Certain Songs #912: Led Zeppelin – “Ten Years Gone”

Album: Physical Graffiti
Year: 1975

My favorite song on Physical Graffiti, and probably a top 5 Led Zeppelin song, “Ten Years Gone” is probably the saddest, most wistful song in their catalog.

With Jimmy Page strumming a lonely 12-string guitar, quietly backed by John Paul Jones on bass, “Ten Years Gone,” establishes its tone from the start, as it slowly builds up to the central riff, the sound of someone walking on a beach, thinking about their past.

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Certain Songs #911: Led Zeppelin – “In The Light”

Album: Physical Graffiti
Year: 1975

Kicking off the second disc of Physical Graffiti with the sound of John Paul Jones’ synth winding around Jimmy Page applying a bow to an acoustic guitar, “In The Light” is perhaps the greatest of all of Led Zeppelin’s art-rock songs.

Not that there were that many, of course: Page and Plant were too enamored with rock and roll basics to drift too far away from them, and — weirdly enough — I think that songs with multi-part structures and tricky time signature changes would have been too limiting for John Bonham, who did his best work banging his drums against a relatively confined space.

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Certain Songs #910: Led Zeppelin – “Houses of The Holy”

Album: Physical Graffiti
Year: 1975

While Houses of The Holy would probably been a better album with both “The Rover” and “Houses of The Holy” on it in the place of “The Crunge” and “Dy’er Ma’ker,” those songs ended up making Physical Graffiti as great as it was, so things worked out just fine.

And as a bonus, putting “Houses of The Holy” on Physical Graffiti put Led Zeppelin in that small group of artists that put the song that was supposed to be the title track of their previous album on a future album instead. Which is such a small group, I can’t even think of any others, even though I know that there are.

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Certain Songs #909: Led Zeppelin – “In My Time of Dying”

Album: Physical Graffiti
Year: 1975

Because I’m a lifelong Keith Moon guy, I don’t think that John Bonham was the greatest drummer in rock ‘n’ roll history, but I don’t think he wasn’t, either.

And in the ten years or so that he was Led Zeppelin’s drummer, I don’t think that he ever topped his performance on “In My Time of Dying,” the ancient blues (and secret Bob Dylan cover) that ended the first side of Physical Graffiti.

At just over 11:00, it’s the longest studio track on any Led Zeppelin album, and in nearly every one of those 11 minutes, John Bonham is doing something utterly amazing. So here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown highlighting some of ridiculous things he’s doing.

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Certain Songs #908: Led Zeppelin – “The Rover”

Album: Physical Graffiti
Year: 1975

Physical Graffiti is officially my favorite Led Zeppelin album.

It’s also their most atypical album. A combination of freshly-recorded tracks and songs that didn’t quite fit the records they were recorded for, it could have been a complete mess, with the stylistic variety turning the whole thing into a hodge-podge.

Instead, because none of the leftovers were from their first two albums, and because the newer tracks incorporated pretty much every trick they’d learned since those records, what we were left with was an album that displayed the depth of their ambitions as well as the breadth of their mastery.

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