Collaboration post! Sarca from Caught Me Gaming and Kevin from Buried On Mars take on Led Zeppelin! Each week, we will be reviewing a Led Zeppelin album on our respective blogs! So don’t forget to check out Kevin’s blog too!
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This week, we look at Led Zeppelin’s third album, Led Zeppelin III (1970)
When I was in high school, Christmas Eve night for my family was usually a low-key affair. Back then it usually involved my Mom and Step-Dad going over to his sister’s place for some Xmas cheer, while my sis and I hung out spending a quiet night at home watching a Christmas movie, or going over to my friend Mandy’s. Christmas Eve 1990, I found myself at loose ends; my sister was with the boyfriend, so I tagged along with my parents to my Step-Aunt and Uncle’s. I know to some teens, this would sound lame, but I always enjoyed their company, and my Step-Aunt always made a tasty buffet dinner. The conversation was always lively and there was usually some type of sports, or at least something funny to riff on on TV. My Step-Uncle is a crusty sort who would stand behind his rec room bar and regale us with some hilarious story about teaching French in high school, while I, the only teen in the room among adults, would sit, amused, cross-legged on the floor.
My Step-Cousins, grown young men out of the house at this stage, were long gone, but their mom kept their precious things in the house. So, when I noticed the turntable and stack of vinyl hiding in the dark corner of the rec room that evening, I scooted over to the general direction to the music and just sort of flipped through the records to see what was there. There was a small but respectable collection of about 30 records. I flipped and something familiar caught my eye. WHAAAA…!!??
[flip] Led Zeppelin II.. [flip] Led Zeppelin III…[flip] Led Zeppelin IV…[flip] Houses of the Ho-…
Turn’s out my Step-Cousin Philippe is a massive Led Zeppelin fan!!!
That evening in 1990 was the first time I got to see the gate-folds of these Led Zeppelin records. And Led Zeppelin III was wild, with its spinning psychadelic insert. I hadn’t even listened to it until a year later, when I bought it on CD with Christmas money I received. Philippe and I didn’t commiserate on our fandom until a couple of years later when he returned home for Christmas.
Why is this story important when we discuss Led Zeppelin III? Because, this album was a turning point in my Led Zep listening and consciousness. At this point in my history with the band, I had only Led Zeppelin IV and the Complete box set in my collection (which both lived in my stereo and Walkman). But, from the first *thump thump thump* feedback and Jimmy riff at the start of Immigrant Song, to the serene Friends, the rock of Celebration Day, Jones’ amazing bass work on Out on the Tiles, and the gorgeous classic, Tangerine, the album hooked me in.
Back in 1992-1993 when Led Zeppelin III was my favourite album (and still remains one of my favourites), I went through a period where I wanted to learn to play guitar, thanks in part to my second favourite Led Zep song, That’s the Way. I never learned to play guitar, but the song remains one of the most beautiful ballads I have ever heard. It always catches my breath every time; a haunting tune with a message that most can identify with. Ever hear the song with headphones? I love how each ear is playing a different melody. As a teen, I couldn’t understand why this song was never popular, nor did it get the props it deserved. I suppose it’s because it wasn’t “loud” enough for radio, and there was no video. I loved That’s the Way so much that when my sister and I came upon a sketchy guy selling bootleg cassettes close to the corner of Richmond and Central in London, ON in July 1993, I was surprised to find a Led Zeppelin bootleg of one concert where That’s the Way had been performed live, and put money down on a Maxell tape of the concert. Man, if you ever needed evidence I was nuts for Led Zeppelin…the recording was not of great quality (it actually sounded like someone recorded the concert from inside their pants pocket, on the moon…). Unfortunately, I no longer have the Maxell cassette thanks in large part to the Moving Purge of 2006 where most of our cassettes (and my Archies) were sent to the Barrie, ON landfill. Regrets: I have a few…
Led Zeppelin III obviously dredges up some great memories for me, and I am so glad the album is still relevant in my life today. It is such an eclectic mix of blues, hard rock and folk, and it all blends well together. In my opinion, it’s pretty well a damn perfect Led Zeppelin album.
Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Producer: Jimmy Page
Now go read Kevin’s take here