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Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.91 | 868 ratings

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I remember quite well that when I purchased this album at the time of release, I was rather disappointed. I guess that I expected too much from the band in 1973. I only liked four songs from it, so I decided to go and exchange this album. I picked up "The Slider" from T. Rex instead (which I incidentally swapped for a "Best Of" from . the "Aphrodite's Child" which I sold for cheap during a music conference .

End of 1998, I purchased their entire remastered CD catalog in one shot. Will my feeling have changed for HOTH ? Well, frankly, yes. It was the one album I played the most during this "second discovery". During three months or so, I will only listen to Led Zep.

My mind didn't change about two tracks which I consider weak.

"The Crunge" is their first funky tune (unfortunately followed by several ones). It is a tribute to James Brown. Most of the time, his early releases were recorded live with very little rehearsal. To give some directions to his band, he would often say : "Take it to the bridge". The "bridge" will be mentioned several time at the end of the song : "Have You Seen The Bridge" and "Where's that confounded bridge?".

The second one is "The Ocean". This one is dedicated to their US fans who will create an ocean of crowd attending their concerts : "Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more"!

At this moment of their career, they did break all the records in attendance. Led Zeppelin earned a place in "The Guinnes Book of Records". Here is a press release to relate the event : "On May 5, 1973, a crowd of 56,800 paid $309,000 to watch Led Zeppelin perform for nearly three hours in Tampa. The largest paid concert attendance for a single musical act in the history of the United States, it topped the Beatles' previous high of 55,000 and a mere $301,000 at Shea Stadium. Records are made to be broken, but if there's any shattering to be done at this point, Led Zeppelin will probably be the ones to crack the mark again. Like their namesake, they defy gravity to ride a core of flaming vapor, the acknowledged heavyweight band champions of the world".

"The Rain Song" is very quiet all the way through, almost prog my friend ! I have a trace of this number as soon as 1971 during the recordings for their untitled album. So? It has gestated for quite a while. It features some mellotron work from Jones, but bizarrely he was not involved in the songwriting as one could have believed. It has the sweet side of a track like "Entangled" or "Ripples" (from "A Trick Of The Tail"). It is one of the very few songs related to prog Led Zep will write. IMO a total of four :"Your Time Is Gonna Come" from Led Zep I, half of "Thank You" from Led Zep II, this one and "Ten Years Gone" from "Physical Graffiti". For some aspects (mellotron) "No Quarter" might be added but while played on stage, it was extended to anything up to forty minute in a rather heavy and mighty form which leaves the studio version as a nice little ballad in comparison. I prefer the live versions of course (of which the one featured on "The Song Remains The Same" is probably one of the best available.


These two tracks grew in my perception between 1973 and 1998. "No Quarter" in particular which appears now as good track indeed to me.

So, now : the four tracks I liked at the first sight.

"Over Hill And Far Away" mixes the acoustic ballad and the hard-rock. The same had already been achived in "What Is and What Should Never Be" or "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" in that respect. This song doesn't reach the level of its great predecessors but, still it remains a good one.

"Dancing Days" has a great rhythm. Full of passion and power. While they were rehearsing it, the band was really "dancing" when listening to it. This song generates a feeling of great fun. I still really like it.

One of their most contravertial song is the reggae influenced "D'Yer Mak'er". Interesting to point out that Led Zep played reggae waaaaay before the genre became so popular (outside Jamaica). This shows that the band was attent to all the musical influences throughout their wonderful career. The melody is very catchy and unlike lots of people, I regard this song as one of the best of this very good album.

And finally "The Song Remains The Same". A great opener as Led Zep will aways propose (except in the poor "Physical Graffiti"). The musical trio is absolutely gorgeous in this track. Jones's bass work is impressive, and Bonham's drumming is rather wild. Like a few other Led Zep's songs, the guitar intro is similar to Yardbird's song "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor". Jimmy is of course brilliant. This song was born as an instrumental piece and should have been called : "The Overture". But Plant added lyrics (thank you, Robert) and his high-pitch voice is wonderful. It is my preferred song of the album.

The album will of course peak at the first spot on both sides of the Atlantic. Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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