Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV – album reappraisal
Or Holy Cows Slaughtered. In the following feature Joe Whyte questions whether Led Zeppelin IV is the classic album most critics claim it to be. Views are those of our writer & not Louder Than War in general!
Beloved of bikers who live with their Mums, guys who actually buy guitar magazines and the twats at my school who were good at physics and had “2112”Â³ stitched on their denim jackets.
Oh yes, Led Zeppelin, the mighty Zep, Hammer Of The Gods, slayers of virgins and Viking-haired pillagers of hamlets.
Or maybe, actually four session musicians who got lucky.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Zep-hater by any means. The first album is proto-punk brilliance and their continued refusal to play the media game and ass-kiss journalists is admirable in the extreme. But here we have it, the 32-million unit shifting, all conquering, critically acclaimed “ZOSO”Â and/or “runes”Â Led Zep IV.
And it stinks. Like a huge, blues-ridden, mandolin-twanging, dancing-round-the-maypole steaming turd on a hot summers day.
It opens with Black Dog, an indulgent call and response vocal/guitar duel between Percy Plant and Jimmy Page. Black Dog is basically one idea flogged to death for the 5 or so minute duration and the solo is an excruciating pig-murdering squeal that seems to never end.
Following this is the execrable Rock And Roll.
As above but with the added torture of a 12-bar chord progression a la Chuck Berry, but with all the fun and life beaten out of it. Painful.
The Battle Of Evermore is a lute-plucking, finger-picking folk madrigal type of thing with God-awful lyrics about Angels of Avalon/Queens of night/Eastern glow ad finitum that wouldn’t look out of place in some 4th year school kid’s attempt at poetry.
I wont even go into Stairway To Heaven as it’s had the piss ripped out of it enough over the years.
Towards the end we have Four Sticks. Plant treating us to some more of his misty-eyed tosh whilst holding his balls very tight and squeezing.
When The Levee Breaks has one of the most sampled drum breaks of all time. So has Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer and you don’t see that getting No.1 album of all time in Rolling Stone magazine, do you?
It’s a long, drawn out blues jam, of the type favoured in rehearsal rooms around the world when the singer is away for a fag.
This album has became one of those “must haves”Â amongst rock fans.
Why? I don’t know. It’s a boring, long-winded and dreary hour and a bit. If I want that, I can do overtime at work.
They never released any singles, Led Zeppelin y’know.
All words Joe Whyte. More articles by Joe can be found here.