Led Zeppelin was one of the first rock bands that I really started listening to as my listening patterns changed over from hip-hop to classic and contemporary rock back in 1992/1993. Living in New Jersey at the time, I didn’t know many people so I would sit around the house listening to my tapes, my first few CDs and some of mom’s records. One of those vinyl albums that I would put on while I was sitting around was Zeppelin’s classic, IV. From Robert Plant’s wail alternating with Jimmy Page’s screaming riffs that open the album on “Black Dog” to John Bonham’s powerful, steady drumming and the effects-laden closer, “When the Levee Breaks” (whose samples I was familiar with from my Beastie Boys tapes), it was easy to see why this album was a classic and this band was seen as a legendary rock band.
Over the next few years, I’d get to know Zeppelin a lot better thanks in part to WDVE and partly because I would make regular checks of the used Led Zeppelin section when I would go CD shopping. One by one, Zeppelin albums got added to my collection.
When it came time to assemble this list, I knew there would be some Zeppelin in the mix, but I wasn’t quite sure which track. With some favorite and influential bands of my youth, I could put the whole list together and accidentally not include them, always “saving them for later”. Not so with Zeppelin as there was only one song in my catalog that came in at 6:14. In some of the later times, this happened with several bands, sometimes to better results than others. But even as I imported more of my old CDs into the library and additional choices became available at 6:14, I stuck with “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”. There are still several time slots between now and December 31’s 7:55 where I could spot Zeppelin (not with “Stairway”, however, as that clocks in at 8:03), but upon further reflection, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is probably one of my favorite Zeppelin tunes.
In light of the grand success of my top ten U2 songs, let’s revisit that subject here with Led Zeppelin. A few honorable mentions: “In The Evening”, “Rock and Roll”, “Gallows Pole”, “Whole Lotta Love” and the “Heartbreaker”/”Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” combo, which is generally pretty inseparable. Now on to the top ten, which starts off with one more “combo song”, although that combination is probably not quite as approved as our honorable mention…
10. “Moby Dick”/”Bring it on Home” (combo)
9. “Houses of the Holy”
8. “Stairway to Heaven”
7. “Immigrant Song”
6. “Communication Breakdown”
5. “Good Times, Bad Times”
4. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
3. “Achilles’ Last Stand”
2. “When the Levee Breaks”
1. “The Ocean”
There it is, my top ten Zeppelin tunes… at least as of this afternoon. I whittled this list down from about 30 candidates, so I suppose I’m not sure at all, beyond the top few. Tell me where I went wrong in the comments.
Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Led Zeppelin