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This review is from: Led Zeppelin (Audio CD)
Led Zeppelin (1969.) Led Zeppelin's first album.
In the latter half of the sixties, Jimmy Page was left without a band since his previous one, The Yardbirds, had disbanded. However, he wasn't about ready to be done rocking and rolling. He put together a new band with vocalist Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. He appropriately called this new band The New Yardbirds. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this isn't a very good band name. Fortunately, the band received inspiration from The Who drummer Keith Moon. He had an expression - "This gig is going down like a lead Zeppelin." Liking this term, they changed their name to Led Zeppelin. And in 1969, one of the great years in rock and roll history, these four young men released their self-titled debut album. How does it measure up? Read on and see.
The first two Led Zeppelin albums are considerably more bluesy than the later ones, but this is not a bad thing. Good Times Bad Times opens the album. It's a solid, classic hard rocking tune, with a slight bluesy touch. The most underrated member of Led Zeppelin is John Paul Jones, and his bass here really must be heard to be appreciated. Babe Im Gonna Leave You is a slower, mostly acoustic tune about heartbreak. Every musical artist, regardless of genre, has to do a few heartbreak tunes - and here Led Zeppelin serves up one of the finest the world has ever seen. You Shook Me is a cover song. To put it simply, this is a slower track, but it's still a hard rocker. I'm not too crazy about this one, but it's still a decent song. Dazed And Confused features the band serving up an excellent example of classic psychedelic hard rock. This is one of the most popular songs that can be found on the band's debut album - and why not? This song ROCKS! Your Time Is Gonna Come kicks off with an organ solo by Jones, which is nothing short of excellent. It's not long before we have a melodic rocker that almost certainly won't fail to please. This here is what we call an underrated masterpiece. Black Mountain Side is short but sweet acoustic instrumental. Jimmy Page is a guitar god, but the acoustic stuff he does never seems to get the proper credit for some odd reason. Communication Breakdown is straight-up classic hard rock, this one is a premonition to the heavy metal that would slowly begin to surface in the seventies. This one is arguably my favorite song on the album. I Cant Quit You Baby is another cover song. This here is a slower, bluesy rocker featuring some excellent guitar riffs by the one and only Jimmy Page. The bass is also excellent, and it really makes me wonder why John Paul Jones is the most underrated person in the band! How Many More Times is yet another cover song. To put it in the simplest terms possible, this is a slow rocker - but it's still hard rock. It's a shame this track never got the proper credit, because the band couldn't have finished the album off with a better track!
There have been numerous issues of this album released over the years, but really, they're all the same other than their packaging. Don't bother shelling out the extra cash to get one of those foreign LP-style replica packages - it's just not worth it. The domestic versions are exactly the same and cost considerably less. Or better yet, just shell out the extra bucks and get the Complete Studio Recordings box set - it may appear pricey, but in actuality, it's a great value.
Led Zeppelin's self-titled 1969 debut is one of classic rock's essential masterpieces. Even after all these years, it still stands the test of time. If this little gem is missing from your rock and roll library, I suggest you add it as soon as possible. I don't know if I can call this the band's finest album (it's tough playing favorites with these guys), but it's damn fine nonetheless - and well worth purchasing.