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Canadianzepper

In defense of Four Sticks. Yes, it can hang with Zeppelin IV

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The only song on the album I'd always skip, never felt it deserved to be on the album, always viewed it as a filler.

Having listened to it again, many years later, I've decided that the song gets the nod to be included.  The off beat timing, which somehow they pieced together as tight as they could, the baratone power riff which I never liked, now seems to have a more trance-like and unique quality.  JPJ's syntheizer work and most importantly, Bonhams little pitter pattering rhythm, produce enough of a creative invention to be on the album.  A reasonable send off at the end by Plant is superior to a precipitous conclusion.  Maybe more suited for Zeppelin III, but, it's fair enough for Zeppelin IV.

I won't press replay, but, I will at least indulge in it.

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Canadianzepper
grammar

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I've learned to appreciate it more over the years. It's actually quite a fascinating song that fits well with the hard rock/folk crossover that the third and fourth albums are based upon. I just wish Plant had ventured into some more poetic lyrics instead of the standard "Oh baby" stuff.

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7 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

I've learned to appreciate it more over the years. It's actually quite a fascinating song that fits well with the hard rock/folk crossover that the third and fourth albums are based upon. I just wish Plant had ventured into some more poetic lyrics instead of the standard "Oh baby" stuff.

Plant hits some really high notes in the song.  As in The Song Remains The Same, it seems a bit off to me.  Even more so when the riff is toned down, unlike TSRTS where Plant was trying to match the rapid fire highly tuned guitar work. 

As for the lyrics, not to undermine his effort, but I'm guessing it was haphazardly written with him placing more of a focus on hitting a wailing, Moroccan vocal imitation than in reproducing something lyrically memorable.

Considering some of Plants writing, some of the best in rock history, with and post-Zeppelin, he can be excused for not always having his A-game.  Hah.

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Interesting views, I always loved the song. Sure, the whole album is masterpiece, but I never saw FS as filler. I saw it as exotic hard rock with that dreamy, mysterious center section. I never understood why it wasn't played more live, the 71' Copenhagen version seemed to work pretty well.

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17 hours ago, Canadianzepper said:

 "but, it's fair enough for Zeppelin IV."

 

Fair enough? fair enough? You realize that immediately put you on the naughty list right? Coal for you my friend. Sorry 😳🎅😜

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1 hour ago, pageluvva said:

Fair enough? fair enough? You realize that immediately put you on the naughty list right? Coal for you my friend. Sorry 😳🎅😜

Hah.

I was being facetious of course.  Put it this way, it's a well orchestrated song, it will just never be one of my favourites.

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16 minutes ago, Canadianzepper said:

Hah.

I was being facetious of course.  Put it this way, it's a well orchestrated song, it will just never be one of my favourites.

Just having fun. I really like the tune but it will never be one of my faves either. Still beats Candy Store Rock. I really really do not like that tune. 

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4 hours ago, Canadianzepper said:

Hah.

I was being facetious of course.  Put it this way, it's a well orchestrated song, it will just never be one of my favourites.

I was never a huge fan of it until page/plant did it on their tours - now I love the song. To me it’s the perfect link from black mountain side to Kashmir. I like the version on the companion disc better than the finished product too. The riff seems more aggressively played by page. 

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Never thought it needed defending. Loved the trance-like qualities immediately upon hearing the song. It was a great segue from the hippie-funk of "Misty Mountain Hop" to the Laurel Canyon pastoral folk of "Going to California".

I wished they had given the song more of a chance in concert...at least in 1971-72 when Plant's voice could handle the song.

One of the pleasures of the 1995 Page/Plant tour was hearing "Four Sticks" with the orchestra background. It really added atmosphere to the song, even though Plant couldn't nail the high notes.

I rarely play side one of Led Zeppelin IV because radio has killed most of those songs for me. But I always play side 2. It puts me in a dream-state and "Four Sticks" is a major reason why.

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6 hours ago, Strider said:

Never thought it needed defending. Loved the trance-like qualities immediately upon hearing the song. It was a great segue from the hippie-funk of "Misty Mountain Hop" to the Laurel Canyon pastoral folk of "Going to California".

I wished they had given the song more of a chance in concert...at least in 1971-72 when Plant's voice could handle the song.

One of the pleasures of the 1995 Page/Plant tour was hearing "Four Sticks" with the orchestra background. It really added atmosphere to the song, even though Plant couldn't nail the high notes.

I rarely play side one of Led Zeppelin IV because radio has killed most of those songs for me. But I always play side 2. It puts me in a dream-state and "Four Sticks" is a major reason why.

Bingo! I love FS, a creatively amazing song with David Mamet meets David Lynch'esq feel. It's so damn different and mysterious.

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Love this song, it has an eerie feel to it, like they are reciting some kind of tribal chant or spell, a very free and wild sounding song. For me I would eject "Misty Mountian Hop" from the album. A good enough b-side perhaps, but just kills the momentum of the album for me. The album has a very mystic feel to it, and Mountian Hop is like a parody of those themes. Doesn't fit in nicely with the rest of the record.

Edited by Tremelo

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Upon first listening to IV in 1971, R&R, TBOE, and Four Sticks were my favorites.

I particularly enjoy Four Sticks with (good) headphones on.

 

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In my opinion, every single song on every Led Zeppelin album is correctly set.

I was lucky enough to listen 'Four Sticks' (twice) by Robert Plant in Buenos Aires in 2012.

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Rediscovered it in a whole new way after seeing Page & Plant in mid 90s live along with repetitive viewings of the No Quarter / Unledded.

R😎

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Fascinating insights and opinions on this song! For me, Four Sticks was always a so-so song sandwiched in between two great tunes, Misty and GTC. Fast forward 30 years and I have a greater appreciation for it. The vocals are awesome especially at the end. With good headphones on I get this image of Morroco or India or somewhere out there with these big hills or mountains, and the mysterious voice just echoing poignantly through the valley. I'm in a band and we cover this tune. It's a lot of fun to play and it sounds great live and loud. It's definitely a unique song, and while it may not be Zeppelin's best, it is still Zeppelin. We can't overlook these tunes and still understand Zeppelin as a whole. Fact is, this tune, Candy Store Rock, Carouselambra, Hot Dog and others are Zeppelin tunes and make up the reality that is Led Zeppelin. They liked these songs enough to put them on the albums! Also, Four Sticks has this sound of controlled chaos which is a nice contrast to the serene GTC. Zeppelin liked to arrange their songs according to contrast for dramatic effect, and it worked.

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On 12/24/2019 at 2:05 AM, pluribus said:

And Davy Graham inspired Four Sticks...

https://youtu.be/qaamD4-VvUI

Yeah i don't know about that...with some inspirations its interesting to hear the changes and with this one the changes mean a lot. 

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Well that middle section( both "departures) has always sounded to me like Zep got lost in some magical very dense forest,

and Plant is the main "mystical" traveler. Totally subjective impression of the mellower part of the song. Whatever your interpretation, the song doesn't sound like anything else before or after, very creative.

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They totally deaden the feel of said riff there and add drums and full band effect and make a song from said spark there....if that is the fucking case.

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I feel that for such an album like the Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV) album, Four sticks sticks out. I love the song and think it’s interesting with Bonham’s literal use of four sticks, however the track is easily overshadowed by more innovative and unique tracks like “When the Levee Breaks” or “Misty Mountain Hop”. I personally like Four Sticks more than Rock and Roll. 

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Always loved Four Sticks, and completely agree with the nods to the Page Plant versions.  The Egyptian orchestra was a revelation on that, along of course with the late great Michael Lee.  And iirc there’s a nice moment in the “No Quarter” material where Robert mentions the guy who originally wielded the four sticks...

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Four Sticks is probably my favorite song on the album, it's both moody and powerful.  it's like the evolution of Friends meets the Immigrant song...I love that shit.

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