Led Zeppelin III
III is nominally the acoustic Led Zeppelin album, although that’s a touch misleading since only the second half is acoustic; the first side is much more eclectic, with a magnificent blues ballad and the weird string inflected ‘Friends’ nestled among some straight ahead rockers. If you’re expecting a nice acoustic album, opener ‘Immigrant Song’ explodes with a frenetic pace, a repetitive guitar and bass riff and Plant’s wails about Vikings.
‘Celebration Day’ and the relatively straightforward ‘Out On The Tiles’ are the other rock songs, and they’re also great. The blues ballad ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ is one of Led Zeppelin’s best moments, with an emotional vocal performance from Robert Plant and an effective solo from Jimmy Page. The acoustic side opens with ‘Gallows Pole’, a dark folk piece which is similar to the traditional material that Fairport Convention were exploring at the same time. Both Page and Plant were folk fans, citing Pentangle and the Incredible String Band as influences – Plant was even a member of a band named Hobbstweedle before joining Zeppelin. Page gets a sole writing credit with the gorgeous ‘Tangerine’, one of Zeppelin’s most pop oriented songs with close harmonies.
III ends less convincingly with the messy ‘Hats Off To (Roy) Harper’, but it was Led Zeppelin’s most interesting album yet; despite the mastery of another genre there was still more growth to come.