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Fifty years ago today, on November 8, 1971, was born one of the greatest albums in rock’n’roll history: Led Zeppelin fourth album.

Officially untitled, but often referred to Led Zeppelin IV—The release of the record marked the start of a new era for the British group. Crouch down at Headley Grange in the English countryside and work on the Rolling stones’ mobile recording facility, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham, bassist John Paul Jones and singer Robert Plant were able to focus their sound into an explosive new take on the rock format. With everything from mandolins to haunting melodies, to mystical (and often occult) imagery, booming moments of pure energy and more, it was like a manifesto of what post-1960 rock could be.

Fittingly, many songs have remained steeped in the fabric of popular culture since then. The opening track, “Black Dog,” for example, is always an instantly recognizable riff that aspiring guitarists around the world will sit down and spend hours perfecting. Likewise, the iconic guitar solo from “Stairway To Heaven” has been dissected and analyzed time and time again, always coming back with the same conclusion: it is one of the best in recorded music history.

“Most of the vibe for the fourth album was created in contexts we weren’t used to,” Plant said years later. “We lived in this ruined mansion in the countryside. It was amazing. ”Cold, damp, and without a working heating system, there was a tinge of grain to work with at Headley Grange. Yet the secluded and carefree environment also allowed the group to become more creative. in the park, Plant wrote the lyrics to “Stairway” in one day.

“You had nothing like a pool table or anything like that – no recreational activities at all,” Page explained. “It was really good for the discipline and to keep working. I guess that’s why a lot of these [songs] came to Headley Grange. For example, “Go to California” and ‘Battle of Evermore’ came out of. “

‘Going To California’, in particular, is a highlight: laid back, with a wonderful aura decorated by acoustic picking, Plant’s expressive voice offers a sentimental and inspiring look at the creative stages of the late ’60s and early years. from the 70s. “[It was] I reflect on the band’s early years when I was only 20 and struggling to find myself in the middle of all the madness of California, the band and the groupies, ”he said.

Often the girl “over there” with “love in her eyes and flowers in her hair” is quoted in reference to Joni mitchell—For her part, Page explained that they were indeed big fans of the Canadian singer’s work. “The main thing with Joni is that she’s able to watch something that’s happened to her, undo and crystallize the whole situation, and then write about it,” Page explained. “She brings tears to my eyes, what more can I say?”

Ultimately, each song on the album is a treasure trove of musicality and symbolism, making the record as a whole an undeniable display of artistic prowess. Perhaps that is why it has remained so beloved for the 50 years since its debut… and with nearly 40 million certified sales worldwide, it is still one of the best-selling albums of the world. ‘story. From the quality of the writing to the brilliance of the performances, it will continue to live up to the times for a long time. long time.


Read more information about Led Zeppelin HERE and watch a live performance of “Misty Mountain Hop” from 1973 below:

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