ARTIST: Led Zeppelin
TITLE: Led Zeppelin
YEAR RELEASED: 1969
CHART ACTION: #7 US, #6 UK
SINGLES: Good Times Bad Times (#80)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dazed and Confused
LINEUP: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, John Paul Jones
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The debut from the rock and roll behemoth is mostly blues rock, with a couple of interesting diversions and a closing cut that points their way to domination.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the ashes of the Yardbirds Jimmy Page emerged. With studio whiz John Paul Jones and relative unknowns Robert Plant and John Bonham in tow, the new group recorded this album on their own and gave it to Atlantic Records. The company eagerly snapped it up, and the rest is history.
Most of the album is rooted in the blues, much like the Yardbirds. Two Willie Dixon tunes (“You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”) were pure blues, while “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” was a standard of blues and rock bands throughout the 60’s. “Dazed and Confused” is definitely in a slow blues style.
The album’s most important cuts diverge from the blues. “Good Times Bad Times” and “How Many More Times” are riff driven, and while the latter does use some blues call-and-response, and ref3erences blues songs, the riff is pure hard rock. “Communication Breakdown”, on the other hand, has a riff that could be a speed metal or punk riff – miles ahead of its time. Most heavy songs at the time were slow and lumbering – not this one.
The band tends to ramble on some cuts (they needed an editor), and their version of “You Shook Me” isn’t as good as the Jeff Beck Groups, but this debut changed the course of rock in three cuts.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: When the Yardbirds split, Jimmy Page had the rights to the name of the band, and had to tour Scandinavia to fulfill contracts. So he recruited this band as “The New Yardbirds”, and then changed the name.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One bonus track, the title track.
GRADE: A-: “How Many More Times” points to the future.