50 Years of Led Zeppelin’s Iconic LP Which Proved to Be a Turning Point and Paved the Way for Global Success
Led Zeppelin was active from 1968 to 1980, and during their tenure, the rock legends released eight full-length studio albums. Following the revolutionary release of Led Zeppelin IV in 1971, the English rock band released their fifth studio album, “Houses of the Holy” on March 28 1973 via Atlantic Records. Upon its release, the album received some mixed reviews, with much criticism from the music press being directed at the off-beat nature of tracks such as “The Crunge” and “D’yer Mak’er”. However, the album became a global commercial success, later recieving a Diamond certification from the RIAA (1999). Since that day, the album has sold over 17 million copies worldwide.
The record benefited from the installation of studios in the homes of two band members, which allowed them to create more complex song arrangements and broaden their musical approach. The songs “The Song Remains the Same,” “The Rain Song,” and “No Quarter” later became staples of the group’s live setlists. Other material recorded at the sessions, including the title track, was shelved and released on the later albums ‘Physical Graffiti’ and ‘Coda’. All instruments and vocals were provided by the band members Robert Plant (vocals), Jimmy Page (guitar), John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards), and John Bonham (drums). The album was produced by Jimmy Page, and it was mixed by Eddie Kramer. Recently in 2020, Rolling Stones ranked the album at #278 on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time charts.
Led Zeppelin ventured into the unknown
‘Houses of the Holy’ was a stylistic turning point for the band. The composition and production laid foundations for subsequent releases. According to AllMusic, “Houses of the Holy follows the same basic pattern as Led Zeppelin IV, but the approach is looser and more relaxed. Jimmy Page’s riffs rely on ringing, folky hooks as much as they do on thundering blues-rock, giving the album a lighter, more open atmosphere. While the pseudo-reggae of “D’Yer Mak’er” and the affectionate James Brown send-up “The Crunge” suggest that the band was searching for material, they actually contribute to the musical diversity of the album. “The Rain Song” is one of Zep’s finest moments, featuring a soaring string arrangement and a gentle, aching melody. “The Ocean” is just as good, starting with a heavy, funky guitar groove before slamming into an a cappella section and ending with a swinging, doo wop-flavored rave-up. “
“With the exception of the rampaging opening number, “The Song Remains the Same,” the rest of Houses of the Holy is fairly straightforward, ranging from the foreboding “No Quarter” and the strutting hard rock of “Dancing Days” to the epic folk/metal fusion “Over the Hills and Far Away.” Throughout the record, the band’s playing is excellent, making the eclecticism of Page and Robert Plant’s songwriting sound coherent and natural.”