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"And their gods sought out and conquered"- Yes (from the song "Ancient")

Who was the best Zep? Could there a most important pillar, a most important wheel?

I will start with a grand statement. Led Zeppelin had one lineup through their entire existence from 1968-80 and THAT was THE BEST ROCK LINEUP ever. Though the four members of Zeppelin were immensely talented, knowledgeable and skilled, they were several other rock bands which possessed similar level of knowledge, skill and talent, if not more. Why did such great ensembles like Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, King Crimson (first lineup), Mahavishnu Orchestra (first lineup), Yes (third line up), Deep Purple (second line up) break up so quickly, while Led Zeppelin lasted thirteen years and probably would not have never broken up if not for that ghastly tragedy. So what separated the mighty Zeppelin from the rest? What made Led Zeppelin the most played rock band on radio --- even NOW --- after 30 years of their disbandment? Why is there a XM radio channel (XM LED) completely that is dedicated to Zeppelin songs only? Why in spite of hardly ever releasing singles or showing up on television, Zeppelin sold almost 300 million records. Why Led Zeppelin T-shirts still are sold in massive quantities and why young kids still think it is cool to listen to them? Why are they still fashionable when they hardly ever resorted to shock antics on stage?

The answer is simple - their timeless music! They wrote the more memorable songs than the pop-oriented commercial songwriting maestros Beatles and Rolling Stones - in spite of the fact that they wrote only 84 original songs. Beatles and Rolling Stones probably have made at least thrice the numbers of songs. They also made the highest number of quality albums - in spite of making only 8 studio albums. Six of those eight are all time classics of the highest level - something which the likes of even highly rated bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones cannot claim, in my opinion. Why were they able to do this? That is, record a massive amount of great songs. The reason is simple - they had the exact ingredients to make a perfect rock band. Though all of them were probably equally talented with their instruments (yes, Robert Plant didn't play any instrument, but if there was ever a rock singer who could claim that his voice was an instrument, it was him), they all jelled with each other on stage and never outshone each other. If you are interviewing a set of equally talented and skilled candidates for a job, what else would you look in them as a tie-breaker? I would look for four main qualities in each of them and see how much of those four qualities each of them possesses. The four Zeppelin members were the finest specimens of those four qualities - passion, smartness, creativity, and intelligsence.

Robert Plant was the most passionate of them all. In fact I have hardly seen a more excited frontman on stage. He also knew he was surrounded by GODs and respected the rest immensely. Which other front man would you see introduce the rest of the band with so much respect as you see Plant did several times during their concerts. Robert Plant, through his immense passion for blues, folk, country and world music, brought the cross-genre versatility to the Zeppelin sound. He was also a good listener of different types of music and also a good reader of books (mythology and fantasy). This passion for music and mythology brought a certain deal of sophistication and richness to the Zeppelin sound. His passion also showed in his enthusiastic singing. It only helped that he had one of the widest vocal range in rock music. He could really convey his emotions in his music. A Zeppelin song could be furious (Communication Breakdown), sad (Ten Years Gone), tender (That's The Way) rejoicing (Immigrant Song), complaining (Since I've Been Loving You) or cheerful (Misty Mountain Hop) based on how Plant sings them. Yes, the other band members did contribute to the mood, but I cannot imagine any other singer enhancing the mood to that extent as Plant could do.

Jimmy Page was the smartest of them all. Probably the least snobby rock guitarist ever, Jimmy Page knew what to do more and what to do less in creating a song melody. Guitar is the main and most showy instrument in rock music. Every rock fan wants to pick up the guitar. Every budding guitarist is smitten by guitar solos and riffs. And talented rock guitarists have the ability to play excellent solos and riffs. What most not-so-smart, attention-seeking and spotlight-grabbing guitarists do is try to center the focus of the song on their guitar leaving the rest of the band in cold. Jimmy would never ever do this while he was in the band. He never acted like a douche bag and ruined the song, just to show what a big-dick he was. Even some of the greatest talented guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Robert Fripp, Brian May and especially Eddie Van Halen are guilty of this. They were the main attention grabbers in their respective rock bands. But never Jimmy! He knew when to use what type of guitar and when not to use the guitar at all. There are several Zeppelin songs in which Jimmy really didn't do much at all while relying and allowing Jones and Bonham to lay out the groove. He was always happy to play the supporting role whenever necessary just to benefit the melody of the song. He was also an excellent producer and knew how to record a song. Most of the feel of the Zeppelin song is because of how the songs were produced and all of the credit goes to Jimmy here. He was also one rock guitarist who could make an excellent use of studio as well as non-standard recording techniques and non-rock instruments (violin bow on guitar, theremin, banjo, mandolin). How many of the great rock guitarists were producers too? Not many. The Beatles were smart in making use of the studio too, but they couldn't reproduce them live. Jimmy Page used studio tricks in such a way that they could be faithfully reproduced live. He always had the live sound in mind. He was also smart in using his inspirations and adapting them to the Zeppelin sound. Even though he has been accused of plagiarism in many songs, I have heard the originals and can safely say they do not have the Zeppelin feel and do not come close enough to the Zeppelin excellence. In terms of versatility, I can only think of Steve Howe of Yes matching Jimmy Page. Just like Steve, Page could play style of guitar be it rock sounding, blues sounding, jazz sounding, folk sounding, classical sounding or country sounding. Jimmy Page never over influenced, indulged or interfered in the song-writing process. That's why I consider him the smartest guitarist out there.

John Paul Jones was the most creative of them all. How many great rock bands out there have bassists who could do more than just play bass and that too with the same amount of high skill and talent? Also how many bassists out there contribute so much to the melody of the song as John Paul Jones did? Not many. Not only could John Paul Jones pick up any instrument he wanted and play it excellently, he knew when to pick which instrument and construct a melody out of it. That makes him the most creative member in my opinion. He knew he needed mandolin and bass pedals on That's The Way, he knew he needed mellotron on The Rain Song, clavinet on Trampled Underfoot, organ on Your Time Is Gonna come, acoustic guitar on Ten Years Gone. Several of the Zeppelin songs have a creative feel to it because of John Paul Jones ideas. Zeppelin could have sounded relatively one-dimensional like Black Sabbath or Deep Purple, but courtesy John Paul Jones ever changing arrangements, no two Zeppelin songs sound the same. The least creative Led Zeppelin songs are the ones in which John Paul Jones involvement is minimum. Musicians tend to respect John Paul Jones the most, even though he is the most underrated by classic rock critics. There is a reason for that - rock critics don't know squat, but musicians know what the extent of his creative input to the band's sound. There were no limits to the number of different arrangements John Paul Jones could think of. And that is a huge asset for a rock band.

John Henry Bonham was the most intelligent of them all. Rock drummers are usually considered as dumb time keepers bashing away when asked to. John Bonham was different. He was an intelligent and knowledgeable man. If you hear some of the few interviews he gave, you will know he had a brilliant analytical mind. He is one of the few rock drummers who could explode into a song as well as play light touches in the same song (Ramble On, anyone?). Most drummers are not capable of doing that. He was one drummer who was aware of what is going on. He is one of the few drummers who had no formal music training and learned everything by observing his predecessors. He always knew what the feel of the song was and played accordingly. Whether it was hitting on garbage can on Ramble On, using spoons and castanets on Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp, or bash away in powerhouse GOD mode in Misty Mountain Hop, he always knew what to do for a song. He was also knowledgeable and ever learning and had versatile percussion style borrowed from funk, jazz, rock n roll, blues, classical, electronic and Latin music. Most of Led Zeppelin's aggressive sound was courtesy Bonham's thunderous drumming. Also, he was on the few rock drummers, who got so many songwriting credits, in spite of the fact that all other members were songwriters. Led Zeppelin disbanded immediately after Bonham died. How many bands have quit after their drummer died. NONE!

So you are the interviewer, apart from skill/talent, what else are you looking for? You got it right - passion, smartness, creativity and intelligence. These 4 represented each one of that. They would make the best team out there. You need to hire 4 individuals like this and you are all set. I would make the smart one the team captain; he would use the passion, creativity and intelligence in the team to the maximum and motivate them a lot through his guile, wit and personality. Then he would need the passionate guy to bring new life into the final product and be able to sell it. I just gave you the recipe for building a great team. And that is precisely what Led Zeppelin was. It was a great team. A smart technical leader in Jimmy Page who had the basic raw material and some ideas in mind which he blended with the creative guy John Paul Jones who could come up with something out of the ordinary. Together they worked with the intelligent guy Joh Bomham, who had the knack to make use of John Paul Jones' and Jimmy Page's ideas and bring it to the final stage. Then they had the business leader Robert Plant, who had a high level understanding of the product and could put his passion into it and bring life to the final product. He could later be a great sales guy on stage, who could sell the band and its product. The team leader would then put in the finishing touches to the product with proper production. What else would you want if you are the team manager like Peter Grant was? He was one hell of a happy guy. All he needed was getting the outside noise from effecting the team. And thats what he did, many time with force. He shielded the team. No wonder they considered him the 5th Zeppelin.

Now on to the fun part - which of the 4 was the best one? You are Peter Grant, the manager and you have to rank each one of them. How would you do it? They are all great at what they do and they are all almost equally contributing but you still have to make a tough decision. I make my tough decision here in a silly fun way. I am choosing the 50 best Led Zeppelin songs and I am going to rank the contributions of each member in those songs. And see how they each fare!

#1 Communication Breakdown Page Plant Jones Bonham
This song is their best in my opinion. Fast, thunderous and explosive. Probably one of their shortest and concise songs, it is a proto-metal and proto-punk classic rolled into one. Page, Jones and Bonham are really fast on this. And Plant does that spectacular scream towards the end. This is early Zeppelin and Plant's voice is in full power and can match the ferocity of the rest of the band members. I had a really hard decision here as there is nothing separating the four here. Page's guitar is fairly complicated. Page's solo in the middle clinched him the number one spot here. Plant's incredible powerful singing was good enough for second. The rhythm section is brilliant and pounding throughout. I gave the nod to Jones because the bass parts seem more difficult than the drums in this song.
#2 Ramble On Jones Page Bonham Plant
It was really difficult to put this song below Communication Breakdown. While Communication Breakdown is probably their most powerful song, this is their most creative song, bar none. The melodic bassline and guitar riffs are among their best. Bonham's controlled aggression on the song is picture perfect. And the song is fun to sing. Plant, still in his early days, when had the voice is again very expressive here. Everyone is in top flight here (well it is their second best song). But I think the musicians in the band slightly outshine him with their creativity. Jones bassline is top notch here as in almost every song on Led Zeppelin II. Page is very subtle here and makes valuable contributions and leaves space for Bonham and Jones. Bonham starts with hitting on a garbage can and explodes when the song picks up space. Though Page and Bonham are brilliant here Jones' Tolkienesque bassline is legendary and can't be topped here.
#3 Misty Mountain Hop Jones Page Bonham Plant
This is my favorite song from the most popular Led Zeppelin album. For some reason, this song continues to be underrated. To me this represents Zeppelin at their best melody voice as well in their ability to improvise. All the three musicians have space here to do a small mini solo here. Bonham gives one of his most powerful drumming performances here. Jones does double duty here on electric piano (the riff kicks off the song) and bass here. The electric piano really sounds like a guitar and at one point you feel like two guitars dueling with each other. Some nice bass in also thrown in and it becomes a triple lead with Bonham powerful drum providing support. Plant is great here will his multi-tracked vocals, but he is again, as on Ramble On, outshone by his bandmates.
#4 What Is And What Should Never Be Jones Page Plant Bonham
Third song from the same album - Led Zeppelin II in the top 5! WOW! And the ranking is entirely different once again. This has to be one of the finest Jones performances apart from the one in Ramble On. An absolute beauty I have heard this song so many times. This is my morning song. It has the morning feel, courtesy Jones' smoky bass and Plants' phased vocals. Again Bonham knows what to do in this song. He keeps alternating between up tempo and down tempo. Page gives a very smoked bluesy guitar solo in the middle as well. Hard to judge, who is the best is here!
#5 Whole Lotta Love Plant Page Bonham Jones
This is another frustrating song for me to judge each band member's contributions. Can't believe Jones came in last here, where his bass performance is exceptionally heavy and absolutely kicks ass. With him or Bonzo, the song would not have the same power. But then without the middle theremin section by Page and orgasm section by Plant, it would not be the same either. I have a soft corner for the theremin. It can produce absolutely spellbinding music. Listen to the soundtrack of Alfred Hitchcock's movie Spellbound. That is a beautiful and creepy composition just like the theremin parts on this song. The drumming on the song is absolutely superb as well. I absolutely dig the weird middle theremin-orgasm section. So Plant and Page come first and second here.
#6 Gallows Pole Page Jones Plant Bonham
First acoustic song (mostly) on the list! Actually the song is quite powerful for an acoustic song and you would never realize this is an acoustic song at all. The mandolin part and slight bass by Jones is brilliant, but the acoustic guitar, banjo and slight electric guitar by Page is even better. Plant does a great western impression on the song. You could thing of Led Zeppelin being an American band here. Bonham gives a great rhythm here with his repetitive bashing that follows the melody of the guitar, bass, mandolin and banjo. It is quite a layered song and its try beauty can be only heard on a good quality headphone.
#7 Hey Hey What Can I Do Plant Jones Bonham Page
How this song was never performed live and never got released on a studio album completely escapes. This is a brilliant song with a catchy melody. And it has enough power and groove to be able to dance to. This is their most underrated song ever after Gallows Pole. Plant's voice is just excellent and I also love the lyrics. Jones does a great job on mandolin and bass. Page gives some great support. Bonham does absolutely what is needed for the song. Excellent song, too bad this is not that well known. They are missing out on a great song.
#8 Ten Years Gone Page Plant Jones Bonham
Oh, the guitar is so emotional in the song! This has to be saddest Zeppelin song ever, but I am tempted to listen to it again and again. It has something going for it. I think Plant and Page put a lot of heart into this. I totally dig Jones' bass on the song and I think he plays acoustic guitar somewhere also. He did play an unusual three necked guitar with guitar, bass and mandolin live. Bonham is superb too. But Page and Plant really worked hard for this song, and Page is really melodic here. Have to give Page the nod here.
#9 Travelling Riverside Blues Page Jones Bonham Plant
Their best blues songs in my opinion. There is no doubt about it. The guitar on the song absolutely smokes. I find usually find bluesy guitar solos riffs, but this one is just plain delicious. Jones' bassline is fluid. Bonham adds in his fine power strokes in here. This is early Plant and he had the power to pull this blues wailing very well those days. Perfect blues song in my opinion! The guitar and bass slightly outshine the vocals and drums here.
#10 Black Dog Bonham Plant Page Jones
This is my favorite karaoke song after Whole Lotta Love - because it is so fun to sing. I love the start and stop a capella singing and the call and response playing by the band. Plant is full of fury here. His vocal power is immense. Everyone is quite heavy here and after Communication Breakdown, I think this is their heaviest song. John Paul Jones apparently wrote the guitar riff for Jimmy Page. The riff is THE best guitar riff in rock in my opinion. Isn't it ironic, a bassist wrote it? Bonham's drumming is so monstrous in this. The power of Plant's voice and Bonham's drum make this song what is in my opinion. Page and Jones are superb as well. But I am force ranking here.
#11 Rock And Roll Bonham Jones Page Plant
Jonesy contributes a heavy bass which piggy backs on Jimmy Page riffs and solos. This is the most aptly titled song by the Zeps. The song is very simple in sharp contrast to the complicated opener Black Dog from the same album. Plant voice is somewhat toned down for this song as the drums and bass drive the song forward. Bonham shines the most in my opinion. The ending drum sequence is just pure rock and roll.
#12 Stairway To Heaven Page Jones Plant Bonham
Considered Led Zeppelin's greatest achievement, this is the most played (and also over played) song in rock and roll history. The song is quite progressive and goes through various stages (just like one of those 8 minute plus songs by Yes). The transitions are extremely smooth and seem effortless. In spite of being quite a long song, this sounds like a pop song (the only other similar long pop song I can think of is probably Roundabout by Yes). Just like Roundabout, this has a beautiful acoustic guitar intro with recorders in the background played by John Paul Jones. After the slow intro section, Plant joins in somewhat dreamy singing. Then bass joins in and guitar picks a bit of pace. Then the song has a somewhat call and response (but not quite striking like Black Dog) section between Plant and Page/Jones. Then once the drums come in the songs slowly kicks into high gear with Page switching to electric guitar and Jones' bass going several depths bottom and Plant's voice going several notches high. In the end the somewhat pop song becomes a hard rocking monster. Quite a remarkable achievement! This ladies, I think is the best prog song ever if there ever was.
#13 No Quarter Jones Page Plant Bonham
This is an incredible song. Quite a slow song by Zeppelin standards! It has a gothic feel to it. The lyrics in the song are based on Norse mythology. So I guess the band wanted to create that sound for it. The song is driven by piano (both acoustic and electric) and bass pedals. This is probably one of the few Zep song which has no bass guitar at all. And it is not needed here. The bass effect is spectacularly given by Jones by multi-tracking his electric and acoustic piano. Page also has suppressed gothic sound to his guitar here which completely matches what Jones is doing. It's amazing that these guys knew what exactly to do for each other in a song. Bonham and Plant also have a somewhat subdued approach which gives a song even more of a creepy effect. I love the lyrics on this song as well. Plant sings in a dual mode - a warning mode and a crying mode. It is like he is yielding No Quarter but also begging for it at the same time. Quite a dark song, in stark contrast to the rest of the album!
#14 That's The Way Jones Page Plant Bonham
The most hypnotic acoustic song ever probably! I absolutely love the somewhat hopeful and pondering lyrics very much. It has a serene feel to it, something I would to incorporate into my poems or writing one day. This kind of feeling can be only achieved in a very green place in the country side, precisely where this song was recorded. Mandolin and acoustic guitar interacting with each other with some pedal steel in the background. It's just beautiful. The studio version is excellent but you should really check out the version on Led Zeppelin DVD. There is no pedal steel there and mandolin is more prominent. I like that version slightly better. The contributions by Page and Jones are both lovely here. I give Jones a slight nod over Page as I think mandolin sounds sweeter in this song. Bonham contributes a slight tambourine towards the end (as Jones switches to bass guitar), but it is hardly featured here.
#15 Your Time Is Gonna Come Jones Page Bonham Plant
Damn, this song is so underrated. I love the church organ intro. Amazing, just like what Rick Wakeman did in the middle section of Close To The Edge where he takes over. Page plays a 10 string steel guitar which adds a sad sound to the angry+sad feeling of the song. It's about a woman lying a cheating on a man. So I guess it is apt. The drums give the fury, organ gives the epicness to it and the steel guitar gives the sadness. So it is an epic sad angry song. LOL. This is one of the strangest Led Zeppelin song because it does not have bass guitar or acoustic/electric guitar. I don't think they ever made a song like this. This song also sounds the most different song on Led Zeppelin I. Jones and Page are the main guys here with Bonzo providing ample support.
#16 How Many More Times Bonham Jones Page Plant
This song is progressive blues rock at its finest. I know it is not a valid genre at all. But then probably only Led Zeppelin can add progressive elements to the simple blues rock genre! The longest song on the album it borrows a bit from the bolero pattern from Jeff Beck's Jeff Beck Bolero on which both Jones and Page had participated. The song has several different sections which are stitched together. But somehow it feels like a jam song. The stitching is done expertly. This has a stoner like feel to it and probably inspired Black Sabbath the most. It's just missing the devil lyrics ;-) The bass intro is so heavy. Then the piercing guitar comes in and the thundering drums and then Plant wailing. Then there is a repetitive groove when all instruments jam together. The jamming shall I say is mighty. Even when Page does his solo and bass and drums are freaking heavy that they all sound like they are trying to kill each other. In terms of pure playing ability this song is probably the best. The middle part has a the violin bow on guitar creepy effect where everything slows down (similar to the one on Dazed and Confused). Then the song comes back again to normal and goes on until the powerful call and response "Rosie" part. Then it goes on to a different pattern completely different than how the song started. I haven't many songs before this which had this style. The ending of the song has some monster drumming by Bonham which is pretty much let's say heavy metal. It's hard to decide here, but I went with the most powerful sounding instruments in the song.
#17 Good Times Bad Times Bonham Jones Page Plant
First song, first album. WOW, just WOW. This might have blown audiences away in late 1968 or early 1969 whenever they heard it. The drum is so freaking heavy for 1968. Also it is not even a double bass drum. Bonzo hardly ever used that. This puts any heavy metal drummer to shame really, who get most of their heaviness courtesy the double bass kick drum. The bass is heavy and some funky as well - I like the way it goes dinga-dinga-dinga-dinga-ding. Just great. Of course, there is a wonderful guitar solo on this as well. And Plant is young and singing on top of his lungs. I always wish song was a bit longer, since I really dig the instrumentation and the dancey groove in this song. I think this a heavy rhythm song and Jonesy and Bonzo are the real masters of this song, although the other two are top notch as well.
#18 Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Plant Bonham Page Jones
A folk song converted into a hard rocking monster. This has delicate acoustic parts followed by heavy electric parts which keep alternating as the song progresses. Plant's vocals are crystal clear here and I would say undoubtedly this is his finest performance ever. The electric part is a solid jam with all the three musicians going at it. Chicago would copy the jam portion in their most popular (and also best) song 25 or 6 to 4. This song is a fine example of how the two session veterans get their ideas enhanced by the two young energetic upstarts Plant and Bonham. I bet Page and Jones were proud they made the choice to hire these two unknown guys then. You could almost feel it in the song.
#19 Dazed And Confused Jones Page Plant Bonham
This was performed by Page before with The Yardbirds but never recorded. I have seen that performance on youtube. It's quite good. But it is simply no match to what Led Zeppelin did. It seems Page was determined to record a much better version. A lot more heavy and powerful than the original version. This has probably the most furious vocals by Plant and wicked guitar solos by Page. Bonham's sporadic drumming is very effective as well. But Jonesy steals the show with his descending bassline intro and a lot of nimble notes throughout the songs. That said the devilish sounding bow on guitar section by Page is a very close second.
#20 Kashmir Page Bonham Jones Plant
Great epic song! Not complicated by any means but it has a great feel and a great orchestral beat, if that makes any sense. Probably Page's guitar riffs are the grandest here. There is an orchestral backing to the song - the only time they have ever done that. They do a great job. The song gives a feeling of travelling through a scorching Sahara desert in Moroco which is what the song is really about. That the song is called Kashmir (which is mostly icing mountains in India) is somewhat comical. Plant might have been doing too much of weed, I think. His voice is a little faded here, although I suppose it helps in the feel somehow. The main man here is undoubtedly Page although the subtle touches of Bonham and Jones are much to be appreciated.
#21 Going To California Jones Page Plant Bonham
That's The Way little sister. I say sister because these are two delicate and beautiful songs. This has the same setup. Jones on mandolin, Page on acoustic guitar, Plant on vocals and Bonham on light tambourine. I like the lyrics in this song almost as much as That's The Way. This one is a little more hippie, though. Again I love how Jones' mandolin and Page's acoustic guitar mesh with each other. In spite of the song being a delicate acoustic ones, it has the richness to keep you nodding your head humming the tune, instead of falling asleep.
#22 Fool In The Rain Bonham Plant Jones Page
The Led Zeppelin song which does not sound like Led Zeppelin at all. It's a love song which could have been done by anyone not named Led Zeppelin. It's quite shocking actually that they could do a song like this. Bonzo plays a halftime (World Cup 1978 soccer effect!) shuffle which is inspired by Brazilian samba music. This drumming is key to the song. This was Zeppelin towards the end of their short career. But they are still in peak form. Plant by this time had lost much of his power, but on this song, he gives a fine performance. Page has a neat chilled out solo. Jones holds the song together with some neat bass guitar and keyboards.
#23 The Rain Song Page Jones Plant Bonham
Led Zeppelin's only ballad! This song is chilled and dreamy from beginning to end. I can't think of any other Zep songs which do that. Jones contributes a wonderful orchestral mellotron bit. But the main man here is Page with his really beautiful guitar playing. There is a bit of bass here and there, but just like No Quarter this is a mostly keyboard/guitar dominated song. Both No Quarter and The Rain Song were big achievements for Led Zeppelin in my opinion, when they made it. It was a long way from Good Times, Bad Times. Led Zeppelin had really progressed. Led Zeppelin may not have been progressive rock in the traditional sense, but they were progressive rock in the sense, that their ideas kept progressing with time.
#24 Immigrant Song Bonham Jones Page Plant
Hammer of the GODs! The GODs of rock! This is one of the most celebrated Zeppelin songs. Short like Communication Breakdown it kicks major ass in just a couple minutes. This song should have really been used in the Pirates of The Caribbean (the first one, the rest sucked) movie. This has a dancey anthemic marching feeling; I can imagine Jack Sparrow and his cursed pirates dancing in the moonlight in this. Just insanely catchy and boisterous at the same time. The bass is thick and the guitar riff makes you bob your head. The drums are as barbaric as they are supposed to be. And Plant does a good pirate vocal. The rhythm is the killer here. Have to hand it to Jonesy and Bonzo.
#25 Nobody's Fault But Mine Bonham Jones Plant Page
Plant plays an instrument here! A kick ass harmonica solo. I wish he had used it more. This is a powerful Zeppelin song in the lines of Black Dog. This has a start stop sequence as well. Bonzo and Jones are tightly knit together here just like in Black Dog. The dual harmonica and guitar solo is very nice and form a tight alliance with the drums and bass. Bonzo's drumming is the key to this arrangement and really drives the song.
#26 The Lemon Song Jones Page Plant Bonham
Another fine blues rocker. This has a jazzy and a funk feel to it. As well as John Paul Jones' funky bass. His bass soloing is one of the most complex I have heard on a rock song. Jimmy Page has a memorable bluesy solo in the song. And Plant shows us what a great blues singer he is. Bonham has some good precise drumming on this and is more restrained on this as Jones goes into total improvisation mode. This is really his best bass performance (in terms of skill and complexity).
#27 Celebration Day Page Jones Bonham Plant
Amazing hypnotic layered guitar riffing by Page on this. The heavy lead bass adds to the trancey feeling. Bonham's rhythmic drumming is simple but apt for this song. Plant's vocals are also really good on this song. This song is my favorite electric rocker from their most acoustic album Led Zeppelin III. This is one of their most dynamic songs in my opinion. And if not for Immigrant Song could have easily been the album opener.
#28 Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp Page Jones Bonham Plant
Sparkling acoustic guitar by Page in this song. This song became perenially part of their acoustic live sets along with That's The Way and Going To California. Jones and Bonham thoughtfully tried something different on this song. Jones played an acoustic five string bass and Bonzo played spoons and castanets along with light drums. I must say that the acoustic bass sounds pretty heavy. And this song hardly sounds like a lightweight acoustic number. The spoons and castanets give a special upbeat feel to the song. One of their most danceable numbers.... almost hippie, but with a Zeppelin touch to it.
#29 When The Levee Breaks Plant Bonham Page Jones
Oh what a great drum sound. Just excellent. It has an echoey feel to it, courtesy how it was recorded. Led Zeppelin engineer Andy John's placed Bonham's drums at the bottom of a stairwell and the microphone at the top. And Bonzo delivered a fantastic driving beat which resonates through the entire song. Plant's wailing harmonica and phased vocals gave a dreary effect in line with the melancholic theme of the song. Page and Jones give great background support not once doing anything fancy. That would have spoilt the feel of the song.
#30 Tangerine Plant Page Bonham Jones
Great singing by Plant. One of his most tender vocals along with The Rain Song and Thats The Way in my opinion. Page has some nice layered acoustic guitar and pedal steel guitar. The acoustic guitar dominates the proceedings with some nice support from pedal steel, bass guitar, drums and mandolin. The song has special significance when they played it live. This is the only song on which all the four of them tried to harmonize with each other live. And I say they did a pretty good job especially considering that Jones, Page and Bonzo hardly ever even gave backing vocals on studio recordings.
#31 The Battle Of Evermore Plant Page Jones Bonham
Another acoustic song, you wouldn't think of as acoustic at all. I don't know, its the Zep feel to it that makes it sound electric. This song is unusal for 2 reasons. Instead of John Paul Jones playing the mandolin, it is Jimmy Page and instead of Jimmy Page playing the acoustic guitar it is John Paul Jones. They also for the only time ever - employ another singer. It is the female singer Sandy Denny from fellow British folk rock counterparts Fairport Convention. Sandy and Robert sing duet on this song as Robert felt that the Lord of the Rings inspired tale in the song required a duet. I like Sandy voice which is slightly masculine as compared to Robert's slightly feminine one. The instrumental section is dominated by Page as he initially wrote this as an instrumental. John Paul Jones provides nice backup on acoustic guitar. John Bonham gives a bit of a tambourine special effect, but has nothing more to do here.
#32 Poor Tom Plant Bonham Jones Page
From the Led Zeppelin III sessions, this song was never released when Bonham was alive. Page released it in the leftover compliation Coda. This is a good song, which I feel should have been part of a regular studio album. Starts with a great drum intro by Bonzo. The drum beat continues throughout the song. The acoustic guitar on the sound sitar like. The bass does not follow any instrument and does something on its own. The vocals are also distinct from the instruments. Their loosest song in my opinion. It has a certain charm to it. The ending bit has a great harmonica to it.
#33 Heartbreaker Page Jones Plant Bonham
Oh what a great solo by Jimmy Page in the middle! Total improvisation! And lets not forget the amazing bass and guitar riffs at the beginning of the song. The guitar, bass and drums are really tightly integrated in this one heck of a rocker. This has to be their most popular "plain" hard rock songs ever. Plant seems to be in total fire here as he delivers his anger over the return (to town) his ex-flame who cheated on him, broken his heart and left him for someone else. Somewhat similar to Your Time Is Gone Come in terms of theme, although both the songs don't even remotely like.
#34 Since I've Been Loving You Page Plant Bonham Jones
Awesome blues rocker. Many consider this as Zeppelin's best song ever. It does have one of the most memorable wanky solo by Page. John Paul Jones shines on hammond organ too (his contribution sounds a bit like Rick Wright from Pink Floyd here). And I love the lyrics on the song "working from seven to eleven every night, it really makes life a drag". How true! Song for the common man. This song is again about a chick breaking some guys heart - this time his wife. Plant is at his wailing best. This song became a showcase of the bands skills in live shows. Bonham's rock n roll drumming is just perfect for the song as well. Performance wise, this is really top notch.
#35 The Song Remains The Same Page Bonham Jones Plant
This was original supposed to be an instrumental. Page had already constructed the melody and the band had played on it. Plant got greedy and added vocals to it. With or without vocals, this song would kick major ass. The guitar feels very orchestral as several riffs are multitracked. The drums and bass also sound very orchestral. Very pompous. Led Zeppelin always began their albums with a big this was another one of them.
#36 Living Loving Maid Bonham Jones Plant Page
Led Zeppelin were really a rock version of ABBA/The Bee Gees. You could really dance to their songs. This is the finest example. Kicks ass but it is groovy enough to dance to. The song is about a very annoying groupie and is one of their most misogynystic ones, but it is still fun to sing to. Jimmy Page apparently hates his because his then girl friend was offended about it. The drums and bass lay out the groove well, Page does some good riffs and solos in the song, but it is not his song, Bonham really shines on it. Jones is really kicking ass on his bass guitar too, just as he does uniformly on Led Zeppelin II.
#37 Dy'er Mak'er Page Bonham Jones Plant
John Paul Jones is really amazing in this song. He excels both in his delicate hammond organ playing and heavy bass guitar rhythm. Plant gives a tender vocal performance. Page plays a very sitar like sounding 12 string guitar. Nice acoustic performance by him. Bonham makes the song heavy with appropriate bashing on the sections which call for it.
#38 Down By The Seaside Plant Jones Page Bonham
This song can be classified as both soft rock and hard rock as well. It keep alternating. Plant's voice sounds excellent on this. And he sings it with real emotion. He was inspired by Neil Young and he apparently attempts to sound like him. Whatever, I can't stand Neil Young's nasal vocals, but I love Plant when attempt to sing nasally. May be I'm biased. I don't care. Jones is on electric piano and provides great mood for the soft rock sections. Page and Bonham dominate the hard rock sections. A great ballad with great mood to it.
#39 Bring It On Home Plant Jones Page Bonham
 
#40 Over The Hills And Far Away Page Plant Jones Bonham
Progressive ballad? Seeming a straightforward love song, this is complex inherently. There is an acoustic guitar song throughout the song but the song is on a whole electric. There is a great electric guitar solo in the middle. Everything is solid especially Plant's singing who varies his vocals as per the ever changing tempo of the song. Jones contributes a nice harpsichord extro that also features Page's pedal steel.
#41 Bron-Yr-Aur Page
 
#42 Baby Come On Home Plant Jones Page Bonham

Led Zeppelin's most soulful song. There is a beautiful arrangement on hammond organ by Jones. Plant's voice is very powerful as this is from Led Zeppelin's early days. One of his most soulful performances ever. Weird, that this was considered for their debut album, but never made it to any studio album.

#43 In The Light Jones Page Bonham Plant

Another progressive sounding from the bombastic double album - Physical Graffiti. It has a long keyboard led intro like Your Time Is Gonna Come. Instead of church organ, however, John Paul Jones plays a synthesizer. He later switches to a booming bass guitar and clavinet. Page using his genius gives a unique accompanying sound to the intro by administrating violin bow on his acoustic guitar. This has an epic feel to it, even though it is not too long. In ways, this was a opener song (to their second disc on Physical Graffiti), so they went for the big sound. This is a John Paul Jones composed song as he uses synth, clavinet and bass guitar to great effect. Bonham gives some able support too. Plant's processed vocals also go very well with the song.

#44 Achilles Last Stand Page Bonham Jones Plant

One of Led Zeppelin's most celebrated songs. This is a long epic (third longest) eclispsing 10 minutes. There are several guitar riffs and solos in this song all merged together to give it an epic orchestral feel to it. The bass is galloping and the drumming whopping. The song sounds like a war march. It is relentless fast and moving forward. It is one of their most progressive metal sounding songs. I don't understand what the lyrics mean, but they sound grand and are supposedly borrowings from Greek mythology. Boy, Plant could borrow from all kinds of mythologies out there ;-)

#45 In My Time Of Dying Bonham Page Plant Jones

What an epic! What drumming. Bonham completely rules this one. This is Led Zeppelin's Gospel masterpiece. Can you imagine Zeppelin singing about God? Well there is one shocker for you. The song might feel overlong, but is really captivating until the end. Page's standard bluesy guitar is on fire here. Plant by this time has kind of lost his sound, but in this song, I feel he gave a fine performance. Jones is solid

#46 White Summer Page

 

#47 Houses Of The Holy Jones Page Plant Bonham

Their best funky effort in my opinion. And it is even an attempt to be funk. You see things were natural with Zeppelin. Nothing was ever forced. The bass and guitar on this are great. And propel this simple pop song to glorious heights.

#48 Black Mountain Side Page

 

#49 Thank You Plant Page Jones Bonham

 

#50 Carouselambra Jones Page Bonham Plant

 

50 great songs, 50 great performances! Now I add up the numbers! Page and Jones are the best men in 15 songs. and Plant and Bonham top 10 songs each. Jones and Page being the seniormost were the main guys in more songs. But no one really dominated the proceedings. A true democrctic band and a fully function unit!