Sound — 9
This album, which was Zep's first, was really a blues album, an album where Zeppelin had not quite developed their own sound, but had defined it. It's filled with overdubs, screaming guitar solos, and other amazing stuff, more noticeably, John Paul Jones' bass work on 'Good Times Bad Times', which kicks off the album. The entire guitar sound was mainly comprised of Jimmy's Les Paul, and a crappy Vox amp, which Jimmy completely mauled trying to get different sounds out of it. Zeppelin borrowed heavily off of earlier bluesman such as Howlin' Wolf, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. The band would borrow riffs, and mould them to fit their vision. Listen to the song 'How Many More Times' and notice the opening riff. Then, if you can, listen to Howlin' Wolfs 'How Many More Years' and note the similarities. However, they didn't just use the same riff, they changed it slightly, and added different parts to the song, so they had a Led Zeppelin song, not a Howlin' Wolf song. Even though the album is blues heavy, such songs as 'Your Time Is Gonna Come', and 'Black Mountain Side' are completly different from the rest of the album, but somehow fit right in to the entire feel of the production. John Paul Jones also does some amazing keyboard work on 'Your Time Is Gonna Come' which is a good example of Zep's ability to write classic pop riffs, along with 'Good Times Bad Times'. One of the more interesting things about this album, is that it was completely recorded and edited in twenty hours, according to Jimmy Page. The best thing about the album is Bonzo. And if you didn't know that John Bonhom was also called Bonzo then you aren't a Led Zeppelin fan. Bonzo was the thing that made Zeppelin go. Without him, the band really would have crashed like a lead zeppelin. In the begining of 'Good Times Bad Times' he's using one kick drum, whereas any other drummer would have to use two to get the sound Bonzo did. The other awe-inspiring thing about him is that all his power came from his wrists. All of it. Listen to Moby Dick on How The West Was Won, which I'll be reviewing soon. While this is a great album, it isn't the best in the Zeppelin discography.
Lyrics — 8
Robert Plant had an amazingly powerful voice, that leaked on the original tapes. At this time, Plant was under contract to CBS, so he recieved no songwriting credits on the album. His lyrics also copied from other bluesman, instead of borrowing and improvising. The lyrics are really good, but they aren't exactly Plant's own. In fact, Robert never truly wrote his own lyrics until Led Zeppelin IV, because Jimmy always had some input. However, the lyrics fit right into the songs. One of my personal favorite's is in the middle of 'How Many More Times': "Oh Rosy, Oh girl, Oh Rosy, Oh girl, Steal away now, Steal away, Steal away baby, Steal away." The line is punctuated with rectified guitar, keyboards and bass drum. The lyrics are so powerful and forcelful, that they compliment that part of the song perfectly. Robert was also a great singer who, I honestly think, stole lyrics because they spoke to him, and really helped him feel a song. This alobum was a fair examnple of his singing prowess.
Overall Impression — 9
Zeppelin was, without question, the greatest band of all time, due to the amazing ability of all the band members, and the scary mental connection that they obviously had. The band could probably only be compared to Cream, even though that band met their demise before Zeppelin became what they were. The three best songs from the album were definitely 'Communication Breakdown', 'Dazed And Confused', and 'Black Mountain Side'. These songs had the biggest effect on me, especially the overdubbed bow parts in 'Dazed And Confused'. The thing I hat the most about the album is Jimmy's sloppy playing. He had the dilema of a musician who thought faster than he could play. Though he had a creative mind, Jimmy was a horrible guitar player. I still love his ability to orchestrate and create wierd timing. I honestly think that Led Zeppelin is not complete without this album. If I lost this album, I would not go out and buy it again (the cheapest price I could find it at was twenty-two dollars), but all my friends have it, so I'd probably just copy it. Zeppelin is an amazing band.