Led Zeppelin IV favorite song & rank 'em

1.) “Misty Mountain Hop” – Appeals to the rebel to me, but it is very hard to choose between it and “Stairway to Heaven.”
2.) “Stairway to Heaven” – One of the greatest songs of the past 50 years. I didn’t participate in the Great Moments of Rock thread but one of them is when Jimmy Page begins those suspended chords.
3.) “When the Levee Breaks” – a magnificent cover
4.) “Goin’ to California” – a beautiful ballad
5.) “Rock and Roll” – very energetic, but nothing original here
6.) “Battle of Evermore” – a good song – I find Zep did few bad songs on their first five albums combined – but I don’t see the love some have for it.
7.) “Four Sticks” – minor.
8.) “Black Dog” – this is one of the bad songs, IMO.

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

[ol][li]When the Levee Breaks[]Stairway to Heaven[]Rock and Roll[]Black Dog[]Going to California[]Misty Mountain Hop[]Four SticksBattle of Evermore[/ol][/li]
I’d agree that Stairway to Heaven is one of the greatest songs in Rock history, but for my own taste, nothing beats the pure power of the thundering bass on When the Levee Breaks. For what it’s worth, my friends and I used to qualify the question “What’s your favorite Zep song?” with “Besides Stairway!” (Mine is The Ocean.)

Sorry for the double post, but just had this half-remembered Page quote echoing through my mind that Wikipedia has preserved for us - according to an interview by Cameron Crowe, Page felt “Stairway to Heaven”

No idea where that was originally published, but I’m sure I remember reading it at least twenty-five years ago (Wiki says it was originally published in '75, so I probably saw it in some liner notes or a magazine article somewhere).

Anyway, that’s how I’ve always felt about “Stairway” - it’s the song that most completely identifies the band Led Zeppelin, the essence of their capabilities. There are other Zep songs I might like better, but there are no others that encapsulate the sound of the band as well. Those of you who feel it’s overplayed or played out probably feel closer to how Plant felt about it (he refers to it as “that bloody wedding song”).

I’m surprised by how many people agree with me that Four Sticks is the weakest song on the album. I’ve always found it kind of boring and uninspired, but the classic rock stations I listen to all treat it like a classic.

My list:

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

The phrasing is the same and the general melodic arc is similar. Like I said, the average listener would regard them as the same song, I would think.

Sure. Zep borrowed the start-stop from that song, at least according to what I’ve read. But riffing on that idea isn’t “ripping off” in my book. And I still say, play both pairs of songs to the average listeners, and I would bet you large sums of money that far more would recognize similarities in the Levee songs than Fleetwood Mac and Black Dog. Even with nonsense syllables, I think the Levee similarities would be more apparent than any similarities between “Black Dog” and “Oh Well.”


And Fleetwood Mac borrowed the concept from Mose Allison, but who’s keeping score?

“When the Levee Breaks.” Memphis Minnie’s original came out in 1929. Before Katrina had the people of New Orleans learned NOTHING?

That comment deserves rolleyes exactly, why? The phrasing is pretty much exactly the same and so much so that, I contend, any casual listener will recognize it as the same goddamned song. Unlike “Oh Well” and “Black Dog.”

I have to agree with pulykamell here. Maybe Biffy is a Bonzo fan and can’t get past the lack of drums in the Memphis Minnie and Joe Mccoy’s version.

That there’s the same song, folks.

As for the “Oh Well” & “Black Dog” discussion…long ago I filled in on bass for a band that played both in the same night. It never occurred to me that they sounded similar…because they don’t. Saying “Black Dog” ripped off “Oh Well” because it has a start-stop style is like saying “Landslide” Ripped of “Going to California” because they’re both mellow acoustic ballads.

Exactly…as you two have demonstrated so ably. Interesting little discussion, there.

You’d both enjoy a couple of essays I once read somewhere, one showing exactly how Paul McCartney was inspired (consciously or not) by “Georgia On My Mind” when he wrote “Yesterday” (the Ray Charles version, in particular), and how he and Lennon were earlier inspired by “When the Saints Go Marching In” when they wrote “I Saw Her Standing There”.

No aspersions are cast in either essay. Inspiration is almost always an essential part of how art gets made.

I absolutely agree.

I shoot videos of the School of Rock. Last year, the Kansas City School of Rock did a tribute to Led Zeppelin, and did IV in full. Here’s their version of The Battle of Evermore.

Looks as if I am one of those rare **Four Sticks **fans. Could have put it top another day.

**Stairway to Heaven **is just way overplayed and overpraised. **Battle of Evermore **is just drippy Tolkienesque tweeness - by far the weakest song on the record.

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

It was a tie between Black Dog and Levee, so I flipped a coin.

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

I am rather surprised at the weird orderings of the songs you people have. If I rank an album with my friends or siblings, or compare to the critics, we mostly more or less agree. The lists here are pretty much all over the place.

Too difficult to rank them all, but I put Misty Mountain Hop at the top.

“If it keeps on ray-ee-nen, levee’s goinna breaaaak.”

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