Led Zeppelin: Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica); Jimmy Page (acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, background vocals); John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards, background vocals); John Bonham (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Ian Stewart (piano).
Recorded at Headley Grave, Hampshire, England; Olympic Studios and Islan, London, England; Stargroves, England between 1972 & 1974.
Personnel: Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica); Jimmy Page (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Ian Stewart (piano); John Paul Jones (Mellotron, keyboards); John Bonham (drums).
Audio Mixers: Eddie Kramer; Keith Harwood.
Audio Remasterers: George Marino; Jimmy Page.
Recording information: Electric Ladyland Studio, New York, NY (1970-1974); Headley Grange, Hampshire, England (1970-1974); Island Studios, London, England (1970-1974); Olympic Studios, London, England (1970-1974); Stargroves, Hampshire, England (1970-1974); Stargroves, Newbury, Berkshire, England (1970-1974).
Illustrator: Dave Heffernan.
Photographers: Elliot Erwitt; B.P. Fallon; Roy Harper.
After a two-year recording gap (the longest in their recording career up to that point), Led Zeppelin followed the rampant eclecticism of HOUSES OF THE HOLY with the embarrassment of riches that is PHYSICAL GRAFFITI. One could be forgiven for thinking of this expansive double-length set as Zeppelin's WHITE ALBUM. It's a great schizophrenic beast, the first side containing the most concentrated dose of pure hard-rock energy the band had delivered since their first two albums, and the second showing off the more subtle nuances of their talent.
This is really Jimmy Page's album, from the masterfully moody Eastern setting of "Kashmir" to the poignant liquidity of "Down by the Seaside" and the furious riffing of "Trampled Under Foot." The 1950s-style rocker "Boogie with Stu" (featuring Stones pianist Ian Stewart) and the rural romp "Bron-Yr-Aur" add yet more colors to the spectrum of what may be the most emotionally satisfying album in the Led Zeppelin canon.
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.114) - Ranked #70 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "...One of the heaviest records of the 1970s..."
Q (p.106) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he benchmark by which all rock double albums should be judged."
Q (6/00, p.74) - Ranked #32 in Q's "100 Greatest British Albums"
Q (7/01, p.87) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time".
Q (11/94, p.143) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...a double that warranted its four-side excess with arresting experimentation and spot-on refamiliarisation..."
To summerise a band, that has done so much with and to music under one heading, is to say "Physical Graffiti". The album gives the listener the biggest window you can see through to analyse this very capable group of super musicians. We the listeners are a very fortunate lot. You can almost say it was supposed to happen. The seventies lifted the bench mark in music, Zep. drove the bus. Where has that bench mark gone???????
This album displays some stylistic variations that are at least somewhat interesting, with Boogie With Stu etc., but there are also patches where it gets a little dull.
Then you get the great parts, like Houses Of The Holy through to Kashmir, which is enough to earn this a 4, I think, even if I would be less likely to grab the second part of this set than the first, as something to listen to.
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