If you solely had one phrase to explain Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti (1975), “overwhelming” may be the best way to go. Between “Custard Pie” at first of Side One and the final moments of “Sick Again” on Side Four, Zep packed 83 minutes of powerhouse music onto its double album.
Along the best way, Jimmy Page and Zep dropped a number of the band’s masterpieces. In truth, for those who have a look at the closing songs of the album’s first three sides, you discover three tracks within the Zep canon.
After “In My Time of Dying” on the primary facet, listeners received the epic “Kashmir” on the finish of the the second facet. On the third facet, Page closed with one in every of his greatest compositions (and general productions), “Ten Years Gone.”
When Physical Graffiti went onto CD, the discharge clearly misplaced the influence of Page’s authentic sequencing. In a 2015 interview, Page acknowledged that the unique four-sided LP was the best way Zep’s sixth album was meant to be heard.
Jimmy Page thought the massive songs ought to finish with every album facet
Speaking with The Guardian on the event of Physical Graffiti’s remastering, Page nonetheless had a substantial amount of enthusiasm for the 40-year previous launch. “A double album was so right for Zeppelin,” he mentioned. He additionally spoke of how he initially organized the tracks.
“Each side of vinyl was sequenced to showcase whatever was on there, so it wasn’t square pegs in round holes. Any of the four sides could be your favorite side.” When the interviewer requested if the CD sequencing has “unbalanced the album,” Page agreed it did.
“Absolutely … it wasn’t intended to be like that,” he mentioned. “Those songs – ‘In My Time of Dying,’ ‘Kashmir’ – are supposed to be: That’s it. Nothing follows that. You need time to catch your breath after.”
On the CD model of Physical Graffiti, listeners get an prolonged rock barrage within the first disc with no break after the crushing “In My Time of Dying.” Even with the respite of “Houses of the Holy” (observe 4), you certainly really feel “Trampled Under Foot” (observe 5) by the point you attain “Kashmir.”
Page’s best sequencing might have come on ‘Led Zeppelin IV’
While Page’s track-ordering on the Physical Graffiti LP got here off nice, the album was by definition a looser launch. After all, he included songs from earlier classes (“The Rover,” “Boogie With Stu“) along with new compositions and recordings (“Kashmir,” “Sick Again”).
Still, Page’s observe choice on the primary three sides of Physical Graffiti ranks amongst his greatest. In phrases of move and general high quality, solely Led Zeppelin IV can declare a bonus. Naturally, that’s a tricky launch for any band to prime (even the one which made it).
Starting an album facet with “Black Dog” earlier than closing with “Stairway to Heaven” already units up an unimaginable job. But when Zep kicked off the second facet with “Misty Mountain Hop” earlier than ending with “When the Levee Breaks” they delivered one of many best recordings in rock historical past.
Also see: Why Led Zeppelin Skipped the Acoustic Songs on the Heavy ‘Presence’ Album