Led Zeppelin - Volume IV



MUSIC ARTIST: Led Zeppelin

ALBUM NAME: "Led Zeppelin IV"


ALBUM NUMBER: 4th Studio Album



PRODUCER: Jimmy Page

STUDIO: Island Records - Basing Street Studios, Headley Grange (a remote Victorian house) - East Hampshire in England (using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio).



In 1969, Led Zeppelin finished recording one of the most popular rock Albums of all time. Along with it one of the most well known rock anthems ever produced in Stairway To Heaven. Recording began in December 1970 and concluded in March 1971. Guitarist and producer Jimmy Page has overseen the production of newly remastered editions of 1971's Led Zeppelin IV (Symbols) ZoSo or the Crimson Honeypot and 1973's Houses of the Holy on October 28th.
There are standard, deluxe, and super super deluxe versions including alternate takes, rarities, various mixes, CDs, vinyl, digital downloads, and/or an 80-page hardcover book. The only edition missing is the one where Jimmy Page visits your home and personally blasts you into oblivion with a howling rendition of the opening riff of “Black Dog”. Other than that…. you get it all with these re-issues!

I will talk about Led Zeppelin 4 since there is an Aussie connection here, the fold out photograph used in the remastered edition of “Symbols”/ Led Zep 4 is taken from that stormy Sunday afternoon in Melbourne on February 20th 1972 (my birthday by the way)
What's the real name of the fourth Led Zeppelin album? Led Zeppelin IV? ZoSo? Mud Sharks In Aspic? No, no, and shame on all of you for not knowing. The "title" is actually a bunch of weird fucking signs. This is one of the best-selling albums of all time, containing classics like Black Dog, Rock and Roll and Stairway to Heaven, and only two people in the world know what the title really means (one of whom has apparently forgotten it).
You see, in 1971 Led Zeppelin ruled the known musical world and could pretty much do what they fucking well pleased, “Give an Englishman 50,000 watts, a chartered Lear jet, a little cocaine and some groupies and he thinks he’s a god,” Rolling Stone once sneered at the height of Zep’s success. So Zeppelin sneered back when they decided to release an album without any text or markings of any kind on the LP cover, (just to piss Rolling Stone off I assume) which only depicted a cryptic image of an old man carrying a bundle of sticks. It would be lazy of us to attribute this decision to hallucinogenic drugs and Jimmy Page being a bit of a weirdo but, OK, yeah, that's probably it. In lieu of a name, Atlantic Records asked the press to refer to the record as a series of four metaphysical symbols, even distributing graphics in various sizes that they could use:
Each symbol was selected by one of the four band members to represent himself. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham have been upfront about the meanings of their respective symbols: the two in the middle come from The Book of Signs, and the one with the feather was created by Plant to represent the fabled lost continent of Mu. Pretty straight forward so far isn’t it. Then along comes Page!
The first symbol, the one that looks like it says "ZoSo," was designed by guitarist Jimmy Page … and no one knows what the fuck it means. Well, almost no one. It has always been a mystery with Jimmy Page refusing to explain what it means for over 40 years. The symbol has become a kind of stand-in for the fourth album's title and is also indicative of Led Zeppelin as a whole — it continued to be used by the band during subsequent tours and in promotional art, while most of the rest did not. “Led Zeppelin IV”, “Symbols”, “ZoSo”, nobody really knows what to call the fucking thing. Page just refers to the album in interviews as "the fourth album". Plant simply calls it the cleverly named Led Zeppelin IV and John Paul Jones said “well you can bugger me with a fish fork I thought the fucking thing was called “Runes” He also calls it the fourth album now. Well, who would’ve guessed?
What makes this extra mysterious is that Page is known for being pretty well-versed in arcane knowledge: He was also famously fascinated – some would say unhealthily obsessed – with the occult and, in particular, the black magic practices of Aleister Crowley, the self-styled “Great Beast” who was once dubbed by the press as the “most evil man in Britain”. Page even bought Crowley’s former castle on the shores of Loch Ness and according to one theory, the symbol was derived from a 16th-century arcane glyph representing the planet Saturn. Then there is the lurid account of Pamela Des Barres in her book Rock Bottom, which paints a picture of drug-taking with drag queens in the toilets of the transvestite clubs Page was said to enjoy visiting after a typical Zeppelin show. So the symbol might just be some sort of shemale code message?

As for what it means in terms of Jimmy Page, the only person he's ever told is bandmate Robert Plant during a drunken stupor. Plant was so shocked by the revelation that he went ahead and forgot all about it. In his own words: "You may not believe this, but Pagey once took me aside and said 'Look, I'm going to tell you the meaning of this once, and then I shan't ever mention it again—or at least, not for a long, long time anyway.' And would you believe that I have since forgotten what it was, and now Pagey won't tell me unless I agree to a full Led Zeppelin reunion in 2015."
I guess we will never know. So Led Zeppelin IV it is folks!

The album boasts one of the greatest opening numbers to a rock album of all time: “‘Black Dog’ is obviously one of the songs that Led Zeppelin is really noted for, it’s one of the powerhouse numbers that we did with an incredible riff.” – Jimmy Page 2014. Yep, with you there Pagemaster!

They follow that up with another assault on your senses: "Rock and Roll' has just got that cheeky energy about it," says Jimmy Page. "It's a party, it's been a long time since I rock and rolled.' It says it all, really. It's great lyrics and it's a great performance." Whatever you say Pagey, but Robert Plant was never going to earn a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature that very year.
"As a song, it was actually kind of punky; pre-punk," bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones said. "It was really fast too, onstage anyway. It just got really quick, a lot of energy. It's a lot of fun to play. The crowd loved it. We loved it." Now that might be just the cocaine kicking in as they opened their set with it, but nevertheless JPJ is saying “bring em’ up here I want to boof em” sort of love it I guess.
The album was never going to fail with those two opening tracks and by 1972 Led Zeppelin were the biggest band in the world and matching the Stones at their peak. This brings me to the Zeps signature tune and one that has some dubious origins. The boys have another pending "Stairway to Heaven" lawsuit on their hands currently, (see Spirit “Taurus”) so everyone should go out and buy all 462 editions of Led Zeppelin 4 and sleep easy knowing you've done your part to keep Jimmy Page & John Paul Jones off the street. Plant is doing okay for himself, he’s a singer!

Stairway To Heaven- No, I do not mean the The Ha'iku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven, a steep mountain hiking trail that seems to disappear into the skies above Oahu. (Hawaii) Otherwise known as ‘Misty Mountain’ (funny that?)
No, I mean the iconic rock song recorded by Led Zeppelin. Stairway to Heaven is not only Led Zeppelin’s signature song; it may well be the most beloved rock song of all-time. If not, it is generally on almost every rock critic’s, experts, and fan’s list of greatest and/or favorite songs. That by 1991, on the 20th anniversary of the release of the song, it was announced that radio stations in the USA had played Stairway to Heaven an estimated 2,874,000 times. If this playing time was back-to-back, it would amount to about 44 years.
Robert Plant, lead singer and resident funslayer of all things Led Zeppelin, hated "Stairway to Heaven." And not just a little hate. We're talking a hate so epic, it rivaled the scope of the song itself. By the late '70s, Plant was thoroughly sick of singing the fucking thing.

In 1988, he was quoted as saying:
“I’d break out into hives if I had to sing Stairway to Heaven in every show. I wrote the lyrics and found the song to be of some importance and consequence in 1971. But 17 years later, I don’t know. It’s just not for me. I sang it at the Atlantic Records show because I’m an old softie and it was my way of saying thank you to Atlantic because I’ve been with them for 20 years, but no more of Stairway to Heaven for me” Well, not until the mid 90’s anyway when he toured the world with his former compadre Jimmy Page for a few years. (By 1994 Plant’s solo career was in the doldrums)
Although Plant was obviously very tired of his most beloved accomplishment, the song resonates a little more with Jimmy Page than old ‘Percy’ who was obviously very tired of his most famous lyrical composition, guitarist Jimmy Page seems to have less of an “I’m sick of it” attitude and viewpoint. The Pagemaster says:
“I knew it was good, but I didn’t know it was going to be almost like an anthem. The wonderful thing about Stairway to Heaven is the fact that everyone has their own individual interpretation to it, and actually what it means to them at their point if life.” (Depends on the drugs I suppose?)
More commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, the album has sold over 40 million copies and appears on numerous lists regarding the greatest of all time. The album also proved that when Jimmy Page wants to spite someone, their opinion is as good as dead. Call it whatever you like, much of Led Zeppelin IV's success was due to it containing one of the most important and overplayed songs in the history of music, the legendary "Stairway to Heaven."
Led Zeppelin are arguably the greatest hard rock band of all time and are an essential listening experience for any rock and roll fan. As Otto the Bus driver (from the Simpsons) once said,” Zeppelin Rules”.

By Glenn Forsyth


Led Zeppelin IV (Remastered)
Track Listing
1. “Black Dog”
2. “Rock And Roll”
3. “The Battle of Evermore”
4. “Stairway To Heaven”
5. “Misty Mountain Hop”
6. “Four Sticks”
7. “Going To California”
8. “When The Levee Breaks”

Companion Audio Disc
1. “Black Dog” – Basic Track With Guitar Overdubs
2. “Rock And Roll” – Alternate Mix
3. “The Battle Of Evermore” – Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange
4. “Stairway To Heaven” – Sunset Sound Mix
5. “Misty Mountain Hop” – Alternate Mix
6. “Four Sticks” – Alternate Mix
7. “Going To California” – Mandolin/Guitar Mix
8. “When The Levee Breaks” – Alternate UK Mix


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