track named so because he had to play with four drumsticks, Bonham shines.
7. “Going to California”
“Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.” This brilliant, second to last song on the album brings a beautiful sense of closure and peace to the dazzling and pleasant chaos that is Led Zeppelin IV. “Going to California” is a sentimental work of musical genius; if it doesn’t make you feel something, can you even feel? You can feel the passion overflowing from Plant in this live performance.
8. “When the Levee Breaks”
Originally a 1929 song by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, Zeppelin took “When the Levee Breaks” and its bluesy roots to reinvent the track in this exhilarating final song of Led Zeppelin IV. If “Going to California” was the peaceful ending, “When the Levee Breaks” is the unexpected following scene in which total pandemonium breaks out and you are left with a cliffhanger. Another song in which all four members shined, especially Bonham.
Stream the album on Spotify here: