Break ‘Em Out: Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

Led Zeppelin’s most essential album.

If you like classic rock, you like Led Zeppelin.  If you like Led Zeppelin, your favorite album – or at least the one you’ve heard the most – is Led Zeppelin IV.  However, true fans that are more familiar with the band’s catalog might agree with me when I say that IV, while very good, isn’t their best album.  That title would go to Physical Graffiti, the only Led Zeppelin album that showcases the incredible talents of all four band members.

This album has everything, from 11 minute delta-blues (“In My Time Of Dying”), to relaxing ballads (“Bron-Yr-Aur”), to epic classics that only Led Zeppelin could create (“Kashmir” and “Trampled Under Foot”).  For guitar players, this album is incredible for it has some of Jimmy Page’s most sophisticated guitar playing – “The Wanton Song” could be the greatest guitar song he has ever recorded (yes, even better than “Stairway to Heaven”).  Robert Plant’s vocals shine, John Paul Jones’s bass playing is incredible and groovy as always, and John Bonham plays some of the finest drums ever heard.

This the band’s best album, but it was also their last great album.  Following this album would be three so-so albums and the eventual death of John Bonham that would break up the band.  But let us just be thankful that the band released this album, for no other album captures the band’s talent and musical scope as Physical Graffiti.

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