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Led Zeppelin burst onto scene with 1969 debut

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Led Zeppelin


Recorded in October 1968 over the span of just 36 hours, Led Zeppelin finally burst onto the scene with their eponymous debut album-a perfect mixture of blues, rock, and a dose of heavy metal. They had actually been touring together as the New Yardbirds, since Jimmy Page still had contractual obligations to fulfill with the Yardbirds, even though that band had been disbanded. According to legend, Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle were talking about starting a band, when Moon joked, "It'll probably go down like a lead balloon," and Entwistle added, "Like a led zeppelin!" Let's take a closer look at this much-celebrated debut, which still ranks in the Top 30 on Rolling Stone's list of the Greatest Albums of All Time.
The record starts with "Good Times, Bad Times," which is noted for John Bonham's extremely quick kick-drumming technique (he did not use a double kick). John Paul Jones does claim that the riff for this tune is the most difficult one he ever wrote. The first cover is Anne Bredon's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You," because the band really enjoyed Joan Baez's version in A minor. Plant has since performed the song during his solo concerts and with the Strange Sensations. The band's version of Muddy Waters' "You Shook Me" is considerably longer than the original and Jeff Back's version. Zeppelin's take on the blues tune lets three members of the group take a solo-Jones on organ, Plant on harmonica, and Page on guitar. The band claims the backing arrangement was very tightly arranged, even down to Bonham's drums.
Although written by Jake Holmes, Led Zeppelin own a separate copyright to "Dazed and Confused," also recorded by the Yardbirds. It is one of three songs on which Page uses a bow on his guitar and it also became the centerpiece at Led Zeppelin concerts. Jones plays strictly organ on "Your Time Is Gonna Come" which features gentle guitars and big drums. The only known live performance of the song was in Tokyo on September 24, 1971. This is Slash's favorite Zeppelin song. Inspired by a tradition Irish folk song, "Black Mountain Side" is an instrumental where Page actually tries to emulate a sitar (drummer Viram Jasani even plays tabla on the track). The song is used to showcase his talent as a guitarist, when he does the song live.
One of the few songs where Page sang background vocals, "Communication Breakdown" was a very popular live number, usually either opening shows or closing them. The song is used frequently in motion pictures (a rarity for Zeppelin songs), usually in military environments. Although the band followed Otis Rush's version, "I Can't Quit You Baby" was originally written by Willie Dixon. The band perfectly executes the blues form, despite just missing the turnaround coming out of Page's solo. The album ends with "How Many More Times," the longest song on the record. The bolero rhythm pushes the piece along, holding together several smaller sections.


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