Led Zeppelin had a magnificent genre-defining career in heavy metal. And they did it better than anyone else, unless you discredit their love of English country folk. Lovers of their work fall into two distinct camps- those who favor the first two records, and those who favor the fourth and fifth.
The first two (1969) featured the heavy blues-rock that would be the claim to fame of the band, and much of this music is excellent, if today a bit dated. Classics like Good Times, Bad Times, Whole Lotta Love, You Shook Me, Ramble On, I Can't Quit You, and Living Loving Maid, all are stellar, and deeply rooted in the blues.
The fourth (1971), the ultimate classic rock standard, blended the blues with something else, and Black Dog, Rock And Roll, Going To California, Misty Mountain Hop, and When The Levee Breaks all rock hard with amazing hooks. And Stairway To Heaven. The follow-up, Houses Of The Holy 1973, brought more of the same with The Song Remains The Same, Dancing Days, and The Ocean, plus reggae with D'yer Mak'er. Huge.
Anybody who stuck around for Physical Graffiti 1975 was in for a troubled ride. Great tracks like Houses Of The Holy, Trampled Under Foot and Kashmir shared time with too much lesser material.
After that, Presence 1976 and In Through The Out Door 1979 held their charms for the devoted, and at least one or two great songs each. Coda 1982, a piece-meal effort at best, let them leave without regret, if nothing else.
More recently, their work has been remixed to very good effect, and the Mothership 2007 collection is worth the trouble. The four-LP vinyl set is the bomb, but the CD sounds great, too. It is pretty remarkable how well their work holds up.
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