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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III CD (album) cover

LED ZEPPELIN III

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

3.93 | 873 ratings

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dreadpirateroberts
4 stars Always amusing to read biographies and articles that talk about the distress fans and critics went through when hearing this album for the first time. III was obviously a big shift, and after the pummeling of the classic "Immigrant Song' it's reasonable that fans would expect to hear more of II as the album went on.

What a surprise instead. Bands either branch out or stagnate, and one of those choices should be infinitely more satisfying to the listener than the other. If you're reading this as a fan, you won't need me to tell you what they did. So all the backlash must have been baffling to the band, as apparent in a quote from a Cameron Crowe interview with Page: "When the third LP came out and got its reviews, Crosby, Stills and Nash had just formed. That LP had just come out and because acoustic guitars had come to the forefront all of a sudden: LED ZEPPELIN GO ACOUSTIC! I thought, Christ, where are their heads and ears? There were three acoustic songs on the first album and two on the second."

And all that 'acoustic' is supported by a lot of electric guitar, with album and career highlight, 'Since I've Been Loving You,' 'Immigrant Song,' the creepy 'Celebration Day' and 'Out on the Tiles,' not to mention 'Tangerine' with some rare pedal steel guitar.

From the moody 'Friends' to the exceptional build-up that is 'Gallow's Pole,' III is full of shining moments that are as subtle as the wallop that comes from the electric songs. The sensitive delivery from Plant in 'That's the Way' or the clap and sing-a-long of 'Bron-Y-Aur Stomp' are all outstanding examples of Page on the acoustic guitar, and despite Bonham's enthusiasm, his ability to add to a song without dominating it.

This album foreshadows IV beautifully, and with hindsight it is clear that their next album had every chance of pulling everything they'd already tried together into a stunning work. Four stars here.

dreadpirateroberts | 4/5 |

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