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Released - November 8, 1971 on Atlantic Records. Produced by
With Backing Vocals from
Sandy Denny on
"The Battle of Evermore"
For classic hard rock albums, this masterpiece is number one - there really isn't another any better. Hard hittin' rock 'n roll music from the very beginning that keeps its flow going strong till its last song.
This one was Led Zeppelin's fourth album, yet it was untitled by the band, and came to be at first know as "Led Zeppelin IV". But then what were those four symbols on the album where the title should have been? Well, each member of the band chose a personal emblem for the cover, and the very first one came from Jimmy Page, and if you look closely at it, it appeared to spell out "ZoSo", but remember, this isn't a word, it still a symbol. Something close to this symbol first was used back in 1557 by mathematician, physician and astrologer Girolamo Cardano for the magical sigil for Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, Page's sign. But Page did alter the symbol a bit, and it became his own. What it means is unknown, as Page has never publicly revealed its meaning. Anyway, some fans started to call the album "ZoSo" because of this.
Getting to the songs on this LP, I don't think most rock fans would argue which one on here is the best of the bunch, that being "Stairway to Heaven", which 36 plus years after its release is still considered the greatest rock song ever made by any artisit or band. I can still remember when it came out and the first time I heard this one. The flute in the beginning just took a hold of me, and I was surprised a couple of years later when I would see Zeppelin in concert that, when they played the song - holy crap!... Page was playing that part on his guitar using a bow! Sounded so very cool, but was that what was actually heard on the studio recording too? No, turns out what is heard is several different recorders played by John Paul Jones. Of course as the song plays on, there is so much more to this one, including Page's fantastic guitar paying, John Bonham's drumming, and Robert Plant's vocals, which just fit perfect for this tune. No wonder the song turned out the way it did.
I can't say which song would be my next favorite, so I'll just call it a tie between the hippie sounding "Misty Mountain Hop", "Rock and Roll" and the opening cut, "Black Dog". Always felt the LP should have started off with "Rock and Roll" instead, it really is just that kind of song, yet still, "Black Dog" works fine too. Getting back to "Misty Mountain Hop", it's yet another song by Zeppelin where some of the lyrics supposedly have a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, but Plant has said the song was mainly just about sitting in a park while smoking marijuana.
"Going to California" is another interesting song, written in part for folkie Joni Mitchell, who is the girl noted with "love in her eyes and flowers in her hair," and "she plays guitar and cries and sings". In live performances of the song, Plant would often say the name "Joni" after singing that last verse.
- Keno 2008
To listen to some soundclips from Led Zep IV or to purchase it click on: Led Zeppelin IV (Deluxe CD Edition)
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