The sound of rock was forever changed, and redefined in the 70s. It seems impossible to say that a band was as influential as the Beatles, but for their decade, Led Zeppelin packed just as much of a punch.
With the vocal styling of Robert Plant, guitar god Jimmy Page, John Bonham on drums and bassist/keyboarder John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin came together and continued to go down in history as rock legends.
From the ashes of a band called Yardbird, rose Led Zeppelin in 1968. The English rock band molded heavy metal, blues, rock and folk rock into one—creating a sound that’s never been done before. They signed with Atlantic Records, and from there they were free to express their musical freedom in any way they desired.
Keith Moon, drummer of The Who, declared that the band would go over like a “lead zeppelin,” hence the name change to Led Zeppelin. Boy, was he wrong.
In both earlier and current times, Led Zeppelin still manages to transcend boundaries in the rock music genre and influence bands both new and old.
Drummer John Bonham passed away in September of 1980 of asphyxiation, leaving fans shocked, devastated and inquisitive about the possible and inevitable end of Led Zeppelin.
One of the best selling and most influential bands of all time, Led Zeppelin were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and considered the “heavies band of all time,” by Rolling Stone.
Discussing a band with a surplus of hit songs, it’ll be difficult to choose just ten, but let’s give it a shot. No matter what ten make the list, there are sure to be at least twenty more deserving of a spot.
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10. “Going to California”
This song has a folk sound to it that diverges from most of the heavier sounds Led Zeppelin produced on Led Zeppelin IV. Page on acoustic guitar, pairs perfectly with John Paul Jones on Mandolin. This song is apparently about Joni Mitchell—a Canadian singer that Page and Plant were smitten with.
9. “Dazed and Confused”
“Dazed and Confused.” is said to have the most recognizable bass line in rock and roll. The original belongs to Jake Holmes, but after being exposed to Led Zeppelin’s version, he knew it was their song. In concert, this song was stretched out into a 30-minute performance with a heavy focus on Jimmy Page and his unbelievable guitar talents.
8. “Ten Years Gone”
This song is so well respected due to its unlikely sound. Led Zeppelin will always be known for their hard rock and heavy riffs, but “Ten Years Gone,” serves as a mellow and melodic piece about a love gone ill. The lyrics describe Plant’s relationship that ended when a former girlfriend made him choose between her and the music. It’s obvious which one he chose.
7. < i> “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
Originally written by Anne Bredon, the band first thought they were covering a song by Joan Baez. The band included it on their debut album Led Zeppelin.
This song opens side two to the album Led Zeppelin II. It’s most memorable for Jimmy Page’s guitar riff and improvised solo. Guitar World magazine voted it the 16th greatest guitar solo and Rolling Stone ranked it 320 of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
5. “Moby Dick”
This song truly captures the connection between Bonham, Jones and Page. As a power trio, the song is instrumental. Page would catch Bonham jamming in the studio by himself and would record bits of it. He put them all together and added only a bit of guitar and bass. Most of the song is Bonham’s time to shine. Plant doesn’t have any vocals on the song, and during concerts, would introduce Bonham and step to the side.
4. “In My Time Of Dying”
Led Zeppelin’s version of this song was recorded on their album, Physical Graffiti. The song reaches eleven minutes and six seconds, making it the longest Zeppelin studio track.
3. “Whole Lotta Love”
One of the bands biggest hits, “Whole Lotta Love,” is featured on the album Led Zeppelin II. It was released and became their first single in the United States. It ranked 75 on Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and Q magazine ranked it number three on the list of 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.
Both Robert Plan and fans around the world consider this song to be the band’s greatest. The guitar riffs and orchestra sound come together to create a song that was played at almost every single concert. The song features diverse music stylings of Moroccan and Middle Eastern sounds. Page and Plant wrote the lyrics over a time span of three years.
1. “Stairway to Heaven”
Most Led Zeppelin fans would have to agree with putting this song at number one, regardless of personal preference. This song is by far one of the most praised songs in all of rock music. The lyrics and guitar solo will forever be deemed as the greatest—although “if there’s a bustle in your hedgerow” still confuses people to this day. This song acted as a milestone for the band. Some will find this song utterly annoying and overplayed while others consider this a rock and roll anthem. Nevertheless, the pure talent poured into this song is undeniable.
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