Led Zeppelin’s Untitled fourth
studio album (Atlantic, 1971)
Unhappy with the critical reviews from their album, Led Zeppelin III, the English rock band’s guitarist Jimmy Page insisted on an untitled fourth album release. The cover didn’t even feature the band’s name, simply four sleeves to represent each member on
the inner sleeve.
This didn’t stop the album from becoming a critical and commercial success. (See? Page knew what he was doing.) Selling 37 million, it became one of the world’s best-selling albums. With a 23 times Platinum certification, this is the second best-selling album in the U.S.
The lead single, Black Dog reached #15 in the U.S. and #10 in Australia. The follow-up single was Rock and Roll. It only went to #47 in the U.S., but hit #13 in Germany and #14 in Spain. The album also contained Led Zeppelin’s iconic hits, Going to California (reportedly about Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell) and Stairway to Heaven (referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time). Stairway to Heaven was never officially released as a single in the U.S., yet the song was the most requested song on U.S. FM radio stations during the 70s decade.
With a length of 8 minutes and two seconds, Stairway to Heaven ranks as the 10th longest recorded song.
Led Zeppelin consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Bonham was found dead from asphyxiation from vomit on September 25, 1980. Out of respect, Led Zeppelin disbanded. Initially so upset by his friend’s death, Page refused to ever pick up another guitar. As a true musician, the siren call of music is difficult to ignore, and eventually Page did get back into music, serving as collaborator with bands, Led Zeppelin soundtrack work and some individual work as well. Page also became in volved with philanthropic endeavors for Task Brazil and Action for Brazil’s Children’s Trust. The philanthropic work earned Page an appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Right after Bonham’s death, Plant considered becoming a teacher. However, he ended up embarking on a solo career, reunited with Page during the latter part of the 80s and has formed four other bands since Led Zeppelin broke up. Jones went the collaboration route. His debut solo album, Zooma came out in September 1999. Most recently, he teamed up with Foo Fighters founder/vocalist Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age frontman/founder Josh Homme to form Them Crooked Vultures. Their debut album was released in November 2009.