Jimmy Page is a master of his craft without a doubt. Led Zeppelin is for sure one of the best bands ever and beyond inspirational and influential. Their album Presence, is one of the most overlooked albums in rock history. That is something I never will understand. Over the years, I’ve really come to love that album and all that it has to offer. “Achilles Last Stand” is truly one of the best songs the band ever wrote and I’d even go as far to say that it’s better than “Stairway To Heaven.” When you listen to this song, you truly get swept away by the sheer force and magnitude of it’s rock. Plus, the solo’s that are featured on this song are astounding.
Led Zeppelin- Achilles Last Stand (Live in Los Angeles 1977):
I have a strange and somewhat cruel, yet comical thing that I love to do. When I’m out and about and I’m at a place with a jukebox, before I leave I like to leave a couple songs playing. What I do is pay the extra money and pick really long versions of songs and then leave. I know it’s silly but it’s also awesome and funny at the same time. One of my go to picks for years now has been this version of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” Clocking in at 25 minutes (yes that is correct, twenty five minutes), it’s one of the most epic versions of this track. Found on the live album How The West Was Won, this version was recorded in 1972 from a concert at the Forum in Los Angeles, this version also features parts of the songs “Walter’s Walk” and “The Crunge.” Needless to say, when you gotta get the Led out, this is one hell of a way to lay it on thick! Take a few minutes to enjoy this awesome alternate version.
It’s been about 10 years now since we have heard from Them Crooked Vultures. The “supergroup” featuring Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones was one hell of a band. They had this really cool bluesy jam band style along with some really fun songs like “New Fang,” “Dead End Friends,” “Mind Eraser, No Chaser,” “Elephants,” “Reptiles,” “Caligulove,” and “Spinning In Daffodils.” The best thing about this band though was that it gave Dave and Josh a break from their main bands and when they returned to those bands, the material they made sounded rejuvenated and alive again. Though the Queens Of The Stone Age album made after TCV, hasn’t really aged well, while Foo Fighters Wasting Light is still one of the best rock albums of the last 10 years. I had the chance to see Vultures live and they were great live. Yes the band has Dave and Josh in it but the whole time I was watching them on stage, I was in awe of John Paul Jones. I truly believe he has never gotten the proper credit and respect for his contributions in Led Zeppelin. That man is a talent among talents. I’d love to hear a new Them Crooked Vultures release, mainly to hear more of John Paul Jones but, also because I think the Foos and Queens need to take a break. It’s worth noting that they’ve all said in recent years that they wouldn’t rule out working together again, it’s just getting the timing right. Who else wants to see this?
Some of the all time best end of album songs have come from Led Zeppelin. They really knew how to pick best song to end their records. Each and everyone they picked has this perfect element of everything they just gave your from the start of the album. I have my favorites like “How Many More Times,” “When The Levee Breaks,” “The Ocean,” and “Tea For One.” Led Zeppelin were masters of their craft and these songs help to show that.
It’s been too long and the fans want it. The guys aren’t getting any younger, and there are so many people that want it. So how about Led Zeppelin gets back together. I’m not asking for new music, just play some shows. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are one hell of a trifecta. Their legacy and influence is spread over multitudes of generations. And there are people like myself that would love to see the three of them play on stage. I do have one request that if they do decide to play some shows, don’t use Jason Bonham as the drummer. Dave Grohl needs to be behind the kit. Jason was good for the “Celebration Day” reunion they did a few years back but, it really needs to be Dave Grohl.
What do you all think? A Led Zeppelin reunion with Dave Grohl playing drums?!
Looking back at Led Zeppelin’s catalog there is an album that hardly ever gets its due. The first 6 albums are all acclaimed and highly regarded but, there is one in particular that really needs to be in the conversation as well, and that album is Presence. Released in 1976, Presence is an album that strips it down to the root of drums, bass, guitars and vocals. Presence was written and recorded after Robert Plant was recovering from a serious car accident. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant spent time in Malibu, California working on the ideas that Plant had written during his convalescent period. After some time Page and Plant joined up with John Bonham and John Paul Jones for rehearsals before they went to the studio. After 18 days in the studio, Presence was recorded and mixed.
The songs on the album are quite substantial and poignant. Starting off the album with “Achilles Last Stand” is a statement all on it’s own. This song is the epitome of what Zeppelin is. The 10 and a half minute epic that is “Achilles Last Stand” sets a standard on how to kick off an album. “For Your Life” oozes with blues and pain, as Robert was in a wheelchair while he recorded his vocals for the song. “Royal Orleans” has a funk vibe to it, allowing John Paul Jones to show off his seriously underrated bass skills. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is a classic Zeppelin blues jam. Jimmy Page really shines on this song. His guitar playing is astounding and beyond influential. “Candy Store Rock” is probably my least favorite song on the album. It seems like a filler song to an extent and doesn’t have the gusto that other songs on the album have. “Hots On For Nowhere” has an interesting history. The first making of the song goes back to Physical Graffiti as well as live renditions of when Zeppelin would play their extended version of “Dazed and Confused.” Ending the album is “Tea For One,” one of my all time favorite songs by the band. The slow mid tempo build that evolves into a blues epic, along with Robert Plant’s vocals and lyrics. “Tea For One” is also the perfect compliment ending to the album.
Presence is a rock n roll album to the fullest. The guitar tones on this record have been copied throughout the years. Not to mention the overall sound of the album. There is a purity about Presence that shines through and through. Perhaps it’s because of what Robert Plant was going through, or even the bands need to capture their roots again but, I will say this, Presence is a game changing album for any music lover. If you are a fan of rock music, then you need to listen to this album and feel all that it has to offer.
Since Jimmy Page is overseeing the new remasters of all their albums, I thought now is a good time to rank all the Zeppelin albums. So here it is in order of not the best to the best. This list is also just my opinion.