Tuesday, December 6, 2022

7 Underrated Led Zeppelin Songs by Deep in the Band’s Catalogue

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Led Zeppelin came together when Jimmy Page assembled the legendary band after his previous group, the Yardbirds, fell apart. He rose to become one of the titans of rock music. Page, who has always been drawn to heavy music, practically helped invent hard rock. They earned a $2 million paycheck for a signature song and wrote several legendary tracks. These seven underrated Led Zeppelin songs prove the band has had excellent deep cuts throughout their career (arranged in chronological order by album).

Vocalist Robert Plant delivers a surprisingly delicate vocal performance on a song that rivals any of its narrative-like lyrical turns. Again, Page shows his studio genius. A gentle slide guitar hovers in the right speaker over most of the song, while acoustic guitars and mandolins remain on the left.

Stuck deep on side two of Zeppelin’s “Acoustic Album,” which confounded fans and critics alike, it’s notable not only for its subtle approach, but for being one of the few times that Page played bass on a Zep album played.

Vinyl listeners had to struggle to get their hands on this song from Led Zeppelin’s sixth album. After “Kashmir” closes side two, “In the Light” brings back some Middle Eastern sounding sonic elements thanks to John Paul Jones’ synthesizer at the start of side three.

It also features some brilliant guitar work from Jimmy Page, although he doesn’t draw attention to himself with his fretwork.

The first two descending riffs sound dark and menacing; Page’s brilliance is that he uses many of the same notes for an ascending third riff that’s bright and hopeful. It’s an underrated Led Zeppelin song and one that shows the band at their most ambitious.

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This track deep on page four of Physical graffiti comes from the Led Zeppelin IV sessions. Several standout tracks come earlier on the album, but this one is underrated because it pulls together a selection of Zep’s biggest genre influences so well. The song has a blues riff with a rockabilly piano line and a folk-inspired solo on an experimental drum beat. The only thing missing is Page’s love of Indian and avant-garde music, but incorporating that here would have been a challenge.

We always knew they could do the blues. For anyone wondering if Zep could do anything rockabilly, Candy Store Rock proves they can.

Page plays a clean riff (in contrast to his sloppier approach to rockabilly in through the exit door‘s “Hot Dog”), which lends authenticity to the song. Plant throws in several Elvis-esque “Oh Baby Baby” lines, and drummer John Bonham plays a deceptively simple beat. Rising above The Crunge as a genre exercise, Candy Store Rock remains an underrated Led Zeppelin track.

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Zeppelin quickly attracts one Present‘s last song and at the same time takes the listener back in time. Page plays a relatively upbeat opening riff; 20 seconds later, “Tea for One” flashes back to “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Led Zeppelin III with its slow, original blues.

On an album packed with emotionally raw material (Plant called Page and Zep’s manager on one song), “Tea for One” is perhaps the rawest. Led Zeppelin’s underrated song has some of The Plant’s most depressing lyrics — singing about love given up only to spend days obsessing over it — complemented by Page’s understated guitar work.

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On an album that Jones and Plant took over, this song is one that Page dominates. It shows many elements of the guitar style he has demonstrated over the last 10 years of Zeppelin.

Page revisits his fiddlestick sound effects (courtesy of a gizmotron) with darkly atmospheric drones at the beginning. He then plays a fairly straight-forward blues-based riff that blends in nicely alongside Jones’ synth before launching into a robust solo that could be Page’s last happy moment with Led Zeppelin.

The 1978 track didn’t see the light of day until Page made it the closing track coda. With its energy and sonic attack, “Wearing and Tearing” sounds like something from the depths of the band.

Bonham’s pounding bass drum almost bursts through the speakers and Page plays what might be his most straightforward riff as the band seem to be firing back at the first wave of punk bands aspiring to the Led Zeppelin crown. It’s one of Led Zeppelin’s underrated songs and a look at what might have been if the band had continued into the 1980s.

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