If you’re getting up in years and still like to party, The Villages may be the place for you. It seems a week doesn’t go by without some sort of disturbance in the area, most of them involving elderly residents, golf carts and nudity. Yup, it’s party central. Take the latest example of debauchery… A woman was arrested after police say they found her with her pants down and peeing in the bushes ouside a church. Cops say they came upon 37-year-old Katie Nicole Cooey after they discovered a crashed Dodge Charger in the parking lot of a local church. Investigators found car parts scattered across the roadway shortly before discovering the woman. Police say the woman was found crouching in the bushes, urinating and trying to keep her balance. During the investigation, police say the woman asked the officer if he wanted to see her underwear. The woman also charged at the officer a few times, according to the report. The suspect was arrested and charged with exposure of sexual organs and disorderly conduct. She was released after posting $3,500 for bail. Source: Villages-News.com
The Best 50 RUSH Songs
Rush: Their 50 Greatest Songs, Ranked
Rush's final LP, ‘Clockwork Angels,’ was a complex concept album. It saw them experimenting with a string section (which they’d take on the road for the tour: it marked the first and only time they were ever accompanied by extra musicians). And on the ‘Clockwork Angels’ tour, they played a good chunk of songs from this album, to the delight of fans, who were still invested in the band’s new music, nearly four decades after their debut. “The Wreckers” was one of the most arena-ready songs from the album.
Rush doesn’t get a lot of credit for their sense of humor, and based on their songs, it’s not hard to see why that would be the case: most of their songs just aren’t funny, or even lighthearted. An early exception to the rule was this obscure jam from their third album. “I Think I’m Going Bald,” recorded while the band was relatively young and Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart were all in their twenties, poked fun at aging. But when Lee roared, “But even when I am gray/I’ll still be gray my way!” it was prophetic. They called the shots up to their final bow.
Neil Peart has always been able to set a scene, and that’s certainly true on this ‘Clockwork Angels’ jam: “A man could lose his life, in a country like this/Sunblind and friendless/Frozen and endless/And the nights grow longer, the farther I go/Wake to aching cold, and a deep Sahara of snow.”
The studio version of “In The End” from 1975’s ‘Fly By Night,’ is great but this was really meant to be played live. When the intro fades out at about 1:50 into the song and Lee whispers, “one, two, buckle my shoe!” (another rare glimpse into their sense of humor!) and then Lifeson enters with his killer guitar riff, you have to imagine lighters filling the theater.
“By-Tor And the Snow Dog,” from the previous album, ‘Fly By Night,’ saw the band moving into proggy territory: it was a four part Tolkien-esque tale of good vs. evil. ‘Caress Of Steel’ went even farther: “The Fountain of Lamneth” was six chapters, 20 minutes long and took up all of side two. What was it about? It’s kind of tough to say, but band members did admit to smoking a lot during the making of the album.
Rush was never the “MTV Unplugged” guys: they didn’t generally do the “stripped down” thing. One exception was the live version of “Resist,” which featured Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson strapping on acoustic guitars to accompany Geddy’s voice. Neil wasn’t part of the performance, but his lyrics were: “I can learn to persist with anything but aiming low/I can learn to close my eyes to anything but injustice.”
Another Tolkien-y, multi-part prog-rock jam from ‘Caress of Steel,’ this one is a bit shorter than “The Necromancer,” though. Coming in at a tight three chapters and at just twelve and a half minutes, it’s actually a bit reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” another epic tale of travellers in dangerous lands.
A song that has made its way into a number of setlists over the years, and the performance always looks cool: the song lends itself to dry ice and weird lighting. But the studio version, drenched with Lee’s synthesizers and Peart’s electronic drums, is still the best take on the song.
Rush took a long hiatus in the late ‘90s; in fact, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the band would ever work together again. Neil Peart lost his daughter (in a tragic car accident) and his wife (to cancer) within months of each other, and wasn’t sure he’d ever return to playing drums, much less being in a band. He went on a long motorcycle trip that took him from Alaska to Belize (which he documented in his book, also called ‘Ghost Rider’). This song was obviously inspired by that journey. “Pack up all those phantoms/Shoulder that invisible load/Keep on riding north and west/Haunting that wilderness road/Like a ghost rider.”
One of Rush’s sweetest and most wistful songs, it was written by Peart about a park where he spent time as a teenager.
A rocker written solely by Geddy Lee, the band played this one regularly on their first tour, before Peart joined the band. It wasn’t just Peart’s drumming, but his lyrics that drove the band to greater heights, but it’s fun to listen to their early jams when they were still heavily in the throes of Zeppelin, Cream and Hendrix.
The original Rush at their bluesiest, this slow jam extended past seven minutes and, like many other songs from the era, had a huge Zep influence.
Rush’s first foray into multi-part epics, “By-Tor And The Snow Dog” was made up of four movements, but one of them had four of *its own* sub-movements! That’s right: there was I: “At the Tobes Of Hades,” II: “Across the Styx,” III: “Of The Battle,” which was split into i: “Challenge and Defiance,” ii: “7/4 War Furor,” iii: “Aftermath” and iv: “Hymn of Triumph,” before wrapping with IV: “Epilogue.” Whew! And that’s how you feel after the eight and a half minute epic. Fun fact: they got the name from two dogs owned by Rush's manager Ray Danniels (who was their manager up until the very end), which their lighting man Howard Ungerleider named “Biter” and “Snow Dog.”
For years, “In The Mood” was the only song from ‘Rush’ that made the setlist, and even in the ‘80s it must have seemed ancient. “Hey, baby, it’s a quarter to eight, I feel I’m in the mood/Hey baby, the hour is late/I feel I’ve got to move!” Ok, Geddy Lee as a lyricist is no Neil Peart, but how many party jams did Neil write?
In the ‘80s, Rush tended to lean heavily on Geddy Lee’s keyboards and synthesizers, sometimes at the expense of Alex Lifeson’s guitars, but here both instruments shine, particularly on Lifeson’s amazing solo.
For “Force Ten,” Neil Peart reconnected with Pye Dubois, with whom he co-wrote the lyrics to “Tom Sawyer.” One of the best songs from the 1987 album ‘Hold Your Fire,’ it was always better live.
The first lyrics that Neil Peart ever wrote for Rush. Once Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson saw the first verse -- “Ten score years ago, defeat the kingly foe/A wondrous dream came into being/Tame the trackless waste, no virgin land left chaste/All shining eyes, but never seeing,” they surely knew that the band was evolving quickly.
The first song from the first Rush album (although not their first release: their first single was a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”). It’s a great album opener, with one of Alex Lifeson’s coolest riffs (and you kinda hear hints of the immortal “The Spirit Of Radio” in there).
A progressive rock epic, it ended one album and ended on cliffhanger note, leaving fans waiting about another year to find out what happened. (Hey, 1977 also saw the release of a little sci-fi flick called ‘Star Wars,’ we had to wait a full *three* years until the follow-up ‘The Empire Strikes Back’!). In “Book One,” an explorer aboard the spaceship Rocinante journeys toward a black hole (called Cygnus X-1), to learn what lies beyond it. Alas, it draws his ship in, and the final lyrics are: "Sound and fury drown my heart/Every nerve is torn apart."
An 18 minute, six-part epic that took up all of side one of ‘Hemispheres,’ in “Book II” we learn that the narrator survived his journey into the black hole… but only after we meet Apollo, the Bringer Of Wisdom and Dionysis, the Bringer Of Love who are locked in battle. The traveller, as it turns out, is Cygnus, Bringer Of Balance. At the end of the lengthy but totally rocking tale, everyone kind of gets along. And that concluded Rush’s final multi-part epic, as the band began to strip down their sound and move away from cosmic lyrics.
A rather adult song, where Peart shuns the cheapening of the term “hero”: “Not the handsome actor, who plays a hero’s role; not the glamor girl who’d love to sell her soul.” Instead, he (somewhat obviously) points to the guy who “saves a drowning child/cures a wasting disease/ lands the crippled airplane/solves great mysteries.” But the song is even more compelling when he looks at people living with dignity: particularly a family who lost a daughter to violence and try to make sense of it.
Rush had been using synthesizers for a few albums (they were very prominent on much of ‘Moving Pictures’) but ‘Signals’ had less of a hard rock and more of a “new wave” feel, particularly on this reggae-inspired track, which may have owed a bit of debt to the Police. It may have upset some fans, but it’s also the band’s only Top 40 hit (it reached #21).
The studio version is from ‘Fly By Night,’ and is pretty great but this live version is even better. The lyrics were inspired by Ayn Rand’s 1938 novel ‘Anthem.’ It wasn’t the last time her books would influence Peart (“2112” was another instance).
Neil Peart has said that the lyrics were the first time he tried to write non-fiction, but what really makes the song notable is Alex Lifeson’s mind-bending guitar solo, one of his finest.
One reason that the ‘Clockwork Angels’ tour was so amazing was that the band brought a string section out with them. And while most string sections accompanying rock bands sit down, the “Clockwork Angels String Ensemble” all stood, and rocked out when they drew their bows. They were mostly there for the songs on the ‘Clockwork Angels’ album, but they played a few other songs too, “Dreamline” being a real highlight. The song, about the power of youth, has one of Peart’s most prescient lines: “we’re only immortal… for a limited time.”
Rush isn’t the band who are always jamming with other artists and inviting guests on their records. So “Time Stands Still” stands out for the vocals of Aimee Mann -- at the time, she fronted new wave band ‘Til Tuesday (you might know their big hit, “Voices Carry”), today she’s a highly acclaimed solo singer-songwriter. Her voice and Geddy Lee’s worked remarkably well together on this song about trying to live in the moment.
“Vital Signs” had the creepy, foreboding vibe of other songs on ‘Moving Pictures’ (like “Tom Sawyer” and “Witch Hunt”) but also had the new wave influence of the following album, ‘Signals.’ Lifeson’s rhythm guitar was clearly reggae influenced and Geddy Lee’s synthesizers were prominent here, as they would be on the next few albums.
Rush’s best song of the ‘90s. After years of piling on synthesizers, on ‘Counterparts,’ they stuck mostly to guitar, bass and drums. And given that this album came out at the peak of the alternative rock explosion (in fact, it was released on the same day as Pearl Jam’s ‘Vs.’), that was good timing. The band had been inspired by Primus, who opened for them on their most recent tour, and that edge showed up all over the album, particularly on “Animate.”
Some of the biggest rock songs of 1977 were Electric Light Orchestra’s “Sweet Talkin’ Woman,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” Odds are, none of them were inspired by the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though! So even if “Xanadu” didn’t get as much time on the airwaves as those tunes, at least it might have taught listeners a bit about the classic poem “Kubla Khan.” Nerdy fact: Peart was originally writing lyrics inspired by the classic film ‘Citizen Kane’ when he got distracted by a few lines of “Kubla Khan”: “To seek the sacred river Alph / To Walk the caves of ice / To break my fast on honeydew / And drink the milk of Paradise.”
Some of Geddy Lee’s funkiest, bounciest bass playing propels this song, which seems more prescient every year: “Big money goes around the world/Big money give and take/Big money done a power of good/Big money make mistakes/Big money got a heavy hand/Big money take control/Big money got a mean streak/Big money got no soul.” Fans on the conservative side of the political aisle who loved Peart’s Ayn Rand influence a decade earlier likely didn’t appreciate this jam quite as much as, say, “Something for Nothing.”
One of Peart’s most moving lyrics. Originally from ‘Signals,’ the song tells stories of a ballerina who could no longer dance and a writer who could no longer find the words. In an interview after Rush’s tour ended, he quoted the song, saying that he wouldn’t want to be one of the characters in the song; he knew that he, and Rush retired at the top of their game. This live version was from one of the shows on Rush’s final tour, and they were joined for this performance by violinist Jonathan Dinklage (yes, brother of the ‘Game Of Thrones’ star), who was an alumni of the “Clockwork Angels String Ensemble.” Geddy vocals don’t quite match his singing on ‘Signals,’ but that just gives the performance a bit more weight.
Surely one of Rush’s most powerful songs, Peart wrote the lyrics inspired in part by Geddy Lee’s mother’s experiences; she is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. The song is originally from ‘Grace Under Pressure,’ but the live version adds more urgency.
Originally from ‘Hemispheres,’ it was Rush’s first full-length instrumental piece… but for some reason, in this live version, Geddy Lee added lyrics to somewhat humorous effect. (Decades later, on ‘Rush in Rio,’ Alex added stream-of-conscious vocals, in a precursor to his infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech.) The song was subtitled, “An Exercise In Self-Indulgence,” and it certainly was that, but it also works remarkably well… with or without lyrics.
As the ‘80s were coming to a close, synthesizers were giving way to loud guitars in rock music, and “Show Don’t Tell” was a good example of this shift; the song felt influenced by heavy rock band Living Colour who debuted the year before with ‘Vivid’ (and who were huge Rush fans, particularly guitarist Vernon Reid).
It feels like an epic, but it clocks in at a very svelte 5:50. As Peart said in the tour program for the tour accompanying the LP, “This song is one of our favourites on the album, as it seems to encapsulate everything that we want Rush to represent.”
One of the last songs where you can hear the Ayn Rand influence in Peart’s lyrics; here, he pretty much questions religion: “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice/If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice/You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill/I will choose a path that's clear, I will choose freewill.”
The synth-heavy song features some of Peart’s most air-drumable playing (if you’ve seen Rush perform this one live and you looked around the audience, you’ll understand). And despite Peart’s ambivalence towards religion, the lyrics are inspired, in part, by a Biblical tale. Peart once explained that the “Absalom” reference comes from William Faulkners' 1936 book ‘Absalom, Absalom!’ Absalom, however, was the son of King David. He killed his half-brother and later tried to overthrow David. A battle resulted, and later, against David's wishes, Absalom was killed by King David's men. David mourned for his son, and Peart felt that the song was about compassion, and, as he said, “It occurred to me that the Biblical story was applicable: David's lament for his son: 'Would God I had died for thee,' seemed to be the ultimate expression of compassion.”
A rare Geddy Lee/Neil Peart co-write (Alex Lifeson didn’t contribute to the writing of the song), “Fly By Night” was inspired by a trip to England that Peart took as a teenager. “Leaving my homeland, playing a lone hand/My life begins today,” he wrote. It was a prescient line: he and Rush would spend a lot of time on the road in the coming decades.
Inspired by the storming of the Bastille, which began the French Revolution, “Bastille Day” was the band’s opening song on tour for years (including on ‘All The World’s A Stage’; the original version is from ‘Caress of Steel’). It serves as a hard rocking warning to any leaders who would utter the phrase, “There’s no bread, let them eat cake.”
The opening track and lead single from ‘Vapor Trails,’ the lyrics were especially poignant in light of the fact that the band had effectively dissolved after the death of Neil Peart’s wife and daughter within months of each other. This was the song that they returned with. It was easy to imagine that Peart was writing the lyrics from his experience: “A certain amount of resistance/To the forces of the light and love/A certain measure of tolerance/A willingness to rise above… Celebrate the moment/As it turns into one more/Another chance at victory/Another chance to score.” Indeed, Peart did rise above his circumstances; he ultimately remarried and he and his wife had a daughter.
Half of the song feels like it’s another look into Peart’s path, but it could be about all of us: “One day I feel I'm on top of the world, and the next it's falling in on me/I can get back on.” But the other half is a critique of society, and how we treat each other. This was a recurring theme on ‘Snakes and Arrows’: Peart tackled faith, fear, the association of religion and war, hope and despair, and the religious billboards he saw on a motorcycle trip across the US which he detailed in his fourth book ‘Roadshow: Landscape with Drums – A Concert Tour by Motorcycle.’ The lyrics “It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit/’It's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it,” might not appeal to Ayn Rand acolytes, but Peart had grown up.
If there was one song that most Rush fans related to, it would be this one. For better or worse, many Rush fans were suburban kids who didn’t fit in with the “cool” culture in their towns. Of course, this was before they could find like-minded friends in online forums. And as Neil Peart admitted, “[It was] hugely autobiographical, of course.”
Rush isn’t known for their blue collar anthems, but “Working Man” spoke as clearly as anthems by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and John Mellencamp. And even though it’s stylistically much different than Rush’s subsequent classics, “Working Man” was their first song to get significant radio play.
As Rush were becoming more and more popular, Neil Peart was becoming more and more uncomfortable with fame. Even in their final years, as Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson did “meet and greets” with fans, Peart didn’t participate (and rarely granted interviews). It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate his fans, or even that he didn’t like them. But as he wrote, “Caught in the camera eye/I have no heart to lie/I can't pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend.”
‘Fly By Night’ built some momentum for Rush, which totally fizzled out with ‘Caress Of Steel.” So what was Rush’s next move? “Let’s take up all of side one of our next album with a seven part twenty minute long super-epic!” Mercury Records must have been thrilled. But the funny thing was: it worked. The sci-fi based story, inspired by Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem,’ takes place in 2112. The evil priests of the “Temples of Syrinx” take their orders from computers, and of course, individualism and creativity are outlawed… and no one has heard music before.” Some guy finds an old guitar and learns to play it; sadly, the priests aren’t as stoked about this discovery as he is and he gets banished. He eventually seems to commit suicide: “I don’t think I can carry on/This cold and empty life/My spirits are low, in the depths of despair/My lifeblood spills over.” The song’s final movement, “VI: Grand Finale” ends with robotic voices saying, “Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control!” A bit dramatic, sure, but it also resonated with teenage Rush fans, who felt that their band was the most important thing in the world and that life without them would be empty.
One of Rush’s most enduring songs on rock radio, Geddy Lee cites it as a game changer for the band: “It was a hit as far as we've ever had a hit. It got us on the radio, the kinds of radio that would never normally associate with us, so it was as close as we ever came to a pop song, especially at that point.”
Rush recorded a lot of instrumental jams and this is the best of them all. The original version on ‘Moving Pictures’ is incredible, but the live version from ‘Exit… Stage Left’ is even better, mostly thanks to Peart’s iconic drum solo in the middle of the song.
Surely Rush’s most well known song -- and for good reason. The lyrics (co-written by Neil Peart and Pye Dubois) felt relatable. To Rush fans in the ‘80s (and ‘90s, and today) “No, his mind is not for rent/To any god or government./Always hopeful, yet discontent” was an identifying badge of honor. Peart’s drum fills are some of his most memorable, Geddy Lee’s synthesizers were so cool even the rock purists couldn’t complain (but that might also be because the song boasts one of Alex Lifeson’s best guitar solos). And yes, we’re aware that a lot of fans would rank this at #1.
From the Beatles’ “Drive My Car” to White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine,” rock and roll has a long and proud history of songs about cars and driving. But few really capture the joy and excitement of accelerating and driving fast in the way that “Red Barchetta” does. Peart’s lyrics raise the stakes too: the song takes place in a future where a “motor law” has banned cars. Luckily, the narrator’s uncle keeps his red barchetta at his country home. Peart’s lyrics describe the sensations beautifully, but the music does the job even more.
Powered by Alex Lifeson’s greatest riff (and featuring one of his best solos), no song captures the feeling of hearing that song that you love on the radio as much as this one. And yeah, we know there’s a bit of a dig at radio in the song, but decades after the song first hit, we’re still your friendly voice to begin (or to spend) the day with, and the music we play “makes your mood” whether you’re in the car or listening online.
EVERY Led Zeppelin Song RANKED
Led Zeppelin: All 92 Songs Ranked
Much of Led Zeppelin’s catalog hasn’t aged at all... but this song about underage groupies has. The ick-factor on this track goes to 11. (EB)
This was a previously unreleased track from the recent Zeppelin catalog reissue campaign orchestrated by Jimmy Page. Sometimes, bonus tracks on reissues deliver hidden gems, and sometimes, they’re tracks that should’ve just been hidden. This instrumental is a case of the latter. (EB)
Similar to “10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod,” this is just another unreleased track used to justify a reissue campaign. (EB)
An instrumental jam that didn’t make it to the band’s second LP, it was poppier sounding than the rest of the album, opening with a bright, R&B-tinged organ riff. It’s interesting to imagine what this could have turned into, but as it stands, it’s a curiosity, not a classic. (BI)
There are plenty of “epics” in the Zeppelin catalog, but this is the only one you’ll likely find yourself thinking, “Is it over yet?” Much like an actual carousel, this song goes around and around without really going anywhere. (EB)
For a band whose catalog is so steeped in blues, this blues track is just one big “meh.” (EB)
Long bootlegged and finally getting an official release on the reissue of ‘The BBC Sessions,’ the less-than-sterling audio quality doesn’t do this track any favors. The song as a whole didn’t bring anything alarmingly great to the BBC reissue other than just simply being something we hadn’t heard before. (EB)
A previously unreleased outtake from the 2015 ‘Coda’ reissue, it oddly sounds more like something Greta Van Fleet would release now than Zeppelin. (EB)
The band performed this song just once, on June 6, 1969, on the BBC show ‘Chris Grant's Tasty Pop Sundae.’ Unreleased until 1997’s ‘BBC Sessions’ collection, the band shared the songwriting credit with bluesmen Sleepy John Estes, Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson, whom they borrowed from here (and elsewhere in their catalog). (BI)
This track starts off with a bang thanks to a dueling Page and Bonham, but it doesn’t go anywhere further than that. (EB)
There were a handful of standouts on ‘Coda,’ but unfortunately, this ‘Houses of the Holy’ outtake wasn’t one of them. (EB)
“Darlene” was perceived as likely being a hooky track, but it comes off more repetitive (almost boring) than anything. (EB)
This would be a throwaway track on any other Zeppelin album, but it holds its own on ‘Presence.’ But if it weren’t for the beyond catchy “la-la’s” this song would be a tough listen. (EB)
The only single released from ‘Presence,’ “Candy Store Rock” is an attempt at a rockabilly romp, but it just lacks the Bo Diddley energy Zeppelin were clearly trying to channel. (EB)
An undoubtedly pleasant acoustic tune from the ‘Houses of the Holy’ recording sessions, but it just doesn’t stand out among the other stellar tracks on ‘Physical Graffiti.’ (EB)
Perhaps it suffered from having to follow “Achilles Last Stand,” but “For Your Life” just seems to drag. Plant’s vocals sound strained, but that’s likely due to him still recovering from a nasty car accident. It makes you wonder what could have been if he was at full health. (EB)
The elements of a great song are here, but “Night Flight” just doesn’t take off. (EB)
“Poor Tom” would be an album track for an average band, but Zeppelin cut it from the ‘Led Zeppelin III’ sessions. The harmonica at the end of the song is absolutely killer. (EB)
The “Stu” in the song’s title is Ian Stewart, a founding member of the Rolling Stones, who was relegated to non-membership status by their original manager Andrew Loog Oldham; he deemed the pianist’s cleancut image inappropriate for the band. A fan of early rock and roll and “boogie-woogie,” Ian Stewart was the perfect guy to tickle the ivories on this song. The songwriting credit was split between all four Zep members, Stewart and “Mrs. Valens,” the widow of Ritchie Valens, as they built the song around Valens’ ‘50s-era hit “Ooh My Head.” (BI)
Based on the Ben E. King song “Groovin’,” “We’re Gonna Groove” was originally intended for ‘Led Zeppelin II.’ While that record has no fat on it at all, this would have fit in well if Zeppelin decided to make their sophomore album ten tracks long instead of just nine. (BI)
Another blues arrangement. This time the inspiration was based on Bukka White’s Delta blues song “Shake ‘Em On Down” as an ode to Zeppelin friend and folk singer Roy Harper. (Fun fact: Harper provides lead vocals on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar.”) It’s a weird closing song for ‘Led Zeppelin III’ but nonetheless enjoyable. (EB)
This cover of Willie Dixon’s “You Shook Me” isn’t bad, but compared to other Zeppelin blues arrangements and interpretations, it just doesn’t measure up. (EB)
An outtake from ‘Led Zeppelin IV,’ its dreamy, Neil Young-influenced twang would’ve been a bit out of place on that album but fits in nicely on the mellow side three of ‘Physical Graffiti.’ (EB)
An outtake from ‘In Through The Out Door,’ this showed that the band could be as aggressive as the punk rock and new wave bands that were all the rage by the end of the ‘70s. Why it wasn’t included on the album is a mystery. (BI)
A subtly brilliant instrumental track that serves as a great transition between the mellow “Your Time Is Gonna Come” and the intense “Communication Breakdown.” (EB)
The closer of side one on ‘Led Zeppelin III,’ “Out On the Tiles” starts off well enough with a strong riff, but it comes off as repetitive by the song’s end. It’s not bad by any stretch, but it just always feels like the song as a whole could’ve been more. (EB)
Zeppelin would sample from the well of Willie Dixon multiple times, but sometimes they got a bit too close to that well, and didn’t give credit, resulting in legal battles. And like many times in their history, they would settle out of court and rectify the song credit omission. Regardless, “Bring It On Home” still brings ‘Led Zeppelin II’ to a solid close. (EB)
A lovely instrumental from Jimmy Page, this was an outtake from ‘Led Zeppelin III,’ but it made a nice home for itself as a palate cleanser of sorts on ‘Physical Graffiti’ after “In the Light.” (EB)
A fun honky-tonk jam, Jones on the piano is the obvious highlight to this track. (EB)
Essentially a John Bonham solo song. “Bonzo’s Montreux” features his powerful and innovative drumming; Jimmy Page added some electronic effects to the percussion-fest. Most drum pieces are only interesting to drummers; that’s not the case here. If this had been released during his lifetime (it was recorded in 1976), it may have become as iconic as his “Moby Dick” drum solo. (BI)
A live cover of a 1959 rockabilly classic by Eddie Cochran, this is Zeppelin at their most raw, and their most fun. (BI)
Plant really wails on this album closer accompanied by Jones’ synth, but it’s hard not to get wistful when listening to it now, knowing that what it really was was the end of Zeppelin. (EB)
Another cover of yet another 1959 rockabilly classic by Eddie Cochran, it was recorded by the band in ‘69 for the BBC show ‘Chris Grant’s Tasty Pop Sundae.’ John Paul Jones seems to be having a blast on the piano; indeed, it’s one of Zeppelin’s most joyful performances. (BI)
While Zeppelin always wore their blues influences on their sleeves, on “Hot Dog” they put their love for rockabilly and ‘50s rock and roll on full display. Is it their greatest song? No, but it’s fun hearing Robert Plant’s Elvis Presley impression. It may have worked better as a B-side, though. (BI)
The other standout track from ‘Presence’ (along with “Achilles Last Stand”) “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” is Zeppelin’s take on Blind Willie Johnson’s “It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and features a mean harmonica solo from Plant. The start-stop nature of the song can be jarring, but like many other effects and techniques, Zeppelin finds a way to make it work. (EB)
One of the highlights from ‘Coda’ that was leftover during the recording of ‘In Through The Out Door.’ If the then-current state of Zeppelin was different, it would’ve been fascinating to see what more they could’ve done with this track in studio. (EB)
John Paul Jones and his synthesizer are front and center on this track, the second longest on ‘Physical Graffiti,’ with ebbs and flows that are utterly hypnotic. (EB)
You almost feel like you’re intruding on Jimmy Page and Robert Plant when you listen to this acoustic jam from the “Led Zeppelin III’ sessions. “Key To The Highway” was popularized by Big Bill Broonzy, and was also covered by Eric Clapton with Derek and the Dominoes, John Lee Hooker, the Band and the Steve Miller Band. “Trouble In Mind,” meanwhile, is a blues song from the 1920s that has appeared in the repertoires of Nina Simone, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Spencer Davis Group. (BI)
Of the two Willie Dixon covers on Zeppelin’s debut, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” is the superior by leaps and bounds, even though it doesn’t stray too far from the source material. Plant’s acrobatic vocals don’t hurt either. (EB)
Zeppelin’s tribute to James Brown wasn’t quite as successful as their many tributes to their blues heroes, but “The Crunge” is one of their funniest songs, particularly when Robert Plant puts his spin on Brown’s “take it to the bridge!” cry: “Has anybody seen the bridge? Have you seen the bridge? I ain't seen the bridge! Where's that confounded bridge?” (BI)
It makes sense why many of Zeppelin’s “unreleased” cuts didn’t make it onto whatever album their respective recording session was attached, but “Hey, Hey What Can I Do” not making it on ‘Led Zeppelin III’ is still baffling. It was notably the b-side to “Immigrant Song” on the track’s U.K. release but wouldn’t get an official release stateside until 1990. (EB)
A standout on side four of ‘Physical Graffiti,’ “The Wanton Song” is certainly one of the more straightforward hard rock tracks on the entire album thanks to the energetic riff from Page. (EB)
Known for its unusual time signatures and John Bonham’s use of two sets of drum sticks (hence its title), “Four Sticks” is truly a showcase for Bonzo and yet another example of his brilliance. (EB)
John Paul Jones and his clavinet makes its first appearance on the opening track of ‘Physical Graffiti,’ but it wouldn’t be the last, and the best was yet to come. As for the lyrics, it doesn’t take a cunning linguist to figure out what this one’s about. (EB)
“Squeeze me baby, 'till the juice runs down my leg.” Even the less-than-astute could figure out what’s going on here. Howlin’ Wolf, of course, would soon after receive a writing credit on the track, which was more than a little inspired by his own “Killing Floor.” (EB)
A somewhat underrated song in the Zeppelin canon, the band never performed it in its entirety. The “if we could just join hands” chorus may have seemed trite, especially as punk rock’s influence was making everything remotely hippie-ish seem out of touch. “The Rover” had a long gestation period: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant allegedly started work on the song during the writing sessions for 1970’s ‘Led Zeppelin III,’ and they started recording it during the ‘Houses Of The Holy’ sessions. It was definitely worth the wait. (BI)
“Baby Come On Home” was recorded during the ‘Led Zeppelin I’ recording sessions, but it wasn’t released until 1993 as the focal point of ‘Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2.’ It makes sense why it was left off Zeppelin’s debut, but this Hammond organ-fuelled beauty of a tune still managed to net success on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart peaking at number four over a decade after Zep’s demise. (EB)
The second appearance of Jimmy Page’s bowed guitar on Zeppelin’s debut, “How Many More Times” brings ‘Led Zeppelin I’ to a close in epic fashion and sets the table for what was to come a mere nine months later on ‘Led Zeppelin II.’ (EB)
An undeniable, incredible groove, “Friends” served as the first acoustic taste on the mostly unplugged ‘Led Zeppelin III’ (“Immigrant Song” opens the album, “Friends” is track two). The John Paul Jones-arranged string section on the track takes things to a whole new level of sublime. (EB)
Side two of ‘Led Zeppelin I’ kicks off with this track, and it brings a complete mood change to the album thanks to John Paul Jones’ organ playing. (EB)
Another arrangement triumph, the source material for “Gallows Pole” comes via the traditional folk song "The Maid Freed from the Gallows," which was covered by Lead Belly in 1939, but Zeppelin more than made it their own. (EB)
One of the few true gems released after their breakup, Zeppelin’s take on this Robert Johnson song was originally recorded in 1969, but upon its official 1990 release, it made its way up the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart peaking at number seven. (EB)
It wasn’t Zeppelin’s first song about heartbreak and it certainly was not the last, but thanks to the steel guitar, it might be the band’s loveliest song about love lost. (EB)
Easily one of the coolest songs ever to feature spoons and castanets, which were somehow made badass thanks to John Bonham, this jam sees Zeppelin go “ham” on folk music without losing their edge. The song title, of course, is a shout out to the infamous Wales cabin where they wrote a majority of ‘Led Zeppelin III.’ (EB)
An about-face on side two of ‘Houses of the Holy’ following upbeat jams “Dancing Days” and “D’yer Mak’er,” it’s one of the most haunting tracks in the entire Zeppelin catalog and shows just how much John Paul Jones can change the mood of the room with his piano playing. (EB)
Three years on from their last album, ‘Presence,’ rock fans may have wondered if Zeppelin still “had it.” “In The Evening,” which opened ‘In Through The Out Door,’ established that the band was still powerful (if not quite as great as they’d been a few years earlier). Jimmy Page unleashes one of his best riffs here, and also melts faces with his amazing guitar solo. (BI)
Not just a classic song, but the title of the band’s one and only full-length reunion concert from November 19, 2012 (and the subsequent live album). Although oddly enough, they didn’t actually perform “Celebration Day” at the show. “My, my, my, I'm so happy… I'm gonna join the band” was how thousands of budding musicians reacted to hearing Zeppelin’s music in 1969 and 1970… and in the decades since. (BI)
Is it a love song about two lovers from different worlds or is it a song about two friends from different worlds? Perhaps, it’s both. One thing for certain is that it’s one of Zeppelin’s best acoustic songs in their entire catalog. (EB)
Led Zeppelin wasn’t all about lust, and they proved that with “Thank You,” which is an unbelievably sweet love song. With lyrics like, “When mountains crumble to the sea/There will still be you and me,” it’s hard not to swoon, regardless of your gender… or your dating status. (EB)
Plant’s vocals dance beautifully with the late Sandy Denny’s on this mandolin ballad, which is also one of the more subtle nods to Lord of the Rings from the Zeppelin catalog. Fun fact: Denny was the only guest vocalist to ever record with Zeppelin. (EB)
One of Zeppelin’s funkiest numbers, the song is powered by John Paul Jones’ electric piano and John Bonham’s heavy drums. The “misty mountains” are a clear Tolkien reference, but the song’s lyrics deal more with hippies and cops than Hobbits and dragons: after “sitting on the grass” with people who had “flowers in their hair” asking, “Hey, boy, do you want to score?” a police officer showed up. “[He] Said please, hey, would we care/To all get in line… Well, you know, they asked us to stay for tea And have some fun.” If only all busts were that friendly! (BI)
In the realm of songs about loss, this one doesn’t get enough of its due. A tribute to Plant’s 5-year-old son, Karac, who died from a stomach virus, “All My Love” is as beautiful as it is devastating. (EB)
This track was the b-side to “Whole Lotta Love,” which is strange considering how it’s literally inseparable from “Heartbreaker,” and radio still plays both tracks together as if they are one song. But the riffs on “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)” are oddly complementary to those in “Whole Lotta Love.” (EB)
It’s difficult to choose the best example of how great Zeppelin was at song arrangements, but “In My Time Of Dying” certainly has to be in the running. Zeppelin transformed a traditional gospel tune into a blues-rock opus; the song clocks in at 11-minutes, but it feels like much less. (EB)
Robert Plant himself has cited this as his finest vocal performance with Zeppelin, and who are we to argue? It also has one of his best lyrics: “Upon us all a little rain must fall,” indeed. (BI)
An uninitiated listener might mistake this for a Who song for the first minute and a half: Jimmy Page’s clean and rhythmic guitar sounded like something Pete Townshend might play, John Paul Jones’ bass is reminiscent of John Entwistle’s “lead” bass playing and John Bonham’s heavy drumming is a bit Keith Moon-y. Also, the song has the epic feel of Tommy’s opening “Overture.” Of course, when the song slows down and Robert Plant comes in with “I had a dream…” you know that you’re listening to Zep. It’s a perfect opening to the sprawling and ambitious ‘Houses Of The Holy’ album. (BI)
One reason why Zeppelin defies categorization is that they were so good at so many things. Sure, they influenced every hard rock and metal band who followed them, but they were also amazing at creating beautiful acoustic songs. “Going To California” is a prime example. (BI)
Ostensibly an instrumental Page/Jones/Bonham jam, Page and Jones split after about a minute (and return at the end), giving John Bonham a showcase for his powerful yet tuneful playing. Most drum solos get old after you’ve heard them a few times: that’s not the case with “Moby Dick,” which stands proudly alongside the rest of ‘Led Zeppelin II,’ and alongside the rest of the band’s catalog. (BI)
On “D’Yer Mak’er” (pronounced more like “did you make her” than “dire maker”), Led Zeppelin looked to Jamaica for inspiration. Like the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” a few years earlier, it may not have been legit reggae, but it became a rock radio classic in the States. And the “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!” chorus makes the song an irresistible earworm. (BI)
“Did you ever really need somebody/And really need 'em bad/Did you ever really want somebody/The best love you ever had.” Plant’s lyrics add significant heft to the track, which Page had planned to be an instrumental. While the instrumental could have stood alone, the lyrics take “Ten Years Gone” to another level. (EB)
There’s a lot of competition for the title of “Jimmy Page’s Greatest Riff,” but “The Ocean” may own it; at the very least, it’s in the top five. It also has pretty cute lyrics, a rarity in the Zeppelin canon. “I'm singin' all my songs to the girl who won my heart,” Robert Plant wails. “Now, she's only four years old, and it's a real fine way to start!” He was, of course, singing about his daughter. (BI)
Considering the state of the band at this point, with Plant mourning the loss of his son, Karac, and Page and Bonham battling addiction, it’s amazing they were able to produce such an upbeat song. Then again, once you commit to a samba rhythm, you’re probably going to end up with an upbeat song. Sadly, however, this would be Zeppelin’s final single released before the untimely death of Bonham. (EB)
When thinking of Led Zeppelin, the old ‘American Bandstand’ phrase “It's got a good beat and you can dance to it” isn’t probably the first thing that comes to mind, but it definitely applies to “Dancing Days.” It’s one of the poppiest tunes in the band’s catalog. Sure, there are those who don’t care for it, but those people hate fun and should be ignored. (EB)
At ten and a half minutes long, it’s one of the band’s lengthiest tracks, and showed that they could be as proggy as their peers in Yes, King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer. Its length may not have helped its popularity, but the song definitely has its fans: Chris Cornell and Temple of the Dog covered this song on their too-brief 2016 reunion tour. (BI)
Led Zeppelin weren’t blues purists, but they could have gone down that path, judging by this song. Propelled by John Paul Jones’ Hammond organ playing, the song features one of Jimmy Page’s best guitar solos. (BI)
More cowbell! Years before Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” John Bonham was hitting the cowbell on this song, originally recorded for the band’s 1973 album. Plant’s lyrics aren’t too subtle: “Let me take you to the movies/Can I take you to the show?/Let me be yours ever truly/Can I make your garden grow?” (BI)
Most punk rock bands either hated Led Zeppelin, or denied being influenced by them. And, of course, all punk bands love the Ramones. So, there’s a bit of irony in the fact that Johnny Ramone developed his guitar style by playing along to “Communication Breakdown,” as he revealed in the documentary ‘Ramones: The True Story.’ It’s one of Zep’s shortest songs, and one of their most powerful. (BI)
The clavinet is more closely associated with the funk music of the ‘70s (notably Stevie Wonder) than Led Zeppelin, but John Paul Jones’ playing of that electric keyboard is what makes this track so damn catchy and memorable. It’s perhaps the most toe-tapping hook in Zeppelin’s entire catalog. (EB)
A Plant/Page composition, it showed Zeppelin’s range, veering back and forth between crushing heavy rock and laid back jazz. Towards the end of the song, Plant starts scatting (“Oh the wind won't blow and we really shouldn't go…”) in what sounds like a precursor to rap and hip-hop. (BI)
‘The Lord of the Rings’ film franchise may have grossed an obscene amount of money, but never did director Peter Jackson make Tolkien’s trilogy this cool! Gollum would probably consider this song precious. Zeppelin fans sure do. (EB)
While Plant’s voice can move mountains, even a sustained vocal performance could still deliver the chills. This might be the best example of that in the entire Zeppelin catalog. (EB)
A song about moving on after heartbreak,”Over The Hills And Far Away” is a lyrical departure for Zep. Surely countless souls recovering from a breakup have taken solace in “Many have I loved, and many times been bitten/Many times I've gazed along the open road.” Translation: sure, you’ve been dumped, but this, too, shall pass. (BI)
Side one of ‘Led Zeppelin II’ closed with the beautiful love song “Thank You,” but when you flipped over to side two, listeners were greeted by this tale of lust coupled with another monster riff and solo from Jimmy Page. (EB)
There’s probably a lady (or man) who’s sure this song is ranked too low, but there’s good reason for it. Part of what made “Stairway” legendary was the legend behind it involving the band writing the song at Bron-Yr-Aur, an isolated cottage in Wales. However, Jimmy Page testified during the recent “Stairway” copyright lawsuit that the song wasn’t written at Bron-Yr-Aur after all. Is the song still an influential, incredible piece? Yes, but there’s no doubt that in recent years, “Stairway” just doesn’t glitter like it once did. (EB)
Zeppelin’s update of the Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie blues song released in 1929 was one of their finest moments. John Bonham in particular shines with one of his most iconic drum performances, but Robert Plant also adds some of his best harmonica playing and vocals. Many of Zeppelin’s peers covered early blues songs, but few of them captured the sense of dread that Zep did here. (BI)
Despite this track lifting and arranging Jake Holmes’ 1967 track of the same title -- initially without credit -- “Dazed and Confused” remains one of Zeppelin’s best songs thanks in large part to the soulful, angst-ridden lyrics and Robert Plant’s vocal performance. Oh, and Jimmy Page breaking out the bow doesn’t hurt things either. (EB)
A crushing Jimmy Page riff. John Bonham’s funky but powerful drumming. A 20-year old Robert Plant wailing, “In the days of my youth/I was told what it was to be a man.” And John Paul Jones’ understated but vital bass playing. Those elements kicked off the first song on side one of Led Zeppelin’s debut. It was also the band’s first single, so “Good Times Bad Times” provided a powerful introduction to the band for rock fans in 1969. At the end of the song, Plant sings, “Realize, sweet babe, we ain't ever gonna part,” and it was sort of prophetic: although the band would last only a little over a decade, millions of fans have never stopped loving Zeppelin, and they keep picking up new followers with each new generation. (BI)
Zeppelin had a knack for picking out the perfect opening album track and with “Black Dog,” it was a bold signal of what was to come on ‘Led Zeppelin IV.’ It's hard rock perfection, from Plant’s opening acapella intro to Page’s rolling solo bringing the track to a fading close. It’s also one of Zeppelin’s most successful singles peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. (The only other Zeppelin single to perform better was “Whole Lotta Love,” which peaked on the Hot 100 at number four.) For any other band, a track like this would be the highlight of an album, but Zeppelin weren’t any other band, and ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ is certainly not any other album. (EB)
“Kashmir” was the closest thing a hard rock band came to Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound.” It’s the best example of Zeppelin at their most ambitious. It’s so good, we’ll even forgive the band for allowing Puff Daddy to rap over it for the 1998 track “Come With Me” (which actually featured Jimmy Page!) from the Godzilla soundtrack. (EB)
While Zeppelin never liked being associated with heavy metal, this song did quite a bit to create the template for that genre: Page’s percussive riffing, Bonham’s heavy drumming, and of course, Robert Plant’s banshee vocals telling tales of vikings that come from “the land of the ice and snow.” Plant and Page may wince when asked about metal, but the feeling definitely isn’t mutual. (BI)
From Jimmy Page’s iconic riff and solo to the dizzying overdubs to Robert Plant’s wailing roar, “Whole Lotta Love” is perhaps the perfect example of Zeppelin’s overall bravado. Dripping with hard rock lust, “Whole Lotta Love” is the sound of a band that is confident and quite aware of the sheer force they are and aren’t afraid to share that with the world. (EB)
There have been a lot of rock and roll songs about rock and roll, and this one is surely one of the very best. Borrowing elements from the early days of rock and roll - a Chuck Berry-esque riff, rolling Jerry Lee Lewis piano and a drum intro reminiscent of Little Richard’s “Keep A-Knockin’” - Zep’s “Rock And Roll” is a love letter to the founders of the genre. Led Zeppelin’s members have always been passionate music fans so it’s fitting that on this, their greatest song, they pay tribute to the music that inspired them. Fun fact: Years later, Jerry Lee Lewis actually covered the song -- with Jimmy Page on guitar -- on his 2006 album, ‘Last Man Standing.’ (Brian Ives)