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Admittedly, a fair amount of Physical Graffiti was composed of offcuts and work-in-progress from their previous two albums (cf 'Houses Of The Holy') though these were offcuts startling quality. But what really shines out is the sheer genre-defying eclecticism of it all. Far more than just a crowd-pummelling hard rock act with the world's beefiest rhythm section, these boys were able to do everything from folk (''Bron Y Aur'') and blues ("In My Time Of Dying") to country rock ("Down By The Seaside") and barrelhouse rock 'n' roll ("Boogie With Stu"). In fact Graffiti serves pretty much as a primer of the band's entire oeuvre.
And amongst these flights of dexterity we get some of the band's best-loved numbers of all-time. "Trampled Underfoot", driven by Jones' stomping Fender Rhodes pulls off the remarkable trick of being both heavy AND funky as hell. "Custard Pie" and "The Rover" are monster axe workouts, and of course "Kashmir" is still a juggernaut of incredible power: a blend of east and west inspired by Page and Plant's mystical wanderings and underpinned by Bonham's legendary rumble, famously captured in all its ambient glory in the huge hallway of Headley Grange Manor. And it all came wrapped in one of those fabulously intricate die-cut sleeves that make all people of a certain age long for a return to the glory days of vinyl.
Nick Kent's review in the NME casually mentioned that by this point Zep could seemingly turn this stuff out in their sleep. He was right. Six years of touring and recording had honed them into an unstoppable force, but tragedy lay in wait around the corner in the form of death, drug abuse and changing tastes. But Physical Graffiti remains a towering monument to the glory of Zeppelin in their high-flying heyday. --Chris Jones
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One of the truly great albums by one of the truly, truly great bands of all time. Amazing, even now.Published 27 days ago by Mark Crook
This is not only the greatest album by Led Zeppelin (followed by Led Zeppelin IV), but also the greatest ever double album (followed by The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street). Read morePublished 1 month ago by P. Hudson
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