An iconic release by the pioneers of heavy metal and so much more, Led Zeppelin IV easily hits the mark in all rating categories. Talk about a ground breaking recording that has it all.
The accolades and accomplishments are never-ending. Led Zeppelin IV features eight stellar compositions that are an eternal gift to the world of music: (Side 1) “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll,” “The Battle of Evermore,” “Stairway to Heaven” – (Side 2) “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Four Sticks,” “Going to California,” and “When The Levee Breaks.” It’s the perfect album.
From the intentionally brilliant album packaging and marketing, to the overall production wizardry of Jimmy Page both in studio and overseeing every aspect of its release and message, Led Zeppelin IV is widely recognized as one of the best band recordings ever made.
Following the critical reviews of its predecessor, Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin were determined not only to create the perfect album musically, which they certainly achieved, but release it on their own terms.
So much thought went into this release (“Night Flight,” “Down by the Seaside,” and “Boogie with Stu” wisely did not make the cut but would later appear on Physical Graffiti). Against record company advice and conventions, the band was adamant that this release be untitled with no words on either the front or back cover – even the spine. They did not want the band name to appear anywhere on the album packaging.
To this date this recording still does not have an official title. It is often referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, IV, and to lesser extents, Four Symbols, ZOSO, Untitled, and Runes. The band wanted the music itself to signify Led Zeppelin.
Besides the album cover artwork, they chose to include the infamous Four Symbols to represent their names, the provocative “The Hermit” illustration, and only the brilliant lyrics to the albums signature composition, “Stairway to Heaven.” They had that much faith in their music and fans and only a band like Led Zeppelin could pull it off. A confident and brilliant vision!
Led Zeppelin IV has currently sold over 32 million units world-wide. “Stairway to Heaven” became one of the most popular radio hits ever, even though it was never released as a single and ran over 8 minutes long.
Led Zeppelin had a collective chip on their shoulder at this time, especially Jimmy Page, and Led Zeppelin IV would prove to the world they were arguably the greatest band of its time.
Led Zeppelin would record four more albums – Houses of the Holy (1973), Physical Graffiti (1975), Presence (1976), and In Through The Out Door (1979) – before the tragic death of their legendary drummer, John Bonham, who passed away on September 25, 1980. Though the remaining members of Led Zeppelin appropriately decided to disband, their influence and musical legacy will forever remain.
Led Zeppelin was inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame in 1995, the UK Hall of Fame in 1996, and Led Zeppelin IV was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Reviewer: Bill Pulice
IRC : Sarah Geledi
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