Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (Review)

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

They would go on to enjoy insane, enormo-success and an inflated reputation as the One Band To Rule Them All but Led Zeppelin’s first flight was a rickety, low budget affair. Their S/T 1969 debut album was knocked out in just 36 hours for less than two grand, which is not bad going considering it became a seminal work in the early history of “heavy”. Before Black Sabbath and before In Rock, Led Zep dished out dark, powerful riff-based rock on tracks like the bewitching Dazed And Confused. But there are both good times and bad times to be had on Led Zeppelin. Communication Breakdown is a superb proto-Paranoid metal chug but Good Times, Bad Times‘ powerful rhythm section and Your Time Is Gonna Come‘s dreamy mix of acoustic guitar and organ can’t disguise the band’s dated, hippy songcraft. Elsewhere, the famously sticky-fingered Brits resort to mining other artists’ material. This approach works well on tracks like How Many More Times, where Zep supercharge the blues with swingingly heavy results. But it also results in stodgy workouts like I Can’t Quit You Baby and Black Mountain Side, a folk arrangement that shows good taste but lacks imagination. The album’s thudding rock power makes Led Zeppelin a notably heavy debut but it’s also heavy in mood: a monochrome moroseness that, mixed with some weak and old-fashioned material, makes repeat listens an increasingly dreary experience. Better would come when Zep’s creativity and vision caught up with the power of their delivery.


70 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (Review)”

    1. Its so true, but Jimmy Page was also a studio musician so that’s kind of what he did. Either way, they made music to sell music and become big. They even went to gurus and workshops to do just that.
      Its similar to visual artists who make work because its an itch they have to scratch and those who pump it out for profit. Good post though, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hopefully when Jimmy Page reads my comments he knows I jest.

        I don’t want him to get Randy at me from California and send an evil Spirit in the form of a Taurus to send me up the Stairway To Heaven.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I am a fan, but in a sense that I appreciate their music. I used to make fun of them when I was younger because I was a music snob but in my older age, I appreciate their work and get it, we all have to make a living.
        What turned me off is their involvement with the occult. Especially Crowley. It’s sad they practiced for power instead of letting it flow to them organically. A lot of musicians did this in this era and since they had fame and power, they didn’t do the inner work like someone who didn’t have fame and power did. You can’t shortcut that stuff.
        Long winded for sure, but my honest thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah that’s kinda where I’m at. Appreciation rather than love. I was really into them at one point but I just got so bored of them so quickly that I found it a bit suspect. Like maybe a lack of substance there.

        Hadn’t though about the Crowley stuff though. Never took any of that seriously. Only Moloch is real!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Lenny Wolf is going to sue these 4!
    That’s a fair rating for this debut Scott. I occasionally listen to it at time’s but they made better.
    Speaking of which I guess it’s almost time for Page to reissue the Zep catalog for the 17th time!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s an important album but they definitely made better. I got bored of it really fast. But, listening to it for this review, I actually enjoyed it a bit more than I thought I was going to. I guess I’d had enough of a break from it. And I’ve only bought it three times!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you run across one with turquoise lettering on the cover send it overseas to me.
        I can pay up to $15 plus shipping. Plus maybe throw in a few bucks for your time.

        They’re not worth much, I just like the colour blue.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Can’t (and won’t) disagree with any of that. I appreciate that they’re important and all, but I find it all a bit boring. I only really bother with III and IV (I think the song craft got a good bit better and the tunes got a bit more interesting).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like this one a lot more than you. I’ve always been a fan of Zep’s bluesy side though and this one has it in buckets. Also impressed by how Page got that dank tone out of a Telecaster. How Many More Times is a hidden gem in my book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought of that more as one of the obvious gems. It was the first Zep song I ever heard! Agreed on the dank Tele tone. Good word for it!

      I’m not a big blues guy in fairness but I can think of quite a few bluesy bands I’d rather listen to than Zep. I find their blues is a bit dull.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The first time I heard it said: Geez, you never hear this one on the radio! Lol

        I think their take on the blues was quite unique at the time. A lot of their early covers are unrecognizable save for Plant aping the lyrics. But I totally get it if you’re not into it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s kinda what I was saying in the review. When they heavy it up, like How Many More Times, great! But I Can’t Quit You Baby is zzzzz.

        I heard How Many More Times first cause it was on an old metal doc I watched.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s appropriate. Steal all the words like Plant stole all the lyrics, and Page the riffs.

        You’re fuckin’ crazy though, LZ I is a 5/5.

        Great Van Shit sucks ass.

        Liked by 1 person

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