Led Zeppelin Albums Ranked on a Scale of 1-5 stars.
Here are Led Zeppelin’s albums reviewed in chronological order (by release date).
LED ZEPPELIN I (1968)
Led Zeppelin seems to be what Cream (founded by Jimmy Page’s Yardbird alumnus Eric Clapton) wanted to create-a heavy blues sound with an original angle. Where Cream lacked songwriting and ideas, Zeppelin provided the goods. The reworking of ‘Babe I’m Going to Leave You” is as classic a remake as Hendrix’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and in one regard more incredible in that the original was penned by a minor songwriter, Anne Bredon. The heavy riffing and power chords rain down more effectively than Cream’s and Plant’s vocals sound eerie and familiar at the same time. Page’s guitar and studio wizardry are apparent and powerful.
This album present an enduring new sound and one that replaced the Beatles by the end of the 1960’s.
Did you know?: Keith Moon, drummer of the Who named the band Led Zeppelin supposedly after the Who bassist John Entwistle, session bassist John Paul Jones (later of Led Zeppelin) and session guitarist Jimmy Page (later of Led Zeppelin) held a jam session and one of the quartet suggested that they might form a band together, to which Keith Moon supposedly quipped “That’ll go over like a Led Zeppelin”
In 1977 a drunken Keith Moon joined Led Zeppelin briefly on stage in Los Angeles- that performance went over like a led balloon. Click here to see.
Led Zeppelin I Album Sales: France (SNEP) 100,000+ Gold Switzerland (IFPI) 15,000+ Gold Argentina (CAPIF) 20,000+ Gold Australia (ARIA) 140,000+ 2× Platinum United States (RIAA) 8,000,000+ 8× Platinum Spain (PROMUSICAE) 100,000+ Platinum United Kingdom (BPI) 600,000+ 2× Platinum
Led Zepellin II represents an expansion on Led Zep I and the full flowering of the Zep sound. Conceived largely on the road and recorded in between touring dates, this album smacks of a band fully confident that all is going well and they are entitled to play loud and differently if they want. The press hate them but the fans go wild. “What is and Should Never Be” adds a softer touch to the band’s style as does “Thank You”. “Whole Lotta Love” is revolutionary for its riff and effects, particularly the use of the theremin. “Heartbreaker”is a thundering metal riff monster. Led Zeppelin II for many is considered more than the sum of its parts and must be listened to in the track order on the original album (like the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper).
Led Zeppelin II Album Sales: Australia 4× Platinum 280,000 Canada (Music Canada) 9× Platinum 900,000 France (SNEP) 2× Gold 200,000 Germany (BVMI) Platinum 500,000^ United Kingdom (BPI)4× Platinum 1,200,000 United States (RIAA)12× Platinum 12,000,000
The initial reaction to this album for some was Led Zeppelin had lost it by making this horrible album. “Since I’ve Been Loving You” stands out as a Zep blues classic that could have been on I or II. The acoustic stuff is what gives III its distinctive sound and precurses some of Zep’s later work. A subtle album that requires being in the mood or allowing the music to create the mood-something many impatient adolescents and twenty somethings were not able to appreciate at the time.
BEST-Since I’ve Been Loving You 2ND BEST- Immigrant Song WORST- Hats off to Roy Harper STARS- 5
Did you know?: Many of the Led Zeppelin III songs were written at Bron-Y-Aur cottage in the Welch wilderness. Did you also know?: The opening riff of “Out on the Tiles” was often used as the intro to “Black Dog” when Led Zeppelin played live (they have also used the riff in “Bring it On Home” to open for “Black Dog”).
Led Zeppelin III Album Sales: Australia (ARIA) 3× Platinum 210,000 Canada (Music Canada) 3× Platinum 300,000 France (SNEP) Platinum 300,000 Germany (BVMI)Gold 250,000 United Kingdom (BPI)Platinum 300,000 United States (RIAA) 6× Platinum 6,000,000
Stand back and let it play. There’s too much going on here to review, from middle earth Tolkien references to the delta blues. Exquisite thundering drumming, tender and violent guitar playing, beautifully controlled vocals and a great sound. Maybe THE representative rock album.
BEST- Stairway to Heaven 2ND BEST- Battle of Evermore WORST- none STARS- 5
Did you know?: Robert Plant was a big Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan. Led Zeppelin IV’s “The Battle of Evermore” makes reference to ringwraiths and Led Zeppelin II’s “Ramble On” refers to Gollum and Mordor.
The opening riff of Stairway to Heaven bears an eerie resemblance to “Taurus” a song by Spirit, so much so that the estate of Randy California, who wrote the “Taurus” is suing Led Zeppelin for song writing credits. Decide for yourself by listening to Taurus here.
Led Zeppelin IV Album Sales: Australia (ARIA) 8× Platinum 560,000 Canada (Music Canada) 2× Diamond 2,000,000 France (SNEP) 2× Platinum 970,866 Germany (BVMI) 3× Gold 750,000 United Kingdom (BPI) 6× Platinum 1,800,000 United States (RIAA) 23× Platinum 23,000,000
HOUSES OF THE HOLY (1973)
This album is a bit of a mess. HOH is not solid throughout and contains some failed experimentation with funk (the James Brown inspired “the Crunge’) and reggae (the passable “D’yer Maker”). The riffing is less convincing (“the Ocean” while a fine tune, is no “Heartbreaker”) and the ballads are not as convincing as prior Zep efforts (“The Rain Song” is no “Thank You” or “Battle of Evermore”).
BEST- No Quarter 2ND BEST- The Ocean WORST- The Crunge STARS- 3
Did you know?: The title of the song “D’yer Maker from HOH is a play on words meaning “Did you make her?”
Houses of the Holy Album Sales: France (SNEP) 2× Gold 200,000 Germany (BVMI) Gold 250,000 United Kingdom (BPI)Platinum 300,000 United States (RIAA) 11× Platinum 11,000,000
THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME (1976)
Pressured to produce a live album and movie, Led Zeppelin put out this compilation of footage from their 1973 Madison Square Garden shows. TSRTS was a popular late 70’s midnight movie (along with Rocky Horror Picture Show). It’s good but there are better Led Zeppelin live bootlegs. Jimmy Page remedied the lack of a top notch release with 2003’s “How the West Was Won”.
The Song Remains the Sale Album Sales: France (SNEP) Gold 100,000 Germany (BVMI) Gold 250,000 United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 300,000 United States (RIAA) 4× Platinum 4,000,000
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI (1975)
An event when it was released, PG had so much to offer. It set aside the old Zeppelin which showed signs of wearing on Houses of the Holy and embraced new musical territory. I first heard the eastern tinged “Kashmir” on a clock radio at 8 am while looking out the window at a still half dark backyard while waiting to catch the school bus. Listening to it today brings back the original discovery of album-from remembering the different shades of grooves on the album track “In the Light” to the endless dying Robert Plant wail on “Kashmir”. This is a double album that works with no real filler. The rockers are more high tempo than House of the Holy and the slower stuff more thoughtful and precise. “Boogie with Stu” has always been a favorite of mine because of John Bonham’s unique sticks sounds.
BEST-Kashmir 2ND BEST-Sick Again WORST- STARS- 5
Physical Graffiti Album Sales: France (SNEP)Gold 100,000 Germany (BVMI) Gold 250,000 United Kingdom (BPI)2 × Platinum 600,000 United States (RIAA) 16× Platinum 8,000,000
An album that I’ve tried hard to listen to in one sitting since the time of its release in ’76. It seems to start out fine but my interest wanes always by the time I hit “Candy Store Rock”. “Achilles Last Stand” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” are Zeppelin classics but the rest is, at best on par or below with Houses of the Holy. Jimmy Page apparently spent a lot of time in the studio on his own on Presence as Robert Plant had been in a terrible accident the year earlier and was immobile.
BEST-Achilles Last Stand 2ND BEST- Nobody’s Fault But Mine WORST-Royal Orleans STARS- 3
Presence Album Sales: United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 300,000 United States (RIAA) 3× Platinum 3,000,000
IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR (1979)
Not really a Zeppelin album. The best track from this album was not even included-“Wearing and Tearing” (later included on Coda). All right if you like this kind of music. This is barely a Zeppelin album, its a John Paul Jones solo album using Led Zeppelin as a back up band. “In the Evening” is of the sound and quality of past Zeppelin efforts. A good chunk of the album’s space, however, is wasted on “Carouselambra”. The tender “All of My Love” was written by Robert Plant for his son, Karac who died in 1977 at the age of five of a stomach infection. The original album was issued in a paper bag in six different covers that were revealed in color when paint brushed with water.
BEST- All of My love 2ND BEST- In the Evening WORST- Carouselambra STARS- 2
In Through the Out Door Album Sales: Australia (ARIA) 2× Platinum 140,000 United Kingdom (BPI) Platinum 300,000 United States (RIAA) 6× Platinum 6,000,000
An interesting Led Zep post mordem. Contains some good cuts.
BEST We’re Gonna Grove 2ND BEST I Can’t Quit You Baby WORST Darlene STARS- 3
Coda Album Sales: United Kingdom (BPI) Silver 60,000 United States (RIAA) Platinum 1,000,000
BBC SESSIONS (1997)
The best of the BBC sessions. A generous offering of live and studio alternatives. There’s some great alternative versions and live cuts. This, like the Hendrix box set can be enjoyed by the Zep fanatic and casual fan as well as the neophyte.
BEST –Travellin Riverside Blues (only because its such a rare cut) 2ND BEST-Whole Lotta Love WORST-none STARS- 4.5
Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions Album Sales: United Kingdom (BPI) Silver 60,000 United States (RIAA) 2× Platinum 2,000,000
What’s Your Favorite Led Zeppelin Album? You can pick two:
Please visit the Smaulgld Store for a larger selection of recommended Kindles, books, music, movies and other items.
Or you can support Smaulgld.com by making all your Amazon purchases through the search widget below and by ordering your gold and silver by clicking on the JM bullion ads on the site:
DISCLOSURE: Smaulgld provides the content on this site free of charge. If you purchase items though the links on this site, Smaulgld LLC. will be paid a commission. The prices charged are the same as they would be if you were to visit the sites directly. Please do your own research regarding the suitability of making purchases from the merchants featured on this site.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only. Making investment decisions based on information published by Smaulgld (SG), or any Internet site, is not a good idea. Accordingly, users agree to hold SG, its owner and affiliates, harmless for all information presented on the site. SG presents no warranties. SG is not responsible for any loss of data, financial loss, interruption in services, claims of libel, damages or loss from the use or inability to access SG, any linked content, or the reliance on any information on the site.
The information contained herein does not constitute investment advice and may be subject to correction, completion and amendment without notice. SG assumes no duty to make any such corrections or updates. As with all investments, there are associated risks and you could lose money investing. Prior to making any investment, a prospective investor should consult with its own investment, accounting, legal and tax advisers to evaluate independently the risks, consequences and suitability of that investment. SG disclaims any and all liability relating to any investor reliance on the accuracy of the information contained herein or relating to any omissions or errors and as such disclaims any and all losses that may result.