Led Zeppelin III – Must Own Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Albums

Artist : Led Zeppelin

Album : Led Zeppelin III

Released : October 5, 1970 

M.M. Album Rating : 5/5 (The Sonic Proof Of Zeppelin’s Musical Depth. ) 


On this day in 1970 the legendary band Led Zeppelin released their third album known as “Led Zeppelin III”. This was a record that proved “Zeppelin” was much more than just a “Hard Rock” band. A record where they did a complete about face, exploring new sounds of folk rock, bluegrass, and even Country sounds. It also mixed some excellent “blues” and “r&b/soul groves. When it was first released it was a huge disappointment to fans, who thought the record was going to be a continuation of “Led Zeppelin II”. Even though it initially sold well, it didn’t match the success of Zeppelin’s first two albums, and was considered a flop at the time. Over the years though it has been rediscovered, and aged very well. It’s now praised for the musical direction the record took, especially beneficial to their albums that followed. 

By the end of 1969, Zeppelin had become one of the biggest bands in the world. Known for their hard rock sound, the thunder pounding drumming of John Bonham, Virtuoso guitar playing of Jimmy Page, excellent bass, and keyboard/organ playing of John Paul Jones, and incredible singing voice of Robert Plant. The band had already put together two excellent albums of hard rocking, blues influenced masterpieces. Expectations were very high for the third album. Their fans expected the band to make “Whole Lotta Love” parts two, three, and four. They as a whole were exhausted though since they  had been touring for over a year and wanted to take a well deserved break. 


The music for “Zeppelin III” was written at a small cottage called “Bron-Yr-Aur” in Wales. The peaceful surrounding influenced the new music. Also the band had spent a lot of time listening to the debut album by Crosby Stills Nash, and were influenced with the acoustic sound of that record. The band was in a very relaxed and peaceful setting, and the music reflects that. The time at “Bron-Yr-Aur” would mark the most creative period for Zeppelin.  For the sessions of “Zeppelin III” the band had written over twenty songs. It easily could’ve been a double album, but since they knew they were changing their musical direction they didn’t risk the price increase a two record set would’ve been. This is very much “a band” album. The previous two records were dominated by Jimmy Page. On this album all members, especially Robert Plant begin to shine, gaining more confidence in the peaceful setting to develop as a songwriter.

 


As history had proven, even though this record was considered a disappointment to fans and critics when it first came out, this now is considered a very important record in their discography. This album planted the seeds for where the band would go with their next album “Led Zeppelin IV” and beyond. Many of the songs written during these sessions would appear on future albums. For me personally, this is my all time favorite “Zeppelin” album. This one record has more depth musically than most other bands have in a lifetime. They could’ve played it safe, sticking to the formula that made up their first two records, but they were too talented for that. A true sign or a great band. How great ? No other band could touch them in the seventies. It was them, then everyone else.

—JV 

TRACKS:

Side one

1. “Immigrant Song” (Jimmy Page/Robert Plant) – 2:26

2. “Friends” (Page/Plant) – 3:55

3. “Celebration Day” (John Paul Jones/Page/Plant) – 3:29

4. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (Jones/Page/Plant) – 7:25

5. “Out on the Tiles” (John Bonham/Page/Plant) – 4:04

Side two

1. “Gallows Pole” (traditional, arr. Page/Plant) – 4:58

2. “Tangerine” (Page) – 3:12

3. “That’s the Way” (Page/Plant) – 5:38

4. “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” (Jones/Page/Plant) – 4:20

5. “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” (trad. arr. Charles Obscure) – 3:41

Jesse Vejar

Jesse Vejar

Executive Editor - From Tucson, Arizona. Electrical Engineer/Music Historian. Lover of all genres of music. Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers. Fav Metal Bands, Priest, Maiden.
Jesse Vejar

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