Led Zeppelin IV, the fourth release by the legendary hard rocking band Led Zeppelin, which contains some of their most muscular and most remembered songs of all time, including their centerpiece to many, “Stairway to Heaven,” celebrates its 45th anniversary today.
There isn’t anyone who is a fan of rock and roll in general who hasn’t crossed paths with this album at least once, whether it be the constant replay and re-re-replay of almost all the songs on the album on a daily basis on Classic Rock radio, or the various forms of media many of the songs have been included in pop culturally. It’s become a global playbook for the correct and attitudinal way to amplify the original organic blues and its become a global playbook for how to take simple chord rock and enhance it with mixtures and clovers of folk and exotic sounds, stemming from American shores like Memphis (“When the Levee Breaks”) all the way to countries like Morocco and such (“Four Sticks”).
As part of the ongoing series of Led Zeppelinreissues with coveted bonus tracks, next month will see the re-release of what is arguably the band’s greatest moment in their recorded history, the two-record set Physical Graffiti, which was originally released 40 years ago this year.
A bonus track from the upcoming re-mastered package has gone viral, an early, previously unreleased and rough around the edges mix of one of the band’s most well known tunes, the FM radio staple “Houses of the Holy,” which was originally recorded in 1972 and was intended to be the title song of Zep’s 1973 record of the same name, but was pulled at the last minute as the band felt it “didn’t fit” on that release.
It was 45 years ago this year that Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut album. They were a band born from the ashes of The Yardbirds, and trailblazed their way and reinvented the hard rock and roll genre with their high octane dosages of alpha male rock strut by way of early Sun records and American blues electrified and shimmering off the delta.
Now, in what seems to be one of the most massive remastering undertakings since the band’s demise back in 1980 after the death of their drummer, pomp and circumstance beats king John Bonham, Zep’s first three albums are getting the royal treatment by way of new limited edition releases, extensive liner notes, unreleased songs, and enhanced album art. Each album, which will be released on June 3, 2014, will be available in multiple CD, vinyl, and digital formats, as well as a Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box (see image above for the Led Zeppelin I box set).
Happy Birthday to Robert Plant, the blue-eyed hard rock English singer whose image and vocals became an absolute archetype for all hard rock that followed with the mighty Led Zeppelin. Plant, who has had a solo career of varying degrees of success since Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 after the death of their drummer John Bonham, turns 65 years old today.
Regardless of the contemporary success Plant has with his recent stints with Alison Krauss which netted him and her a cachet of Grammy Awards, Plant’s main suit is Led Zeppelin. Starting in that band when he was barely out of his teens (along with John Bonham), Plant, with bassist John Paul Jones and guitarist royale Jimmy Page totally dominated the musical planet, if not the universe, with a beefed-up, bombastic, electric amplification of the blues that meshed the sounds of Hendrix and even people like Janis Joplin into an original, instantly identifiable sound that not only endures to this day, but seems to have etched in granite a kind of hierarchy only reserved for artists such as Elvis Presley and The Beatles, in terms of influence, broad appeal, staying power, and an almost universal regard. Their catalog of work remains high atop the apex of rock and roll and will till the ends of eternity.
Birthday greetings today go out to Jimmy Page, one of the most successful musical artists of all time, whose work in Led Zeppelin etched his status as one of the great guitar players, songwriters, and producers of the modern age of rock and roll.
With Led Zeppelin as his crowning achievement, Page’s fretwork and versatile, speedy, soulful, intense work on his instrument pretty much put the band (along with the perfect chemistry of Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John “Bonzo” Bonham in musical tow) at the top of the heap. The band, although heavily wearing its blues influences on its sleeves, still managed to create a sound that was all their own and tallied a success rate that was on par with bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, even outselling both and smashing attendance records set by those two bands prior, and created a body of work that is almost flawless in its approach, execution, arrangement, and attack.