Formed in the UK in 1968, Led Zeppelin busted onto the rock scene with their self-titled debut album in 1969. With their passion and hunger for performance quality, and with frontman Robert Plant’s chilling vocal range, the band changed the meaning of rock and roll with every record released. In a special ode to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, who celebrated his 69th birthday yesterday, August 20, let’s take a look back at the top five most beloved Led Zeppelin tunes.
“Stairway to Heaven”
Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the classic hit will go down in music history as the greatest rock song of all time as it is widely referred to as. What makes this song so unique is the three-part arrangement in which tempo and volume are factors as they both increase in a rigid but sonically attractive way.
“All My Love”
In Through the Out Door was the band’s sixth studio album, and on it, this near-six-minute trippy ballad appeared on the album as the sixth track. Featuring a solo en synthesizer by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, the song was a reeling ode to Plant’s five-year-old son Zarac who passed away in 1977 from a stomach virus.
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
The song was written by folk singer Ann Bredon in the 50s, and later picked up and recorded by folk legend and poet Joan Baez. While the tune is not a Zeppelin original, their cover is the most popular version. Jimmy Page said it best in a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone: “I set the mood with the acoustic guitar and that flamenco-like section. But Robert embraces it. He came up with an incredible, plaintive vocal.”
Unlike Led Zeppelin’s many hard and heavy tracks, this one poses for the cameras with the vibe of relaxation and lazy day bliss. Maybe because “D’yer Maker” was intended to mimic the casual ways of reggae music spawned from Jamaica in the 70s. Reggae aimed to celebrate life in a simpler way through offbeat arrangements, which is exactly what drummer John Bonham accomplished with “D’yer Maker.” The song’s title is even a play on the title of Jamaica.
Released in 1970 on the band’s third studio album Led Zeppelin III. The song is a lyrical nod to Norse Mythology and charted in a number of countries at the time, ranking “Immigrant Song” one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits of all time. It has been covered by over 100 artists since it’s release.