Vinyl Blog #17. Led Zeppelin I (180g Reissue)
I was born in the late 1970's. That being said, I missed out on what would be the British invasion movement, which effectively radicalized rock n roll music. Bands like Led Zeppelin started out of the gate, creating some of the sonically heaviest music of the time. Today it's hard to imagine the world without Led Zeppelin, but I sometimes wonder how this initially sounded to rock fans at the time, when this music was new and contemporary. I bet that this musical bludgeoning left the listener feeling like they were doing something wrong. And judging by the initial success of the first Led Zeppelin album, I assume that they liked that feeling.
Led Zeppelin I was recorded at Olympic Studios in 1968 and Produced by Jimmy Page with Glen Johns. It is said to have taken a total of 36 hours to record, with the initial tracks all performed live. All four of the Zeppelin members were on top of their game. Any musician would have to be, to cut an entire album in 36 hours. Of course, the simple fact that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were well-seasoned studio musicians before Zeppelin probably helped the endeavor as well. And with having in their presence, the raw talent of John Bohnam and Robert Plant, the circle was epically complete. I wonder how effortless it was to record with John Bohnam on the drums in the studio? No click tracks there my friends. Just beautiful and flawless execution.
It is amazing to me that some of the first reviews of this album were unbelievably bad. The now notorious, and generally mean spirited Rolling Stone review said the following: "In their willingness to waste their considerable talent on unworthy material the Zeppelin has produced an album which is sadly reminiscent of Truth. Like the Beck group they are also perfectly willing to make themselves a two- (or, more accurately, one-a-half) man show. It would seem that, if they're to help fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer (and editor) and some material worthy of their collective attention.
Rolling Stone would go on to shit on Zeppelin for years after that. Its a great thing that the guys in Zeppelin created for themselves first, and in the wake, took millions of people with them. This is just another reason why artists should never listen to critics. Bad reviews are better left unsaid and are blatantly anti art. As the saying goes, "promote what is great, not what you hate". In this case, wiser words have never been spoken.