Houses of the Holy


LED ZEPPELIN (Atlantic, 1969)
An auspicious debut that puts the focus on the band’s eclecticism. There are raging rockers (”Communication Breakdown”), spooky ballads (”Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”), and songs that are a little of both (”Dazed and Confused”). Hard rock would never be the same. A-

LED ZEPPELIN II (Atlantic, 1969)
Chockful of keepers: the pulp classic ”Whole Lotta Love”; the priapic opus ”The Lemon Song”; the hearteningly hard ”Heartbreaker”; the gleefully stomping ”Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)”; and even, on ”Moby Dick,” a drum solo that doesn’t suck. A+

LED ZEPPELIN III (Atlantic, 1970)
Zep’s worst-selling album gets a bad rap in some quarters. The obvious goodies are ”Immigrant Song” and ”Gallows Pole,” but give the gentler acoustic tunes like ”Tangerine” and ”Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” half a chance, and you’ll be singing the praises of Zeppelin’s ”lighter” side. A-

LED ZEPPELIN IV (Atlantic, 1971)
”Stairway to Heaven” has been murdered by classic-rock DJs, but it’s still awesome. As is ”Black Dog.” And ”Rock and Roll.” And ”The Battle of Evermore.” And ”Misty Mountain Hop.” And ”Four Sticks.” And ”Going to California.” And — oh, that’s the whole album? A+

HOUSES OF THE HOLY (Atlantic, 1973) Their last unqualified masterpiece and an album of remarkable stylistic range. The plangent tone poem ”The Rain Song” coexists with the hilarious James Brown parody ”The Crunge,” while ”D’Yer Mak’er” finds our boys actually attempting a sort of off-kilter reggae. A

PRESENCE (Atlantic, 1976) While the ferocious ”Nobody’s Fault but Mine” and the bluesy ”Tea for One” are tasty, there’s too much prog-rockish waffling here; ”Achilles Last Stand” runs 10 minutes without ever serving up a memorable riff. Though Page swears by it, you may just swear at it. C+

Houses of the Holy
  • Music