Apparently, Led Zeppelin was a very popular rock band. Years after the band’s break-up, they’re still popular, and fans talk about how their music influenced the world of rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve heard a few of their songs, but I haven’t listened to an entire album by Led Zeppelin. Then, on July 17, 2021, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and bought Led Zeppelin III (1970) from the Book Off for $7. I picked their third album because it was the cheapest one available.
Not the greatest album cover in the world, but then again, these are the guys that were too lazy to come up with decent titles for their first four albums. Now, that I think about it, Led Zeppelin never had good titles for any of their albums. The line-up that played on Led Zeppelin III consists of Robert Plant on lead vocals, Jimmy Page on guitar, John Bonham on drums and percussion, and John Paul Jones on bass. With all that said, let’s get on with the music!
“Immigrant Song” kicks off the album and I can’t help but think of School of Rock (2003). I still can’t believe the creators got Led Zeppelin’s permission to use this song in the movie. It used to bug me that “Immigrant Song” is so short, but now, I don’t mind because I get to appreciate John Paul Jones’ epic bass line. Also, this song gives me jungle vibes and it’s probably because of Plant’s screams (“AH AH”).
Next up, is “Friends” and man, this song is garbage. I came here for rock music and instead I got an acoustic track about supporting one another and the importance of friendship. What is this Barney & Friends (1992 – 2010)? The acoustic guitar riff is annoying too. The drums return for “Celebration Day.” Musically, I can vibe with it and I love the thick bass line, but unfortunately, I don’t like the lyrics. “My, my, my, I’m so happy / I’m gonna join the band / We gonna sing and dance in celebration / We are the promised land.”
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” has a bluesy vibe, which is cool, but it’s a bit long and some of the lyrics are repetitive. Now for the positives, I enjoyed Plant’s carefree vocals, Bonham’s flavorful drumming, and Page’s emotive guitar solo. “Out on the Tiles” kicks a**! Bonham smacks those drums like there’s no tomorrow and that bass line, holy cow! Also, Plant brought some attitude when delivering those vocals.
“Gallows Pole” is that song you listen to when you’re going fishing at a lake. Well, I hate fishing, so there’s that! If it weren’t for Bonham coming in on the drums less than halfway into the song, I would’ve tossed “Gallows Pole” in the trash. Ok fine, I’ll give the guys credit for getting creative by adding a banjo to the track. I’m sorry guys, but “Tangerine” is so depressing partially because of the acoustic guitar and partially because of the lyrics. The song reflects on an ex-girlfriend.
If I thought “Tangerine” was depressing, “That’s the Way” is worse. To be fair, I like the story of the song. It describes a boy, whose parents are against him hanging out with another boy because of his appearance and he’s from the “darker side of town.” It’s another acoustic track, so not much drums, and yeah, I don’t have much to say about this one. Oh wait, the song mentions fish dying in dirty water and all living things being born to die.
Obviously, there’s a lot of folk rock inspiration for Led Zeppelin III and “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” is no different. The clapping in the song reminded me of “‘39” by Queen, which also has a folk rock vibe. Honestly, I got bored with “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” because of my annoyance with the acoustic guitars throughout the album. I’ll take some acoustic guitars on a rock record, but I don’t want an entire rock album of acoustic guitars!
“Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” has an ancient vibe and it’s very chaotic. Plant’s voice was altered through the use of a vibrato amplifier. “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” is the band’s tribute to their friend and folk singer named Roy Harper (shocker). In my opinion, it’s not a good track to close the album with.
So, I enjoyed 3.5 out of the 10 songs (“Celebration Day,” “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” and “Gallows Pole” got half points), which is about 35 percent. With that in mind, I’ll give Led Zeppelin III a rating of 1.75 out of 5 stars. I obviously bought the wrong album to start my Zeppelin journey and that’s ok. It wasn’t a total loss because I really dig “Out on the Tiles.” But, this is why I hardly do blind buys in this YouTube age, people!
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