The acknowledged classic in their catalog, "Zoso" is also the album in which Robert Plant's mystical concerns took center stage on The Battle of Evermore; Stairway to Heaven , and the lighthearted Misty Mountain Hop . But Stairway aside, the album's real highlight is the downright scary When the Levee Breaks ; blues-rock never got better than this. From 1971.
Also known as the "rune" album because of the medieval symbols adorning its cover, Led Zeppelin's fourth album, released in 1971, turned them from mere superstars into giant behemoths of the rock world. On tracks like "Black Dog", "Misty Mountain Hop", and "Rock and Roll", the combination of Robert Plant's banshee wails and Jimmy Page's frenetic guitar playing forever altered the stylistic bent of hard rock music. And the foreboding "When the Levee Breaks" demonstrated that Zeppelin could indeed play the blues fairly straight if they so desired. Still, everything here ultimately took a back seat to the album's (and, ultimately, the band's) magnum opus--the expertly constructed and deftly executed classic, "Stairway to Heaven". --Billy Altman