Described by Rolling Stone’s Jim Miller as “the band’s Tommy, Beggars Banquet and Sgt Pepper rolled into one”, Led Zeppelin’s sixth album was their first release on their self-established Swan Song label, and the first album in history to go platinum on advance orders alone.
This prodigious double-album was an inventive mix of heavy blues, soul, folk, psych, acoustic and their trademark bludgeoning rock. It demonstrated a freedom born of success and, for many, was seen as Led Zeppelin’s best work. While the enthusiasm and expertise of this film’s contributors – including Ron Nevison, Physical Graffiti engineer during the recording sessions at Headley Grange, and former Yardbird Chris Dreja – makes for engaging viewing, at times this DVD becomes rather too reliant on them and there is, perhaps due to lack of availability, very little in terms of original LZ footage.
Nonetheless, the result, which is more of a dialogue than a documentary, does give a thorough track-by-track discussion of the album and an interesting look at its background and influences.
The bonus material is a little disappointing, and Nevison’s comparison of Graffiti with Quadrophenia doesn’t quite work. A worthwhile main feature, but perhaps it would work better as an audio.