The day Led Zeppelin cemented themselves in history

50 Years Later, Led Zeppelin III is still a massive shift and it paid off massively

From the moment drummer John Bonham and guitarist Jimmy Page connected on “Good Times, Bad Times” and introduced the world to Led Zeppelin, very few could claim to have had as influential or successful a run. Twelve years and eight albums later, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones — along with Bonham and Page — have one of the most impressive discographies in the history of music.

One of the most pivotal moments was the release of their third record — Led Zeppelin III — which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year on Oct. 5. Following the successes of Led Zeppelin I and II, Plant and Page took refuge from the incessant touring in a small cottage in Wales. Once there, they fully embraced the folky, psychedelic, and — most notably — acoustic sounds they had been toying with over the past few months.

The 18th-century cottage in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales was where the majority of the album was written. The result was a collection of songs that were a sharp turn away from what came to be expected of Led Zeppelin.

The shock following one of the biggest hard rock bands releasing acoustic material was not unlike the reaction to Bob Dylan going electric just five years earlier. It was vitriolic, with many people accusing the band of selling out or “going soft,” when in reality the signs were already there. They had already experimented with some of the sounds found on their third record and it should come as no surprise that they built on it.

Their previous record, which was appropriately named Led Zeppelin II, had a much more blues-based sound, so they were willing to experiment with other sounds and techniques. The writing was on the wall for a massive shift in style.

Plant — along with the rest of the band—went from high-flying, rock-n-roll sex gods to hippie farmers and they seemed perfectly at home in those roles. While “Immigrant Song” was all you would expect from the hottest band in the world at the time, the record’s opening track was the only hard rock song in the album.

Even though songs like “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and “Out on the Tiles” have electric instruments, the same sound that runs through the entire album is still incredibly present. While the entirety of the project wasn’t written during Page and Plant’s Welsh vacations, it’s impossible to deny its influence.

This record was a massive commercial risk. From an artistic standpoint, however, it seemed almost inevitable. In more than one interview Page and Plant explained how the band had been experimenting with similar sounds for some time and a full-length project seemed more and more like a natural evolution of “Zep’s” style and aesthetic.

One could write a series of novels on Led Zeppelin III. It’s a groundbreaking album that both stunned and divided fans in a way that only cemented their legacy as one of the most technically proficient and versatile bands of all time.

Music Quickspins

Anniversary QUICKSPINS: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

The catalytic debut to one of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands, revisited

This week in 1969, Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut album. The project would go on to set the precedent for the extraordinary work that would emerge from the four-piece English rock band and the three more self-titled albums that would follow. Led Zeppelin has since become one of the most revered rock bands of all time and is the pioneer for much of the sounds that we hear today.

The reception towards the Led Zeppelin LP was not initially met with the high-praise that it received in later years. Rolling Stone initially published a review of the album that saw the band hold a grudge against the magazine for decades, calling head honcho Jimmy Page “a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs.” Revisiting the album, it is impossible to overlook the amount of classics that were a part of the track list. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” “Dazed and Confused,” and “I Can’t Quit You” are just a few gems that stand the test of time, as does the rest of the album. While it may not be the best in Led Zeppelin’s discography, it’s something pretty close to it.

Rating: 9/10

Timeless Classic: “Your Time Is Gonna Come”


Music in the News: Nelly, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin

Oh, is that what ‘pimp juice’ is?

Grammy-award winning rapper Nelly ran into a bit of trouble last week when border-patrol officers performed a routine search of his tour bus that turned up more than half an ounce of heroin, 10 pounds of marijuana and a loaded .45-caliber pistol. Nelly and his crew were detained but eventually set free once a man named Keith Jones admitted the illegal articles were his and was subsequently arrested.  “I’m not gone front I’m MAD as Hell about this,” Nelly tweeted, “2have some1 who works 4u n who u call a friend 4 ova 10years jeopardize ur life WTF?… No excuses for wad he did!” Oddly enough, the search occurred at the now-infamous Sierra Blanca checkpoint in Texas, where musicians such as Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and most recently Fiona Apple were all arrested for drug possession.


Nicks nixes threatening Nicki’s neck

Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks has apologized for her hostile statements regarding Nicki Minaj after the rapper reportedly threatened Mariah Carey on the set of American Idol. “I’m not fucking putting up with her fucking highness over there,” said Minaj in a spat between the two performers during a filming of the show. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Nicks stated her opinion bluntly: “How dare this little girl! . . . If I had been Mariah, I would have walked over to Nicki and strangled her to death right there.” Now the “Edge of Seventeen” singer has thought twice about her harsh words. “I want to apologize for my remarks about Nicki Minaj’s behavior toward Mariah Carey, which I said during a long and exhausting day of interviews.” Nicks said that the comment was completely out of character and that she truly regretted having said it. “I feel very protective toward Mariah Carey, who has gone through many difficulties in her life, and I spoke without thinking. I think all artists should be respectful toward one another and that includes me. I am truly sorry.”


Communication breakdown

The media got to share an uncomfortable moment with Led Zeppelin last week as a press conference for the band’s new DVD Celebration Day, which documents their 2005 reunion show at the O2 arena, went a little sour. “There’s a masseuse in here who’s not a journalist. I think that’s ever so exciting,” said a visibly annoyed Robert Plant early on. Soon after, a radio host commended the new film, but claimed it might not “quench the thirst of those who wished to see you in the flesh” to which the band remained silent, until Jimmy Page replied simply, “Sorry!” Rumors and questions regarding a possible Led Zeppelin reunion swirled around the conference, which Plant addressed obliquely, speaking about the O2 concert: “There were moments where we took off . . . but the responsibility of doing that four nights a week for the rest of time is a different thing. We’re pretty good at what we do but the tail should never wag the dog, really.”


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