Discover the Common Thread: A Shared Element in Several Led Zeppelin Songs

Discover the Common Thread: A Shared Element in Several Led Zeppelin Songs | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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When Led Zeppelin released their first album in 1969, some people pigeonholed them as strictly a heavy band. However, for those who truly listened, it was clear that Led Zeppelin’s songs showcased their range of styles and influences from the very beginning. Surprisingly, despite their overall stylistic differences, there are eight Led Zeppelin songs that share a common trait in the way they start – they all begin with a slow fade.

For instance, the gentle ballad “Thank You” from Led Zeppelin II starts with a gradual fade-in of Jimmy Page’s bright acoustic guitar, John Paul Jones’ organ, and John Bonham’s delicate drums, before Robert Plant’s vocals enter 26 seconds into the song. Another example is the drumless track “The Battle of Evermore” from Led Zeppelin IV, which starts to crystallize with the plinking of a mandolin. It’s also worth noting that this song is the only Led Zeppelin track to feature a second lead vocalist.

“No Quarter” from Houses of the Holy emerges from the ether with Jones’ liquidy synth line, creating a moody atmosphere that contrasts with the rest of the album. “In the Light,” one of the most underrated Led Zeppelin songs, also begins with a fade-in. Page’s bowed acoustic guitar and Jones’ Eastern-tinged synth riff provide nearly two minutes of instrumental bliss before Plant joins in.

On Physical Graffiti, the acoustic solo “Bron-Yr-Aur” follows “In the Light” and gently fades in with Page’s finger-picking, giving the impression of joining the end of a long journey. The epic track “Achilles Last Stand” from Presence opens with a reverb-soaked riff by Page that quickly fades away as the chugging anthem takes over, with Plant and Page mirroring each other with wordless vocals and flange-heavy guitar.

“In the Evening,” the opener of In Through the Out Door, starts with Page using a Gizmotron to create a bowed guitar effect for almost a minute. While most Led Zeppelin songs began immediately with the music or lyrics, these eight songs stand out for their slow fade-ins.

It’s worth mentioning that Led Zeppelin has other songs with interesting opening moments. For example, “Tangerine” from Led Zeppelin III begins with a false start, as Page strums his acoustic guitar to find the right rhythm for the song. “Immigrant Song” and “Friends” from the same album start with tape hiss and noodling before the music kicks in. “Black Dog” from Led Zeppelin IV includes scratching guitars before the main riff starts, while “The Ocean” from Houses captures Bonham’s humorous complaints about the number of takes before he counts the band in. “Black Country Woman” from Physical Graffiti even captures a plane flying overhead, with Plant requesting the recording engineer to keep it on the track.

Led Zeppelin’s unique chemistry and unrivaled talent allowed them to traverse a vast range of musical styles, from rock and blues to folk, reggae, R&B, and heavy psychedelic tunes. Amidst this diversity, these eight stylistically different Led Zeppelin songs share the common theme of beginning with a fade-in, adding another intriguing layer to their musical legacy.