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The Five Most Underrated Led Zeppelin Songs

When you look at their impressive career from 1969-1979, Led Zeppelin cranked out plenty of well known and loved songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love”, but many of their best tracks are actually the most underrated and least well known. Here’s our look at the five most underrated songs from all their studio albums, excluding 1982’s CODA, which was released after the band had parted ways following the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980.

Achilles Last Stand (Presence, 1976)

The opening song on what many consider a lacklustre Presence album, Achilles Last Stand is more than 10 minutes of Led Zeppelin thundering along in an epic track that paved the way for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at Page’s Malibu home, the band recorded it in 1975 in Munich at Musicland Studios. Of interest on this song, besides’ John Bonham’s stellar drumming, is John Paul Jones’ use of a custom eight-string bass. Jimmy Page added no less than 12 guitar tracks to the song and orchestrated the guitar parts. This song, with it’s relentless energy, virtually crowns Led Zeppelin at their peak.

Custard Pie (Physical Graffiti, 1975)

Boasting a stellar Jimmy Page riff and incredible work by John Bonham that carries the song, “Custard Pie” kicks off the double Physical Graffiti album in a big way. The infectious, funky groove will instantly have your feet tapping, while Robert Plant is at his sexual double-entendre best singing about a woman’s vagina. Written by Page and Plant, the singer also handles the harmonica that adds a solid blues element to the riff. Interestingly, Zeppelin never played it live.

The Rover (Physical Graffiti, 1975)

The second track on the Physical Graffiti album is one of those songs that flies under the radar. But from the moment John Bonham kicks it in with the opening drum passage, “The Rover” shows why it’s among Zeppelin’s best work. It was recorded in 1972 and originally intended to go on the Houses of the Holy album, but the band held it off that record. Robert Plant puts his heart and soul into it, just listen to him sing “You got me rockin when I ought to be a-rollin. Darling, tell me darling which way to go”. Page’s fretboard work is sound as always, and he used several overdubs to thicken his guitar sound on the track.

The Ocean (House of the Holy, 1973)

“The Ocean” closes out the impressive Houses of the Holy record with John Bonham counting it in “We’ve done four already but now we’re steady and they went 1, 2, 3, 4 ….” as the band supposedly cracks it on the fifth take. It’s a fun, funky song where you can tell the group is having a ton of fun playing it. The ending coda features some cool doo-wop grooving (with John Paul Jones and Bonham providing vocals) while Page solos merrily along. Near the end, Plant goes “Oh soo good” and yes, this song is oh. so. good. It was written by the entire band.

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (Led Zeppelin III, 1970)

Named after the 18th Century Bron-Y-Aur house in Wales where the band wrote most of the songs for Led Zeppelin III, this acoustic track features John Bonham playing spoons and castanets, while John Paul Jones incorporates a fretless bass as the song grooves along nicely. Jimmy Page carries it with a superb sounding acoustic riff that connotes the pastoral side the band found writing at the house, which had no electricity or running water.

Check out more of Cam Maxwell’s Rock ‘N Roll Insight.

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