LED ZEPPELIN: I & II
I am going to add two albums instead of one this time, because I can’t really separate them. Both are equally good and important!
LED ZEPPELIN I (1969)
After The Yardbirds were disbanded, Jimmy Page (who was owning the legal rights of the name The Yardbirds), found John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham, and together they started touring under the name 'The New Yardbirds'. But that didn't last for long, because soon they changed their name to Led Zeppelin. Some of the greatest songs that were recorded for their debut album were written in the 'New Yardbirds period'.
Led Zeppelin I was recorded in Olympic studios in London within 36 hours, because the band had no contract yet, therefore they had to pay with their own money for the studio expenses.
The album was released on the12th of January 1969 in the USA, and on the 31st of March 1969 in the UK. Upon its release, it didn't receive good critics, but despite that it was commercially successful. The main problem seemed to be that nobody couldn't categorize them under any of the music styles they knew so far. Because the album was based on the blues forms of The Yardbirds, but the music was played in a 'heavy' way let’s say. Despite the poor critics, the album remained on the Billboard charts for 73 weeks, and on the UK charts for 79 weeks.
The success and influence of the album is today widely acknowledged, even amongst publications that were initially sceptical. One of the music magazines that gave poor reviews on the album back then, was no other than Rolling Stone. But many years later, in 2006 to be exact, Rolling Stone added Led Zeppelin I at No.29 in its list with the ‘500 greatest albums of all time’.
The album contains some of the best songs the band ever recorded, such as Good Times Bad Times, Dazed and Confused, Communication Breakdown and I Can't Quit You Baby.
LED ZEPPELIN II (1969)
After the release of their debut album, the band started touring without a break, in order to promote it. But at the same time, they were recording new material for the next album at any place they could find, between the concerts. Finally, Led Zeppelin II came out on the 22nd of October 1969, just a few months after Led Zeppelin I. The album’s promotion was based on the slogan: ‘Led Zeppelin - The Only Way to Fly’.
In this album the band seems to leave aside the Blues influences that were obvious in the previous album, trying to make a turn to a heavier, guitar-driven sound. (Led Zeppelin II it has often been described as the band’s heavier album).
Led Zeppelin II was the band’s first album that reached at No.1in both USA and UK, remaining on the charts for a long time. With this album, Led Zeppelin established themselves as a very big name in Rock music, and their fame will continue to grow with the release of the next 2 albums.
As for the album’s legacy, Led Zeppelin II has been acknowledged by many critics and music writers as one of the most influential albums of Rock music, and has earned several accolades from music publications, frequently placed at - or near - the top of "Best Album" lists.
The sound of Led Zeppelin in this album is considered as one of the 'cornerstones' of what was later named as Hard Rock and/or Heavy Metal.
Other Led Zeppelin albums I recommend: Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV & Houses of the Holy.
By clicking on the following YT links you will be able to listen ot the songs Dazed and Confused taken from their first album, and Thank You from the second.