After releasing three albums Led Zeppelin was recognized as one of the superstar groups in rock music. Little did they realize at the time but it was only the beginning of their popularity.
Led Zeppelin IV was released November 8, 1971 and would become one of the best selling albums of all time. It has sold 23 million copies in the United States alone, ranking it third all time. The amazing thing is the album never reached Number One on the American album charts, having peaked at Number Two.
Anyone interested in rock music or its history is probably familiar with this album. It is recognized as one of the masterpieces in rock history and many of its tracks continue to receive extensive airplay today.
“Stairway To Heaven” remains its centerpiece. It begins gentle and acoustic, gradually morphing into a hard rock anthem. It has been estimated that the song has received well of three million radio airplays since its release. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selected it as one of the 500 songs that have shaped rock ‘n’ roll. “Stairway To Heaven” is an essential rock listening experience.
Many times it is forgotten that “Black Dog” was released as a single and was the group’s second-biggest hit, reaching number 15 on the American charts. It is a complex song with a unique bass line, shifting tempos, and another superb guitar solo by Jimmy Page. Rolling Stone ranked it as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
“Rock and Roll” is another Zeppelin tune which The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame honored as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll. It is a classic rock/blues track with Robert Plant’s vocal wailing above the mix.
I have always been attracted to “The Battle Of Evermore,” and it’s the only Led Zeppelin song I can think of to use a guest vocalist. Sandy Denny, who gained fame as a member of Fairport Convention, duets with Robert Plant. She would pass away in 1978 at the age of 31. It is a folk song with acoustic guitar and mandolin. Plant has been performing the song live in recent years with Alison Krauss.
The other outstanding track is the mid-tempo “Misty Mountain Hop” on which John Paul Jones’ keyboards provide the foundation for Page’s guitar and Bonham’s drumming.
Led Zeppelin IV has received just about every honor a rock album can achieve. It has also been played over and over again yet remains fresh. It’s that good!