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#42 Led Zeppelin – IV (ZOSO)

For much of my teenage years were spent listening to Led Zeppelin. For many it should just be required listening. Led Zeppelin were one of the kings of rock and roll and there is no denying their power onstage. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jon Bonham. They were kings. They commanded the stage, they commanded the instruments, they define the idea of what a rock concert should be.

Stairway to Heaven is epic and maybe this album and this band would not be so important if not for the rest of the music they made.

They were big, they were bloated, there are myths, stories, some of which are true but they should be the definition of a rock and roll band. They were also one of the few bands that were experts at their craft yet worked so well as a 4 piece. It was not as if Jimmy Page was going all Yngwie Malmsteen without it not feeling it was part of the act.

Robert Plant could strut his stuff and play the role of the lead singer but sound just as vulnerable as well when you least expect it. Bonham was relentless and John Paul Jones was the steady quiet one keeping everything in line.

Black Dog and Rock and Roll are instant classics. I think that Black Dog offered a certain power of persuasion and Rock and Roll has just a great drumline with that Page guitar riff. But it’s the album tracks which make Zeppelin 4/ZOSO such an important album. ‘4 Sticks’ gathers up this energy before shifting it’s tempo before they show their gentler side by saying that they could be a folk band with ‘Going to California’.

I think the thing about the 80s was that I had always tried to identify with the various hair bands of that era but had difficulties doing so with the exception of Van Halen. I think the problem with the bands that looked up to Zeppelin was that they spawned an era of music that was emotionally empty and it was not until I discovered Zeppelin, that I realized that all these other bands were full of shit. Zeppelin was the blues; it was heartbreak, longing and pain which of course are the three words to describe high school. The other bands were about as relevant as sticking an eel up your anus. I can make fun of it now of course but I have to say that once Zeppelin was being played on the cassette deck those other tapes became filler.

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