Monday, November 26, 2012

149 Houses of the Holy. An old Friend

Album: Houses of the Holy
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Year: 1973
Genre: Rock


  1. The Song Remains the Same
  2. The Rain Song
  3. Over the Hills and Far Away
  4. The Crunge
  5. Dancing Days
  6. D'yer Mak'er
  7. No Quarter
  8. The Ocean

They say you never forget your first love. My first girlfriend used to say that often and old what's-her-name had a point.

When I was growing up I didn't have a huge amount of access to new music so I tended to rely on other people and that old standby, copying tapes that other people leant me (remember back when piracy happened in real time?). The first time I really struck out on my own was when I decided it might be worth giving this Led Zeppelin band I'd heard of a try. I remember getting my hands on their music and giving them a listen in the hope that I would find them mildly diverting. 

Massively diverting- that's how I found them. They totally detoured me into a realm I'd never heard before. All of a sudden music wasn't background noise it was something to be treasured, adored and shouted at a silly volume while leaping about air guitaring in a foolish manner. 

I quickly got my hands on all the Led Zep I could find and made the mistake of listening to their entire catalogue in order from start to finish which was a huge mistake because their career does peak fairly early and fall away a bit. After the massive high that was their untitled fourth album, Zeppelin decided to try and go in a different direction rather than simply top what was immediately declared their masterpiece.

House of the Holy isn't just a new direction for Led Zeppelin it's an album of new directions. D'Yer Maker sees them toying with reggae, The Crunge has them playing with Funk, The Rain Song is their first ballad, No Quarter is from a land all of itself and Dancing Days was an experiment with music that sounds truly awful. If you pick it up expecting Rock and Roll you're in a for a disappointment but that's not to say it isn't fantastic. Anything Jimmy Page touched at this stage in his career was fascinating and Robert Plant was (and is) one of the greatest vocalists ever to howl into a microphone. Bonham's drumming is outstanding and the ventures into unexplored territory are generally successful.

Houses of the Holy is definitely a step down from their early highpoints and their last great album but listening to it all the way through for the first time in years I can see why I used to devour it as a late teenager and I understand why it moved me the way it did.

Influenced by: The Blues and folk
Influenced: Metal

Highlight: The Rain Song
Lowlight: Dancing Days

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Hi everyone, just to add to Zeps long list of rip offs, the riff to The Ocean is taken from an old medieval tune, Dum Pater Familias."

-It's everyone's new favourite hobby: spot Page's plagarism.

So is this a house you'd like to live in or not? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that Led Zeppelin peaked early, but I think it's partially because their career was so short.. I'd personally say that everything up till Physical Graffiti is a classic, and my main issue with Physical Graffiti is that it's too long and wasn't pared down quite enough, so it has some junk songs on it. Even Presence is still a passable album in my eyes.