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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (Box set) CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.95 | 49 ratings

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5 stars I first started listening to prog in the mid-1970s, when Led Zeppelin were huge - but Zep's style did not appeal to me. There were two main reasons. First of all, I couldn't stand Robert Plant's shrieking. When I heard "The Immigrant Song" I admired the playing, but I thought the vocals were way over the top. Secondly, I didn't like the band's image - particularly Plant's bare-chested look. I preferred nice, old-fashioned musicians who kept their kaftans firmly buttoned up, such as Steve Howe!

In spite of these reservations, I couldn't ignore Led Zep completely, and at the end of the seventies I compiled one or two tapes of 'bearable' tracks from their best-known albums, which I had borrowed here and there. It seems that, as the years went on, I started enjoying these tapes more and more, for when this 4-CD box set was eventually released, I immediately thought: 'Now is the moment to really get hold of their best material!' I bought the set and heroically overcame my aversion to Plant's vocals. The music contained herein now belongs among my all-time favourite rock 'n' roll.

Virtually all material in this set is first-rate. I cannot imagine there will be prog freaks who WON'T get carried away by marvellous tracks such as "Since I've been loving you", "Kashmir" or "Achilles' Last Stand". The set as a whole caused me to revise my personal poll of favourite musicians. Nowadays, I love Led Zep ALMOST as much as Yes, Jethro Tull and King Crimson, and I believe Jimmy Page was responsible (at least in the 1970s!) for more exciting solos, and more imaginative musical arrangements, than Howe, Hackett or any other prog guitarist.

Funny how musical reputations wax and wane. When Led Zep disbanded, their critical reputation was not too good. In the United States, the rock press reviled them for not being 'honest' or 'authentic'. In the U.K., punks loathed them. If John Bonham, their drummer, hadn't died, and if they had carried on through the 1980s and 1990s, they probably wouldn't have acquired legendary status. But they were saved by the tragedy of Bonham's early death, which prevented them from going down the same sorry road as Genesis or Jethro Tull. These days, the Led Zep repertoire stands as one of the cornerstones of late 1960s-1970s rock.

Surely there's no better introduction to Led Zep's oeuvre than this set. If you're not yet familiar with this band, and you feel you deserve a treat, go ahead and buy it. You won't regret it. And if you're like me, you'll soon want most of their other stuff as well.

fuxi | 5/5 |


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