Before [a]Jimmy Page[/a] could gurn for Guernsey and [B]Bob Plant[/B] began to resemble that stuff used to line hamster cages, there was a time when it was all Valhalla and velvet loons round [a]Led Z

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Early Days - The Best of Led Zeppelin: Volume One

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Early Days – The Best of Led Zeppelin: Volume One

Before [a]Jimmy Page[/a] could gurn for Guernsey and Bob Plant began to resemble that stuff used to line hamster cages, there was a time when it was all Valhalla and velvet loons round [a]Led Zeppelin[/a]’s pad. The Black Country bumpkins were the first to pump the blues’ sullen chops with glamour, portent and thunderous facial hair – thereby permanently loosening heavy metal’s nascent bowels. As a result, you can probably blame the Zep for Whitesnake and those computer analysts who play air-guitar in theme pubs.

But you can’t accuse them of being rubbish. ‘Cos [a]Led Zeppelin[/a] were the Greatest Rock Band Ever. Their songs – pan-buggering odes to Nordic gods that frolicked in virgin blood and with sacrificial goats – were all barrel-chested colossi that bestrode the globe and ate music as we knew it. Now, with ‘Early Days…’, what we have is, essentially, a Zep-by-numbers collection of the most predictable stuff from the chaps’ first four albums.

So there’s ‘Dazed And Confused’, the magnificent ‘When The Levee Breaks’ and the Bayeux Tapestry of over-elaborate yet strangely ace folk-rock anthems, ‘Battle Of Evermore’. The fact that such a commercial, no-surprises package still sounds like Thor on Thanksgiving Day is testament to their indefinable, time-defying magic. A groupie-pestering