The one Led Zeppelin album Jimmy Page understands being overlooked

Jimmy Page

Few musicians can honestly say that they have had a significant influence on music. It is unusual to truly alter the essence of an entire art form. On the other hand, it is undeniable that Led Zeppelin is among the greatest innovators in the rock and roll industry.

Jimmy Page, the band’s founder and guitarist, had a clear idea in mind when he formed The New Yardbirds. He wanted a band that would take the formula from his previous group and run off into the sunset. Jimmy Page formed The Yardbirds from the psychedelic ashes. They had long since established themselves as unquestionable pioneers by the time they broke up in 1980.

Page knew he needed to put together the right group of musicians if he was going to build on the innovations of his previous group. Because life is so random, the people he had in mind did not materialize. He ended up with his best friend, drummer John Bonham, and the flaxen-haired vocalist Robert Plant. Plant had been making waves in the bluesy West Midlands scene. Though ultimately his second choice for the spots, both were elemental performers. They were ideal for the expansive esoteric twists that Led Zeppelin would later produce.

That said, the two Black Country friends were the last pieces in the puzzle. Remarkably, former Yardbirds bassist Chris Dreja, who had originally signed on, left to become a photographer. This happened while Page was forming his new band. Fortunately, John Paul Jones asked about the job. Page was ecstatic that his esteemed colleague from London’s recording industry would be so eager to work on his project. Page, a skilled multi-instrumentalist and superb bassist leaped at the chance since Jones not only had ideas but also knew how to execute them.

Plant would later recall that, before their first rehearsal together, he was anxious about performing with musicians of Page and Jones’ caliber. Their different upbringings would eventually cause a rift between the two pairs. However, it wouldn’t take long for them to create a sound that was unlike anything available at the time.

It had elements of bluesiness, no doubt, but it was also dark, atmospheric, and had combined elements of jazz and psychedelic music in ways that had never been done before. This meant that not everyone enjoyed them during their formative years. They didn’t overtake The Beatles as the biggest band in the world until 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV. As would be expected from such audacious musicians, the group accepted their status as trailblazers. They endured the unfavorable press until the world came to understand the scope and importance of their work.

In a 2015 interview with Uncut, Page talked about this aspect of their career. Not surprisingly, he cited Led Zeppelin III from 1970 as an example. Even though it included the classic “Immigrant Song,” people misinterpreted it. The band’s previous blues-influenced sound was drastically altered to something more distinctive. It also featured Jones’ skill throughout and used a far wider variety of instruments than previous releases, including synths and mandolins.

Jimmy Page remarked, “You have to keep in mind that, despite our current level of success, we used to routinely receive negative reviews. Each time we released an album, it received negative reviews. However, looking back, I can understand how someone might have missed the content. Led Zeppelin III was very different from what we’d done previously. They might have had limited time to listen to it on the record player in the office.

According to Page, people weren’t paying attention to the art they had produced on Led Zeppelin III because they were too preoccupied with racing to find the new “Whole Lotta Love.” Understandably, the breadth of offerings was overlooked at the time because it was too fresh for the general public. The band would not have existed without it, which is ironic considering that it also paved the way for all the subsequent innovations.

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