Ryan Palko ’14
It was only a matter of time until I did a review of Led Zeppelin. The band is composed of four Englishmen named, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant. These were the first classic rock musicians that I ever listened too. Hence, I have been marked by these hair thrashing rockers and am always biased toward their work. For the sake of this music review, I will be taking a look at their fourth album. They were very creative when they named their first four albums. The names were Led Zeppelin and then a roman numeral from two to four to signify which album it was. IV was their most widely acclaimed album ever and placed them atop the music world in 1971. This album not only placed them at the top of the world, but etched their name as one of the best bands ever. Their superhit “Stairway to Heaven” is found on this album. Needless to say this album might have descended from heaven.
This album was released a year after Zeppelin III. Their previous album was a not highly acclaimed and the band needed a rebound album to raise their reputation. In order to increase sales and disassociate their identity from the former Led Zeppelin albums, they assigned each band member a symbol. This album became known as ZoSo which was Jimmy Page’s symbol. They were responding to critics who claimed that this band was copying lyrics and that their success was only luck. Jimmy Page knew that his band was the real deal, but he also knew that he had to produce a solid album. The album that he produced, Zeppelin IV, was a masterpiece. The sound of this album is a blend between folk-blues and hard rock. As with all bands they were experimenting with sounds. The track “The Battle of Evermore” is dominated with the mandolin, “Stairway to Heaven” is played with an acoustic guitar and the layering of “Black Dog” through studio technology defined Zeppelin. This album is the definition of Led Zeppelin.
There is only one song on this album that did not make it into their box set. That song was called, “Four Sticks.” It’s not that the song lacks any depth but it does not compete with the other megatracks on this album. There are too many songs in this album to discuss in one music review. Thus, let’s just look at the superhit “Stairway to Heaven.” This track was conceived at Bron-Yr-Aur. This place is a cottage in England that Plant and Page retreated too to write music at. This song was composed from bits and pieces that Page had recorded on a cassette tape. Little did they know, this song would eventually rock the world. The song opens with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar and gradually drifts in the electric guitar. This song is a long piece lasting eight minutes and three seconds. The song is about; however you interpret it, man. It is filled with positive energy and connects with people differently with each person. Overall the bare bones of this song are about a woman getting everything and never being able to give it back. This song’s interpretation varies between who listens to it. That is why I think this song is so influential and had such an impact on the world. People have accused Zeppelin of “backmasking” Satanic messages into this song. Zeppelin did in fact backmask or playsthe record backwards for effect, but they did not encrypt satanic messages into the music. Overall, I would give this album a 38/40.