Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12: Led Zeppelin, "Led Zeppelin II"

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Album: Led Zeppelin II
Year: 1969
Label: Atlantic

When it comes to blues influenced, hard rock, standing high upon the mount is the legendary foursome, Led Zeppelin. A band who pioneered countless ideas and sound, Zeppelin also set the standards for rock debauchery. Though they made many timeless records, their sophomore effort, smartly titled Led Zeppelin II, is, in the opinion of many, their crowning achievement.

How amazing was the album upon its release? It had nearly half a million pre-orders and claimed the #1 spot on the charts from a little, unknown record called Abbey Road. Half of the songs on the record have now become standards in the cannon of rock and roll. Many of the guitar riffs are the building blocks of hard rock and heavy metal. Musicians ranging from Aerosmith and Foo Fighters to Tori Amos and Phish have covered songs from Led Zeppelin II throughout the years. This album was and is, to put it simply, monumental.

Recorded in less than 2 weeks, Led Zeppelin II is filled with pummeling guitar riffs and crushing drum work. It goes without saying that the vocals that Robert Plant provides are out of this world. Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, the record preserves the gritty and raw sound of Zeppelin's live performances, while at the same time keeping the record polished enough for a studio release.

Massive guitar riffs drive "Whole Lotta Love" and "Heartbreaker," and the band steps aside to let the one and only John "Bonzo" Bonham take center stage throughout "Moby Dick." Robert's vocals are in prime form and he shows just how a singer can use his voice to it's fullest potential. The lyrics move from the classic "guy wants girl" to "guy enjoys girl" to "guy lements girl" and even to interpretations of Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Led Zeppelin stand Centurion amidst the countless bands throughout history. Epic songs, brilliant music, and perhaps too much talent for a single band, Zeppelin achieved feats in their short existence which bands with twice the livespan never even flirt. Led Zeppelin II is a perfect example of just how astounding this band could be when their collective talents were brought together. Throughout the 40 minute runtime, the dexterity and aptitude of each band member is highlighted and the results are pure musical enjoyment. If you have somehow lived your life without this record, RUN, do not walk, to your nearest music outlet and find yourself a copy!

Standout tracks: "Whole Lotta Love," "Heartbreaker," "Moby Dick."

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