Half a century, in fact, since Led Zeppelin was born. To celebrate that milestone, helped by some star names we’ve chosen some of the best Zep songs that took them to global domination.
“I wish we were remembered for Kashmir more than Stairway To Heaven.
It’s so right. Perfect Zeppelin.”
Good Times Bad Times
Led Zeppelin, 1969
Short, sharp, rich in invention, the opening salvo of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut exploded out of the world’s speakers into a dying decade limping into its final year to the anodyne sound of The Scaffold’s Lily The Pink.
Impelled by driving John Bonham beats, a brutal, staccato riff unfurls into one of the most complex and seductive John Paul Jones ever contrived for Jimmy Page’s nimble digits to deliver, and Robert Plant unleashes a commanding vocal performance which, although still very much of the 60s, presages a sound that will come to define the 70s. Page’s solo simply soars. IF
“The early, early stuff is what I really love. This is side one, track one of the first album so it doesn’t get much earlier than that. My preference for Zeppelin’s early material is because it sounds like The Yardbirds. We played with them at the Whisky A Go Go [in Los Angeles] when they had just started out – it was so early in their career they were still doing Yardbirds songs and their new songs. To me, Good Times Bad Times shows off the excellence of Jimmy page. I love his guitar tones. That opening riff is just incredible, such a statement of intent.”
Steve perry, Journey
“Kashmir is one of my favourites of all time. The drum pocket and the orchestration of the whole thing is just massive. But, when I first heard Good Times Bad Times I almost wrecked my car. I had to pull over – I had just never heard a song do what that song does.”
Dazed And Confused
Led Zeppelin, 1969
Dazed And Confused had been around the block by the time it closed side one of Zeppelin’s ’69 debut. Folk singer Jake Holmes had written the song as an acoustic lament; The Yardbirds had borrowed it for the stage; now Page presented it to the band as they convened for their first rehearsal, on Gerrard Street in Central London, in August 1968.
The version recorded at Olympic Studios explored the darkness at the song’s heart, from the witchcraft of Page’s opening guitar trills