Garage Sale Vinyl
Garage Sale Vinyl: Led Zeppelin

Garage Sale Vinyl: Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin III / Atlantic Records / October 1970

Don’t ya just love The Brady Bunch? I sure do! But you gotta feel kinda bad for Jan Brady. Despite being a good-natured go-getter, Jan never seemed to get her props. Her presence was overshadowed constantly by her older Prom Queen sister, Marcia. And she wasn’t as bubbly as her precocious younger sister, Cindy. Even competing for attention among her newly-adopted brothers proved challenging for Jan. She was less outgoing than Greg, and she lacked the quirky charm of Peter. However, Jan did outshine her younger brother, Bobby. But then again, everybody did. Everybody, except Sam the butcher. That dude was plain creepy.

At a family dinner table that includes overachieving twins, Zeppelin I and Zeppelin II, the spoiled rotten brother, Zoso, the chatty sister, Houses of the Holy and the scholarship-winning cousin, Physical Graffiti, the third offspring of this “Very Brady” clan (like Jan) could be an oft-overlooked sibling. An obsessed gamer, Presence never comes to the dinner table. Neither does the complicated, non-binary, In Through the Out Door. BTW, don’t mind the dirty-faced kid picking his nose in the kitchen. He’s NOT a Brady. That’s the neighbor’s fat little bastard, Coda.

With its eye-catching, built-in interactive spinning wheel, Led Zeppelin III boasted one of the most expensive album cover designs of the day, yet it went for a very reasonable $4.48 down at Sears. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess that my current vinyl copy came from Walmart. GASP! In my defense, you must know, it was a gift. So, I got it for free — despite its obscene $26.97 sticker price.

Led Zeppelin III, Atlantic Records, 1970
photo by Christopher Long
Led Zeppelin III, Atlantic Records, 1970

Stylistically, the songs presented a rainbow-like array of aural colors — a massive and appealing ten-track palette, indeed. Fast and furious, the record-opening “Immigrant Song” moved quicker than Miss Pamela pressing Jimmy Page’s satin wizard pants at a Creem photo shoot. Hurry along, darlin’! Annie’s gonna be here any minute!

The hypnotic orchestration and unapologetic fret buzz of “Friends” pitted against the soul-cleansing crunch of “Celebration Day” provided a powerful double-whammy.

Page’s blues-soaked guitar swagger cozied up nicely with John Paul Jones’ organ allure on “Since I’ve Been Loving You” — a track that still stands as one of Zep’s all-time tallest. Digital versions of this one really reveal the mighty John Bonham’s Speed King pedal squeak. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. There’s often a fine line between authentic and annoying.

Director Cameron Crowe gave new life to two of the record’s finest creations when he placed “Tangerine” and “That’s the Way” prominently in his award-winning film, Almost Famous — decades after they’d received their gold retirement watches. Truth be told, these two tracks hit me with such a wallop, it’s very difficult to listen to either and breathe at the same time.

Remaining hot AF from start to finish, golden god Robert Plant provided poetic perfection throughout: Her face is cracked from smiling. All the fears that she’s been hiding. And it seems that pretty soon, everybody’s gonna know. Doggone it, man — that’s some mi-tee good stuff right there. Measuring a summer’s day, I only find it slips away to grey. The hours, they bring me pain. — that one ain’t half bad, either.

Produced by Page (and his wizard pants), the record was a crisper and sunnier affair than its two predecessors. It still sounds fresh. Ah, so many mandolins, so little time!

After all these years, Led Zeppelin III has proven that she ain’t NOBODY’S “Jan.” Even today, as a super-sexy 50-pluser, she does things that “Marcia” never would have dreamed of doing, not even with Davey Jones.

(5/5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Led Zeppelin III, Atlantic Records, 1970
photo by Christopher Long
Led Zeppelin III, Atlantic Records, 1970

Led Zeppelin III Track Listing

SIDE ONE

  1. Immigrant Song (Plant, Page) 2:26

  1. Friends (Plant, Page) 3:55

  1. Celebration Day (Plant, Page, Jones) 3:29

  1. Since I’ve Been Loving You (Plant, Page, Jones 7:25

  1. Out on the Tiles (Plant, Page, Bonham) 4:04

SIDE TWO

  1. Gallows Pole (Plant, Page) 4:58

  1. Tangerine (Page) 3:12

  1. That’s the Way (Plant, Page) 5:38

  1. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (Plant, Page, Jones) 4:20

  1. Hats Off to (Roy) Harper (Charles Obscure) 3:41

Led Zeppelin


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