Leaps n bands #170: Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975) 2/15

Side 1, track 2 – The Rover


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes has re-visited on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years. And as its swansong here’s one that has probably shouted the loudest ever, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ from 1975.

Running through to the year end (Jemtunes #169 through #183) here are 15 tracks which collectively shaped my fledgling musical life and have stayed with me throughout. Forty-five years is a long time and yet here we are. These 15 tracks remain as fresh today as they did back then when my 16 year-old self queued up outside Woolworths on a cold and grey March morning waiting to purchase my copy of what could well be one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

Track 2 on side 2 – “The Rover” was written in 1970 at Bron-Yr-Aur, a cottage near Machynlleth, Wales. It was first recorded at Headley Grange in May 1970 as an acoustic number for Led Zeppelin III but was reworked as an electric number in 1972 for Houses of the Holy, which formed the basis for the backing track. Page subsequently added guitar overdubs in 1974 with Keith Harwood engineering.

Leaps n bands #169: Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ (1975) 1/15

Side 1, track 1 – Custard Pie


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes has re-visited on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years. And as its swansong here’s one that has probably shouted the loudest ever, Led Zeppelin’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ from 1975.

Between now and the year end (with Jemtunes #169 through #183) here are 15 tracks which collectively shaped my fledgling musical life and have stayed with me throughout. Forty-five years is a long time and yet here we are. These 15 tracks remain as fresh today as they did back then when my 16 year-old self queued up outside Woolworths on a cold and grey March morning waiting to purchase my copy of what could well be one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

It was Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album and was released as a double album on 24 February 1975 by the group’s new record label, Swan Song Records.I got my copy on Saturday 1st March 1975.

The double album opens with ‘Custard Pie’. This was based on various American blues recordings, including Blind Boy Fuller’s 1939 “I Want Some Of Your Pie”, Brownie McGhee’s 1947 “Custard Pie Blues” and Sleepy John Estes’ 1935 “Drop down mama.”

Leaps n bands #168: Black Sabbath (1970) 8/8

Side 2, track 4 – Wicked World


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 – concluding today – featured the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

The album reached number 8 on the UK album charts and No 23 on the US Billboard 200. It concluded with ‘Wicked World’

Leaps n bands #167: Black Sabbath (1970) 7/8

Side 2 track 3 – The Warning


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 features the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

In 1989, Kerrang! ranked the album at No.31 on their “100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time”. In 1994, it was ranked No.12 12 in Colin Larkin’s Top 50 Heavy Metal Albums. Larkin praised the album’s “crushing atmosphere of doom”, which he described as “intense and relentless”. In 2000, Q magazine included Black Sabbath in their list of the “Best Metal Albums of All Time”, stating:

“[This album] was to prove so influential it remains a template for metal bands three decades on.”

In 2005, it was ranked No. 238 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and at No. 243 in a revised edition of the list in 2012.

Here’s the penultimate track – The Warning

 

 

Leaps n bands #165: Black Sabbath (1970) 5/8

Side 2, track 1 – Evil Woman


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 features the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

The album’s cover photograph was shot at Mapledurham Watermill, on the River Thames in Oxfordshire by photographer Keith ‘Keef’ McMillan, who was in charge of the overall design. The model for the lady in the black cloak was Louisa Livingstone.

The inner gatefold sleeve of the original release featured an inverted cross containing a poem written by Roger Brown.

In the years since the iconic cover photo was shot, model Louisa Livingstone has released electronic music under the name Indreba.

The opening track on side 2 and also Black Sabbath’s first ever single, was a cover of “Evil Woman” by the Minneapolis-based band Crow, from their 1969 album Crow Music.

Leaps n bands #164: Black Sabbath (1970) 4/8

Side 1, track 4 – NIB


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 features the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

The title of the 4th song has long been a source of speculation, with some fans over the years mistakenly interpreting the title as meaning “Nativity in Black”. In the early 1990s, Geezer Butler revealed that the title was a reference to drummer Bill Ward’s beard at that time, which his bandmates felt looked like pen nib.

Originally (the title) was “Nib”, which was Bill’s beard. When I wrote N.I.B., I couldn’t think of a title for the song, so I just called it Nib, after Bill’s beard. To make it more intriguing I put punctuation marks in there to make it N.I.B. By the time it got to America, they translated it to ‘Nativity in Black’.

Though “Nativity in Black” was a completely incorrect and fan-created title, it was later used for a pair of Black Sabbath tribute albums released in 1994 and 2000 respectively.

Leaps n bands #162: Black Sabbath (1970) 2/8

Side 1, track 2 – The Wizard


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 features the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

According to Black Sabbath’s guitarist and founder member Tony Iommi, the album was recorded in a single day on 16 October 1969.

We just went in the studio and did it in a day, we played our live set and that was it. We actually thought a whole day was quite a long time, then off we went the next day to play for £20 in Switzerland.

Aside from the bells, thunder and rain sound effects added to the beginning of the opening track, and the double-tracked guitar solos on “N.I.B.” and “Sleeping Village”, there were virtually no added overdubs added.

Track two on side 1 – “The Wizard” –  was the B-side to the 1970 single “Paranoid”, which reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Leaps n bands #161: Black Sabbath (1970) 1/8

Side 1, track 1 – Black Sabbath


Throughout 2020, Jemtunes is re-visiting on a track by track basis some the records that have spoken loudest over the years

‘Leaps n Bands’ #161 through #168 (16-30 November) features the 1970 self-titled Black Sabbath debut.

Released on 13 February 1970 in the United Kingdom by Vertigo Records and on 1 June 1970 in the United States by Warner Bros. Records, it’s widely regarded as the first album in the heavy metal genre. Additionally, the opening track, the self-titled “Black Sabbath”, has been referred to as the first doom metal song.

After release, the album reached number eight on the UK Albums Charts and number 23 on the US Billboard 200. It was included in Robert Dimery’s book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The self-tilted opening track was inspired by an experience that Geezer Butler had in the days of Earth. Butler, obsessed with the occult at the time, painted his apartment matte black, placed several inverted crucifixes, and put many pictures of Satan on the walls. Ozzy Osbourne handed Butler a black occult book, written in Latin and decorated with numerous pictures of Satan. Butler read the book and then placed it on a shelf beside his bed before going to sleep. When he woke up, he claims he saw a large black figure standing at the end of his bed, staring at him. The figure vanished and Butler ran to the shelf where he had placed the book earlier, but the book was gone. Butler related this story to Osbourne, who then wrote the lyrics to the song based on Butler’s experience.