Top 100

#98 Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin (1975)

front-cover3

Track Listing:

  1. Custard Pie
  2. The Rover
  3. In My Time of Dying
  4. Houses of the Holy
  5. Trampled Under Foot
  6. Kashmir
  7. In the Light
  8. Bron-Yr-Aur
  9. Down by the Seaside
  10. Ten Years Gone
  11. Night Flight
  12. The Wanton Song
  13. Boogie with Stu
  14. Black Country Woman
  15. Sick Again

For album number 98, we visit the 1970s and listen to the double album by one of the biggest bands to emerge from this decade – Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti.

First of all I’ve just got to say, wow this album is bloody long, it took me two days of commuting just to get through it all, there is certainly a real spread of genres in there as well. Some songs are very typical Led Zeppelin hard rock such as ‘Custard Pie’ and ‘Houses of the Holy’ but the middle section of this double album is very odd indeed.

The oddness begins from ‘Kashmir’ which is one of the most famous Led Zeppelin songs with it’s big sound courtesy of rolling out a Symphony Orchestra. ‘In The Light’ follows this, which starts off with synthesiser noise which sounds like the mating call of a distressed owl – it is extremely indulgent and sounds like everything that would put me off mid 70s prog rock.

Everything on this album sounds like it took an age to record, I can imagine them recording into the middle of the night, trying to perfect every note on every song, it is very much the antithesis of punk of which came to prominence later in the decade.

If I was to recommend Led Zeppelin to someone, this would probably be the last album I would recommend, not because it is poor, it is purely because it is so experimental. There are a few bizarre tracks such as ‘Boogie with Stu’ with it’s piano which sounds like it was saved from a scrapyard, it feels rather loose to say the least.

The best track for me by far is ‘In My Time of Dying’ which may be just over eleven minutes long but it certainly flies by, it’s a fantastic blues rock song which is definitely worth a listen to, proper foot stomping stuff.

The musicianship on the record is of a very high standard with Jimmy Page’s guitar licks, John Paul Jones’ thundering bass and John Bonham’s incredible drumming. Led Zeppelin must have been a great band to see live as they do sound very tight on record.

So again, not an album for the casual listener but it has certainly piqued my interest in hearing more of their records, of which I am sure there will be more in this top 100.

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