Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I
Anyway, the music is pure raw blues, but it is the instrumentality which stands out. This album introduced the world to the vocal range of Robert Plant, the power drumming of John Bonham (man, he invented it for God's sake!). Underpinning this was the classy bass of John Paul Jones. Of course, the world already knew Jimmy Page. But it was not until this album that it knew exactly what he could do.
Led Zeppelin's roots were clearly on display for all to see, allegations of plagiarism notwithstanding. On the Live Yardbirds album of 1968, the band did a track called "I'm Confused". Listen to it and you will hear "Dazed and Confused". The arrangement is slightly different as are the lyrics, but it is the same song. And as the album is live, yes Page takes the bow to the guitar and plays it in premonition of those sublime moments on the stage in the early seventies when Led Zeppelin were transforming the face of music. Indeed, it is "Dazed and Confused" which is the highlight of this album. It is the first time the world gets to hear the combination of Bonham's power drumming (and how!) with superb guitar solo work from Page.
Other tracks are often overlooked, but don't make that same mistake. "How Many More Times" is an excellent piece of contemporary blues rock, driving, forceful and powerful. "I Can't Quit You Babe" is blues classic - listen to the switch from Plant's harmonica to Page's guitar, accompanied by a scream from Plant of course, to see what I mean. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" proves you don't need an electric guitar to do power. And then there is "Communication Breakdown". Much maligned, but this song just demonstrates where Led Zeppelin are going. This is blues influenced without being blues. This is rock. OK, it is not the best rock track ever, but it is a hint of the superlative work which was to follow. Just in case you thought blues was the only string to their bow, in yet another nod to a future direction (this time on Led Zeppelin's third album), a folkish, tabla-drum backed instrumental track called "Black Mountain Side" gets thrown into the mix. Often confused with, and ultimately probably derived from a similar instrumental called "White Summer", which never appeared on any studio album, it introduced a level of subtlety and craft to the music which may have come as unexpected. Rounding the whole thing off is the blues classic "How Many More Times" on which Page once again takes a bow to his guitar for a psychedelic power fest in the middle.
This album would have confused the hell out of some people when it came out. In fact, it turned what was a rather unique British format of music into a worldwide phenomenon and in doing so made Led Zeppelin one of the biggest names in music ever. In retrospect (43 years later no less), listening to this you can identify the essential link which turned blues into rock. This album is it. For that reason it is essential.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.
on 2007-08-09 SolitaryMan Said:
Led Zeppelin, a sort of local-scene supergroup featuring former Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page, seemed set to take the world by storm from the onset. Their debut effort produces absolute staples in their wide catalog, from the radio-ready "Communications Breakdown" to the slower, more developed and intricate sounds of "Dazed and Confused" and "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You". Already an extremely tight outfit, each member has shining moments and it's painfully obvious what juggernauts they'd all become. Plant's as impressive a vocalist as there ever was in rock's history, and there's nothing to complain about (apart from their undying focus on the fairer sex). John Bonham combines Keith Moon's adrenaline with a finer sense of touch and tonality, and his drumming snugs up to each song and wraps them in it's warmth. Perpetually underrated (and it's hard not to be surrounded by all that talent) bassist John Paul Jones is always present and always interesting. Scary part about all of this? They would only get better as time went on.