Led Zeppelin IV favorite song & rank 'em

What the hell, it’s another Zeppelin thread. With all the talk of Zep IV, I’m curious to hear what everyone’s favorite songs are and how they’d rank 'em on the album. The least favorite, too, interest me in particular. Four Sticks is the obvious one, but in the other thread, somebody mentioned “Misty Mountain Hop” being the worst track. I disagree, but I can see how someone might dislike it. I also can see “Battle of Evermore” and even (don’t strike me down) “Stairway to Heaven.” I mean, I think it’s a fine song, but I don’t understand why it’s held up to be the legend that it is.

Anyhow, my personal ranking would go (and this is tough):

  1. Black Dog
  2. When the Levee Breaks
  3. Going to California
  4. Rock and Roll
  5. Stairway to Heaven
  6. The Battle of Evermore
  7. Misty Mountain Hop
  8. Four Sticks

To be honest, “Levee” I think is my favorite, but I put “Black Dog” ahead of it for originality. 4-7 are particularly difficult for me to rank. I’m actually kind of surprised, because I didn’t expect to put Misty Mountain Hop that low in the list, but after thinking about all the great songs on this album, I found it hard to put it anywhere else.

  1. Misty Mountain Hop
  2. Battle of Evermore
  3. Going to California
  4. Stairway to Heaven
  5. When the Levee Breaks
  6. Black Dog
  7. Rock and Roll
  8. Four Sticks

5,6, and 7 were hard to rank, the rest were pretty easy. Stairway is a fine song whose reputation suffers due to its overblown legend. But even Four Sticks is a good song.

  1. Stairway to Heaven
  2. When the Levee Breaks
  3. Rock and Roll
  4. Battle of Evermore
  5. Black Dog
  6. Misty Mountain Hop
  7. Going to California
  8. Four Sticks
  1. Misty Mountain Hop… its a lot of fun…
  2. Going to California… their ode to Joni Mitchell…
  3. Stairway… the solo alone…
  4. Rock N Roll… grew up with this being on the ad for WMET… love it…
  5. When the levee breaks… great bonzo work…
  6. Black dog… rocks…
  7. battle of evermore… still love it… especially the Sandy Denny…
  8. FOur sticks… good song… just something has to finish eighth…

Swap your 3 & 4 and 6 & 7 and we’re good!


  1. When the Levee Breaks (extra points because they credited the original songwriter without being sued).
  2. Stairway to Heaven.
  3. Rock and Roll
  4. Black Dog
  5. Misty Mountain Hop
  6. Going to California
  7. Battle of Evermore
  8. Four Sticks

I know it’s still early, but with 14 votes, I’m a bit stunned that Misty Mountain Hop is leading.

  1. Misty Mountain Hop
  2. Going to California (the BBC Live version is extraordinary)
  3. Stairway to Heaven
  4. When the Levee Breaks
  5. The Battle of Evermore
  6. Rock and Roll
  7. Black Dog
  8. Four Sticks

When the Levee Breaks got my vote.

I would switch Black Dog and Battle of Evermore. Otherwise this is equal to mine.

Not a big Zep fan to begin with, but…

  1. When the Levee Breaks - for being apocalyptic
  2. Four Sticks - for the cool odd-meter groove
  3. Battle of Evermore - for Sandy Denny’s contribution
  4. Going to California - for mandolinism
  5. Misty Mountain Hop - the [del]tolkien[/del] token hippy-dippy number
  6. Rock and Roll - for truth in packaging
  7. Black Dog - I liked Fleetwood Mac’s original better
  8. Stairway to Heaven - never enjoyed this song; hearing it 5,000,000 times hasn’t helped

Is this referring to the start-stops of “Oh Well”? Because I can’t think of anything else. Of all the things Zeppelin did rip off, this doesn’t qualify at all. (ETA: I should say, it’s a stretch to treat “Black Dog” as some sort of cover of Fleetwood Mac. The songs are completely different.)

  1. Stairway To Heaven - it became overplayed and cliche for a reason and that reason is that it is the greatest song in the history of rock and roll. Anyone who disagrees should probably just go ahead and join their friends in Al Qaeda. :smiley:
  2. Black Dog
  3. Rock and Roll
  4. When The Levee Breaks
  5. Misty Mountain Hop
  6. The Battle of Evermore
  7. Going To California
  8. Four Sticks

I consider this album to be one of the most nearly perfect albums in rock history, so ranking the individual songs is really tough. 2-5 on my list could shuffle back and forth on a daily basis and 7 and 8 could mix up into a higher slot on any given day as well. Interesting mind exercise, though…

I disagree; it’s a blatant copy and has been much remarked upon.

ETA: And in response to your ETA; of course it’s not exactly the same riff, but I’d venture that “Black Dog” has more in common musically with “Oh Well” than “When the Levee Breaks” has in common with Memphis Minnie’s song.

OK, I’ll just say that I strongly disagree and leave it at that.

ETA: Oh, hell no on “When the Levee Breaks.” Here’s When the Levee Breaks by Memphis Minnie. I suppose it depends on how you qualify “musically,” but the melody and lyrics are nearly identical. The average person, I would be willing to bet, would have no trouble recognizing both versions as being the same song. I honestly don’t think most people will find “Oh Well” and “Black Dog” to be the same song. Hell, I’m musically inclined and would call myself a “musician” and I don’t think they’re the same song at all.

Four Sticks rules and you are all a bunch of heathens!

(except for Biffy)


[li]Rock and Roll[/li][li]Stairway to Heaven[/li][li]Black Dog[/li][li]Going to California[/li][li]Misty Mountain Hop[/li][li]When the Levee Breaks[/li][li]The Battle of Evermore[/li][li]Four Sticks[/li][/ol]

Very surprised that The Best Song in the World is trailing.

Then again, I didn’t vote for it either. And if I were sitting in with a band, I’d be much more likely to play “When the Levee Breaks”.

My rating (though the album is no longer a big favorite of mine):

  1. Rock and Roll
  2. Stairway to Heaven
  3. Black Dog
  4. When the Levee Breaks
  5. Four Sticks
  6. Misty Mountain Hop
  7. The Battle of Evermore
  8. Going to California

But they’re really not the same melody at all. The original is made up of just three adjacent notes–the whole song is sung within the range of a minor third, from B-flat to D-flat! Zep’s tune, by contrast, is full of leaps of a fourth and covers a range of an octave plus a minor third. (Just talking about the verse, now; not even getting into the “make it someday” section.) The chords are different, too, as Minnie’s is a standard I-IV-V blues, while Zep’s hangs gloomily on one chord through the entire verse.

You’re taking my snark way too literally. I’m not really saying they’re the same song, but Zep’s was clearly a borrowing of Fleetwood Mac’s concept.

I’m not going to take the time to rank them, but I will say that it was very difficult deciding between Stairway to Heaven and The Battle of Evermore for #1. Stairway squeaked in the win, however, due to the pure, raw emotion the song makes me feel.