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Led Zeppelin III

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  • In 1969, Led Zeppelin hit it big with their first two groundbreaking albums, which both remain landmarks in the history of rock music and laid the foundation for all hard rock and heavy metal to follow. But with the release of LED ZEPPELIN III on October 5, 1970, it showed that the band had more than just blues-inflected rock in their musical veins. In my opinion, this is the definitive Led Zeppelin album; it’s certainly their most creative, thoughtful, and introspective LP.The record’s opening track is the fast-paced 2-minute rocker “Immigrant Song,” which picks up where ZEP II left off. The song is quickly followed by the energetic acoustic number “Friends” which features great use of the tabla drums, and “Celebration Day” has a finger-pickin’ guitar riff so infectious that you can actually groove to it. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is Zeppelin’s true masterpiece, even surpassing the almighty “Stairway to Heaven.” A 7-minute blues epic about love lost, the singing and instrumentation are at an all-time high: John Bonham’s drumming is as powerful and subtle as ever; John Paul Jones contributes to the dark feel of the song with an excellent back-alley organ riff; Jimmy Page’s heartbreaking guitar solo in the middle is magnificent; and Robert Plant quite possibly delivers the best vocal performance of his career.Bonham delivers some damn fine lyrics on the catchy rocker “Out on the Tiles,” in which Jones’s bass sounds like a thumping trampoline. “Gallows Pole,” a remake of a Leadbelly song, begins with a soft acoustic groove but like many Zeppelin songs, it builds and builds towards a rousing cresendo. “Tangerine” and “That’s The Way” are, simply put, two of the best songs in the Zeppelin canon. Great acoustics and heartfelt lyrics contribute to this back-to-back emotional punch. The album closes with the folky “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” and the bizarre “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper.”With this album, you get a little of everything: a little hard rock (“Immigrant Song,” “Out on the Tiles”), a little bluegrass (“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”), a little blues (“Since I’ve Been Loving You”), and lots of awesome folk tunes (“Gallows Pole” and so on). III is Led Zeppelin’s best album for many reasons, but it doesn’t get the respect it deserves. The playing, the singing, the songwriting, the acoustics, the remastering–everything is perfect. Sure, Zeppelin has made many great albums, but III shows their ambition and musical diversity. A masterwork.

    Posted on February 9, 2010