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danelectro59

Achilles Last Stand

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Before I start, let me slip into my Nomex undies because i'm sure to get flamed.

Most of the polls i've seen around here about LZ's greatest songs usually include ALS and I have a tough time with it. I just don't think it's one of their better songs. Sorry, but to me it's gets boring and I wouldn't even list it in my Top 20 of their library. Even on Presence, which I think is one of their better albums, i would listen to Hots On, NFBM or Royal Orleans long before Achilles. In fact, i can remember skipping over the song to get to FYL and RO back when it was a new record.

Geez, I know i'm committing a felony here, but I got to get it out.

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Achilles is fast, epic, and includes Jimmy's best solo. No, I didn't say "one of the best." The best.

It also has an awesome galloping bassline from Jones, something you don't hear often.

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Geez, I know i'm committing a felony here, but I got to get it out.

Dont move, this is the Police, for you I have a "message in a bottle",

YOUR NICKED.

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My incendiary device is being serviced at this time,but I wouldn't need it.Interesting question.

My take,in no particular order...

The song begins and ends with the same guitar theme.Extreme cool.

JPJ, such a heavy,chugging force on bass.

JHB,finesse drumming,while also beating the holy shit out of his kit.

RP,great lyrical imagery,as well as vocal range.

JP,suberb guitar,how the last solo overlays play off each other,then resolve.

To me,ALS is to Presence what STH is to IV,Kashmir to Physical Grafitti.

(Hmm..Mr. Clark,the kids might not be able to dance to it to keen,but it's got a good rhythm and a good beat...I'll give it a 99.)

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Achilles is fast, epic, and includes Jimmy's best solo. No, I didn't say "one of the best." The best.

It also has an awesome galloping bassline from Jones, something you don't hear often.

All of what you said yes and then I ad the drums, the ascending and descending guitars, the guitar -vocal interplay squawk near the end , all the layered riffs and mini solos, hell the lyrics too !! I am probably forgetting something but ALS is the song that touches me most. Absolute natural high every time !! To me and we all no about those darn opinions... this track is the finest Zeppelin track and the finest rock track of all time !!! Must be played loud !!!!!!!

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My incendiary device is being serviced at this time,but I wouldn't need it.Interesting question.

My take,in no particular order...

The song begins and ends with the same guitar theme.Extreme cool.

JPJ, such a heavy,chugging force on bass.

JHB,finesse drumming,while also beating the holy shit out of his kit.

RP,great lyrical imagery,as well as vocal range.

JP,suberb guitar,how the last solo overlays play off each other,then resolve.

To me,ALS is to Presence what STH is to IV,Kashmir to Physical Grafitti.

(Hmm..Mr. Clark,the kids might not be able to dance to it to keen,but it's got a good rhythm and a good beat...I'll give it a 99.)

all good points, Jabe.

But how many times did LZ amaze us with their musical genius?

There are too many songs that did just what you said.

I'm not going to name them all, because it's just about all of them.

I will say that Jimmy did point out that it was one of the most challenging songs they ever did, but it still does nothing for me.

And btw, I don't consider STH their best either.

So sue me, i'm different

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all good points, Jabe.

But how many times did LZ amaze us with their musical genius?

There are too many songs that did just what you said.

I'm not going to name them all, because it's just about all of them.

I will say that Jimmy did point out that it was one of the most challenging songs they ever did, but it still does nothing for me.

And btw, I don't consider STH their best either.

So sue me, i'm different

Most Zeppelin fans don't [consider STH the best] either. You're not alone.

I simply thing The Rain Song and ALS are tied as Zeppelin's best songs. STH is too boring for me. Kashmir kind of seems like an "ode to forever" and wanders around aimlessly.

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Most Zeppelin fans don't [consider STH the best] either. You're not alone.

I simply thing The Rain Song and ALS are tied as Zeppelin's best songs. STH is too boring for me. Kashmir kind of seems like an "ode to forever" and wanders around aimlessly.

See, we agree to disagree. I think Kashmir is pure brilliance and one of the best. I can listen to it anytime, anywhere. The Rain Song as well.

FYI, i did just listen to the entire studio version of Achilles, and again, the same, nothing.

Brilliant musicianship? Yes, it is. But we know they were/are still capable of that. Imo, the song bores me. If it were shorter, I may not feel this way.

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See, we agree to disagree. I think Kashmir is pure brilliance and one of the best. I can listen to it anytime, anywhere. The Rain Song as well.

FYI, i did just listen to the entire studio version of Achilles, and again, the same, nothing.

Brilliant musicianship? Yes, it is. But we know they were/are still capable of that. Imo, the song bores me. If it were shorter, I may not feel this way.

Strange. Kashmir is eight minutes of the same few movements. It's pretty boring to me. While Achilles is fast, progressive, and unpredictable.

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You know, I really like it, as well as Kashmir, but I also would also it is an overstatement to say Zep's best or even in the top 10. A great song yes the same can be said for Kashmir but reall I think that it is just a major overstatement.

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Most Zeppelin fans don't [consider STH the best] either. You're not alone.

I simply thing The Rain Song and ALS are tied as Zeppelin's best songs. STH is too boring for me. Kashmir kind of seems like an "ode to forever" and wanders around aimlessly.

Strange. Kashmir is eight minutes of the same few movements. It's pretty boring to me. While Achilles is fast, progressive, and unpredictable.

There are better songs than both The Rain Song or ALS...Stairway is still epic[not the greatest, but epic], ALS kinda does get predictive after the first solo, and Kashmir is a statement that made Physical Graffiti, and where did this "ode to forever" bullshit come from?

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There are better songs than both The Rain Song or ALS...Stairway is still epic[not the greatest, but epic], ALS kinda does get predictive after the first solo, and Kashmir is a statement that made Physical Graffiti, and where did this "ode to forever" bullshit come from?

for me, ALS used to be a good song, in the last few years, imho, now i realise, (with the aid of a good quality playback system), the song in a masterpiece.

the song, being so long, always grips me, and i dont find it indulgent, the phaser guitar parts always seem to climb, the solo (im my opinion) is possibly the best electric guitar solo of all time, the six verses are always rivetting, the added guitar refrains jsut add to it, the

"mightly arms of atlas...hold the heaven from the earth" refrain, which occurs twice, is slightly different the 2nd time round, the second time there is yet another phaser guitar effect which adds to the constant yearning and relentless climbing i find in the song. i've realised that there are many many parts to this song, should you not be to fond of the song, may i suggest you play the song on a good stereo system or a good set of headphones, very loudly...

the song is massive, add the various odd time signatures, the vari speed, the production and you have zeppelin at their most untouchable.

bands have had multi platinum careers by picking off this carcass that is ALS

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There are better songs than both The Rain Song or ALS...Stairway is still epic[not the greatest, but epic], ALS kinda does get predictive after the first solo, and Kashmir is a statement that made Physical Graffiti, and where did this "ode to forever" bullshit come from?

Probably the same place as predictive?

Four posts so far, and you've been pretty rude in two of them. Just thought I'd mention it. :D

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Are you crazy! ALS is so wonderful! Wonderful guitar solo there. Fast driven drums, very heavy bass, moving vocals.

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This is just a repost of something I wrote on ALS a good while ago on the old forums. I didn't say anything about Jonesy's great bass playing, or on the lyrics, both of which certainly merit discussion, but anyway, here goes.

That whole album, Presence was done very quickly, in three weeks, that is - the whole thing - and, under quite unusual circumstances. Robert Plant was in a wheelchair, injured as he was after a bad car accident (with his family). It was still not entirely clear how he would heal. At one point, Robert was really into it - and he fell off that chair. He later said that he’d never seen Jimmy move so quickly. That incident to me really captures an important aspect of the album as a whole, and of Achilles Last Stand in particular. The words that come to my mind when describing the music on that album are anxiety or unease; it’s extremely frantic, and sounds a bit raw. And yet, in fact, it’s very accomplished.

ALS is the first track on Presence, of course, and it starts out with two big, mysteriously sounding chords on electric guitar, picked note for note, in an ascending - descending, ascending - descending pattern, and gradually building in volume; once it’s become loud, Jimmy changes the later notes on the ascending part, and then partially strums that chord at the higher end; the chord fades shortly, and then all the instruments suddenly come in, with the rhythm section building a furious tempo, and Jimmy playing in a melancholic E minor. Robert then comes on, in a pattern of almost talking, then singing out some five higher notes...

The mood is set, mysterious, tense, frantic; and it builds from there, with several sections, yet strongly cohesive. Bonzo’s drums are very instrumental in creating that atmosphere, the fills on the drums are absolutely amazing, indeed, one of them (early in the song) truly does sound “almost humanly impossible”, as Dave Grohl put it recently.

But the song is not simply played live. There are like a dozen dubbed guitar parts, forming an orchestrated, layered, moving sculpture of sound - if you’ll pardon my using such a metaphor: but Jimmy really is something of a musical painter. His solo is on the song is bluesy, melancholical, with short silences separating flurries of notes building strange patterns - some of them almost like a man stuttering. It’s one of his absolute best (and he thinks so himself).

Robert’s vocal performance is absolutely fantastic. In one of the sections of the song, the guitar almost disappears behind the rhythm section and he starts to sing a repeated pattern of ascending notes, and then a repeated pattern of descending ones; the ascending part maybe slightly reminiscent of the wail of Immigrant Song, but this whole idea mirrors or suggests the opening guitar chords - which do get repeated at the end, and bring the track full circle, closing it off. This time of course the volume fades out.

It’s an extraordinary creation. It’s Rock & Roll at it’s most fierce, but has the quality of musical composition, of fine art, of a self-contained universe; sad, but you wish it’d never stop.

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Achilles Last Stand is simply one of the best Rock n Roll Songs ever for me.

"I'll tell you about doing all the guitar overdubs to "Achilles Last Stand." There were basically two sections to the song when we rehearsed it. I know John Paul Jones didn't think I could succeed in what I was attempting to do. He said I couldn't do a scale over a certain section, that it just wouldn't work. But it did. What I planned to try and get that epic quality into it so it wouldn't just sound like two sections repeated, was to give the piece a totally new identity by orchestrating the guitars, which is something I've been into for quite some time. I knew it had to be jolly good, because the number was so long it just couldn't afford to be half-baked. It was all down to me how to do this. I had a lot of it mapped out in my mind, anyway, but to make a long story short, I did all the overdubs in one night ... I thought as far as I can value tying up that kind of emotion as a package and trying to convey it through two speakers, it was fairly successful."

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John Bonham. His finest moment. Possibly the single greatest rock & roll drum track ever recorded. Maybe you didn't notice

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There's not much more I can add to the defense of ALS than what's already been posted, but I will just say that to call it a "song" does it a complete disservice. It is an epic in every sense of the word! Grand, majestic, experimental, unpredictable, with master performances from all 4. And Jimmy's guitar work and arrangement, pure genius. It's not to everyone's taste, that's fine, but it looks like there are far more "yays" than "nays" here.

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[b ] i think ALS is the best son the band ever wrote and i think it's easily one of the top 10 songs of all time.led zep's performance at knebworth was the best live performance live by a rock band ever.listen to the guitar,vocals,booming bass lines,and bonzos shotgun blasts on the drums if you think i'm wrong.if i were any a band,everytime i played a song i would stretch myself to try and play 1/4 the level they played that song at.it's just a thing of beauty plain and simple!!!

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There's not much more I can add to the defense of ALS than what's already been posted, but I will just say that to call it a "song" does it a complete disservice. It is an epic in every sense of the word! Grand, majestic, experimental, unpredictable, with master performances from all 4. And Jimmy's guitar work and arrangement, pure genius. It's not to everyone's taste, that's fine, but it looks like there are far more "yays" than "nays" here.

Yay. :yesnod:

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It is all there. The power, the glory, the hammer of the gods, the energy, sledghammering away, moaning, groaning, screaming, over the topness, shreds of the beginning of heavy metal that would later become Metallica and the like, where Barracuda came from, staggering, skittering, flamboyant, the YEAH!! of it, bashing, cymbal crashing epic masterpiece that noone has come close to approaching. Whew, 9 minutes plus of unadultered pure in your face rock and fucking roll, quietly slipping to the end.

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....and the kneboworth version isn't too bad, either !

for me, the best song played live ever by the band imho.

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....and the kneboworth version isn't too bad, either !

for me, the best song played live ever by the band imho.

[iIRC]...

A few months back, the documentary "The House that Ahmet built" was shown on PBS. During the Zeppelin-era of the program, Robert and Ahmet are talking while they are watching clips of ALS at Knebworth (really intense segments of the song). Robert mentions to Ahmet that a girlfriend was watching the concert on TV when he got up to leave for a minute. She stopped him saying, "Don't you leave me alone with that music!". Smiling, Robert nudges Ahmet and says "What a really great line, huh?". [/iIRC]

She knew there was something visceral/primal about that recording.

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The Knebworth version most people have heard is pretty touched-up, though. The best performances were from the Tour Over Europe and some from 1977.

That's logical, because (apart from Knebworth and the Copenhagen warm-ups) they only played the song on these two tours. :D

Edited by Otto Masson

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