Led Zeppelin III (1970)


 
1. The Immigrant Song 2. Friends 3. Celebration Day 4. Since I've Been Loving You 5. Out on the Tiles 6. Gallows Pole 7. Tangerine 8. That's the Way 9. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp 10. Hats Off to (Roy) Harper

 

At the time of release, this album seemed a radical departure for this band based on what they had previously done in their short career. In retrospect, it’s now seen as just another great Led Zeppelin album. This one is regarded as their acoustic album, although some band members seemed a bit miffed at the moniker. They had “done acoustic things before” they claimed. Perhaps, but not at the unprecedented level here.

Yes, they tackle their other, familiar styles. Celebration Day, Out on the Tiles and especially The Immigrant Song are basically straight-forward rock numbers, the latter being one of the band’s most well known pieces. Since I’ve Been Loving You is arguably the best “Blues” song the band ever did. They would seem to pay homage to this style at least once on many of their records, and this track seemed to go over very well at live shows. It’s always bit slightly irritating when John Bonham’s squeaky bass drum pedal can be heard rather clearly during the track. Pretty authentic I guess. Maybe that’s what they were striving for? Ironically, the above-mentioned songs are all clustered near the beginning of the album.

If I’m not mistaken, they feature acoustic elements on every other song. Some tracks are a bit more experimental – the edgy Friends and the bizarre (yet brilliant) Hats off to (Roy) Harper are a bit trippy with string sections and strange sound effects galore. Other tracks such as That’s The Way and Bron-Y-Aur Stomp are downright soft and gentle. As I’ve said, it probably seemed rather strange at the time, but most fans now aren’t bothered by such shifts.

The only track that I find less than spectacular is Gallows Pole. I think this one isn’t an original. I’m not entirely sure. It’s actually a good piece (featuring banjo), but it doesn’t quite hold up amongst the rest for my tastes.

If anything, this album is a further indication that the band should never be placed in a small-box of “hard rock gods” even though that’s what they did best. They would never quite be this mellow again, at least over an entire album.

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