Led Zeppelin’s IV is a rewarding combination of face melting solo’s, the all too familiar wails of Mr Plant, flawless drumming and the impeccable bass lines of a bass demon. Combining various different influences with the skill of these players, this album tied together to eventuate into the legendary status that many hold high. Recorded and written from December 1970- November 1971 this album has been used as an inspiration for many other musicians when creating their own work. But what inspired this legendary group to create this album? Consisting of Robert Plant on vocals, Jimmy Page with lead guitar, John Paul Jones on bass guitar and John Bonham on drums this band has fortified itself as one of the greatest Rock and Roll bands of all time. The creation of the album ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ reinforces this idea.
There was a lot of pressure placed upon Led Zeppelin about this album due to the commercial success of their first two albums ‘Led Zeppelin I’ and ‘Led Zeppelin II’. This combined with the large rise in popularity and contention with The Beatles placed a large weight on the shoulders of these four musicians. Due to this pressure the band manager of the time pushed the band to create the best album yet and to not let the disappointment in sales (in comparison to other albums) that their previous album (Led Zeppelin III) had made.
The choice of album cover has been seen in the music industry as a gamble that ultimately payed off. The cover consists of an old man carrying a bundle of sticks on his back, whereas the inside only had 4 symbols and some lyrics from ‘Stairway To Heaven”. This was to contend with the allegations that Zeppelin’s success in previous albums had been just hype. By not even putting the bands own name on the album this helped show the ‘haters’ of the time that it was from the bands musical talent. This shows the close contact that this band with its fans and the general populace and how they inspired the band to achieve better.
The overall genre of the album is mirrored to Led Zeppelin’s style in a sense that they are one of the most versatile bands to have existed to date. Being able to draw inspiration and play so many different styles is no doubt one of the key reasons the band was so successful.
“The melodic tension between Robert's singing and Jimmy's guitar, same scale….completely different things are going on in there, one pulls this way the other that way- the outcome a dynamic sound.
Also the different musical tastes of each member, like blues to psychocadelic (sic) west coast rock, soul and R&B.” (Solero, P 2008).
By the time this album was being recorded, each member of this foursome had drawn their overall playing style from various different childhood inspirations and their fellow band mates. Robert Plant’s inspirations draw from early American jazz and blues.
“Plant's love of American music dates to his teens, when he and a generation of British rockers found in the blues a soul and sensuality...