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Classic Albums: Led Zeppelin - IV (Four Symbols)


Known variously as Led Zep IV, Four Symbols and/or Runes, the untitled fourth Led Zeppelin album found the band approaching its creative zenith. Although their first three albums had already made them world famous, it was the arrival of their fourth in November 1971 that took the band to an even greater plateau – artistically, commercially and, most crucially, personally – from which they would look down on the rest of the rock world for ever after. Some would argue there would be even better Zeppelin albums to come – Physical Graffiti is the most often cited, though for Jimmy Page it would probably be Presence – but their fourth album was where Led Zeppelin first transcended their status as mere rock stars and transmogrified into something else entirely: a living, fire-breathing legend. One of those peerless recordings where every track seems to fit like a glove – from it’s rollicking opener, Black Dog, to its head-swimmingly hypnotic closer, When The Levee Breaks, via such transcendent rock moments as Rock And Roll, Misty Mountain Hop and Four Sticks – the fourth Zep album remains an absolute classic of the genre.

Not to mention the fourth biggest-selling album of all time. A virtual template for all that was most exceptional about the band – the light and shade of folksy acoustic ballads like Going To California and The Battle Of Evermore punctuating the dark pulsing heart of bones-into-dust rockers like Black Dog and Rock And Roll – it also contained Stairway To Heaven, all the dynamic elements that made the album so exciting contained in one, mould-breaking track, and perhaps the greatest rock song of all time. If an alien came to Earth and asked you to play him one album that summed up all that was best about Led Zeppelin, this would be it. 

1) Black Dog Jimmy Page/Robert Plant/John Paul Jones 
4:54
2) Rock And Roll Page/Plant/Jones/John Bonham 
3:40
3) The Battle Of Evermore Page/Plant 
5:51
4) Stairway To Heaven Page/Plant 
8:02
5) Misty Mountain Hop Page/Plant/Jones 
4:38
6) Four Sticks Page/Plant 
4:44
7) Going To California Page/Plant 
3:31
8) When The Levee Breaks Memphis Minnie/Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham 
7:07

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