Today's edition of the Top 5 is all about the 1970 album from Led Zeppelin, simply titled Led Zeppelin 3.
Now you're probably wondering why I chose this particular album and not the others. Well don't worry, I'll get to they much later. In fact I'll probably cover them next month to be exact.
Now while it may seem a bit random to chose this album, trust me when I say it's easier for me to pick my top 5 songs from this particular album, than rather say, the first two. Trust me, you have no idea what incredible amount of stress that would be, since those first albums established Led Zeppelin like no other, ensuring their place in rock and roll history. Plus, they're my second favorite band behind the Beatles, so.....
A quick bit of info on LZ3: It was one of the most eagerly awaited follow-up albums by a band in 1970. After all, Cream was dead, The Beatles broke up, and acts like the Rolling Stones, CCR, Pink Floyd and the like, were already well-established, and thus was the setting for a very hot band like Led Zeppelin was at the time.
But Robert Plant and Jimmy Page didn't just want to copy the same formula as the first two albums; they weren't interested in writing another "Whole Lotta' Love" or "Dazed and Confused"
They wanted a different sound album, with different sounding songs to match. So the band rented a private little cottage in the English countryside, and proceeded to write and record what became LZ3.
Now before I present my top 5 picks, here's the entire song list from that album:
1). Immigrant Song
3). Celebration Day
4). Since I've been loving you
5). Out on the tiles
6). Gallows Pole
8). That's the way
9). Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
10). Hats off to (Roy Harper)
Yeah, that's what I have to contend with. Still, I can do it, and I have. And it really was easier than choosing from the first two, an the some of the other subsequent albums as well. And of course in a bit of a cheat, I'll have a tie since I really have a top 6 instead of a top 5.
5). "Friends"/ "Out on the tiles"
Having really and truly discovered, and re-discovered in some bits, this album, I came across some songs I hadn't heard before; and these two were it, along with another song I had to leave off the list, "Hats off to (Roy Harper)"
I really dig Friends because it's represents exactly the type of departure song-wise that Page and Plant were going for. It has an Indian sound and influence to it, as well as a whole bohemian/folk one, which is nice, and fits the acoustic sound and feel the band wanted. Love it.
Out on the tiles is one of the standard rock classics that the band's known for, and was probably included on the album to ease the fans into what wasn't the normal rocking, bombastic record they were expecting this time around. Again, vintage Led Zeppelin here, and it really, really does rock. Every once and awhile you'll hear this being played on classic rock stations, but not as much as usual suspects, which is a shame. A damn shame that songs like Friends and Hats off aren't played regularly either.
Speaking of Hats Off, I wanted to briefly mention it here a bit. The title refers to a fellow musician rock and blues player, Roy Harper. He put out a few albums in the 60's and 70's, but never really received the amount of fame and recognition that his peers did. Still, he was considered a consummate and dependable musician, who would often help other bands out in the studio when recording their albums. The most famous example of this I can provide would be his lead vocals on Pink Floyd's "Have a cigar". Yep, that was him singing the famous lyrics, "Oh by the way, which one's pink?"
Here's Hats Off, you know, because I can;)
Gotta' love that psychedelic blues feel to the song eh?
One of my favorite lines, is "Gonna' give my woman a $20 bill, and if that don't get her, my shot, shot, shotgun will."
A lyric so true to the stylings of the old classic blues songs.
Ahh, I love that beautifully played intro. Another example of a rocking acoustic song, Gallows Pole is a riff off the old, old English folks songs from back in the medieval times. Not the restaurant, the time period people;)
This is the type of song you can play in the background while watching old Robin Hood or King Arthur movies. And if you're drink or stoned enough, fuck it! Watch Robin Hood: Men in tights as well, or if you're feeling particularly morbid enough and want a good manly(or womanly) cry, watch Braveheart to this. You'll feel like you're knee-deep in the land of Surfs, Dukes, and Medieval swordplay. Or it could just be the drugs;)
3). "That's the way"
Love, love, love this song, even though it tends to make me a bit emotional and teary-eyed every time I hear it. I'm not sure if it was meant to be a bittersweet-sounding song, or if it's just the way it was recorded, but just, damn.
You can interpret this song anyway you choose, which is a one of the great things about these songs in general, but to me, it's about moving on from whatever type of relationship you were previously in, and learning to accept it. In that sense then, this song really hits home for me, especially this year in my own private life. Again, interpret it anyway you like, and it doesn't diminish the power of this song any less.
Also, it was featured near the end of the movie "Almost Famous", and boy did Cameron Crowe nail the hell the out of that selection. If you've ever seen that movie, and who hasn't? Then you know exactly what I'm talking about.
2). "Immigrant Song"
It was hard to pick the top 3, but not impossible. I like what songs I chose as my #3, and likewise, I'm pretty confident in my last two picks as well.
Who doesn't love this song? Really? Who doesn't? It's another classic, vintage Led Zeppelin that you can't not hear and go, "Oh that's Led Zeppelin alright!"
After all, there's no mistaking that opening screaming vocal by Robert Plant, that makes it sound like a Viking invasion really is happening right there and then. It's kind of like Hagar the Horrible, with all the raping, pillaging and plundering, except for the the cartoon-ish humor.
Seriously, how could not listen to this song and want but in a horned helmet, grab an axe, and join in? Will besides the the little problem of it not being the middle ages that is. So I guess you can just root for the Minnesota Vikings then. Or not:)
1). "Since I've been loving you"
If you had asked me my picks for #1 and #2 a month or even a few weeks ago, I'd have probably said Immigrant Song, hands down. But then I'd recently heard a live version of Since I've been losing you, and I knew what song was really tops to me. And it's not like I haven't heard a live version of this before either; listen to the kick-ass BBC Sessions album w/Led Zeppelin, and you'll get a taste of what I'm talking about. But again, I heard this live version played in the video above, and it was, wait for it: LEG-END-DARY!
Here's the link from mp3skull.com:
It blew my mind, and I've played that poor bastard non-stop ever since.
So yeah, that's pretty much why it's numero uno to me.
If you happen to like this album, or know a good bit of the songs on it, feel more than free to give me your top 5 picks, or even just the ones you like. Remember, no answer is a bad one......unless I say so:)