Since they never properly released a single, it could be said that Led Zeppelin were definitely an album band. Early Days and Latter Days
tries to piece together the best standalone tracks from their output in the late 1960s and 1970s. It combines two discs that have previously been released separately and together they form a great value package of vintage British rock.
Early Days has 13 songs from their first four albums in chronological order including classics like the pioneering stoner rock of "Dazed and Confused", the riff-tastic "Whole Lotta Love" and naturally one of the few songs that gets rated along with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Stairway to Heaven". Latter Days opens with the drawn-out, wailing blues of "The Song Remains the Same" and then moves on to the crawling guitar and mythological vocals of "No Quarter". The epic moment comes in the shape of "Kashmir", one of the grandest and most distinctive guitar hooks in history, offering a very different perspective to the four-minute "pop" songs of the first disc.
One drawback, as with many best-of collections, is that there just isn't enough room for everything. This will lead to bickering among Zeppelin enthusiasts: Why are there only two songs from the third album? Surely "Tangerine" and "Gallows Pole" are more worthy (although less sampled) than "When the Levee Breaks" from IV? Why pick "What Is and What Should Never Be" from the second album when you could have "Ramble On"? The solution is simple: if you enjoy Early Days and Latter Days, get the full albums. A two-CD compilation could never accommodate even a semi-comprehensive anthology of the most prolific of pioneering rock bands. --David Trueman