Led Zeppelin IV: The Recreation of Rock Music

Seth Chaffee

Fifty years ago, on November 8 of 1971, an album was released which established one of the most influential and greatest rock bands in history. That album is Led Zeppelin IV. When I first heard this album, I had nothing to compare it to since it was the first album of theirs I heard. With that said, the album really speaks for itself as I was blown away with every song which led me to listen to more from the band.

I think what solidifies this album as one of the best is that every song on here is undoubtedly  a classic. Opening with Black Dog, we hear Robert Plant’s insane vocals. We then hear the iconic riff that gives us a taste of what Jimmy Page can do on guitar. This album is pure rock and roll and that’s pretty clear when the next song is called Rock and Roll.

Led Zeppelin was showing their own versatility since they formed a culmination of themes, rhythms, and sounds that weren’t heard before. While they do rock, they also know how to transition between tempos and actual stories. Their influence from Lord of the Rings was clear but it is here that we are introduced to one of the most popular and genius songs ever written.

Stairway to Heaven for me defines what this album is about and also shows how music from the 1970s was so great. They were creating constructed pieces of music and Stairway to Heaven is the perfect example.

The song is so progressive which can make any song so great. Beginning with Jimmy Page’s acoustic guitar, complemented with a soft recorder, they were already experimenting with different sounds and instruments. The guitar solo is so melodic and smoothly transitions into a part that screams rock and roll, making you bang your head. It almost feels like a completely different song, which in fact, makes this one of the best songs ever written. 

Stairway to Heaven was an essential part of this album where Jimmy Page earned his spot as one of the greatest guitarists. He was able to multitask between different tempos which is hard to accomplish as a guitar player. Just the transition from a simple scale shape on his twelve string acoustic to the clean tone on his solo is just perfection.

He especially shows this in Going to California when the song revolves around Page’s acoustic playing and Plant’s soft vocals. You can really feel that every member is used to their full advantage in this album. Robert Plant could scream in Misty Mountain Hop but could also show his full range by this beautifully constructed song. 

Even John Paul Jones’ bass complements Page’s playing perfectly and John Bonham was showing how great of a drummer he was.

Overall, this has become one of the most influential albums in music history and so everyone should listen to it at least once in their life. It carries so much love and pure magic that really shows how amazing Led Zeppelin is and how great music was at this time.