SYMBOL OF THE AGE
In 1971 when Led Zeppelin came to record IV, they survived a crisis of confidence - and realised there was still time to change tack. Forty years later, Dave Lewis relates the saga of what became the biggest selling album of their career
For an album that began life after the band had endured a crisis of confidence, Led Zeppelin’s fourth LP, issued 40 years ago last month, did pretty well for itself.
Worldwide sales to date add up to 32 million and counting. In the US alone, it has been confirmed as 23 times Platinum, making it the fourth best-selling album in the States. These colossal figures vividly illustrate the fact that Led Zeppelin IV is the most accessible album in their catalogue and attracts new listeners daily. Few albums rival its influence. The fact that much of the album was made in a mysterious, run-down 18th-century workhouse in the middle of rural Hampshire only adds to its legacy.
In December 1971, Led Zeppelin IV was riding high on both the UK and US charts. Forty years on, it occupies a special place as the people’s Led Zeppelin album, an collection filed alongside Rumours, Bat Out Of Hell and The Dark Side Of The Moon as a must-have album for a broad range of fans. By virtue of the inclusion of Stairway To Heaven, it’s also the Zep LP that has introduced a multitude of listeners to the delights of the band, leading fans to the entire Zep catalogue.
However, Led Zeppelin IV’s origins can be traced to a time of uncertainty within the band about their standing in the rock landscape. To paraphrase a line from Stairway – …
by Dave Lewis
<< Back to Issue 396
You might also like:
- BOOK REVIEW: Trampled Under Foot: The Power And Excess Of Led Zeppelin by Barney Hoskyns
- LETTER: Holy Artefact
- LETTER: Iv Your Information
- BOOK REVIEW: Led Zeppelin: Feather In The Wind - Over Europe 1980 by Dave Lewis
- DVD REVIEW: Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti – An Album Under Review by Led Zeppelin
- ARTICLE: Presence
- BOOK REVIEW: Sonic Boom: The Impact Of Led Zeppelin – Volume 1: Break & Enter by Frank Reddon
- ARTICLE: THE BIG BANG
- ARTICLE: The making of Led Zeppelin III
- ALBUM REVIEW: The Song Remains The Same by Led Zeppelin
- DVD REVIEW: The Song Remains The Same (Special Edition) by Led Zeppelin
- BOOK REVIEW: The Sunbeam Guide To Led Zeppelin by Richard Morton Jack
- BOOK REVIEW: Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 by Dave Lewis
- BOOK REVIEW: Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: The Illustrated History Of The Heaviest Band Of All Time by Jon Bream (Ed)
- ARTICLE: WHOLE LOTTA LED!
- ALBUM REVIEW: Your Time Is Gonna Come: The Roots Of Led Zeppelin 1964-69 by Various Artists
- LETTER: Zep First Press