Houses of the Holy

In honor of the birthday of perhaps rock’s greatest guitarist and very easily MY favorite Jimmy Page, I felt I had to write a piece about one of my favorite bands of all time Led Zeppelin. Endless words have been written about them, endless amounts of praise have been heaped upon them over the past nearly 50 years, and it’s all warranted. Now I will throw my hat in the race, knowing full well it won’t be able to match up to some of the greats of rock criticism. This piece will mostly come off as stream of consciousness due to my sheer love for these Brits, so strap in, brothers.

It was hard narrowing down a single album to put words to paper for, as Zeppelin never released a bad album. Every one is great in its own way, so I had to go by the strength of the individual songs. Houses of the Holy may not have a song like “Stairway to Heaven,” but it does have many more all time greats that show off the once-in-a-lifetime genius these 4 blues worshipping guys brought to the table. “The Rain Song” is such a powerfully emotional song that I can’t listen to it without getting goosebumps. There have been a lot of love songs written in history, but none match up to this one as far as I’m concerned. “Upon us all a little rain must fall.”

“Over the Hills and Far Away” is a very European folk-influenced song, written about “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien. If you ever needed a track to feel some European pride, this is the one. “No Quarter” may be the most unique Zeppelin track they ever put to tape. Primarily written by bass player John Paul Jones, it’s a keyboard heavy, atmospheric track that eschews their usual guitar-driven approach. Very strange, but a very rewarding listen.

It was very hard to select one album to write about here. I kept floating between this and Led Zeppelin IV, but after revisiting both for the sake of this piece it really solidified in my head that Houses is my favorite Zeppelin album. It’s got everything you expect from these guys; heavy rockers, soft ballads, lots of genre experimentation, lots of wearing their influences on their sleeves. Just a very powerful album that I can’t recommend enough if you for some reason haven’t given it some time.

Houses of the Holy gets a 5/5 from me.


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