Released in 1970 Led Zeppelin III is the third studio album from Led Zeppelin. Differing in music style from the two previous heavy metal behemoths, Led Zeppelin III is an album of two differing sides. Side one which continues with the big riffs found on Led Zeppelin I and II and the second side which has a more acoustic folk focus. But that is the standard critic of this record and Find My Band does not do “Standard”. We do exceptional. Exception music by exceptional musicians. “Music for the intelligent people”
The clever part is that the acoustic numbers on this record are also full on Heavy Metal tracks, played in a variety of different open tunings with a full drum support courtesy of John Bonham. There is no sickly soft “Every rose has its thorn ” on this album, it’s pure Heavy Metal from start to finish.
Coming after the massive world changing riffs of Led Zeppelin I and II the more acoustic, varied approach of Led Zeppelin III was going to be a gamble. However with Page, Plant, Bohman and Jones the deck was loaded in the bands favour. Led Zeppelin III is a classic. It is the reason why I love Led Zeppelin and it is the reason why I own an acoustic guitar. (Steve Clark is the reason that I own an Ebony Les Paul with a very long strap but that is a story for another day).
Heavy Metal is loud, but it is also quiet. Electric and acoustic. Heavy Metal is more than just volume. It is an attitude, a belief, a set of musical freedoms. Led Zeppelin III is a classic Heavy Metal album, and one of the great Heavy Metal albums.
The story of my relationship with this album begins by chance in Woolworths in Mid Cheshire. As a young rockling in the late 1980’s I had heard of Led Zeppelin. According to Kerrang they were quite a big thing in the 70’s but as my only dose of audio rock music media was provided by the late great Tommy Vance on the Friday rock show I was not that exposed to much Led Zeppelin. They were mythical heavy metal legends. I knew that they were important but they were never on the telly.
So on the day that I decided to actually buy a Led Zeppelin album a problem arose. The Led Zeppelin Albums available on that day (again this was pre tinternet and choice) did not have the words Led Zeppelin on the cover and as I did not recognise any of the listed tracks I had no idea what album I was buying. However for those of you old enough to remember vinyl you may recall that the cover of Led Zeppelin III contains a disc of images that could be moved by turning the disk (you do not get this on the CD, it is Vinyl only), and some of these images are members of the band who I recognised, and of course.. Airships.
Consequently when faced with the choice of either Led Zep IV (strange old man carrying twigs ), Led Zep III and Houses of the Holly (dodgy pictures of naked kids on the giants causeway) I went for Led Zep III. Within a few hours I had returned home and loaded the record on to my wheels of steels, and about seven minutes later (half way into the third track Celebration Day) I was hooked.
The album starts with the classic Riff of Immigrant song. A track in my opinion made not by the riff but the scream ahead of vocal and the power chord at the start of the main verse. E. Always a place for a well placed E in a heavy metal tune. Friends one the high energy acoustic number follows and then Celebration Day. Upbeat, catchy with a high energy solo. Next up “Since Ive been Loving you” slows it all down with a blues influence and then side one (YES ITS ON VINYL) Finnish’s with Out on the Tiles. Classic Zeppelin Rocker which would be at home on Zeppelins previous classic release. Led Zeppelin II.
Side two and its all change. Gallows Pole a traditional folk song opens proceeding. Again it is a high energy acoustic number that ends at some volume, Drums, Banjo and Bass. Track two is Tangerine. My favourite on the album and one of the first songs that I ever learnt to play. A simple acoustic riff, but a great song. Another acoustic track That’s the way follows. An interesting number that for some unknown reason appeals to my memories of growing up in the 1970’s. Musically strong but the lyrics really resonate about loss. “Heavy metal is deep people get stuff out of it” The album ends with Bron-Y-aur- Stop and Hats off to Roy Harper, a song with a rocking blues slide guitar sound that we will hear again on Physical Graffiti.
Led Zeppelin III is where Zeppelins future direction is set. This mix of acoustic and classic rock is repeated on Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti. Both are classic albums with Physical Graffiti probably one of the greatest rock albums of all time.
If you are going to buy one Zeppelin record I would always suggest Led Zeppelin IV. Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Stairway to Heaven etc. However if you want to buy several Led Zeppelin Albums to really appreciate this amazing band buy Led Zeppelin III first. Have that understanding that Led Zeppelin are more than just big riffs, cocaine, 747s and throwing TVs out of hotel bedroom windows. However you could also just check out our Led Zeppelin Playlist which is also super awesome.
If you don’t own it, pay for it and download it. Even better buy the vinyl and spend hours playing with the cover. Ladies and Gentlemen, a classic album, a classic Led Zeppelin album. Led Zeppelin III.