How the West Was Won
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 2004, Volume 11, #2
Written by Michael Cooney
Led Zeppelin is arguably the greatest rock ínĎ roll band of all time. The group has grown beyond being simply a legendary act of the past, and unlike other classic rock treasures such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and even Paul McCartney, Led Zeppelin is more musically relevant today then ever before. In recent years, Jimmy Page has captained the bandís reemergence into the spotlight. With the release of a greatest hits collection, two box sets, and a compilation of recordings for the BBC, Led Zeppelin has reinserted itself into the Modern Rock radio format and reached a new generation of fans while re-energizing its old ones ó a miraculous occurrence, given that it has been defunct for decades.
The best example of Led Zeppelinís power and popularity came this past year with the release of How the West Was Won. This three-disc collection documents a live performance in California during the summer of 1972, and it is one of the finest albums ever to be released. It kicks off with the band tearing into the classic Immigrant Song, which is followed closely by a frenzied rendition of Heartbreaker. The sound of Pageís guitar is simultaneously gritty and beautifully elegant, and his masterful, monstrous riffs propel the band through Black Dog; Whole Lotta Love; and the rumbling, quaking Over the Hills and Far Away.
In short, How the West Was Won places the listener right smack in the center of the front row for each glorious note, and by the end of the nearly three hours of music contained on this set, one canít help but want even more. Each band member displays individual brilliance, from Robert Plantís crying, moaning vocals to John Bonhamís thunderous kick drum and quick-handed wizardry. Led Zeppelinís greatness comes from the fact that its members are four of the most talented musicians ever to enter our universe. When they united, they were an explosive, revolutionary combination. The group borrowed from blues and molded rock ínĎ roll into what eventually became heavy metal. There is not a musician in the world today who hasnít been influenced by them, and the fact that How the West Was Won spent several weeks at number one on the Billboard album chart offers plenty of proof that Led Zeppelin still matters.
Of Further Interest...
How the West Was Won is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box