Certain Led Zeppelin tunes are played to death, and others languish in the background. Here are 10 that deserve to be spun a bit more often then they usually are. Whether you’re making a last ditch attempt to win tickets to the band’s reunion show, or getting psyched for next Tuesday’s DVD release of The Song Remains the Same, or hanging out watching earth-shaking videos, you should get familiar with the following 10 tunes. By the way, which Zep track do you think deserves more dap?
1. Black Mountain Side
This acoustic ditty from the band’s first album vibes like a jukebox raga, illustrating Jimmy Page’s other interest besides the blues: Celtic folk tunes. Played by Bert Jansch, the endlessly rippling tune was called “Blackwaterside.”
2. Living Loving Maid
We all know that the band liked to stretch the hell out of its songs – melodrama was its middle name. But for every “Dazed and Confused” there was a compact ass-kicker. The first album had “Communication Breakdown.” On the second, it’s this nugget.
3. Celebration Day
It’s the giddy side of the blues, with Plant singing the praises of New York street scenes and Page working the slide guitar like it was his own private joystick. Good helium vocals by the blond god on this III track.
4. The Battle of Evermore
Plant need help to get through this relatively fragile tale of dark knights and Babylon angels on ZoSo. The chosen damsel was Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny. If they recorded it tomorrow, it would probably be Alison Krauss.
5. Going To California
Right around the time Joni Mitchell was partying in Ibiza, Plant and company were singing her praises in this ZoSo ditty, which traded cock-rock flamboyance for some stoners-round-the-campfire lust.
6. The Rain
They go the cinematic route on this Houses of the Holy track, dropping a Moody Blues mellotron onto a Plant lament about how his emotions are just like – you guessed it – the seasons.
7. The Ocean
Houses of the Holy was filled with classic riffs tunes, so its closer was overshadowed a bit. But Page’s sting slapped listeners in the face, and a decade or so later the Beastie Boys grabbed the lick for themselves.
8. Candy Store Rock
Plant has wanted to be Elvis since birth, and with the band cranking some crazed syncopation, he gets his King on. Listen hard and you’ll hear some Andy Kaufman on this Presence track, too.
9. In My Time of Dying
One big-assed jam that never fully says all it’s got to say, their Physical Graffiti take of Blind Willie Johnson’s prayer is all about grit and grandeur. Plant pleads for Jesus, Bonham pounds his way to hell.
10. Down By the Seaside
They drop the seismic swagger for a little bit of old-fashioned pop. Even Bonham seems like he’s out for a stroll. It shouldn’t work, but it does – especially as a breather from the onslaught of other Physical Graffiti tunes.