The Epic 2017 Project #155: 170604
Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
This really was the first record I ever bought! And that’s something I’ll be proud of for as long as I live. Not some embarrassing single from a one hit wonder or something your Nan liked and you thought you’d buy it. Nope – I went straight to the hard core.
Yes, I was still only 12 but that didn’t matter. I’d heard ‘Four sticks’ on the radio and something had stirred. I didn’t really know it then, but it was the music vibe; the start of the passion that would grow and grow and remain with me throughout my life. And it all started with £2.77 saved in shillings and pennies, raided from my money-box, taken down to Woolworths on a cold November morning and exchanged for a copy of the newly released Led Zeppelin IV.
I played it to death, at first on my Dad’s Heathfield Stereogram which he’s built himself, and then on an old Dansette which an aunt let me have. And, apart from some old jazz records of my Dad’s, it remained as my only record until March 1973 when ‘Dark side of the moon’ came out. (But more about that in July).
Led Zeppelin IV (aka ‘The Untitled) was recorded between November 1970 and January 1971 at several locations, most prominently the Victorian house Headley Grange.
After the band’s previous album Led Zeppelin III received lukewarm reviews from critics, guitarist Jimmy Page decided their fourth album would officially be untitled. This, along with the inner sleeve’s design featuring four symbols that represented each band member, led to the album being referred to variously as the Four Symbols logo, Four Symbols, The Fourth Album, Untitled, Runes, The Hermit, and ZoSo (which was derived from Page’s symbol). In addition to lacking an album title, the cover featured no band name, as the group wished to be anonymous and to avoid easy pigeonholing by the press. Didn’t stop absolutely everyone knowing exactly who was responsible though!
Led Zeppelin IV was a commercial and critical success, featuring many of the band’s best-known songs, including ‘Four Sticks’, “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll”, “Going to California” and (of course) “Stairway to Heaven”. The album is one of the best-selling albums of all time with more than 37 million copies sold. And I’m really proud to say that I have one of the first of those!
And I’ve still got it. And it still plays. Forty-six years later!