Yes, the classic, and probably the best, Led Zeppelin's fourth album was released on this day. It came out on November 8, 1971, following recording sessions running from December 1970 to February 1971. There are plenty of Led Zeppelin hits on there to pick at least one to listen to.
Some younger readers might be unsure which album this is, with good reason. Uniquely this was an album with no formal title or name, nor is there any text at all on the album cover. Not even a catalogue number. Each of the four band members had their own hand-drawn symbol which appeared together on the record label and inner sleeve.
It was guitarist Jimmy Page who set the tone for that extremely low-key styling. Page and the band battled with their record company, Atlantic, to issue it untitled, eventually winning their way. This, their fourth album, is usually referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, occasionally as Four Symbols or as the Fourth Album.
Their previous album Led Zeppelin III wasn't well received so the pressure was on for this one. The band put that behind them and this IV album broke a few trends and records when released. The band hadn’t previously used any named guest artists in their albums. This one had Sandy Denny on vocals and Ian Stewart on keyboards. It went on to become their highest-selling album, with over 37 million copies in the US alone. That's hardly surprising given the album featured quite a few classic tracks.
Classic Led Zeppelin song back in favour?
Any of those would be a great track to mark the release milestone after 52 years. “Stairway To Heaven” is almost a signature tune for the band although there is at least one dissenter to that. The song has hit the headlines again in the last few days.
It’s always been a live favourite when the band was touring. Not so much with lead singer Robert Plant though. He appeared to have tired of the song after performing it so often. He's even reported to have given $10,000 to an Oregon radio station, KBOO, to back their DJ pledge never to play the track again.
Plant had gone 16 years since singing it in public. That changed in late October when he performed it at a charity concert organised by former Duran Duran drummer Andy Taylor for The Cancer Platform. That's a long 16 year wait for Plant to sing it again.
It’s still a classic song for fans and Plant’s latest performance of it has given the charity some great publicity. The fourth album is a classic too. It regularly appears at the top end of greatest-ever album lists and deservedly so. Go on, give a track from it a birthday listen today.
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