With Led Zeppelin, the albums were always the thing. Their legacy, unlike Jimmy Page‘s antecedent group the Yardbirds, was built not on singles but on longform statements of purpose. Similarly, Led Zeppelin’s legend grew over an extended arc, as the foursome of Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham constructed a new alchemy from the rock-solid foundation of roots music.
Along the way, they’d stir in heavier sounds, delicate folk and Celtic influences, orchestral thunder and primal sensuality, as Page summed up their unboastful credo: ‘Ever onward.’ Only Bonham’s 1980 death could stop Led Zeppelin, which appeared to be on the crux of a never-finished final transformation with its pop-focused ‘In Through the Out Door.’
A full-circle compilation of more blues-focused outtakes, appropriately titled ‘Coda,’ ended their initial canonical run of recordings — one highlighted, defined but never limited to the strikingly diverse, 23-times platinum ‘IV.’ In fact, this determinedly album-oriented band’s catalog continues to yield intriguing new insights, as you’ll see as we rank Led Zeppelin albums, from worst to best.
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