Daily Record 1/14/11: Houses of the Holy-Led Zeppelin (1973)

In 1970s, 1973, Rich's House of Vinyl, rock on January 15, 2011 at 1:54 am

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Houses of the Holy, my favorite Led Zeppelin album.

At least today, Houses of the Holy is my favorite Zep record. But it has been many other days as well.

Back when I was in high school, it was pretty easy to obtain the latest repressings of the basic Led Zeppelin discography for about five bucks per album at Listening Booth stores. Physical Graffiti, being a double album, was probably more expensive, which is why it was probably the last one I bought.  

The availability of cheap Zeppelin in the early ’80s was good for me, since that was  just exactly the time I found myself curious about the band. I would have been too young during their heyday to get into them. Plus, the way I remember these things, even the kids in my later grade school classes weren’t exactly into Zeppelin. KISS was ruling the day. Anyway, I got up to speed on the band pretty quickly and I’ve always appreciated the quirky trajectory of Robert Plant’s post-Zeppelin career (I think Plant’s Band of Joy album from last year is excellent).

What I like about Houses of the Holy, I think, is that it’s got all that majesty that’s often associated with Led Zeppelin, but it’s also a personable, welcoming album. The band was comfortable enough to try a few stylistic detours (a sort of stiff funk in “The Crunge” and reggae in “D’yer Mak’er”). They created a beautiful, atmospheric ballad in “The Rain Song” and a monstrously riffy combination of electric and acoustic guitars that is “Over the Hills and Far Away.”

In addition to the big guitar and drum sounds, I noticed today that there lots of sonic details in Houses of the Holy that I really love. For example, it isn’t just what Page plays on “Dancing Days;” it’s what he makes his guitar sound like that makes the album so cool. If that makes sense.

On other days, maybe some other Zeppelin album would be my favorite. But today, it’s clearly Houses of the Holy.

  1. i agree man. great album!

  2. There’s been many a car ride I’ve put on “No Quarter” and just cranked it. Fantasy and ancient mythology at it’s best. Thanks for bringing back some great high school memories, Rich. In fact, I just may dig up my vinyl copy now and give it a spin on the old hi-fi.

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