The great philosopher Spinoza once proclaimed: “Posts about top 5/best of/worst of lists are like flatulence. Some people will enjoy the aroma of their own but will gag at the stench of others”- Alfie ‘Spinny’ Spinoza:- window cleaner, butcher, odd job man. Reasonable rates no jobs unconsidered.
This post concerns the mighty titan that is Led Zeppelin; a colossal band with an immense back catalogue.
However, there are some songs that the band has written that has not turned to gold (see what I did there?), In fact it seems that with all the bands I love, there are several songs (indeed several albums) that I do not like, I find boring, or are just plain shit. Such is life, not everything is going to be liked by everybody (just look at the traffic of this blog.)
So as Mick Jagger almost once sang: please allow me to fart in your general direction. (Original opening line to Sympathy for the Devil which was rejected for some reason)
(no links to the songs as I don’t want to subject myself to that crap again).
5. Hot Dog -In Through The Out Door (1979)
I never enjoyed this song when I first heard it and in the intervening 30-odd years it STILL hasn’t grown on me. I can’t really put my finger on why it’s not pleasant to my ears; maybe it’s the hokey rockabilly-country feel to it; the sloppy guitar playing from Page; the rushed ‘will-this’do?’ air of the track. It was especially galling that this song made the final album (which has some stone-cold classic tracks on there) when they released ‘Coda’ in 1982 (a collection of unreleased Led Zeppelin songs) and they had 3 tracks recorded at the same time as the ITTOD sessions and any one of those 3 tracks would have been better than the crap that is Hot Dog (in particular Wearing and Tearing which is fucking immense).
4. Hats Off To (Roy) Harper- Led Zeppelin 3 (1970)
Compared to the great songs that precedes this track (Immigrant Song, Celebration Day, Out on The Tiles, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Tangerine, Gallows Pole) this just leaves me cold. Again it seems kind of throwaway, just studio banter best left on the cutting floor (alongside Boogie With Stu from Physical Graffiti, which nearly made this list if I did a bottom 6.) A very disappointing end to a classic album.
3. D’Yer Mak’er – Houses of the Holy (1973)
The first of two songs from ‘Houses of the Holy’ which makes the Bottom 5 list (can you guess the other one?) Considering that HOTH was my second Led Zeppelin album I bought, and that it features some of the greatest songs LZ ever wrote (The Song Remains The Same, The Rain Song, No Quarter, The Ocean, Over The Hills And Far Away, Dancing Days) it’s astounding that there are two tracks on here that just rub my ears the wrong way. Again, to my mind (and ears) this seems another throwaway track, just some guys messing around in the studio and having a ‘we’re Led Zeppelin-we-can-do-reggae’ vibe. And HOTH is still one of my favourtie albums of theirs.
2. The Crunge- Houses of the Holy (1973)
It’s the synthesizer. It’s that damn synthesizer sound. It’s just horrible. The track is quite funky, the drumming sublime and the bass line is popping, the vocals are a little weak and whiny but I can get past that as the track moves along at a pace but then……that flatulent synth noise ruins everything.Without the synth, this track is not in the bottom 5: with the synth it makes it all the way up to number 2! Thanks JPJ!! I don’t recall hearing that synth noise again in a Led Zep song, maybe they threw it off that confounded bridge.
and now, my most loathed and disliked Led Zeppelin song:
1. Moby Dick- Led Zeppelin 2 (1969)
Cards on the table: I HATE drum solos. Loathe them. The only good thing about a drum solo at a gig is that you know you can go to the bar or the toilet and you won’t be missing a damn thing. I should also say that I hate guitar solos, bass solos, keyboard/synth solos if they are all unaccompanied. Nothing more than a ‘hey look at me jerk off’ moment by the player which adds nothing to the gig and waste 20-30 minutes when the band could have fit another 3-4 more songs in! (The last time I saw the Zappa Plays Zappa band they were guilty of this: a drum solo followed by a keyboard solo followed by a bass solo! 30 minutes I won’t be wanting to relive when my life flashes before my eyes)
I hate all drum solos. I’ve yet to meet a drum solo I like. So why record one in the studio and put it on an album? Can’t you just torture the people at concerts with these? Why upset the listener in their own home?
I love John Bonham’s drumming and there are dozens and dozens of examples of his drumming excellence in the Led Zeppelin catalogue (Kashmir, Achilles Last Stand, Immigrant Song to name but three) and so this is just a personal thing of mine; I hate drum solos (and unaccompanied solos) at concerts so why the fuck do I want to listen to a studio recording of one?
So, 5 songs out of a possible 85 studio recordings, of Led Zeppelin songs that I just don’t like. Which works out to 4.25%. Not a bad ratio is it? Especially when it’s compared to other bands, which is another post for another time………………………………. hopefully.