IV – Led Zeppelin

Released November 8, 1971 this untitled album (commonly known as IV) is the band’s best selling album to date. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews and revived the band after their previous album did not fare well with critics or fans. It has sold over 37 million units worldwide and 23x Platinum in the U.S. alone.

Jason: I knew more songs on this album than I anticipated.

Brad: So many of these songs are classics. I know you dislike “Stairway to Heaven”. What did you think of the rest of this album?

Jason: I initially thought “I don’t like ‘Stairway’ because it’s over-played but in actuality I don’t like it because it’s dumb. I would say I like half of the songs on the album. I do NOT like “Black Dog” his voice is too high-pitched screech-y, and annoying on that song. I like “Going to California” and “When the Levee Breaks.” “Rock and Roll” is in every car commercial.

Brad: Oh man, I love “Black Dog” so much! I think Robert Plant has one of the best voices in Rock. I didn’t always appreciate them but something clicked when I was in college and I’ve loved them ever since. I didn’t realize until recently that “When the Levee Breaks” is a cover of an old Blues song. They definitely added a lot to the song and changed it quite a bit. John Bonham’s drum beat in that song is one of the most sampled beats in Hip-Hop history.

Jason: This really surprises me. I thought for sure you hated Led Zeppelin. I don’t like “Black Dog” because of the little 2 line stanzas with the guitar riff and the yelling and the “uh uh uh uh uh.” His voice reminds me of Janice Joplin who I CANNOT STAND. That being said, the quieter songs on side B of this album are better. They are too close to “The Who” on Side A for me.

Brad: Interesting. I like most of their albums. I love their sound. They have influenced so many bands. I guess The Who have too but for some reason I love Led Zeppelin and just don’t care for The Who. 

Jason: How did you get into them? This was the first Led Zeppelin album I have ever listened to from start to finish. (BTW I like the mandolin on “…Evermore”.)

Brad: I think my gateway into Led Zeppelin was when Ann & Nancy Wilson covered “Battle of Evermore” on the Singles soundtrack in the early 90s. Then there was a full Led Zeppelin tribute album in the mid 90s that included Stone Temple Pilots and Sheryl Crow. So I started buying Zeppelin albums after that. 

Jason: Interesting. I remember Sheryl Crow covering D’yer Mak’er and I liked it so I listened to the original and was like “Crow’s is better.”

Brad: I remember loving “D’yer Mak’er” as a kid. I like Sheryl’s version too. I wonder if I would still enjoy that covers album. I think it was called Encomium. 

Jason: Yes, Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. It’s not on Spotify but I bet the CD is in our house somewhere. What do you like about the main singer’s voice. (Page? Plant? I get them confused.)

Brad: ROBERT PLANT! He can sing anything. I love the way he sounds during quiet and loud songs. I also love the way his voice has aged. I like his solo albums, I even liked his album as The Honeydrippers in the 80’s. “Do you remember” their cover of “Sea of Love”

The IV album symbols are explained here.

Jason: That was him?! I didn’t know that. His voice on his solo ’80s stuff is much softer and lower. 

Brad: Yeah, he’s had a very interesting and prolific career. Remember a few years ago when I had tickets to see Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin at a benefit concert. I got front row tickets somehow. Then Patty got sick and Robert Plant stepped in as her replacement. I was so excited, not that Patty was sick but that now I was 5 feet away from Robert Plant for an entire evening! It was fantastic.

“I can see you Brad.”

Jason: How old is he?

Brad: He’s 71.

Jason: And still rockin’. Does Led Zeppelin still perform together ever?

Brad: They reunited for a tribute concert in 2007 but that was it. There are constant rumors of a reunion tour but it doesn’t seem like Robert Plant is interested. I think there was even talk of a Zeppelin tour with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith singing lead vocals. 

Jason: Interesting, not sure if that’s necessary.

Brad: So what grade would you give this album

Jason: I give Led Zeppelin IV a B. I like half of the songs and I can skip Stairway. I think they are pretty inventive and interesting and timeless.And obviously influential.

Brad: Fair enough. I definitely give it an A. This album gets better to me as I age. Now I want to go back and listen to all of their albums again. Maybe that will be one of my 2020 resolutions.

Jason: Good idea. Just use headphones when I’m around.

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Below is the scratch-off artwork from the 100 Bucket List poster.

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