April 28, 2015

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III (1970)


When I was 12 years old I found my dad's vinyl copy of III sitting out and thought the cover was dope as hell. I knew nothing about the band but started downloading single songs from a now defunct music file search engine. Like any 12 year old I thought The Immigrant Song was the conclusion to music as we know it and happened to see that it was from the album Led Zeppelin III. One day I was looking through Best Buy's overpriced Led Zeppelin reissues and naturally went straight for III. My dad questioned my decision, "really, that one?" "yeah, why?" "I mean nobody really talks about it, you'd be best starting off with IV or II". For some reason I humored him--not like he cared at all--and got II and Houses of the Holy. I enjoyed my new music to the point of almost wearing down the CDs, but retained a fascination with Led Zeppelin III. Yeah there was the The Immigrant Song, but I had never heard of anything off of the tracklist before and was still captivated by the perplexing cover. For being one of the biggest groups of all time with a ridiculous amount of press in their days, Led Zeppelin remains such a mysterious group to me, especially the weirdness of Jimmy Page, who dominates this particular album, and consequently III was their most mysterious album to me. And still is...

I finally got around to listening to III and loved it, but in a different way than any of their other albums. Something is haunted about Led Zeppelin III and it's probably because of the acoustically driven Gaelic, Celtic, Welsh, or whatever folk songs written in an isolated ancient cottage somewhere out in Wales. There are echoes of the American blues rock Led Zeppelin was familiar with on Since I've Been Loving You and Out On The Tiles, but even that starts to sound ghoulish when put up next to the swirling acoustic barrages of Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, Gallows Pole, Tangerine, or That's The Way. The opening cries of Immigrant Song are one thing, but when exaggerated with the demented Friends and paired with the closing (either psychedelic or anti-psychedelic) Hats Off To Harper the whole album is made into some kind of ancient Stonehedge witchcraft type shit. And that's pretty damn awesome. I can't make a decision on what my favorite Led Zeppelin album is, but neither can I think of a reason why this wouldn't be it.

Sample

Led Zeppelin III