I always worry about what I’m going to find in reader’s/listener’s polls because they tend to reflect the conditioning and narrowness of corporate radio. But Rolling Stone’s Best Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time is a happy exception.
Here’s the list:
1. Stairway to Heaven
3. Achilles Last Stand
4. Since I’ve Been Loving You
5. When the Levee Breaks
6. Whole Lotta Love
7. The Rain Song
8. Ramble On
9. Ten Years Gone
10. No Quarter
While these songs are common on current radio playlists, most of them are not songs that were big when their respective albums were new.
When Zep IV came out, Black Dog and Rock and Roll were played far more than Stairway to Heaven. When the Levee Breaks? Forget it.
When Houses of the Holy was released, Dancing Days and The Song Remains the Same were the popular numbers, not No Quarter and The Rain Song.
On Zep III, Since I’ve Been Loving You was passed over in favour of Celebration Day and The Immigrant Song.
The big exception on the list is Whole Lotta Love, which is a big exception of a song.
The article points out that 78 different songs were nominated, and that’s not surprising. For most of their existence, Led Zeppelin was just about the biggest thing going. A ton of great songs didn’t make the list.
But it’s nice to see the fans in charge for a change, you know, not getting trampled under foot by their friends in the boardroom.