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William Austin

The Led Zeppelin III Story...

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Posted (edited)

One thing I didn’t think to mention 

I don’t really know of any fans that dislike Led Zeppelin 3 or Houses..  The criticism’s largely came from the critics. I think many of their opinions have also changed to more favorable over time.  

When you can see the big picture of a band (or actor for that matter) a new appreciation or understanding of their development can occur. 

Edited by the chase

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Perhaps one of the problems with III is the way the songs are ordered. It seems to me it could lack balance. Consider, side two is all acoustic. GP, Tangerine, TTW and HOTRH. Very little drumming and very little bass. The fourth album has three acoustic numbers in Battle, Stairway and GTC, but they have riff tunes or heavy songs in between them. True, Stairway follows Battle, but Stairway definitely turns into a heavy tune. By the time Stairway ends, the listener has had their heavy fix complete with screaming vocals and epic guitar solo. Side two of Zeppelin 4 has Misty which is riff based, Four Sticks and then the acoustic GTC, followed by an epic Levee. The third album doesn't have this kind of balance. The listener isn't "rewarded" with some riffage after sitting quietly through That's The Way.

Imagine this: Instead of Hats, Led Zeppelin III ends with OOTT. That would have added some balance to side two. Side one could have ended with Hats, which would have been a welcome contrast to the heaviness of CD and SIBLY, which gets pretty heavy during the climax after the solo. If I could have had things my way, I think I would have ended side one with Hey Hey What Can I Do, and ended side two with OOTT.

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48 minutes ago, Christopher Lees said:

Perhaps one of the problems with III is the way the songs are ordered. It seems to me it could lack balance. Consider, side two is all acoustic. GP, Tangerine, TTW and HOTRH. Very little drumming and very little bass. The fourth album has three acoustic numbers in Battle, Stairway and GTC, but they have riff tunes or heavy songs in between them. True, Stairway follows Battle, but Stairway definitely turns into a heavy tune. By the time Stairway ends, the listener has had their heavy fix complete with screaming vocals and epic guitar solo. Side two of Zeppelin 4 has Misty which is riff based, Four Sticks and then the acoustic GTC, followed by an epic Levee. The third album doesn't have this kind of balance. The listener isn't "rewarded" with some riffage after sitting quietly through That's The Way.

Imagine this: Instead of Hats, Led Zeppelin III ends with OOTT. That would have added some balance to side two. Side one could have ended with Hats, which would have been a welcome contrast to the heaviness of CD and SIBLY, which gets pretty heavy during the climax after the solo. If I could have had things my way, I think I would have ended side one with Hey Hey What Can I Do, and ended side two with OOTT.

Yeah, it would add some 'balance' but it wouldn't change things that much and I think even with Hey, hey things wouldn't be that different and it's cool that Zeppelin spiced things up with things like Hats.

I things they just always loved acoustic music and they tested the ground with III a litttle bit, but after they saw with both II and IV and even with I what people liked the most, they still released Houses and Presence and some exotic Graffiti stuff! Amazing!

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Ahh! Led Zep 111. What a beautiful thing. From the cover to the music inside. To me there would never have been a Led Zeppelin without 111. The first two albums sound very much of their era. If they'd stayed exactly on the same track they would have faded away and be just another one of dozens of power rock bands from that time. 111 changed everything. It was in a way the real beginning of the journey where they really did rewrite the rules and create the Led Zeppelin myth. 1 & 11 were likes odes to their influence. 111 onwards was the real deal. 111 to 1V to HOTH to PG and P - what a run. Not that there aren't some terrific tracks on 1 & 11. It's just that to me, the clear dividing line is with 111.

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On 3/9/2019 at 11:38 AM, Christopher Lees said:

Imagine this: Instead of Hats, Led Zeppelin III ends with OOTT [Out on the Tiles - my edit dpat]. That would have added some balance to side two. Side one could have ended with Hats, which would have been a welcome contrast to the heaviness of CD and SIBLY, which gets pretty heavy during the climax after the solo. If I could have had things my way, I think I would have ended side one with Hey Hey What Can I Do, and ended side two with OOTT.

That's very interesting!  Hats fits right after SIBLY, and Out on the Tiles follows nicely after Bron-yr-Aur Stomp.  Good job, Christopher!

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I believe John Mellencamp explained it best in his Dan Rather interview when he said you have to make music for yourself, if you make it to please the masses you are not a musician but a salesman with no artistic merit or integrity.

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7 hours ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

I believe John Mellencamp explained it best in his Dan Rather interview when he said you have to make music for yourself, if you make it to please the masses you are not a musician but a salesman with no artistic merit or integrity.

That sounds like a lot of arts fartsy baloney if you ask me. Totally self centered too. Pure ego. Music is made for other people to enjoy, otherwise you just sit there at home and play for yourself. And if you make music your profession, then you better be able to sell it and give the people what they want.

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Posted (edited)

I introduced myself to Zeppelin as a teenager in the 80's and I certainly didn't go in order of album release. It was probably more along the lines of All My Love (which I actually remember hearing as a kid when ITTOD was released), Stairway followed by the first album, IV, II, PG, HOTH, III or something like that. I know that III seemed strange to me at first and not entirely to my liking. Immigrant Song was cool enough. SIBLY of course was great. The acoustic material took a while to really distinguish itself and I couldn't figure out what the hell Hats Off to Roy Harper was supposed to be.

That said, with 30 years of perspective it's one of my favorite Zeppelin albums now and I think it may have benefited the most from the latest remastering/reissue campaign. The new vinyls sound fabulous.

Edited by LordStanley

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3 hours ago, Christopher Lees said:

That sounds like a lot of arts fartsy baloney if you ask me. Totally self centered too. Pure ego. Music is made for other people to enjoy, otherwise you just sit there at home and play for yourself. And if you make music your profession, then you better be able to sell it and give the people what they want.

Except sometimes the people don't know what they want until after you've given it to them. That's what the best artists like Zeppelin are able to achieve and what sets them apart from bands who just do what's expected of them.

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13 hours ago, PeaceFrogYum said:

I believe John Mellencamp explained it best in his Dan Rather interview when he said you have to make music for yourself, if you make it to please the masses you are not a musician but a salesman with no artistic merit or integrity.

Plant said exactly that in 1990 MTV rockumentary about Led Zeppelin III. He said people commented 'why kill a perfectly good career' and he said 'you make moves, musical twists and turns, to satisfy yourself, that's what has to come first'.

 

So I guess it's both telling the listener what to listen to and satisfying yourself, while thinking enough what the listener wants too.

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20 hours ago, Christopher Lees said:

That sounds like a lot of arts fartsy baloney if you ask me. Totally self centered too. Pure ego. Music is made for other people to enjoy, otherwise you just sit there at home and play for yourself. And if you make music your profession, then you better be able to sell it and give the people what they want.

Not really, simply the difference between mass produced vs. artisan. It's the same with any business. McDonalds is mass produced, exactly the same, you know exactly what to expect every time you go there. Yes they are a restaurant but they sure as hell ain't no bistro. Same with music or anything else.

That being said there is nothing wrong with an artist who only wants to please the fans (AC/DC, Boston, 80's hair bands etc.), good for them. However, they are not in the same artistic league as a Zeppelin, Yes, Rush, Queen, Pearl Jam, Phish etc. who care first and foremost about creating something different each time, damn the torpedoes. The difference between the two is artistic integrity, that place an artist finds themselves when they have to choose making and recording what THEY like over what the fans expect. Again, nothing wrong with either approach but going for creative expression over the easy money grab takes some serious balls IMO.

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On ‎3‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 2:30 AM, Christopher Lees said:

That sounds like a lot of arts fartsy baloney if you ask me. Totally self centered too. Pure ego. Music is made for other people to enjoy, otherwise you just sit there at home and play for yourself. And if you make music your profession, then you better be able to sell it and give the people what they want.

Load of bollocks that.

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On 3/14/2019 at 3:30 AM, Christopher Lees said:

That sounds like a lot of arts fartsy baloney if you ask me. Totally self centered too. Pure ego. Music is made for other people to enjoy, otherwise you just sit there at home and play for yourself. And if you make music your profession, then you better be able to sell it and give the people what they want.

You certainly do that just by listening to existing music in detail and aplying that, but you have to bring new things into music in all sorts of ways.

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Posted (edited)

It has been telling people for years that the secret of Led Zeppelin's success is raw talent and self indulgence. They never wrote music for anyone but themselves and they did exactly what they wanted to do live regardless of what anyone thought. None of them were worried about what the critics said or if people liked their music. of course, they wanted people to like them but they weren't going to pander to radio, overzealous producers, or fans just to get paid.

The most obvious evidence of this is Jimmy's bow solo. Another clue is Zeppelin III. It's an album that at first blush seems all over the place but once you get used to the eclectic nature of it you quickly begin to love it for what it is, an exercise in self indulgence. All of Zeppelin's albums were that but Zeppelin III and Presence are extreme in that regard and for that reason, a lot of people had a hard time with them right out of the box but as you listen to both more and more you begin to see their value. Zeppelin's albums are like a fine wine full of rich tastes and heady scents that only get better with age. 

PS. Physical Grafitti is also fairly extreme in its makeup and is related to III but songs like The Wanton Song, Kashmir, and TUF had an immediate impact on the general public and by then Zeppelin was already a household name due to Zeppelin IV so it went down much easier for the masses.

I'd like to add that Zeppelin III was really their first seminal album where it was all them for the most part in writing and music construction.

Edited by hummingbird69

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It's a a great album with it's own character.  I generally only find myself listening to "Since I've Been Loving You" from that album with any frequency, but, the second side with Tangerine and the other acoustic work is a great listen on a rainy day or just relaxing.

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