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Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV album cover
4.42 | 1350 ratings | 96 reviews | 63% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Black Dog (4:56)
2. Rock and Roll (3:41)
3. The Battle of Evermore (5:52)
4. Stairway to Heaven (8:02)
5. Misty Mountain Hop (4:39)
6. Four Sticks (4:45)
7. Going to California (3:32)
8. When the Levee Breaks (7:08)

Total Time 42:35

Bonus CD/LP from 2014 remaster:
1. Black Dog (basic track with guitar overdubs) (4:34)
2. Rock and Roll (alternate mix) (3:39)
3. The Battle of Evermore (mandolin/guitar mix from Headley Grange) (4:13)
4. Stairway to Heaven (Sunset Sound mix) (8:03)
5. Misty Mountain Hop (alternate mix) (4:45)
6. Four Sticks (alternate mix) (4:33)
7. Going to California (mandolin/guitar mix) (3:34)
8. When the Levee Breaks (alternate UK mix in progress) (7:10)

Total Time 40:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Plant / lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar (7), harmonica (8), tambourine
- Jimmy Page / acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin (3), producer
- John Paul Jones / bass, EMS VCS3, Hohner Electra-Piano, Mellotron, mandolin (7), acoustic guitar (3), recorders
- John Bonham / drums

- Ian Stewart / piano (2) - uncredited
- Sandy Denny / vocals (3)

Releases information

Note: This album was actually untitled, but is variably referred to as "Led Zeppelin IV", "Volume IV", "Runes" or "Four Symbols".

Artwork: Based upon a 19th-century rustic oil painting

LP Atlantic ‎- 2401012 (1971, UK)
2LP Atlantic - 8122796433 (2014, Europe) Remastered by Jimmy Page with bonus LP including alternate mixes

CD Atlantic ‎- 250 008 (1983, Europe)
CD Atlantic ‎- 7567-82638-2 (1994, Europe) Remastered by George Marino & Jimmy Page
2CD Atlantic - 8122796446 (2014, Europe) Remastered by Jimmy Page with bonus CD including alternate mixes
2CD+2LP Atlantic ‎- 8122796431 (2014, Europe) Remastered by Jimmy Page with bonus CD (alternate mixes) in a Box including the whole also on 2 LPs

Thanks to Grimble Crumble for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin IV Music

LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin IV ratings distribution

(1350 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(63%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (7%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin IV reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Certainly one of the best loved album in the rock realm, Zep's fourth untitled (or IV - Zoso- Runes >> cross out the ones you wish), this stunning sombre gatefold artwork album, is certainly the crowning achievement of the greatest rock band in the world. In 71, Zep was soaring, reaching the apex of their career creatively both in terms of blossoming musicianship but also in the songwriting dept.

Although I spent almost two decades refusing to listen to this album and the first two, having involuntarily overdosed on them, for it was absolutely impossible to avoid having these albums not playing at parties (house or frat parties indifferently) until the mid-80's. When their records where reissued in the mini-Lp format, I just dived instinctively (and I must admit a bit thoughtlessly) in for the first five albums, avoiding anything else after it. Having come to terms with the fact that I had finally bought the Zep Cds in 03, it took me a few months to actually start to listen to them again. Of all the albums I had grown allergic, this one was at the top of the list. And so I started with this one. Those two excellent good-times RnR tracks starting out the albums were like a shot towards the past good times parties of my teenhood. Of course my fave two tracks were coming just after them and Evermore and Stairway are proof enough that Zep had what it took to verse into the progressive rock realm. No need to describe much the actual tracks that everyone knows as well as I do. And if not, whatya waiting for??

The second side was probably the Zep dose that had me going allergic on them. Beit Four Sticks, Levee or Misty Mountain, this super-heavy (even Sabbath never came down like this ton of bricks) hard rock (although this might be the closest Zep got to Heavy Metal) is simply overpowering you. And the fact that you are provided with a short acoustic interlude (the folkish Going To California) just before the final assault, is even increasing the sonic assault on your lost brains.

Although I can again listen to this album (but in homeopathic doses ;-), this album (which outside two tracks, does not have anything "prog") does not need my recommendation, so please stay away from this awful piece of rock mastery.

Review by el böthy
5 stars Led Zeppelin at its highest point and rock at its highest point too. Really, this album is so freaken good, its umbelievable! 1971 was a great year for music in general and specially in prog, but no one, and I mean no one came close to this...this is rock as only the gods can make it. Every song is a classic, the production is incredible (by far their best in this aspect), the musicianship top notch, the lyrics among Plant´s best and...Stairway to heaven...need I say more? No...but Ill do it anyways.

In this records Zeppe got really epic, as it was the end of an era for them. This would be the last of their Hard rock bluesy 69-71 period, which really is my favorite form the band. This four albums are so good, I think only bands like the Beatles, Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis could match this 4 album period, but unlike this bands, Zeppelin would say goodbye with their strongest. This one, the untitle, IV, it what you like, I´ll call it a masterpiece.

Black dog has one of Zeppelins best riffs, which is funny cause its from Jones and not from Page. Bonhams drums are incredible and Plants sings with so much groove, what a way to start an album!

Rock n roll is a...rock n roll (duh!), but its so damn good and fun. Opening with the classic drums intro the song makes no sudden changes, nothing that can be taken as prog at any time, in fact its quite simple...but its so damn good!!! "Lonely, lonely, lonely time", who did not sing that???

The battle of evermore is another face of Zeppelin, the acoustic one, and what a number they lain down here! Plant sings oh so good and female singer Sandy Denny helps with some excellent harmonies. The guitars and mandolin work perfect and along with the lyrics it gets thrue a great epic feeling, even though the song only last about 5 minutes.

Stairway to heaven, their best, one of the best songs ever...if not the best. Period.

Misty mountain hop is one of thouse really cool Zeppelin songs where Page makes another great riff and where Plant is just plainly charismatic.

Four sticks has some tribal percussion along with some psychedelic yet hard riffs and solos, while Plant chants what by now has become his trademark, lyrics full of poetic meanings while adding some "baby´s" here and there...

Going to California is another acoustic number where Plant tells the story of trips and a woman, while revealing for a minute his post-hippy side full of vulnerability and joy.

And what a way to end the album, but with When the levee breaks. Here, Bonham...incredible. The sound of the drums, the groove of them...massiv! Bonham owns this one! Not to say the rest doesn´t contribute to it, on the contrary, the three remaining Zeppelins do their job, and they do it as only they know how!

If you dont own this album yet, then you must be some kind of Britney Spears fan that happens to be reading this... this is huge! This album will never be toped by them, and they have done some excellent stuff after it, but to be better than this? No, its impossible, this is one of thouse albums where the word perfect suits it well!

Review by mystic fred
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The greatest album in the history of rock?

Many polls over the years since its release would suggest so, as "Led Zeppelin IV" usually appears if not at the top but always in the top 3 - quite an achievement! This album is no accident, it was forged by four excellent musicians right at the top of their game, who worked hard creating their image with wily rock solid management in the form of Peter Grant, relentless touring, and their trump card - "Stairway To Heaven", often described as the greatest song ever written!

"Led Zeppelin IV" also allowed the band to mature and settle into various musical styles; folk, prog, blues, heavy rock - but Jimmy Page always hated having his music labelled, he found it restricting. There is also another powerful personality influencing this album, hotly debated theories abound about the "prescence" of Aleister Crowley - true or not, it all adds to the mystique of LZ, many will describe the music in detail here, but here are the stories that surround the songs!

"Black Dog"- LZ IV was recorded at Headley Grange studios in Hampshire, this old building had many spooky stories attached to it, and during the band's stay they were visited by a mysterious black labrador that hung around the place. This complex number is heavy, bluesy, with a Muddy Waters' inspired riff.

"Rock and Roll"- It is impossible to keep still to this good old fashioned rocker! John Bonham had just recieved a shiny new kit, whilst practising the complicated pattern for "Four Sticks" he momentarily lost it, and in frustration crashed out the intro for "Rock and Roll" instead - the rest of the band joined in and jammed and a song was born!

"The Battle of Evermore"- With mystical references to "Lord of the Rings", the magical mandolin, Sandy Denny's haunting vocals echoeing Plant's, this song, about a walled citadel under siege, is a pretty English folk ballad which inspired "wizard and demon" song material for years to come by folk, prog and metal musicians alike. The song was reworked by Robert and Jimmy in 1994, with Indian and Egyptian musicians to great effect.

"Stairway to Heaven"- Arguably the greatest song ever written, and one people still have played at their funerals! This song is famous across all music genres - while record hunting in a market fair some years ago a small girl clutching LZ IV asked me "does this have Stairway to Heaven on it?" All the songs on the album seem to revolve around this one, an achievement the band are rightly proud of, a rock masterpiece - their most proggish? As with every great song (such as "Lucy in the Sky"), the song had detractors from fundamentalist religious groups and ministers claiming backmasked secret and satanic messages were in the song lauding Satan! ...time for another listen, I must have missed those!

"Misty Mountain Hop"- Very similar to "Black Dog" a bluesy riff and complex drumming patterns, the song is about every hippie's favourite pastime smoking pot, and an invitation by the Police to come to tea! Could this be the first rap song?

"Four Sticks"- Such a complicated drum pattern Bonzo struggled to learn, he ended up with two sticks in each hand to great effect, a hypnotic song with a great heavy riff.

"Going to California"- An American folk style song this time, the song is a tribute to Joni Mitchell and the band's musical spiritual home.

"When the Levee Breaks"- A much-sampled classic, the amazing drum sound on this track was achieved by placing Bonham's kit beneath the stairwell at Headley Grange. Bonham's drum sound is legendary on this track, an amazing psychedelic trip written around an old blues song by Memphis Minnie, Zeppelin were often accused of ripping off black music, nowadays rappin' black musicians are "ripping" off Led Zeppelin! Also Michael Jackson's "Bad" bore many similarities to "Hearbreaker", so there!

Whatever one's musical background or tastes "Led Zeppelin IV" deserves a place in any music collection, it has come full circle and is "cool" again, absolutely essential listening, and a huge influence on many music genres including prog!


Review by Chris H
3 stars Ok, so this must be one of the greatest albums ever recorded, and yes they may be the most influential band of the 60's and 70's, but this just isnt real progressive rock! Don't get me wrong, I listen to this album about once a week every week.

"Black Dog" and "Rock And Roll" are catchy, upbeat rock and roll songs that everyone knows. Going against everyone else's beliefs, I think the gem on this album is "When The Levee Breaks", not "Stairway To Heaven". Personally, I think Stairway is overrated, and there isn't any real musicianship in it aside from Page's solo.

If this was a general album review, I'd give it an easy 5 stars, but since this a progressive rock website this hard rock album can only get 3 from me. Sorry Led Heads.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars After the somewhat disappointing third album I found myself skittish about running out and buying their fourth LP when this appeared in 1971. But from the first time I heard the phenomenal "Black Dog" blasting from the radio I knew they had found the groove once again. It's not formula boogie or just riff-based bashing here. This is, indeed, progressive ROCK whether one wants to believe it or not. The first two LPs were really just heavy blues and the third was a mishmash of folksy follies but LZ4 really broke away from that inconsistent trend and created a whole new genre. There isn't a weak or copy-cat song to be found. While "Stairway to Heaven" just may be the most overplayed album cut ever it still encompasses everything I like about progressive rock. It steadily and dynamically builds and builds to an incredible tension-filled high before landing softly back on the tarmac. "Four Sticks" is a real adventure in textures and time signatures and the huge drum sound that starts "When the Levee Breaks" will never be duplicated. And Page's brilliant guitar work throughout the album may be his most impressive body of artistry in a stellar career. Plant's voice is at its best, as well, and shows real variety when he warbles the lighter songs like "Going to California." To sum it all up, fans of almost every group will inevitably argue and disagree about what comprises that band's best collection of tunes but when it comes to Zep it's nearly unanimous. This is undeniably their finest hour.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

A Truly Progressive Band!

Oops .!! You might have started complaining about the above title as - I think - you are pretty damn sure that Led Zeppelin is a heavy rock band with virtually straight forward compositions in any song they have written. I fully agree with that. What I do mean with "progressive" term is on the way they approach their creative process to write and compose their music. Remember when I wrote that on the third album Led Zeppelin III they wrote and composed their music in suburb area closed themselves to the nature - so that their most compositions were acoustic based. This time, the band took different approach: they brought the Rolling Stone mobile studio and recorded the material for the upcoming album Led Zeppelin IV in the way they wanted done. By moving into Headley Grange for the whole period of recording, many of the tracks were made up almost on the spot and committed to tape almost there and then. It's a progressive act, I would say.

And .. who had ever predicted that even with "on the spot" kind of things where all impulsive emotions and creativities came out during the album making - it later turned out to be a great success and it contained a legendary hit that has proved sustainable since then until now: "Stairway To Heaven". The album was released on November 12, 1971 - one day after a British tour that began November 11. In terms of album appearance there was significant change in terms of what information presented at the album cover. Nothing was there but a picture of an old man bent double under a bundle of rods but no other information - no band name, no album title, no record number - it was just nothing but the picture. "We decided that on the fourth album, we would deliberately downplay the group name," said Page. "What matters is our music. We said we just wanted to rely purely on our music." The record company initially thought that it was definitely a commercial suicide. The band then threatened not to turn over the master tapes until they finally got their way. And you know it by now that the band proved it that the other way round happened: the album reached dramatic commercial success! The rest is history ..

All tracks featured in this album are great ones. It opens "Black Dog" with an ambient nuance followed with pondering vocal "Hey hey mama ." and jaw dropping drum work of Bonzo and Page powerful riffs. The song was named after a black dog seen roaming round the studio. See ho "on the spot" the process was? And the result? No one would dare to challenge to the powerful and stunning composition of this track. Marvelous. The next track "Rock 'n' Roll" has proven to be a song where many bands take the reference from in terms of how they should compose a rock music. No wonder that powerful song has been chosen as anthem for the recently established rock organization that I have involved in so far in my country: i-Rock! *. You might say that "The Battle of Evermore" is a spill over from the previous album because it's an acoustic-driven music. Whatever you think, this is a great track.

After the legendary "Stairway To Heaven", the band continues with a track with great drumming "Misty Mountain Hop". Nit just the drumming part is so interesting but also the song has an excellent groove that makes you pulse races at faster speed. "Four Sticks" was titled that way because Bonzo played the drums with two pairs of drum sticks - four sticks.

Overall, it's an excellent album that is very hard for others to compete with. Keep on rockin' ..!

"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I think Led Zeppelin IV is overrated. The record is unequal: some songs are quite excellent, like "Stairway to heaven" and "Black dog", while some are ordinary, like "Battle of evermore" and "When the levee breaks". The guitar often sounds a bit garage, and despite the acoustic parts are melodic, they do not have the style I prefer the most regarding such arrangements. The drums parts are good. The lead singer's voice is very good: he screams with emotion and it's not irritating. He has a nice style. The overall sound lacks some luster and the bass is definitely less bottom, if one compares to their second album. I prefer Led Zeppelin II, where the instruments exhibition is quite more spectacular and convincing. "Black dog" surely inspired the making of Rush' Caress Of Steel, because it has pretty much the same style.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Largely considered Zeppelin's highest moment, the fourth album is slightly overrated IMO. It is essential listening of course, but "Black Dog", "Rock'n'Roll' and "Misty mountain Hop" do nothing for me. Even notorious "Stairway" has been heard so many times that I never need to hear it again. True gems from this album for me are folksy "Battle of Evermore" and crushing heavy blues "When the Levee Breaks". Wonderful.
Review by Guillermo
4 stars This album has very good songs, like "Black Dog", "Rock and Roll", "Stairway to Heaven" and "Misty Mountain Hop". The sometimes underrated John Paul Jones was a very good influence for the band, because he was a very good musician who could play a variety of instruments, doing very good arrangements, like in "Stairway to Heaven", on which he plays keyboards. I don`t know if the flute sounds in this song are played in real flutes or if Jones played these sounds in the Mellotron. Maybe this song is the "signature" of the band, their most known song. I prefer the live version of this song and the live version of "Rock and Roll" from the "The Song Remains the Same" album. "Black Dog" is another very good song and another very known song from LZ. Maybe this is their most popular album too, with a very original cover design too.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Just goes to show, I never knew the late Sandy Denny contributed vocals on ' Battle of Evermore'. You learn something new everyday!Another masterpiece from Led Zeppelin, arguably their most popular album from a fans perspective, commercially I think their biggest selling album. More progressive than the previous albums, the ' Rune' album as it is affectionately called included the epic ' Stairway to Heaven'. Tolkienesque is a descriptive term that would start showing on a few albums and tracks that were to come.' Black Dog' starts off the album with great sexual innuendos. A great rocking track with sound drumming and guitar work from Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones ( you know- the bass player!). Other highlights apart from ' Stairway To Heaven' are ' Battle of Evermore', almost hypnotic in it's delivery, the gutsy ' Misty Mountain Hop' and the closing ' When the Levee Breaks'. They just got better and better. One can argue that commercially people have grown sick of the ' Rune' album but one has to seperate that apart from reviewing this album, in many years to come it will consistently be applauded for it greatness.
Review by OpethGuitarist
2 stars A voice of reason.

Sure, we all know the songs well enough. Chances are if you have any exposure to music in the last oh, 35 years, you are familiar with Led Zeppelin's music and specifically this record, for Black Dog and Stairway to Heaven. I've always felt that Plant's vocal work was the best aspect of the band, with his exuberance and stage presence, he was/is the defining lead man of the modern era.

Before we discuss the main two tracks, it's important to note that this record is extremely uneven. We more or less have a hodge podge of marginal songs and an extreme overpraising of a rather average set of musicians (compared to most of the rest of prog). For example, Jimmy Page is well known for being one of the sloppiest guitarists in a live setting. However, I do find some of his compositions unique, although that would mostly be on the Houses of the Holy album.

Black Dog is the most praised non-prog song you will find on this site. It's a powerful blues/rock riff with what I consider easily Plant's best vocal performance. I also prefer it over anything else on the album, yes, even the beloved Stairway.

Stairway is a song that I suppose I'll never understand the attachment to. That's what it has become now anyways, an attachment to 70's culture. Me being born in the 80's will never understand this perhaps (although I have no attachment to pop culture of the 80's, 90's or now). I've never understood the praise to this otherwise average song with about 1 minute of powerful music. Yes, it's average. It's mildly progressive, the repetitive acoustic arpeggios string on for too long (the acoustic chords that come in later are much better), and the vocal style of the song doesn't fit Plant's overall style. Think Jon Anderson singing lyrics that would actually make sense (it just doesn't work).

I'm more of a prog guy myself. I'll take Starless over Stairway every day of the week. I believe those that are are on the more commercial and traditional side of prog are more in favor of this record than those on the more extreme and radical ends of prog, although my opinion could be completely incorrect. All in all, I feel Zep IV, while certainly being influential to many rock bands, isn't the bright shiny diamond everyone proclaims it to be.

Review by Zitro
5 stars 4.5 Stars

What can I say? this is the album where they successfully melded the wonderful hard rock of the first two albums with the delicate acoustic sound of Led Zeppelin III. The obvious example of the mixture is the well-known classic Stairway to Heaven , a famous epic that starts as an acoustic song that changes into hard rock near the end. The album has more songs to offer, and they don't seem inferior.

Black Dog features great call and response between Robert Plant's wailing vocals and the unforgettable guitar riff invented by Jones. Rock and Roll is just what its title suggests, but it's of such high-quality that it's not a low-point of the album, especially if you enjoy that oldie style. The Battle of Evermore stands out a bit, being a mandolin-driven epic about Lord of the Rings that features a guest vocalist who does a terrific job. Misty Mountain Hop unfortunately doesn't deliver and sounds awkward, but four sticks is a groovy song with Bonham playing a complicated rhythm and the song even features a prog rock-style synthesizer. Going to California is a folk song that would be a highlight to Led Zeppelin III if put there. It features some of Robert Plant's best singing. When The Levee Breaks is a hard rock/blues song with a nice effect applied on the harmonica and drumkit. A great closer.

Highlights: Black Dog, The Battle of Evermore, Going to California, Stairway to Heaven

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars All that glitters is gold

While Led Zeppelin have made many superb albums, their fourth is for me their finest achievement. Other albums have song songs which approach, and may even exceed the quality of the recordings here, but there is a consistency to IV (Zoso, Untitled, Four Symbols.. call it what you will) which tend to be lacking in most of the bands releases.

From the opening a-cappella "Hey hey mama said the way you move .." introduction to "Black Dog" to the "Going down now, going down" conclusion to "When the levee breaks" the album oozes quality and attention to detail. Led Zeppelin IV brings together the best of the heavy blues metal of the second album with the lighter acoustic sounds of the third.

"Stairway to heaven" is naturally the focal point of the set. This track single handedly justifies Zep's prog related tag. The apparent simplicity of this song stems from its opening acoustic section, where Robert Plant offers one of his finest vocal performances. Once Jimmy Page switches on his electric guitar though, this magnificent piece is transformed into one of the true classics of the 20th century. There is an old cliché which opines that familiarity breeds contempt, and "Stairway to heaven" sometimes suffers from this malaise. This has been exacerbated in recent years by the plethora of cover versions which have been produced, including an album dedicated to over 20 versions of this song alone, of which Rolf Harris's is probably the best known! Despite the Led Zeppelin version never having been released as a single, the song is as globally familiar as the most famous works of the Beatles. None of this however can in any way diminish the absolute perfection of the original. On the inner sleeve of the LP, "Stairway. . ." is the only song to have its lyrics published. Incidentally, the song did eventually breach the singles chart when a superb version by the Far Co-operation, a collaboration involving members of Foreigner and REO Speedwagon, was released.

It would be entirely understandable if the rest of the album paled into insignificance when asked to sit alongside Led Zeppelin's finest piece. The fact is though that there are many fine compositions and performances to enjoy here. "Black dog" has the same opening impact as "Whole lotta love" did on the second album, Page's incisive guitar licks, conceived by John Paul Jones, complementing Plant's assured vocal. The a- cappella sections were reportedly inspired by Fleetwood Mac's excellent single "Oh well". "Rock and Roll" may be an appropriate title for track 2, but the incessant driving wall of sound which backs this straightforward retro rocker, demands a constant increasing of the volume throughout. Incidentally, the piano here is played by Rolling Stones road manager, Ian Stewart.

The radical interpretation of Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy's "When the levee breaks", which finds this blue standard transformed into one of the heaviest, most powerful songs Zep have recorded, makes for a magnificent conclusion. The song originally related to a 1927 incident in the state of Mississippi, but retains its pertinence in view of mere recent events in New Orleans.

The late Sandy Denny's (of Fairport Convention) contribution to the folk based "Battle of evermore" may sound improvised, but the quality of the final product belies such a conclusion. Unusually, Jimmy Page switches to mandolin (an instrument he was not familiar with) for the entire track. The songs has variously been described as being inspired by JRR Tolkien's "Lord of the rings", the cold war, the battle between night and day or good and evil and even the Irish national anthem! Incidentally, Denny was the only guest singer ever to appear on a Led Zeppelin album. indeed she is allocated a fifth symbol on the inner sleeve. A similar folk based feel is present on the Joni Mitchell tribute, "Going to California".

The temptation is to revere every track individually, and while they stand in their own right as an individual pieces of excellent, it is when they are heard in the context of the album as a whole that they take on their true significance. This may not be a concept album in the traditional sense, but it is a complete work in the way of any symphony or rock opera. Essentially, that is where the relationship of Led Zeppelin IV with progressive rock lies. Not in the individual chords of "Rock and roll" or the thundering drums of "When the levee breaks", but in this magnificent work which is not only Led Zeppelin's finest, but one of the great albums of our time.

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Led Zeppelin...gods of rock to millions of acne scarred teens everywhere. Everyone knows the music, the albums, the rumours of black magic, and of musical thievery ahhahaha. The inclusion of Led Zeppelin here at ProgArchives has been controversial to say the least. Some think they are a full on prog band. Others, think they are related to prog in that they were influenced by prog. The question had been debated, and kicked around for years, before the man who signs the paychecks said he wanted them included. The debate is over, but the question remains, what exactly did Led Zeppelin bring to prog.. or what did they take from prog. In a perfect world, discussions would rage and minds would be challenged. This is not a perfect world, thus we are left with silly polls and meaningless threads. After posting this review, I will open a thread to see if there is any stomach for a full out discussion on the 'prog' Zeppelin.

I personally don't review prog related groups, with one noteable exception. Today though I was tooting' along at work, digging on the radio when Stairway to Heaven came on. About 10 minutes later, after my ears had stopping ringing, I thought about this album, Led Zeppelin IV. I made up my mind to break my promise never to review half-ass, fanboy driven PR addtions and this group in particular. I fam far from a Zeppelin fan, but I have to admit though... the music itself.. stripped of all the BS, the fanboys, and all the idolization.. is simply first class music. A prog album it is not..but there are two prog gems on the album for me that I would simply consider GREAT prog songs in their own right.

The Battle of Evermore has been, is, and forever will be the Zeppelin song that really gets me. My favorite from them by a country mile.. the song has a beauty that I love in music that Zeppelin really wasn't in to for the most part. A great example of the folk side of Zeppelin which was in my opinion far and away the most interesting aspect of the group. John Paul Jones' mandolin is so damn haunting, the song has such marvelous harmonies with Sandy Denny joining in. A song that after years and years of hearing retains a magic, a freshness, that most of Zeppelins more overplayed material simply doesn't.

Speaking of overplayed, that brings us to simply one of the great songs of rock history. Stairway to Heaven. Thankfully insulated in my world of real prog, and far away from the evils of teenage stoners and formated rock stations here in the states I hadn't heard this song in ages before this morning. The song.. much like Evermore has a majesty, a beauty that again I find lacking in their music. Going for the throat and selling lost of albums was important to them and that they did. When they did become the 'artists' that they sure as hell were capable of ... they create art. Thus we have the Mona Lisa of sorts of rock. Stairway to Heaven. I have NEVER.. ever heard a 12 string guitar that can bring a tear.. or tears if you are having a not so good day hahah like when Page's 12 string chimes in. Amazing stuff.. there is so much emotion packed into that. The lyrics are ...lets face it.. prog to a T. No idea what the hell Plant is singing. .and I don't care. That's prog for me.. the music and vocal combination is what floats my prog boat. This song has it in spades. Again.. the music has been picked over like a carcass on the side of the road so I won't go there. This though.. is a prog song... and one that, unlike many prog songs, .. will grab your heart and your soul.. along with your mind.

The rest of the album.. great stuff.. not prog.. thus.. who cares hahaha. It's one of the greastest albums of rock. That says enough about the quality of it. There isn't a bad song on it. Anyway.. this is the first album in my limited reviewing experience to get 3 ratings. They are as follows.. personally I rate it a 4 star album.. great stuff of course.. but I'd take LZ2. For generally ranking the album.. hahaha.. millions are not wrong in this case.... 5 stars and one of those albums that if you don't have it.. you simply aren't a fan of rock music. Finally for those like me who come here to discuss and listen to prog... thus the ranking for this site... 3 stars... Zeppelin had little to no impact on prog and this great music was a reaction to the prog world around them.. not the other way around. 3 stars.. one for each of the two songs. .and third for being a great example of how much impact prog had back in those glory days.

Michael (micky)

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Voted in many polls as the definitive rock album, worshipped by many and dismissed by others, Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, with its intriguing, folky cover and mysterious symbolism, is the stuff legends are made of. Like other albums enjoying the same sort of hallowed status, it often makes unbelievers wonder what can be so special about it. After over 35 years from its release, Led Zep IV still commands respect, love, adoration, even out and out puzzlement. Sheer hype, or real star quality?

In 1971, England's other Fab Four were at the top of their game. With a charismatic, innovative guitarist like Jimmy Page, golden god Robert Plant providing his unique vocal delivery, powered by John Bonham's nuclear-warhead drumming and John Paul Jones' understated yet indispensable bass work, Led Zeppelin were set to take no prisoners. Their take on traditional blues blended with harsh, raucous hard rock on their first two albums, and shaded in a softer, folkier approach on their third effort. Led Zep IV summarised the whole of the band's career up to that point in time, and showed the way for the more experimental approach of their following albums. You get the folk, the blues, the rock'n'roll, even the prog in the space of just eight songs - something most other bands would sell their souls to be able to achieve.

The one-two punch of the album's opening songs, "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll", packs a wallop that has very few equals in rock. Plant wails with a siren's wild abandon, Page riffs and shreds all over the place, while the rythm section gives a new definition to the expression 'rock-solid'. In particular, Bonham's drum sound on this album has launched a thousand imitators, none even remotely approaching the original. Then, all of a sudden, the aural assault recedes, and the listener is confronted with one of the most beautiful, haunting examples of prog-folk ever... the magical "The Battle of Evermore", with its vaguely Tolkien-inspired lyrics, John Paul Jones's lilting mandolin, and Plant's voice blending perfectly with guest vocalist's Sandy Denny (of Fotheringay and Fairport Convention fame) crystal-clear tones.

The song that closes the album's first part is a legend in its own right. Overplayed, covered, slaughtered and what not, "Stairway to Heaven" is doubtlessly one of the most recognizable tunes in the history of rock music. However, strip it of all the hype accumulated over the past 36 years, and you'll find a song that's as near perfect as it can get.The sweet, wistful, acoustic guitar melody that opens the song is mirrored by Page's blistering solo at the end, while Plant delivers a commanding vocal performance, in turn lyrical and aggressive. Eight minutes of pure bliss, a classic in the true sense of the word.

Though the songs in the second part are certainly more understated than the above-mentioned titans, they have an undeniable charm. The rockier "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Four Sticks" (whose title comes from John Bonham playing drums with four sticks instead of the ordinary two) are followed by the mellow, gentle hippie hymn "Going to California"; while album closer, a Led Zep take on a traditional Delta blues song aptly titled "When the Levee Breaks", complete with Plant's wailing harmonica, features a monstrous performance by Bonham that has been sampled time and time again. That torrential drum sound has to be heard to be believed - it almost seems to reproduce the sheer violence of a river flood.

Prog? Not really, with the notable exception of the two standout tracks, "The Battle..." and "Stairway...". So, why the five stars? Is it a masterpiece of prog music? Hardly, but a masterpiece for sure, a giant of an album that has left its mark on the rock world - perhaps not influential at all in a prog sense, but essential listening all the same. Leave the hype at the door, and approach with an open mind. You'll surely be rewarded.

Review by Eclipse

I was never a fan of LED ZEPPELIN but i do appreciate their work, even if it does not blow me away or sting me with curiosity. For me they're a good band to listen to sometimes, since they rock pretty well and cheer up my mood. But i also feel sometimes some kind of emptiness in their sound, i guess it's that "chemical" thing that happens with a band: you get it or simply not. I may be in the middle, since i do enjoy a lot of stuff from them but only to a certain extent. I also think they have some real weak and boring moments occasionally, and i'm not a fan of ROBERT PLANT's vocals, which cause me to have headaches sometimes (hence the sarcastic intro of my review).

Many people consider this IV album to be the band's masterpiece. I can't really say that, because i haven't listened to their entire discography to make a proper judgement, but i do agree this is an excellent album, and while not prog in essence, it is still a decent piece of hard-rock. Songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Battle of Evermore" are absolutely memorable, the former has been considered the best song of all times but i feel not like sharing that fact, it's not even my fav LZ song, which would be the sublime "Kashmir". "Battle of Evermore" is a beautiful acoustic tune which is kind of a refresh from the two first rockers, one properly named "Rock N' Roll" and the other called "Black Dog". Both are good, pleasant, being the former my favorite of this rocking pair. It's not the kind of stuff i feel like listening all the time though, since for this gets old pretty fast. This is just because i don't listen to music to "rock out", i like slower and spacier music, so i don't have that appeal for hard-rock, except maybe for the amazing works by SCORPIONS, before they became more metal and commercially oriented. Anyway, back to LZ, i think the closing track is overlong and boring due to the simple fact that few things happen during its lenght. A long song should be at least epic in nature, having some nice sections flowing well into each other. Variety is the key. Here this gets boring, i wish they had worked more in this track. But being "progressive" or "epic" was probably never the band's intention, so let's just "rock" around with it. The other songs aren't very remarkable in my opinion but none of them is bad either. I think "Battle of Evermore" is my fav track in this collection of good rock n' roll, since it has that pretty folky side which i very much appreciate.

All in all this is a solid album which i think is a bit overrated. In fact, this band is quite overrated too, but definetely not a bad one. The guys have a lot of talent to rock out, and they do it effectively. I just don't feel like exploring the band too much since they don't manage to sparkle my interest, and i guess they please enough people already, so i can't call them bad or mediocre. It's just not that my cup of tea.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I'm sure the people at Atlantic Reords were picking their jaws up off the floor when the band told them they didn't want their name on the album cover, especially after their third record didn't sell as well as they (Atlantic Records) had hoped.

The record opens with "Black Dog" named after a black dog that was hanging around the grounds of the studio.This song features Bonham's thunderous drums as well as Plant's incredible vocals, as Page chips in with a scorching solo. I must say I prefer the live version on "How The West Was Won". "Rock And Roll" is a fast paced rocker with an excellent drum roll in the intro as Page then comes in and grinds away with his guitar in the back ground throughout the song. Some piano from Jones as Bonham graces us with a good drum outro. "The Battle Of Evermore" opens with guitar that builds as Plant's vocals are given a break after the first two blazing numbers. He actually sings with Sandy Denny from FAIRPORT CONVENTION on this one. Check out the guitar at 4:20. Love the lyrics "The sky is filled with good and bad, that mortals never know".

"Stairway To Heaven" opens with acoustic guitar and flute as the song slowly accelerates. I love the line "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west", I find that part so uplifting . Page plays a solo 6 minutes in then Plant lets it rip ! And I get goose bumps. "Misty Mountain Hop" is about hippies. It's hard not to move some part of your body when this song is playing. The lyrics, and the way Plant sings them are fantastic ! "Four Sticks" is a song that I just listen to so intently because of the unbelieveable drumming. So intricate and with four sticks too. Check out how Plant changed the tone of his vocals for this one. Great song ! This was released on the "B" side of "Rock And Roll" when it was released as a single. "Going To California" would have fit well on their previous record, an acoustic song with mandolin. "When The Levee Breaks" is my favourite on this record. The hands of Bonham are like lightning and every time he strikes the drums with his sticks you hear loud thunder. It's truly amazing ! This song is so heavy and Plant's kick ass harmonica playing is a nice touch.

I remember buying the Lp version of this around 1977 in Toronto along with RUSH's "A Farewell to Kings". I asked a guy who worked there for LED ZEPPELIN's "zoso" album, well he went on to explain that "zoso" wasn't the name of it and that those were symbols. I just remember thinking "I just want the record, whatever it's called".

Review by ZowieZiggy

This album has a VERY special effect on me and therefore I managed to match it my three hundredth review on PA. I already mentioned in other reviews (sorry for the repetition) that the whole of 1972 was just a nightmare for the teenager I was : I spent ten months lying in my bed due to a leg injury. The only thing I did was to listen to music. The music I loved : Purple, Santana, Sabbath, Hendrix, Slade, The Who and of course, Led Zeppelin.

This album, particularly, accompanied me during these hard times in my personal life. I missed their concert of May 28th of that year in Brussels. My friends taped it for me, so that I could experience a Led Zep concert while being confined to bed while being only thirteen. I only hope no-one will ever "experience" such a thing. The worst of all is that I did not keep the recording.So, no doubt about the rating of this wonderful album of course.

This is the perfect combination between their second album, which I consider as a masterpiece of HEAVY / HARD rock and their third one in which they showed some FOLK (not prog-related) influences.

It was an "Untitled" album since the band wanted to prove (and they succeeded just a bit.) that they could sell records without any reference to the band (they will sell over 23 millions of it in the US only : it sits on the fourth spot all time in album sales in the US, on the eleventh one in the world history.). It was in reaction to poor critics they had in the press about their third release (which topped the charts both in the US and in the UK).

Is this the best ROCK album in history ? I do not know. Is this prog ? Let's investigate.

There are three HEAVY number on this fantastic album. The B-side opener "Misty Mountain Hop" is a strong bass and vocal effort. Heavy as Led Zep could be. Lyrics were inspired by Tolkiens, but that does not make it prog, right ? "Four Sticks" is the follower. The title of the song is simply taken from the fact that Bonham plays drum with . four sticks. Another strong song.

If you play this album rather loud and pay attention, you'll really discover how great a drummer John was. His work is just gigantic and tribute must be given to this incredible drummer. Led Zep is huge by that time : flying in a private airplane, paying for almost the whole of the hotels in which the band is staying (some of those stays will lead to almost unrivalled wild scenes of "re-vamping" the room décor, throwing televisions out of the window etc. After a rather wild party, they will be banned in any Hilton hotel in the world).

"When The Levee Breaks" is a heavy blues one. The incredible drums sound was reached in recorded John while playing on a stairwell in their fetish Headley Grange studio. For once, the band will credit a co-author : Memphis Minnie.

To keep the balance, there are two acoustic songs featured as well. "Going To California" is a beautiful and tranquil song dedicated to Joni Mitchell. It is a tribute to California where the whole story started in December 1968. It will be included in their live sets during their acoustic part, making of Led Zep a rather unusual band who mixed the hardest rock with folkish number.

Again, folkish does not mean prog. The second one is ""The Battle of Evermore" : it is the only Led Zeppelin song to feature a guest vocalist, Sandy Denny. Plant felt he couldn't make it alone, so he has only the role of the narrator in this song. Lyrics will, again, be influenced by Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings. They will play this song live not too often. While doing so, Jones will take over Denny's parts (not the greatest experience, I must say.).

There are two hard-rock songs featured as well. The first two songs of the album. Two Led Zep anthems. "Black Dog" is just incredible : both Bonham and Jones are doing a fantastic work, generating such a great feeling. An all-time high classic in the rock industry. The first one of this FANTASTIC record (which is just normal since it is the opener).

"Rock And Roll" was a response to the (bloody - my consideration) bunch of journalists who rejected their third album. The band wanted to make clear that they could still rock like hell. And god damned, they did.The number has its origin in some studio jams during which Bonham was singing.

Oh, there is one song missing in my review. For the purpose of this review (and for my personal pleasure), I'm listening to it for the tenth time or so today (original, live and unofficial ones- do you remember laughter) ? It's one my all-time favorite song. Love at first sight. Since 1972 (I missed the first two months of its release). The instrumental intro is of course a complete rip-off. If you listen to the number "Taurus" from the band Spirit you'll be convinced. Led Zep toured as a support act for Spirit in 1968.

Much, much later (1997), the leader Randy California will tell "Led Zep made their own interpretation of the song". I can tell you that he was very gentle. It is an exact copy of his song. This guy could have made millions if he would claim for the rights. But he never did. RIP. He "just" wrote the intro of one of the most fabulous ROCK song ever written. Plant has been granted to have written the lyrics in one day. About the lyrics, he will tell : "My hand was writing out the words: "There's a lady is sure , all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to Heaven".

"I just sat there and looked at them (Jimmy, John and John Paul) and almost leapt out of my seat." Plant's own explanation of the lyrics was that it "was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration. The first line begins with that cynical sweep of the hand ... and it softened up after that. I think it was the Moroccan dope"!

Page recalls : "Bonzo and Robert had gone out for the night, and I worked really hard on the thing. John Paul and I then routined it together, and later we ran through it with the drums and everything. Robert was sitting there at the time, by the fireplace, and I believe he came up with 80% of the lyrics at that time. He was just sort of writing away and suddenly there it was.... Plant picks up the story: "Yeah, I just sat next to Pagey while he was playing it through. It was done very quickly. It took a little working but, but it was a very fluid, unnaturally easy track. It was almost as if uh-oh-it just had to be gotten out at that time. There was something pushing it, saying : "you guys are okay, but if you want to do something timeless, here's a wedding song for you".

The record company will push very hard to edit it and release it as single : but the band will fortunately reject all attempts to do so. Now, another thing about it : the "satanic" lyrics while being played reversed. I have listened many times to available sources and if I trust these, there is definitely something weird there. But I do not trust them, really. Since I do not have the equipment to figure out myself, I will have it taped backwards by a professional studio and figure out myself and faithfully provide my feedback. I'll keep you posted after this personal attempt (probably before end of April, 2007).

What I can say, is that I have spent about 120 minutes today listening to this track only. I could spend another 120 without any problem. I believe it is one of the greatest song in the music history. I have already mentioned in my wishes that this song has to be played in the intro of my burial ceremony. Maybe there won't be any laughter to be remembered. But at this moment of time, I will definitely need a stairway to heaven.

To answer the question of my intro : of course not. This is a hard to heavy album with two acoustic songs. The masterpiece being a mix of folk (which has been stolen) and hard-rock.


Five star rating ? I bet you ! Is there any way to rate higher ? To get closer to heaven ?

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record relates powerfully to my own personal past spent with the classic rock recordings. I think the high spinning rates of the long gone times and constant discussions of the subject may distract from the factual merits of the album. Opening gatefold sleeve with the illustration is really pretty, and overall design of the album the drive of emotions is of fine quality. I remember I heard first time on this album the sensual voice of Sandy Denny, visiting the traditional piece "Battle of Evermore", giving impulse to drill deeper to the charms of psychedelic folk music's legacies. The one of the greatest songs of rock follows that one concludes the A-side is really fine, though the overplaying from many directions has caused some harm for it. These two pieces following the starter's two powerful rockers form a great ride; The B-side has same balance of kicking out the perfectly matured playing skills to a target defined with success in the compositions and arrangement solutions. Along with their 1976 live recording this is the only album of the band I hold with personal value.
Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Led Zeppelin's untitled album alias known as "Led Zeppelin IV" is certainly a masterpiece (although not all the songs are perfect), but not from the progressive rock point of view. However, that shouldn't stop you listening and enjoying this one. "Black Dog" is a unique, energetic blend of hard rock and blues - with very complex patterns - but the thing is - -Bonham's drumming in the background (or should I say) on the top of it is just simple yet energetic pumping (simple for the term of the band). Sometimes this sounds like a perfect counterpoint, sometimes annoys the hell out of me when I imagine how a complex blues-prog masterpiece this sound could have been. I haven't made up my mind after all these years of listening.

Two tracks to skip are, in my opinion, "Stairway To Heaven" - simply because is overplayed - and "Rock And Roll" which is full of energy and almost nothing else appealing.

"Battle Of Evermore" is one of the best songs with the mandolin ever written, if you don't have a clue how a prog-folk should sound like, this might be an answer. Sandy's voice is enchanting. As everything else here.

Another tune on a folksy side is "Going To California", nothing very demanding, but very pleasant listen, mostly because of emotional Plant's vocal.

"Misty Mountain Hop" aged badly and it's not very original. However, I can't say anything else bad about this decent rock tune.

"When The Levee Breaks" is another highest point, along with "Battle Of Evermore" - it's a rock-solid rock song with hypnotising harmonica and powerful, rolling Bonham's drumming, perhaps the most expressive that he ever did on a Zeppelin's pressing. It certainly contains that certain spleen of mystery so often attached to the LED ZEPPELIN overall picture.

Finally, "Four Sticks" is a good rockin' 5/4 tune with simple pattern, stunning (and relatively simple) multilayered solo and it fits perfectly into the picture of this album - or at least what I think the picture should be.

Despite all the flaws, this is a classic, and for a good reason. A perfect starter too.

Review by russellk
5 stars I remember the words that went through my head when I first heard this. 'This is what music should sound like.'

The first thing that strikes the listener is that, for the first time on record, some musical barrier has been broken through. 'Black Dog' starts the album with drums unlike anyone had ever heard back in 1971. Visceral thumps coupled with a crispness light years beyond the muddied sounds of their peers. Remember this came out in the same year as GENESIS' 'Nursery Cryme'. It set a sonic high point not surpassed until Alan PARSONS and PINK FLOYD got togehter two years later. But it's not the quality of the sound that sets it apart: it's the pure arrogance of the music, the incredible in-your-face self- confidence so soon after the introverted and somewhat timid sounds of LED ZEPPELIN III. Staggering.

To come out with an introductory track like 'Black Dog', with its complex rhythm and stop-start sound, took a great deal of courage. Then to follow it with a simple rock 'n' roll song was genius. And then, after eight minutes of skin pounding, for Bonham to hang up the sticks for ten minutes was beyond genius and into once-in-a-lifetime inspiration. So when the drums return halfway through 'Stairway' we can't help be lifted. That's why 'Stairway' should only be listened to in the context of the entire first side. And no, I'm not sick of it. Never will be.

I haven't mentioned the gorgeous 'Battle of Evermore'. It's a folk-based song far more mature than anything on III, a vehicle for PLANT to introduce his fantasy elements. The vocal work by PLANT and SANDY DENNY is brilliant.

Let's review, then. These one-time blues cover artists (that's how I see much of their first two albums) have, in the space of two years, become the ultimate progressive unit. You don't believe me? Check the list. An album where the order of the songs matters musically - a progression of music. Complex rhythms and meters. Fantasy elements. Utter bombast and grandiose sound. And the first twenty minutes draws to a cathartic climax that pointed the way for a thousand musicians and songwriters.

Side Two doesn't measure up to this high standard, but it's still an excellent listen. But the genius of the first side is revealed by contrast, as these four songs don't come together in the same way. All of them, however, are polished like jewels, and have their own progressive sensibilities. 'When The Levee Breaks' borrows from an old blues number - I've heard the original, and boy, is there a difference - but at least this is acknowledged in the writing credits, something LED ZEPPELIN often failed to do. That incredible slab of stairway drumming has been sampled by countless artists: I've got at least a dozen recordings where the artists acknowledge the source. (For just one, listen to MIKE OLDFIELD'S 'Magellan' from 'Songs Of Distant Earth'). That marvellous keyboard line three minutes into 'Four Sticks' is hardly ever mentioned, but what a sublime moment.

Artists in the late 1960s and early 1970s came at progressive rock from many different directions. Remember there was no such definition back then, and no real blueprint. What happened was that artists were influenced by each other. It was a time of experimentation, of finding out how far sound could be taken. So what could be more natural than LED ZEPPELIN, who had influenced other bands, now being influenced in turn by progressive sounds? It was clearly no accident: the albums that followed continued this progression.

LED ZEPPELIN IV was the band's high water mark, and one of the greatest moments in twentieth century music. Essential. Need you ask?

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars I admit that I'll be the first in any room to start shrieking along to Robert Plant (especially if it's about Middle Earth), but Led Zeppelin's music never connected with me nearly as much as most of the other big prog bands of the day. It's hard to knock the band that helped redefine hard rock, but the majority of this album's songs are simply too straightforward and uninteresting to make nearly as big an impression as the few gems ("Stairway" and "Evermore"). The musicians themselves might actually be the second most overrated players around (after John/Paul/George/Ringo), with the rhythm section being immediately forgettable and Jimmy only delivering the goods with hit-and-miss consistency.

Nevertheless, everyone should own this album, for historical significance as much as anything else, but anyone seeking some truly innovative or creative progressive music should look elsewhere (after all, you can turn the radio to any classic rock station at any time to hear "Black Dog").

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Led Zeppelin's fourth album I imagine needs little introduction to any fan of Rock Music over the age of 40 and has an almost mythical status. Although I slightly prefer Physical Graffiti over IV this the album I would recommend to anyone wanting to start their Zeppelin collection. Most bases of their sound are covered, from the Heavy Rock, the folk and acoustic elements and the Blues. Every track on this album is worthy of inclusion and not a single filler is present.

Any fan who had been thinking that the band were going in a more lightweight direction with the more acoustic Led Zeppelin III immediately had that thought dispelled with opener Black Dog, one of the bands most powerful Rockers with a fantastic riff from Page and closing the song with one of his best solo's ever, proving that a well considered melodic solo is far more listenable than the blur of notes employed by many modern Metal guitarists. Bonhams Drumming is pure genius on this track, choosing to play it straight when many players would have gone for a more complex approach.

Rock and Roll sounds like the title suggests, an up tempo rocker which fell together very quickly from a Jam in the studio when Bonham started playing the drum intro to a Little Richard song and the rest of the band fell in.

The Battle of Evermore is the first of two acoustic songs and is perhaps the better with some great vocal interplay between Plant and Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention guesting.

Can there be anyone who hasn't heard A Stairway to Heaven? One of the most played songs on American Radio at least. A perfect composition, starting with the beautiful acoustic introduction and building to a climax with another fantastic solo from Page in the mid section before moving into the heavy coda.

Side 2 of the original vinyl version opens with Misty Mountain Hop and Four Sticks. The former, a bouncy, upbeat number and a great favourite of Robert Plant apparently. Four Sticks, so called because Bonham plays his drums with four sticks is another slice of Heavy Rock and another great riff from Page.

Going to California is the second totally acoustic song and again Plant really shines. But Zeppelin save the best until last with When the Levee Breaks, a Blues number originally recorded by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe Mccoy. Naturally it's given the Led Zep treatment and sufficiently changed for the band to take partial writing credits. It's now legendary for Bonhams drum groove which became the most sampled drum part of all time and it's easy to see why as it's so powerful. All the more amazing as it was recorded with only one Microphone strung up in the hall of Headley Grange. Plant also plays some great Mouth Harp here too.

And there you have it, one of the greatest Rock albums ever and easily worthy of a 5 star rating.

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars LED ZEPPELIN “IV” 5

Why is it best? Maybe, because all the previous elements now were combined together, ZEP’s fame has grown, the moment has come finally. Ah, and “Stairway to Heaven”, really :).

Here cam the moment, when LZ realized that they are MUSICIANS. They’ve shaped their musicianship to almost flawless condition, they’ve matured in songwriting (leave alone baby-etc clichés), they’ve grown to make their best album. I remember when I was in 8th grade we made a cover on “Rock and Roll”, and it wasn’t that bad, y’know ;) I guess the same way LZ felt making their nameless fourth plate, which was released without band’s name on it. Commercial suicide? You bet! LZ’s fourth has become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed albums in the history of mankind. There are very few people from those whom I know who dislike this one or haven’t heard it yet – I bet you can say the same thing about your friends as well. LZ’s highest point, their best from early years, a diamond that peaks the crown.

Best tracks: “Stairway to Heaven”, “When the Levee Breaks”, “Black Dog”, “Rock And Roll”, “The Battle of Evermore”, “Going to California”

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Orange chair classic.

One of the pieces of the person I am today comes from the orange chair period of my formative years. Sorry but this is one album for which my review must be personal in nature to convey why the album is special to me. (If it's too personal the Admins can remove it.) The bedroom in the upstairs of my parent's house was my lair in that crucial age of life, the teens. The orange chair is the old swivel rocker that was where I crashed in that room to listen to rock music and think about my teenage existence. It sat really low on the floor because the rocker base had been broken off and I just threw it in the corner anyway and used it. The ceilings in the upstairs were low and angled and made great surfaces for my many posters of Zep, Beatles, Heart, Yes, Kate. The heating duct in the floor was removable and underneath was a ledge where my older brother hid his cigs when he owned that room. After he moved out, I took over the cool room. No piece of music had more impact on me during that strange time than this album, I suppose a spiritual high point of the greatest rock and roll band ever. I listened over and over to this album and others like it as I reclined in that chair, eyes closed, floating away to Jimmy's Les, thinking about girls, friends, and a future that is as hard to figure out now as it was then, but in different ways. It's too easy and predictable to be cynical now about a song like Stairway to Heaven but in my orange chair days no song brought me greater comfort, better escapism, or a cooler personal anthem for an 80s teen who wished he'd been a 70s teen. (My friends and I were throwbacks who hated the 80s in every way, from the music to the policies of Reagan.) I remember very distinctly that the song I chose as the one to be cranked while I walked out of my high school for the last day of my senior year was Stairway to Heaven. Sure I got sneers from those who thought Thompson Twins or Huey Lewis were what we should be listening to but Jimmy was my choice. The point of the personal reflection is that this album was the king of the soundtrack of my youth and I think it has high nostalgia value for many of us which some of the younger guys have correctly questioned, because Zeppelin 4 is not a masterpiece. While my 15 year old self would have awarded this 6 stars I have to attempt to be objective at this point. There are two classics on this album, some formidable rockers, and some filler. The classics are of course Evermore and Stairway which to this day send me to Zep nirvana. The best of the others is Levee, the power of the drum sound on this track being one of Bonham's big moments. But the rest are hardly 5-star material and this is a pattern on Zep studio albums. Each has some very high highs but also a handful of somewhat marginal moments. On the other hand, while some reviewers correctly point out that material like this is not very complex or proggy, it is an album like this that can be a spring board for young people to more complex proggery. Let's face it, not all of us care about Fripp or Zappa at 14. 3 ½ stars for a site rating, but always a special album for me.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars There was a time when I liked Led Zeppelin, but that time is not now. I have this and a few other Zep albums in my music stockpile, but none get any spins anymore simply because all I need to do is turn on the radio and I might just happen to find them (given the right station).

Remember kids, overplaying any song is bad for your health. That's exactly what ruins the quality of songs like ''Stairway to Heaven''; I'd enjoy the song much more if my local rock radio stations didn't insist on playing it every hour. And don't get me started on ''Rock and Roll''...

As a hard rock album, it's above-average. When prog is tossed into the equation, there can be slight difficulties. Okay, I admit Zep can do the odd time signatures like on ''Black Dog'' and ''Four Sticks''; furthermore, we have two delicate acoustic tracks in ''The Battle of Evermore'' and ''Going to California''.

It's passable at best for me. ''Four Sticks'' is the only reason why I would consider blowing the dust of the ZOSO CD case nowadays. I admit that the acoustic tracks surprised me at first (coming from Led Zeppelin), but they're quite the sleepy things now. It's a ''rock classic'' that is a novelty at best from the perspective of this progster.

Review by rushfan4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Led Zeppelin IV has already been reviewed numerous times by reviewers far more knowledgable about music than me, and also by numerous reviewers who were there when it happened. Therefore, there really isn't all that much that I can add other than personal feelings about this album. Led Zeppelin IV is my all-time favorite album that doesn't have the name Rush on the front cover, if not my all time favorite album ever. All 8 songs on this album are excellent quality songs and all are songs that I have heard hundreds, if not thousands of times, and yet they have never grown old with me. Included in all of the excellent songs that are included on Led Zeppelin IV, is the song that I have historically called my all-time favorite song and that, of course, is Stairway to Heaven. (To continue into the insanity that is me, although Stairway to Heaven is my all-time favorite song, it is not my favorite Led Zeppelin song. That title goes to Kashmir. I hope that that makes some sense to some of you). In some ways, it is this song that has probably most significantly effected my tastes in music. The way that this song is extremely melodic and balladic throughout most of the song but after a significant time change it ends on a ballistic metal high. All these years later these are characteristics of music that I still look for and still love.

Something else that I would like to share within this review is a story about Stairway to Heaven that I once heard many years ago. I will probably bungle some of the facts and name the wrong innocent and guilty parties, but I think that some readers might find this interesting. Probably about 20 years ago I was listening to a local radio station late at night, and they were broadcasting a Led Zeppelin concert as well as an interview with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. During the interview, I forget which guy said what, but they were talking about the first time that they played Stairway to Heaven live in front of an audience. I assume it was before the album had been released. At any rate, they played the entire 8 minute plus song, and when they finished it the crowd was absolutely silent. As I remember the interview, Robert Plant turned around to Jimmy Page and said something like I told you that song was crap. Then the crowd stood up and gave them the loudest standing ovation they received that night. It turns out that the crowd was just so stunned by what they had just heard they didn't know what to make of it.

Anyhow, in my mind this album is about as complete of a masterpiece as has ever existed. This album is easily a 10 out of 10 album for me.

Review by Negoba
5 stars Led Zeppelin IV is my favorite album ever made. Not an original choice but there is a reason this album is so highly touted. This album covers such massive range musically, from Zep's most complex riff in Black Dog to the massive harmonica/drum groove of Levee Breaks to the classic psychedelic folk of Going to California one never thinks about the band experimenting just for the sake of experimentation, one never thinks this is progressive, though it certainly was, one simply sits backs and enjoys.

Black Dog with its circular riff, turning and tripping over itself while Plant's voice screams in ectasy, is the culmination of heavy Led Zep. Certainly there are other great riffs, but this song pulls it all together. It is Whole Lotta Love grown up, made more musically intricate and at the same time more crushing.

Rock and Roll anyone who has tried to play the intro to this song in a band successfully knows that this isn't just a straight blues rock number, though it is certainly these least proggy of the album. Great drum and guitar work.

Battle of Evermore is a song that I was recently treated to courtesy of Plant and Alison Kraus, and it was one of the most exhiliration experiences I have had a live concert. Sandy Denny's voice on the original is more haunting to be sure, and the music balances the fantasy lyrics perfectly.

Stairway to Heaven needs no comment

Misty Mountain Hop begins with another rhythmically interesting riff that alters itself slightly as Plant begins singing. Though it is definitely heavy, it evokes feelings of sitting among the hippies at least as well as the softer tunes on the record.

Four Sticks Another great off time riff, another layered brilliance. This is probably the least revered song on the album. It seems like one part of a long epic that is side 2.

Going to California is perhaps my favorite Led Zep song. The layering of acoustic instruments make the song sound more complex than it really is. Remarkably beautiful, the highlight of the concert I saw with Plant in the mid-90's

When the Levee Breaks the massive groove of the drums, the brilliant harmonica, the ache in Plant's voice. Great way to end the album.

Frankly, the biggest weakness of this album is that Stairway is on it. I have been skipping it for a long time, as I've heard it too many times and it no longer really has more to give me. It also stands alone a bit in an album the flows together so wonderfully.

5/5 is not enough to award the best album of the rock era. The only question is if it's essential for Proggies. If prog is pushing the definition of a genre, using a wide variety of music styles within a single piece, then this record qualifies for certain. Certainly in Prog Related it deserves the label of masterpiece.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Led Zeppelin IV is the fourth album from british bluesy hard rock act Led Zeppelin. I was very happy about Led Zeppelin III because it´s such a varied and different album compared to the two first albums from Led Zeppelin ( which are fantasistic in their own regard). Led Zeppelin IV takes a bit from all three predecessors and then builds some new tricks into their sound.

The album has both hard rocking songs like Black Dog and Rock and Roll, folky songs like The Battle of Evermore ( with a vocal guest appearance from Sandy Denny) and the power ballad evergreen Stairway to Heaven. All songs on the album are excellent even though I find When the Levee Breaks to be a bit too repetitive.

The musicianship is excellent. Robert Plant with his razor sharp vocals are as usual in fine form while we get to hear all of the qualities Jimmy Page has. From beautiful acoustic guitar pieces to electrified bluesy hard rock riffs. The rythm section is as always hard hitting and enjoyable. John Paul Jones being the sophisticated of the two while John Bonham at times resembles Animal from Muppet Show because of his hard hitting attack. He was never a subtle drummer, but there was really no need to be one in Led Zeppelin.

The production is great. It´s only beaten by the excellent production on Led Zeppelin III.

I got Led Zeppelin IV many years after the first three albums from the band and it has never meant as much to me as those three albums. But putting things right this album is just as good and at times maybe a bit more accomplished than those three albums. It certainly deserves a 4 star rating from me. This is a true rock classic.

Review by Matthew T
5 stars I first heard this album back in 1972 on a 8 track cartridge in my oldest cousins car. He left me there while he ran into do buisness he said I'll be about half an hour listen to this if you like and put on the cartridge.I went through the few other cartridges that he had and found David Bowie and thought great being 13 years old at the time but couldn't work out how to eject the cartridge and did not want to break Phil's player so I was stuck with Led Zeppelin.Well I realise now how lucky that I was because after the 2 nd listen in a row I was hooked. Yes the 2nd listen Phil's half hour was 2 he left me there for.

The album starts off with Black Dog with Plant's vocals,Page's riffs and Bonham's drumming a stunning first track but what really set it of was when Rock and Roll came on I loved it. The title says it all for track 2 3.The Battle of Evermore is a accoustic but would have to one of the best accoustic tracks done by a band of this style. I'd like to mention that Robert Plant's vocals are outstanding and over the years this would be the track I play the most. 4. The most famous one some say the best song ever,the bands Magnum Opus.All I know is it is a bloody good song and if you have not heard it you could not be from Earth.

5. The flip side of the record. My favourite is Going to California. I could go on and review the other tracks but on the really rare chance you have not heard it I think you would like some to work out yourself.

This is the first review that I have posted and the reason I gave This album.s mastepiece status is because I still play it today even though I first heard it 36 years ago. This album and Jethro Tull (Aqualung),Black Sabbath( Paranoid) and Pink Floyd,s(Dark Side of the Moon) would always be classic albums to me because I first heard them as a kid and I still play them today regularly. Matt

Review by Gooner
3 stars I do not want to rain on anyone's parade, really. In short, I'm not a big fan but can appreciate the Zeps contribution to rock&roll and to a lesser extent that of progressive rock. _The Battle Of Evermore_ is a nice folky track with Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention on vocals. _Stairway To Heaven_ continues the Zeps questionable habit of lifting someone else's composition without giving due credit(Spirit's TAURUS). Well, at least it was fun in highschool when you saved the last long dance for the fox you were eyin' up all night. _Goin' To California_ is another folky number somewhat similar _Battle Of Evermore_. We're looking another 2 star album although, _When The Levee Breaks_ gives it another 1 star rating for that John Bonham drum track alone. Good album, but not essential.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Led Zeppelin's fourth studio album has held a place in my heart ever since I first heard it. It is at once an amazing exhibit of one of classic rock's finest (if most unrestrained) acts and a very close cousin to progressive rock music.

"Black Dog" Kicking off with a short, psychedelic sound, things get cranked up just as soon as Robert Plant opens his mouth. Page plays that famous riff after each line, only changing things up after each verse. Drummer John Bonham makes sure everyone knows he is there, thrashing away at his drums, and it is John Paul Jones who keeps the rhythm tightly intact. The lead guitar is almost as thrilling as the overall song itself.

"Rock and Roll" A staple of classic rock radio as well as of television advertising, this is a highly accessible and fun blues-rock song. Page treats listeners to some down-to-earth soloing while Bonham pounds away at his drums, particularly his open hi-hat, offering a short solo before the conclusion of the song.

"Battle of Evermore" The straightforward classic rock music ends with the first two songs, as the true genius of Led Zeppelin swoops in with the introduction of an eerie mandolin. The acoustic guitar with the mandolin transports the listener to a faraway Tolkienesque land. Late folk singer Sandy Denny sits in on this one, complimenting Plant's voice perfectly; she is the only guest ever on a Led Zeppelin studio album. While Plant sings as a narrator, Denny's role is that of a town crier in this song of a legendary and mythical war. Together their voices create a haunting impression. It is songs like these that make it impossible to choose a favorite from this album.

"Stairway to Heaven" Decidedly one of the most sought after songs on classic rock radio, this is one of the great points when Led Zeppelin was at their most progressive. There are three distinct sections to the song. The first consists of that iconic acoustic guitar riff that nearly every boy who had ever taken his hand to the guitar desired to play. Melancholic flute and nearly weeping vocals set the tone for this excellent and altogether dreary masterpiece. The second section is just as impressive as the first, with an electric twelve-string, acoustic guitar, and thundering bass. I always anticipate Bonham's drums, as they don't show up until halfway through the piece, but when they arrive, they impart authority and energy to the music. The elusive lyrics were actually the result of spontaneity, and for some reason have made this song a staple of funerals for many years. The third section is by far the heaviest. Despite its simplicity, Page's solo at the end of the song is considered one of the quintessential guitar solos of classic rock. Plant's words, still shrouded in mystery, are shrieked with passion, and as he holds out one chilling syllable, Page releases sounds on his guitar that are almost magical. The song ends with one final line, sung in the silence.

"Misty Mountain Hop" Highly innovative in its structure, Page plays an intriguing but simple three-note riff, with Jones on the electric piano, and Bonham again bashing away on his kit. The song blends a dynamic approach with plain good fun; the vocals- the melody and the lyrics- are at once playful and exciting. The vocal harmonies are great also, and the ending with that repeated line is something I have always liked. This is just one I can't help but bob my head with.

"Four Sticks" Once again, this is Led Zeppelin at their best and perhaps most creative, using more complex time signatures. This one was frustrating to record, and many of the takes captured for this song are the result of pent-up aggravation. The title comes from how Bonham used four drumsticks instead of the usual two. The acoustic section (featuring a great-sounding bass) is refreshing after the wild ride that is the main riff over which Plant wails. The vocal melody is ear-catching, and Jones has a small Moog part.

"Going to California" Things calm down with one more acoustic song, again with a great vocal melody. The mandolin makes a reappearance here. The lyrics are as lovely as the delicate acoustic guitar, even when Plant does a bit of shrieking. This is one that's always fun to play and sing for a small gathering, and is one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs.

"When the Levee Breaks" This last song is a revamped (and partly rewritten) version of the original by Kansas Joe McCoy and his wife Memphis Minnie. There's a lot of subtle experimentation on this one, such as Bonham playing his drums in a three-story stairwell, backwards harmonica, backwards echo, phasing, and some interesting panning. It does maintain a blues feel, but overall, this is a wild example of what Led Zeppelin was capable of in the studio.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Led Zeppelin IV' - Led Zeppelin (9/10)

This is not just a masterpiece of progressive music, but a masterpiece of rock all- encompassing. There aren't any twenty-minute epics on here; neither are there running lyrical concepts, synthesizer solos or John Petrucci/Jordan Ruddess solo battles... No, this is just rock; but rock of the absolutely highest caliber.

...and when I say rock, don't let that catch you off guard. There is alot more to 'Led Zeppelin IV' than simply rock. The band was progressive in the sense that they managed to incorperate alot of difference styles into a classic/hard rock environment. Songs like 'The Battle Of Evermore' for example utilize a heavy drawing from the realm of folk, whereas 'When The Levee Breaks' pays an homage to the American delta blues scene.

Extraneous influences aside, the album starts off with one of the band's most rocking songs, 'Black Dog.' There is a great riff here, and if you pay attention to the time signature of this song, you can see why it's easy to consider Led Zeppelin at the very least; a prog-related act.

'Rock n' Roll' is a pretty straightforward song, but it's really fun. Good energy; the sort of song that would be amazing to hear live if I could go back in time and actually see the band perform...

'The Battle Of Evermore' is actually a special track to me. It's actually the song that convinved me to learn an entire instrument; the mandolin. This track really shows what a versatile player Jimmy Page is, being able to pull off heavy riffs and solos for the first two songs, then tone it down into the folk realm and have his instrument sing regardless of the mileau.

'Stairway to Heaven' is an obvious, albeit overplayed masterpiece. To truly appreciate a song of this fame, you have to wonder what the world would be like if this song had just come out in the 21st century; and this was your first time listening to it. Even regardless, it's a great song with a perfect build-up to a fiery climax.

'Misty Mountain Hop' and 'Four Sticks' are both great songs; the former being one of the most memorable Zeppelin songs I've ever heard. While I do appreciate the live 'Page & Plant Unplugged' version of 'Four Sticks' alot more than this studio rendition, it still has the power intact.

'Going To California' is a very beautiful song, and possibly my favourite on the album; although it's also the song that took me the longest to fully appreciate. The melody is here is gorgeous, and sung soulfully by Plant.

'When The Levee Breaks' might be my least favourite song on here, but it certainly still has power enough to hold a decent finale for a great album. Very bluesy, and a great closer to one of the greatest moments in rock history.

'Led Zeppelin IV' is a classic. Totally essential listening for anyone in the western world; and I certainly don't say that about all albums.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It took Led Zeppelin two shaky albums, that weren't on par with the promising debut, to reinvent themselves and once again start making some really exceptional music! Led Zeppelin IV is by every possible definition a milestone in rock music history! Hopefully everyone agrees that Stairway To Heaven is the pinnacle of this band's career and it's often even considered to be one of the top 100 best compositions ever written.

Personally I like how this album starts off with excellent Blues/Rock of Black Dog, the more straightforward, but, nonetheless magnificent, Rock And Roll and atmospheric low key performance of The Battle Of Evermore. Unfortunately some weaker material starts to show right after Stairway To Heaven. Originally I thought that I felt so because any song that follows Stairway To Heaven would feel weak, but eventually I realized that the material on the second side of the album is in fact inferior to the first side. Oh well, at least this album was definitely a step in the right direction and Led Zeppelin's true masterpiece was still in the making.

Led Zeppelin IV is a piece of rock history that should not be overlooked by the fans of the genre, but even though it's a great album I still have to admit that it's a bit overrated in comparison to many other important milestones like Black Sabbath's debut album or the pre-MKII lineup Deep Purple albums. Therefore "only" an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Black Dog (4:56) Rock And Roll (3:41) Stairway To Heaven (8:02)

**** star songs: The Battle Of Evermore (5:52) Misty Mountain Hop (4:39) When The Levee Breaks (7:08)

*** star songs: Four Sticks (4:45) Going To California (3:32)

Total Rating: 4,20

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As for many other people, this album was an essential part of my teenage years. After being raised on Prog by my older brother from the brittle age of 11, classic hard rock was one of the first other genres I set out to discover on my own.

When I was around 15, Zep IV was an almost daily feature, only rivalled by Rainbow's On Stage and Zeppelin's and Sabbath's debut albums. Of those 4 albums, only Zeppelin's IV doesn't seem to move me like it used to, or rather only half of the album still does. Songs like Battle of Evermore, Stairway, Four Sticks and When The Levee Breaks have proven to be indestructible. The other 4 songs, the shortest by coincidence, are ok but do not touch the consistently high level energy-pack that was their debut.

A great Zeppelin album but not the essential one for me.

Review by thehallway
5 stars All that glitters is untitled.

"Led Zeppelin IV" is of course, a peak for the band, and a peak for rock music. Not perfect, but possibly the warmest, most feel-good album I own that isn't in the progressive genre.

'IV' has the perfect balance, unlike it's predeccessors. The debut was mostly blues, the 'Brown Bomber' mostly rock, the acoustic album mostly acoustic. But this record is the one where the band perfect their recipe and include the right amounts of everything. There are three energetic riff-rockers, three acoustic beauties, one luxurious blues gem, and a boogie woogie jam thrown in for good measure. It's not diverse, it's just well- blended. And is there any filler? No. A couple of tracks have less weight but are still superior to most of 'Led Zeppelin III'. And anyway, the less significant compositions are important for the flow of the album.

'Black Dog' returns to the groove of the band's second album, with a great riff, interesting timing, and plenty of dynamics. The same can be said for 'Misty Mountain Hop', with it's joyful lyrics and funky electric piano. 'Four Sticks' is worldy, in 5/4, and has a synthesizer solo. Who ever said this band wasn't progressive? 'Rock and Roll is good fun but non-essential (listen out for [boogie with] Stu!). 'The Battle of Evermore' and 'Going to California' are both acoustic songs of the highest quality, the former with mystical mandolin and a beautiful-sounding female vocalist, and the latter with emotive lyrics and sweet melodies. 'When the Levee Breaks' is the next bombastic installment in Led Zep's blues catalogue. It's energetic yet steady, and the harmonica is cosmic. I think there may be a song I've missed but it can't be that important... ... ... ... Oh yeah, THAT one. Well if you aren't already familiar then you don't deserve to be.

So all this is topped off with a thought-provoking cover, a set of characteristic symbols, and some careful, non-pretentious production. The result is five stars.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars In the year of our Lord one thousand, nine hundred and seventy-one, it was seemingly the time for big rock bands to make what I'd call "self-consciously great" albums (like The Who with Who's Next or The Rolling Stones with Sticky Fingers). It feels to me like Zeppelin really wanted to make a big statement with this album, and it's hard to argue that they didn't; this is, after all, the centerpiece of their legend, the one that everybody owns or at least has been able to tape just from listening to classic rock radio (if you listen to any one generic classic rock station 24 hours a day, I'd lay 3 to 1 odds that you will hear this entire album, barring perhaps "Four Sticks," in no more than three days). The production on here is almost ludicrously meticulous (if a bit sterile in places), and it displays in a broad flourish all of the various sides of the band (as opposed to going overboard in one direction or another as on the last two albums). They're aggressive rock'n'rollers ("Rock and Roll"), they're regular acoustic balladeers ("Going to California"), they're mystical Tolkien addicts ("Battle of Evermore"), they're bluesy cock-rockers ("Black Dog"), they're anthemic voices of a stoned generation ("Stairway to Heaven"), and when the mood suits them they're the awesomest re-interpreters of traditional blues numbers in the world ("When the Levee Breaks").

Unfortunately, they're also prone to bouts of being among the world's biggest morons. Even when I was in my earliest developmental stages of becoming familiar with rock music, listening to "Stairway" repeatedly and thinking that "Carry on My Wayward Son" and "American Pie" were among the best songs ever written (uggggggggggggggggghhhhh), I hated the living guts out of "Misty Mountain Hop," and that feeling has only cemented over time. EVERYTHING about that song irritates me: the way the electric piano combines with the guitar and bass to create a tone that may as well be the actual sonic manifestation of retardation, the way Plant sings one of the stupidest "melodies" ever to make its way onto mainstream classic rock radio, the way it neither rocks nor pops in any way that I can find remotely acceptable ... This is, without a doubt, my least favorite Led Zeppelin song, one I hate more than the worst filler material on Physical Graffiti or Presence, or the worst tracks on Coda, or even "Thank You" or live versions of "Moby Dick." If I never hear this song again, it will be far too soon.

Nothing else on the album even remotely makes me wretch as much as that track, but there are still other places that make me more than a bit confused about the commonly held notion that this is one of the greatest albums of all time. "Four Sticks" really isn't interesting at all to me; it has that ugly discordant riff and guitar sound, and Bonham drumming with four sticks instead of two, and ... basically nothing else of note. I mean, it has some ugly wailing and some "artsy" synth noises here and there, but I'll be damned if I'm going to consider those significant positives. Anyway, I'm also not an enormous fan of this version of "Black Dog," though that shouldn't be taken to say that I dislike the track; I actually love the live takes of it on BBC and How the West Was Won. The main problem I have here is that the perfect production, to my ears, takes away the fire that the track otherwise has. In my opinion, this is a song that needs to be raw, to be aggressive, to be unpolished, as opposed to here where so much of the edge is taken off of Plant's vocals and the playing of the other three. Here, it's a decent enough track, but it doesn't really rouse a bone or organ in my body.

The other five tracks, though, are between great and phenomenal, and are enough to bring the rating up to an extremely high level given how much of the album I don't really like. "Rock and Roll" is a great representative of its title, a piece where Bonham's insanely loud drumming is a totally necessary asset and where Plant gets in a great echoey vocal. As far as heavy retro-rock goes, this is about as good as it gets, and Page's hyperactive guitar work throughout is really awesome.

The next two tracks feature the band trying to go for a heavy "mystic" vibe, and overall they're both winners. I admit that I like "Battle of Evermore" a bit less now that I've become a Tolkien addict; I know that this is supposed to be about one of the big battles in "Return of the King" (everything I've read from people on the subject says it's about the battle on the Pelennor Fields, but I can't shake the feeling that it might actually be about the battle at the Black Gate), but even after having read "The Lord of the Rings" four times, I'm still not totally sure what the heck Robbie's wailing about (who the heck are the angels of Avalon??). In other words, not only are the lyrics awfully amateurish sounding, it keeps feeling to me that Plant didn't actually remember "RoTK" very well while he was writing them. That said, I still think it's an awesome track, and it succeeds where other bands fail miserably in such attempts. The weaving of Robert's voice with Sandy Denny's is utter heaven to my ears, and Jimmy throws in some of the most beautiful mandolin (that's what it is, right?) playing I've ever heard on a rock album.

And then there's "Stairway to Heaven," and though there's probably no need for me to comment on it I will anyway. It's a pretty random choice, I think, to be the most revered song in the Zeppelin catalogue, let alone one of the most worshipped songs of all time. As lots of people have pointed out, the opening acoustic guitar melody is basically stolen from "Taurus" by the band Spirit (and don't try to tell me it isn't; Spirit opened for Led Zeppelin for much of 1970, and Page is known to have specifically made note of how neat he thought that particular Spirit instrumental was), but even disregarding that, the lyrics are more than a bit portentiously nonsensical (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of saying that when I'm a big Yes fan), and as far as metal anthems go, I'd much rather listen to "Child in Time." But the song is worth it if only for the absolutely amazing, seamless transition from acoustic ballad to all-out anthemic rocker, not to mention the amazing guitar solo in the climax. And dagnabbit, it got me into rock music!

The album then takes a turn for the worse (to say the least) with "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Four Sticks," but as a reward for the pain comes a lovely acoustic ballad in "Going to California." It would be better if it didn't have yet more Tolkien worship in it, but it's pretty nonetheless; it beats "That's the Way," at least, and that wasn't a bad song itself. But this is only the quiet before the storm. If you've wondered why I could give a **** to an album that contains what is hands down my least favorite song by the band, the reason is largely because it also contains (on the same side, no less) what is hands down by favorite song by the band. "When the Levee Breaks" is, as far as I'm concerned, Led Zeppelin's finest moment by far, and I don't care if it's a cover; the band's strengths were in arranging and creating an apocalyptic mood, not in songwriting, and this also proves to me that, even at this time, nobody in the whole world could beat Led Zeppelin at covering the blues. I'm not even really sure how to describe it; I have never heard a song where every element of the band worked so seamlessly together as in this one. Bonzo's drumming is powerful and drives the song along without being distracting, Jones' bass does its job remarkably, Page rips out some of the most vicious and aggressive slide guitar parts I have ever come across, and Plant's voice (which screams itself almost ragged and hoarse in places, but all for the better) and harmonica just bring it all together. Every part is outstanding, and each only serves to highlight and enhance all the other parts. It's, well, it's as if a pre- programmed blues computer ran a program to come up with the optimal kick-ass arrangement and recorded it on disc. As far as I'm concerned, for seven glorious minutes, Led Zeppelin really sounds like one of the greatest bands in the world, and one that I can love as much as seemingly everybody else does.

In the end, this is not a consistent record, to say the least. Not only does the quality of the songs vary ENORMOUSLY, the songs just don't flow together at all (especially in contrast to III). Indeed this is much less of an album than it is a collection of 8 songs which may or may not have anything to do with each other. Largely because of this, and largely because of the excessively perfect production, the whole thing can sound and feel overly commerical and fake at times. Despite all of these flaws, however, this is still a terrific album, and I would advise all who do not have it yet (though I can't see why such a person would be reading this page) to get it and get it soon. Or, of course, get out some tapes while a radio station "gets the Led out" ...

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Led Zeppelin, on their fourth album, managed to create one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Sure, after nearly forty years (It's been that long? Damn!), we may have heard every song a few too many times, but it is still a great album.

And on this album, Zep reach true progressiveness. Black Dog with it's beat folding in on itself, is a masterpiece. Sandy Denny provides excellent vocals to the prog-folk classic The Battle of Evermore. And then there is Stairway To Heaven, a song so great even Frank Zappa felt compelled to cover it (without making fun of it).

Even the non-prog songs, like Rock And Roll fir perfectly on this masterpiece.

4.5 stars (they lose half a star for the non-prog songs), rounded back up to five.

Review by The Rain Man
5 stars Led Zeppelin IV is a great album. But 1 track that doesn't really fit in is 'Stairway to Heaven' because it is so superior to the rest of the album that it turns the other great songs into good songs. Since Stairway never came out as a single. I'm just going to review that song because the album is worth getting for that track alone.

To begin with: Why is this my favourite track of all time?

Answer: The length, the structure, the guitar solo, the lyrics.....or to summaries everything. At the time I was introduced to this song I had heard the intro to "Whole lotta Led" as it was the intro theme song to Top of the Pops. It wasn't until 6 years later when I got into the rest of Zep's back catalogue. I heard it once and put it on my mix tapes based on reputation alone. It became my favourite song on my favourite mix tape. I remember sitting on a bus and trying to time it, so when I got off the bus the guitar solo would kick in. I would then swagger along the street for 2 minutes to my work, cranking up the volume. I would open the door and slowly walk up the stairs as Plant's vocals came in "...and she's buying a stairway to heaven". I opened the door to the tea room with a big smile across my face as the song finishes and got me fired up for another day.

I did the same routine pretty much give or take for a whole summer. I even did it on the slightly longer walk to university where I would try and time the solo for walking though George Square. I don't know what it is about walking through the busy streets of Glasgow with a class bit of tunage blaring out my headphones. But I got a massive buzz out of it. Now years later I have rediscovered that magic along with Led Zeppelins other songs. But there is something about 'Stairway' which makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest. And I don't just mean above the rest of their songs; I mean all songs by anyone.

First of all let's look at the structure of the song. If you were to draw on a piece of paper what it would look like. The graph would gradually increase a step at a time before easing off right at the end. Was it deliberate that it would look like a stairway? I think so! Even back in the 70s it was common place to have song structures which go verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge then chorus or something like that. Well they were the types of song that do well in the charts because they are simple and easily accessible. So what did Led Zep do? In my opinion they have created a song that has no chorus or versus. It is almost different levels which build to a massive climax. People have tried to copy it to various degrees of success, but that is what they become ? imitations.

Another thing which makes this song run against the grain is its length. Most popular songs are four minutes or less in length. Ambitious 'Single' driven bands might stretch to five minute songs. Although there are thousands of bands who produce great songs which are 3 to 4 minutes in length; there are nowhere near as many bands making songs over 5 minutes. Some might say the charts dictate that songs must be less than x minutes or people just don't have the attention span for songs lasting more than 5 minutes. Alternatively is it something as simple as a label. Bands like Led Zeppelin who make songs longer than 5 minutes are categorised in the Prog rock category. Throughout the years Prog has been cool one minute, not cool the next then cool the next. Sometimes bands embrace the tag. Others look for any other tag just to avoid being labelled under that banner. The magical thing about 'Stairway' is that although I would file it right under the prog rock tag. It doesn't feel like a prog rock song. It feels like a journey that is over before it has even begun. Such is the songs magnitude. Only if you actually looked at the time on your CD/mp3 player would you notice how long the song was (8 minutes). It is really because the song is that good it feels like it's over so quickly.

Like any song, it is made out of different ingredients. Phase 1 is just an acoustic guitar with Plant's vocals whispering gentle vocals. He takes his vocals up a notch as he sings "There's a feeling I get, when I look to the West...". The song is now poised for the next level as he sings "and the forests will echo with laughter". Phase 2 kicks in with the drums being introduced. The journey at this point is gathering momentum. The stage is now set for the big guitar solo. That along with "November Rain" by Gun's and Roses and "Look On" by John Frusciante has to be the 3 greatest guitar solos that I have heard ? of all time. Where does it go after that? How about up a gear! Plant's let's off his best vocal screeches as the song goes into full blown rock and roll mode for the last minute. Before closing as the song begun with an acoustic guitar; then singing those immortal words "...and she's buying a stairway to heaven".

This song displays the phenomenal vocal range Plant possesses, the great guitar work of Page, the incredible drumming of Bonham and the baselines of Jones holding everything together. It is all very well being individually talented but it takes creativity and teamwork to create something this awesome. There might never be a song of this standard again. But you never know.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Although it does represent a peak for the band both in terms of songwriting and performance - Black Dog is their best rock and roll number, When the Levee Breaks is the heaviest blues- rock they ever deployed, and Stairway to Heaven is justly their most famous song - I can't bring myself to give the fourth Led Zeppelin album a perfect mark. The fact is that aside from the named songs and the energetic rock and roll, the album contains a lot of filler.

In particular, I can't get into the two acoustic numbers, The Battle of Evermore and Going to California, both of which seem to be inferior stabs at the sort of acoustic experimentation that made the band's third album so very compelling. The Battle of Evermore, in particular, is a big letdown - it feels like the extended intro to a song that never kicks into high gear. As for Misty Mountain Hop or Four Stick, frankly once the record's over I can barely remember what they sound like.

I don't dispute that this album has some fine five-star songs on it, but the fact is that half the songs just completely fail to engage me. Three stars is a more than fair compromise.

Review by friso
3 stars Led Zeppelin - IV (1971)

When looking at the collective result of our beloved rating-system, this must be an album that is better then - let's say - 95% of the records in my progressive rock collection. This is of course a silly thought, because the album itself has little to do with the progressive genre.

Led Zeppelin plays semi-professional heavy rock with some melodic twists and intense vocals by Robert Plant. Occasionally, the band is willing to experiment a bit, just like some of their biggest rivals of the time (think of Deep Purple, Sabbath, Budgie, Uriah Heep). Led Zeppelin has a distinct sort of heaviness and playfulness to it, mainly due to the heavy and free recording techniques that are applied. On 'IV' the band tried to find a way to restore some of the heaviness of their beginnings, whilst remaining intelligent. Most of the songs of the album are however heavy rock tunes with many guitar double/triple guitar lines and loud drums (which gives the messy garage sound).

Stairway to Heaven became a 'classic' and it's quality seems to be not suitable for debate, though I would say it's a cheesy song with a totally non-original ending section. Black Dog and Rock and Roll are also famous hard rock tunes. Catchy and heavy. The Battle for Evermore is perhaps my favorite song of the album, I really like the strange guitar-folk sound/composition and the way Plant applies hard rock lyrics. The best material is on the first side, side two has not very much to offer in my opinion.

Conclusion. A good hard rock album from '71 that is a bit overrated in my opinion. Three stars.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Stairway to Zeppelin's cult status

Led Zeppelin's harvest album, Runes, Four Symbols, the Zoso album, the fourth Led Zeppelin album, whatever you want to call it, is the pinnacle of success for the legends of proto metal. LZ4 actually surpassed everything the band had done before and was never surpassed by the foursome. It seemed on the making of this album that all the planets were aligned as perfection resulted. The album often sits proudly at the top of top 100 lists, some calling it the best album ever made. I am not sure I would go to this extreme but it certainly is a masterpiece on every level. Musically the album is flawless, the band are simply outstanding on every track, Plant's vocals are influential and have become iconic on this album, and it boasts one of the all time greatest songs ever written.

Side one has been critically acclaimed as being the most perfect side one in history. All of these accolades and here I am reviewing it finally 40 years later. I cannot go back in time and even speculate as to how this album impacted a generation, but it did. The songs became part of the hippy drug induced consciousness and even still stand the test of time today in comparison to recent albums. The album is timeless in many ways and speaks on many levels.

Black Dog begins with a strange guitar effect underplayed and soft, almost ignored. Then Plant powers out "Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove." This is followed by a progressive slice of guitar riffing that measures it's own time sig, almost improv style. The trade off between Plant's acapella and Page's riffing machine hand are trademarks of Zeppelin. There is a crazed lead break with heavy blues influences and the pummeling drums of Bonham. One cannot forget the impact of Jones on bass either, the four are locked in battle and the winner is rock.

As if on cue the song Rock and Roll cranks through the speakers almost destroying them. "Been a long time since I rock and rolled" Plant screams and Page answers with driving hammering riffs. The effect is a blitzkrieg of smashing axes and uncompromised noise levels. This was not one for the parents and teens would have loved turning this up to 11. As a live staple the song opens many concerts for good reason as it gets one in the mood to bang head.

Things settle with a heavy laden acoustic flavour with the mystical Battle of Evermore. "The Queen of light took her bow, And then she turned to go, The prince of peace embraced the gloom, And walked the night alone, Oh, dance in the dark of night, Sing to the morning light." Plant sings with reflective haunting clarity. The enchanting land of Mordor seems to beckon through the music as we hear Paganistic phrases such as "the dark lords rise in force tonight" and the "angels of avalon waiting for the eastern glow", and of course it was thematic content like this that garnered the cult following of the group that still exists. The high harmonies of multi layered Plantisms is a nice touch creating atmospheres of dark forests and full moons. The band were always edgy and full of mystique, even to the point where they remained anonymous in the media and on album covers. This album has a striking gatefold with a sorcerer wielding a magical lamp on a stairway, perhaps showing the way to unwary travellers.

The song Stairway to Heaven may be the most discussed song in rock history, and still remains as enigmatic as ever. The song is very controversial, with its satanic references hidden beneath the words, apparently Page wrote it with a spirit guide and was guided to pen the words subconsciously in a trance. Whether this is true is up for objection but it certainly is a powerful song. Stairway To Heaven is landmark of classic rock. The single sky rocketed them to success. The song has been played live everytime the band appeared and in fact in the reunion for live aid the song was arguably the highlight of the entire event. It is a long song and yet radios worldwide still continue to play it. It has been parodied and indeed the cliche is that music stores will put up signs to the effect that there is not to be any playing of Stairway to Heaven. The intro is the most performed guitar part and really is a 12 string piece of beauty. The main reason Stairway to Heaven captivates is due to the well known spell binding lyrics about finding a way to heaven, but "there are two paths you can go by, in the long run there's still time to change the road you're on." During the 80s many evangelists panned the song for this message stating it was poisonous to think there are two paths to heaven. Then there was the infamous backwards masking of the song, when you would hear phrases such as "here's to my sweet Satan, no other made a path for it makes me sad, whose power is Satan." Suffice it to say the song caused quite a stir in evangelical circles, and I have never forgotten this, especially due to the Message against Rock video that found its way into many churches, and now youtube has many clips with the backmasking. It is downright creepy and of course Zeppelin members deny everything, although Page admitted a high interest in the occult and even resided in the quarters of renowned satanist Alexander Crowley. The song also became legendary in Australia on a special event called 'Stairways to Heaven' where over 20 artists performed live their own version of Stairway to Heaven, many parodying the song with the likes of Rolf Harris and there is also a folk and pirate version on the telecast. The song means many things to different people; it sounds sugar sweet and uplifting, yet has dark overtones of losing the soul. The song has been played to death on radio but never loses its power, love it or hate it.

Side two.

I will admit I have not played this as much as the first side but I do not think I am alone in this. Hard to beat the first side but there is still an excellent array of tracks that are replenished with delicious guitar augmentations by Page. I had to remind myself again of the music offered here, unlike the unforgettable side one. The intensity of the music is startling, with songs such as Misty Mountain Hop. The layered harmonies of Plant is outstanding. "Walkin in the park just the other day, baby, What do you, what do you think I saw? Crowds of people sitting on the grass with flowers in their hair said, Hey, boy, do you wanna score?" The content was a 70s by product that would speak to the flower power generation but remains endearing and perhaps historically important today. The lyrics are about finding freedom in the same way as woodstock provided sanctuary for a time, and points a middle finger towards authority; "I didn't notice but it had got very dark and I was really, really out of my mind, Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us said, Please, hey, would we care to all get in line, get in line". The escapism that was sought in this era was also encapsulated in the movie "Song Remains the Same" with shots of Plant spending time with his flower child in the woods near the lake.

Four Sticks steers towards heavy repetitive rhythm and blues, with a hypnotic riff. Plant improvises on his performance; "oh baby, the river's red, oh baby, in my head, there's a funny feeling going on, I don't think I can hold out long". The repeating riff is fine but I find this one a low point of the album if there is one. It seems to just go nowhere for me like all stoner rock. The African polyrhythms and estranged musical shapes at the end are certainly an ear opener and legend has it is played by Bonham with four sticks.

Next is the quiet and beautiful Going to California. The dream of freedom from the social cocoon to embrace flowers in the hair and living in the woods is captured here. Plant is indelible here; "Took my chances on a big jet plane, Never let them tell you that they're all the same, the sea was red and the sky was grey, wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today, the mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake, as the children of the sun began to awake." The acoustics are folk induced throughout and it feels like a distant memory or a dream with dream imagery and ethereal vocals, especially the soaring section; "Seems that the wrath of the gods, got a punch on the nose and it started to flow, I think I might be sinking." The Pagan content is really as timeless as the album, and it runs as a thread in every song and from album to album.

Last song is my favourite on side two, When the Levee Breaks. It is a hybrid of blues, swamp rock and folk. The harmonica is a powerful statement that leads the way with a driving AOR signature. The harmonica sounds like a lonesome train whistle on a dark stormy night, and there is a decidedly dark atmosphere. It settles mid way through into a melodic slide guitar dominated section. Plant is terrific singing bluesy melancholy phrases such as, "Lord, mean old levee taught me to weep and moan, Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home." The atmosphere generated is once again commanding with a prevailing sense of being transported to another land. Only Zeppelin were able to do this at the time, a trend so ferociously original for a rock band.

So we come to the end of what I thought would be a short review. Well, the album is a landmark, which I have already said, but it cannot be overstated. A lot of the songs have ended up on compilations. No matter how one drinks in this fountain, one thing for sure, an album with this much impact on music will never be repeated. If you only want to own one Led Zeppelin non compilation album, this is the one.

Review by ClemofNazareth
5 stars There's little doubt Led Zeppelin's fourth album became one of the most recognized and popular rock albums of all time, with something like a hundred various reissues and sales ranging from somewhere around 32 to 40 million depending on who's counting. Several tracks have been named on Rolling Stone and others' Top-XXX songs of all time lists, and the immortal "Stairway to Heaven" will live on in rock legend for generations to come. Like it or hate it, this is one of a small handful of quintessential rock albums that pretty much has to belong in any serious modern music fan's collection.

Despite the band's reputation as a hard-rocking blues-based group, this and their first album bear the strongest marks of the band's folk influences. Jimmy Page's associations with everyone from Keith Relf (Yardbirds, Renaissance, Illusion) to Sandy Denny (Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay) to Annie Briggs are reflected all over songs like "Bron-y-Aur Stomp", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (co-credited to Briggs as it should have been), "The Battle of Evermore" (on which Denny appeared), "Stairway to Heaven" and "Tangerine", and all bear the strong mark of folk influence.

That's neither here nor there really, lots of British bands from that era were influenced by folk including the likes of the Rolling Stones and even Black Sabbath. It's just another explanation for the monumental appeal of the songs on this album, steeped as they were in a musical style that is almost by definition one of mass popularity.

Undoubtedly a lot of copies of this album were sold in the early days simply so people could get their hands on "Stairway to Heaven" since it was never released as a single in Europe and was mostly only available in the form of promo copies even in the U.S. I doubt there's anyone alive in Europe or North America who hasn't at least heard this song once or twice. For those of us who grew up in the seventies it was pretty much impossible to spend an afternoon listening to the radio without hearing it at least once. Only years later when I started to really get into the U.S. band Spirit did I discover what more astute music fans already knew; namely that Page had lifted his guitar intro to the song almost note-for-note from the Randy California tune "Taurus". Didn't seem to make any difference to California, who had chummed around with Page in the band's early days when Zeppelin were touring the U.S. building up a fan base there and who also introduced to his guitar-mounted theremin, an instrument Page would employ himself on "Whole Lotta Love" from the band's second album. I've read other claims that the band lifted chord progressions for the song from an old Chocolate Watchband tune (a band Page was certainly familiar with having appeared at shows with them while a member of the Yardbirds). But that doesn't seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things since it was the deadly powerful songwriting duo of Page and Robert Plant that turned a rather simple little tune with a wicked guitar riff into one of the greatest rock classics ever recorded.

Personally I find "Rock and Roll", "The Battle of Evermore" and "Going to California" to be much more lasting songs than 'Stairway', which passed into terminal overexposure before 1971 had even run out and which Plant eventually divorced himself from, at least in live shows. "Rock and Roll" combines two interwoven and blistering guitar riffs with one of John Bonham's more inspired performances and Plant's slightly uncontrolled crooning and jaunty piano bars from John Paul Jones for what can only be described as an almost perfect rock anthem, ranking in that category with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Travelin' Band" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode".

And "The Battle of Evermore" has been copied and covered so many times by musicians of such a wide range that it almost deserves a place in the same rock history tome that will someday hold the tale of 'Stairway' and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". Like those songs, this one transcends rock and enters it's own plane of musical definition, not quite a rock tune but not exactly folk or anything else either; instead, it combines elements of those along with the blues and a longstanding British tradition of showmanship and musical craft to form a timeless gem.

"Going to California" is a little harder to justify as a classic, although most music fans from the seventies probably won't have a problem calling it that. Clearly this is one of the more folk-oriented Zeppelin tunes thanks to Jones' mandolin and Plant's bard-like, storytelling vocals. But really this is an on-the-road touring song, written by Plant and Page in the wake of several U.S. tours that included extensive travel to California. Plant has also hinted he had Joni Mitchell in mind when he penned the lyrics. Mitchell was hanging out in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon with Graham Nash around the time Zeppelin were heavily touring the West Coast and surely had some interaction with her given the Canyon's reputation for being a haven for musicians at the time, including many British bands that came around to hang out with the likes of Mama Cass and Frank Zappa, so the Mitchell connection is believable though never conclusively confirmed as far as I know.

Really though there aren't any bad songs on this album; in fact, there aren't even any pretty decent songs. Every one is a monster classic, and each would have easily climbed the charts had they been released as singles. "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll" were singles and did chart, while "Stairway to Heaven", "Going to California" and "The Battle of Evermore" remain FM radio favorites even today some forty years later.

Obviously Led Zeppelin IV is an essential classic; I can't even fathom calling it anything less. If somehow you never managed to travel above the Earth's surface and observe sunlight during your life it's just possible you haven't listened to this album yet. Doubtful, but possible. If that's the case then I strongly suggest you invest in large doses of vitamin D to counteract your sunlight deficiency-induced rickets, and then go get yourself a copy of IV and get your head straightened. You'll be glad you did.


Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The first four Led Zeppelin albums were ubiquitous to my childhood and musical education--whether I wanted them to be or not. They were played at school, at dances, on the radio (FM), and from my brother's bedroom stereo for my entire middle school years. As a matter of fact, every single day in seventh grade art class we were "treated"--without choice--to at least one side of one Led Zep albums along with one side of Carole King's Tapestry. Every day! Did I like the bluesy "heavy metal" (for that's what we called it at the time) of LZ? Yes and no. While I never bought a Zep album of my own until Houses of the Holy (still the only physical vinyl LP I own of theirs), I enjoy listening to all four of their first releases. And, while I never disliked the played-to-death "Stairway of Heaven," I've never contested it's place as the nearly-universally-annointed "greatest rock song of all-time" (especially after seeing Heart & Company perform it live at the Kennedy Center ceremony from 2012). The rest of the "Runes" album is of exceptionally high quality with there really only being perhaps one "throw away" song and the rest masterpieces. I mean, who doesn't love "When the Levee Breaks"? or "The Battle of Evermore"? or "Black Dog"? or "Misty Mountain Hop"? or "Going to California"? or "Rock and Roll," for stairway to heaven's sake?
Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the foremost albums in rock, along with "Machine Head", "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "Boston", this is one of those albums that you will see on the shelves of just about every single person you know and their parents and aunts and uncles and former college roommates' dogs' owners' third cousins', too. And there's good reason for it; Led Zeppelin's fourth release, whatever you want to call it, is a really solid album.

Normally I'm not a fan of Led Zeppelin, whether it's because I can't stand Robert Plant's voice (OooooOOOH MaaMaa Mamaghg) or because I find Jimmy Page's playing sloppy or his tone tinny, but those unfortunate elements are nowhere to be found on this album. Instead we find a collection of 8 coherent, well-written songs performed in a collected but exciting manner. The album strikes a good balance between hard rock and folk sensibilities. I don't care for the folk songs, such as "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Going to California" as much, but the folk work on "Stairway To Heaven" is sublime, regardless of whether or not you believe to be plagiarized from Spirit's "Taurus". The hard rock numbers really are the winners here, though, with "Black Dog", "Rock And Roll" and the blues rock "When The Levee Breaks" standing on par with, or above, proto-metal contemporaries Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep.

The album isn't quite tight or innovative enough for me to call it a masterpiece, but it is still a great album for rock fans to have. If you haven't heard this album yet, go listen to it right away.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 668

"Led Zeppelin IV" is the fourth studio album of Led Zeppelin and was released in 1971. Like the other three previous studio albums, no title is printed on the album too. It's usually referred to as "Led Zeppelin IV", following the name standard used by the band's first three studio albums. However, the album has alternatively been referred to as "The Fourth Album" or "Four Symbols", due to the four Runes used by each member of the band on the cover of the album.

Upon its release, "Led Zeppelin IV" was a big commercial and critical successful album. It's one of the best selling albums worldwide and became as one of the best albums released until now. It's also considered as one of the most important Rock'n'Roll albums. This is an album that demonstrates their subtlety and restraint as much as their stadium-filling grandstanding and it confirmed their superstar rock status and put Led Zeppelin into homes around the world.

"Led Zeppelin IV" has eight tracks. The first track "Black Dog" written by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones is a song also released as a single in the United States and Australia with "Misty Mountain Hop" on the B side. It's a fantastic and very powerful song with a blues/rock riff and where Plant has one of his best vocal performances. Soon it became considered as one of the greatest songs of all time and one of the most recognizable Led Zeppelin's tracks. The second track "Rock And Roll" written by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham was another song chosen to be released as a single, this time with "Four Sticks" as the B side. We are in presence of a fantastic straight typical Rock'n'Roll number with great drum and guitar work. This is another great track and it's, for sure, one of the accountable tracks that made of Led Zeppelin as one of the best Rock'n'Roll bands ever. The third track "The Battle Of Evermore" written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page is another incredible song, this time influenced by the folk rock. The song is very well known because the vocal duet between Robert Plant and Sandy Denny and also because the beautiful musical performance of the acoustic guitar and mandolin. This is, in my opinion, one of the most innovative and progressive songs of the band. The absolutely fantastic vocal performance of the duet and the entire musical atmosphere all over the song, made of this song truly a masterpiece and one of my favourite songs of them. The fourth track "Stairway To Heaven" written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page is a song that doesn't need any kind of presentation and is often referred as one of greatest rock songs of all time and it's also one of their most progressive songs too. The song is composed of several sections, which increase in tempo and volume as the song progresses. The song begins as a slow acoustic folk song and the final section is a high-tempo hard rock section with an intricate and fantastic guitar solo by Page. This is the focal point of this album. The fifth track "Misty Mountain Hop" written by Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones is, as I said before, the B side of the single "Black Dog". With this song, the album reduces its highest quality level, while maintaining also a very good level. It's a great song that represents a very good rock moment but that unfortunately hasn't the energy of "Black Dog" and "Rock And Roll", or the creativity of "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Stairway To Heaven". The sixth track "Four Sticks" written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page is in the same line of the previous song. It's the B side of "Rock And Roll" and like "Misty Mountain Hop" it's also an excellent song but isn't at the same quality level of the four first songs of the album. The seventh track "Going To California" written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page is another song like "The Battle Of Evermore" composed in a folk style type, returning with acoustic guitar and mandolin. With this song, the album returns to its highest quality level. The song represents a tribute to Joni Mitchell by Plant and Page. The eighth and last track "When The Levee Breaks" written by Memphis, Minnie, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham is a version of a blues song originally written and first recorded by Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. The lyrics in Led Zeppelin's version were partially based on the original recording. This is another incredible song that closes the album beautifully.

Conclusion: "Led Zeppelin IV" is in general considered the great masterpiece of Led Zeppelin and is also considered as one of the best albums ever released, until now. "Led Zeppelin IV" is almost a perfect album. The first four songs, the A side of the LP, are absolutely perfect and can be considered four truly masterpieces. The B side of the LP isn't as perfect as the A side, but it can be considered also excellent. "Going To California" and especially "When The Levee Breaks" are also two fantastic and incredible songs. Concluding, "Led Zeppelin IV" and "Houses Of The Holy" are probably my two favourite studio albums from Led Zeppelin. However, "Led Zeppelin IV" is better than "Houses Of The Holly" is, because is more balanced and hasn't weak songs, too. So, "Led Zeppelin IV" can be considered as one of the best Rock'n'Roll albums of all time and it was made, probably, by one of the best Rock'n'Roll bands that ever existed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars The fact that the general reception of "Led Zeppelin III" was not as expected, hit the band's self-esteem and especially Jimmy Page's, who considered it the best album of the three released up to that time. And so the fourth album, "Led Zeppelin IV" (although officially untitled by the musicians' decision), had a meticulous creative and production work to harmonise its intense hard rock vein with folk and blues influences.

The first part of the album is outstanding and there is nothing to be wasted, with pieces with the necessary ingredients to make up timeless anthems of the genre: Page's dense riffs in the lusty "Black Dog" and the incendiary "Rock and Roll", Celtic reminiscences in "The Battle of Evermore" with the contribution of Page on mandolin and English singer Sandy Denny, and the perfect electro-acoustic combination of the immortal "Stairway to Heaven" with the growing instrumental wall built by John Paul Jones and John Bonham and crowned by Page's portentous guitar solo and Plant's heartbreaking phrasing, one of the band's and the genre's flagship songs.

Although in the second half the rushed "Mystic Mountain Hop" marked by Jones' electric piano and the orientalised "Four Sticks" lag a little behind the rest of the pieces, "Going to California", a beautiful acoustic tribute to the Canadian singer Joni Mitchell, and the infallible blues of the parsimonious "When the Levee Breaks" (an adaptation taken from the American singer Memphis Minnie) interpreted in the way that only the British can do, maintain a superlative level and bring the work to a close.

The album of the portrait of the mysterious peasant hunched over with a bundle of branches on his back hanging on a peeling wall, would become one of the cornerstones of the genre and would raise the band to the top of the rock scene.


4/4.5 stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars Led Zeppelin IV is Zeppelins fourth studio album which released in November of 1971. The album is considered to be one of the greatest classic rock albums of all time. With as many hits as this album has, its easy to see why, Black Dog, Rock and Roll, and of course, one of the greatest songs of ... (read more)

Report this review (#2508932) | Posted by Lieutenant_Lan | Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Now, after a powerful debut and reaching a greater album with the third one, here come THE masterpiece from Zep. Really one of the best and most loved albums on rock, with one of the best songs ever (Stairway to Heaven, of course). If I could consider the Black Sabbath debut to be for hard roc ... (read more)

Report this review (#2417243) | Posted by Dellinger | Saturday, July 4, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars LED ZEP an airship, more! So we attack hard, since we don't know if it's prog.... but I don't care! The only album where I can put a track on replay for a whole day, good when my girlfriend is at work, we agree!!! Lets' go! 1. 'Black Dog' or the ultimate rock, the one that leaves your c... on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312148) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A excellent masterpiece from one of the best bands of rock of all time, from the beginning to the end it keeps you entertained, with amazing hard rock songs that include the majority of the hits of the band. Begins very strong with Black dog and Rock n Roll, pure hard rock songs, very sticky riffs ... (read more)

Report this review (#2077194) | Posted by mariorockprog | Tuesday, November 20, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The most intelligent album Led Zeppelin ever released. Every song, sublime (e.g. Stairway To Heaven) or not (e.g. Four Sticks), has something unique to offer, something beyond the ordinary, something that creates an album which stamps the listener forever. It's not my favorite album (that's th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378728) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Call this overrated all you want, this will always have its place in rock music history. Untitled (aka ZoSo, Four Symbols, Runes, Led Zeppelin IV) is an achievement; every song is good. I can't think of one weak moment on the entire thing. Containing some of their most popular songs, including th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089152) | Posted by thebig_E | Thursday, December 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The perfection of rock music for me. Led Zeppelin's untitled album was my all-time favourite album before I heard "Trespass", shortly after entering the realm of progressive music! Despite my change in listening habits, and the fact I'm looking for other things in a rock song other than "can I play ... (read more)

Report this review (#984645) | Posted by Xonty | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The quintessential rock album? The festive mood of "Black Dog" is carried on to "Rock and Roll", providing a great album opening. Then, the album gets mystical with "The Battle of Evermore", a very unusual Led Zeppelin song (it has guest vocals by Sandy Denny and a dazing mandolin by Page). T ... (read more)

Report this review (#959104) | Posted by Lord Anon | Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have a love/hate relationship with this album. Though it is Led Zeppelin's most critically- and commercially-successful album, I believe is it also one of their most uneven. At times I feel this album represents everything wrong with progressive rock - overblown pomposity and pretense, rid ... (read more)

Report this review (#921524) | Posted by coasterzombie | Saturday, March 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is probably the most overexposed album in rock history. If Robert, Jimmy and John John haven't been hospitalized for 3rd degree burns, I'd be greatly surprised! So, the challenge with reviewing this album is that the songs are so overly familiar to listeners that it's difficult to really ... (read more)

Report this review (#915897) | Posted by thwok | Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ZOSO. Most famous, not the best. Of course, this is one of the most famous albums in rock history. The fame of this work derives in large part from Stairway To Heaven, magic and unrepeatable song. It is also the first album where the band includes rather evident elements of progressive rock, ... (read more)

Report this review (#833529) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Friday, October 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Zeppelin IV is widely considered the bands best album. It is understandable to see why, as much of the songwriting is improved and focused as the group finds themselves in a comfortable sound. Much of the blues sound that dominated their first few albums is gone, instead this album is mostly straigh ... (read more)

Report this review (#771435) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, what can I say? This is obviously an important album, based on the fact that it is one of the most well known albums of all time. Not only is it a milestone of Classic Rock, but it is one of the origin albums for Metal and Progressive Metal alike. As a Progressive Metal fan, I speak to my ... (read more)

Report this review (#756163) | Posted by dtguitarfan | Monday, May 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Led Zeppelin IV is my favorite Led Zeppelin album, and not without reason. This is rock and roll at its best, as its meant to be. The strength of is this album lies in its versatility. You have the 'guitar-riff based' tracks like Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop and Four Sticks. This is Led Zepp ... (read more)

Report this review (#751469) | Posted by jrv07 | Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This record is not prog. It is a rock masterpiece that will blow your mind. Zeppelin progressed over the years. Before, they were a blues cover band that changed the lyrics of the songs. Now, they are great songwriters who wrote the most unforgettable songs in the history of rock 'n roll. Songs l ... (read more)

Report this review (#743413) | Posted by geneyesontle | Monday, April 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Led Zepplin IV from 1971 is a monster in the history of rock music and deserves a 5 star rating, but as a prog album I must dock it a single star down to 4 stars. Sorry. It ain't really that prog. Proto Prog and Heavy Prog maybe. Having said that, it is nearly a perfect rock album without a weak tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#733598) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 A brilliant masterpiece that deservedly sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide and will be remembered for all time. After the reception is not as warm to the Led Zeppelin III the band returned to the studio to create a disc that could reaffirm their superiority in the realm of hard ... (read more)

Report this review (#619849) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, January 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There is a strange thing about me when it comes to music (or any form of art and entertainment). I usually have a disdain for anything that critics and fans call "the greatest (fill in the blank) ever." One of these things they attach to this saying is Led Zeppelin's fourth, untitled album. Be ... (read more)

Report this review (#591106) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album more than any other is the soundtrack to my life. As a teenager in the 70s I listened to it countless times. I listened to it in the car in the 90s with my children. My son learnt to play Stairway to Heaven on his guitar. My dad who was a swing musician even improvised to Stairway t ... (read more)

Report this review (#532228) | Posted by bassgeezer | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Only Stairway to heaven deserves alone for the album 5 stars. What about the rest? One of the most popular albums of the seventies, Zep IV was for me a sure blow. I had 2 "blues" songs : Stairway to heaven and Going to California and people were actually dancing blues on these somgs. The vinyl ... (read more)

Report this review (#530461) | Posted by ridemyfacetochicago | Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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