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29. “Custard Pie”
Lest this list get too saccharine, we’re doing a hard pivot into a song that is unabashedly about female genitalia. Yes, this is crude, but Zeppelin was standing on the shoulders of giants, referencing similar pie metaphors from bluesmen like Blind Boy Fuller and Brownie McGhee. Plus, this song is an excellent example of the connection between Page and Bonham, in which the latter closely follows the former in order to create one of the most gloriously bombastic Side 1, Track 1’s ever.
28. “In The Light”
Just as they took a hard stand against radio singles, Zeppelin rarely allows their music to be licensed for movies and TV shows. This is a shame, given how cinematic and atmospheric the music is. But it also makes Zeppelin really stand out when you hear a song pop up in an unexpected context. For instance, the use of Zeppelin’s most Black Sabbath-sounding track, “In The Light,” in the season one finale of Mindhunter is one of the best uses of a rock song in a TV show in recent years. Though, in terms of sheer perversity, I suspect that most serial killers prefer In Through The Out Door to Physical Graffiti.
27. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”
From here on out, I could just write about how sick Bonham sounds on every song. (Even the acoustic tracks he doesn’t actually play on, I swear I can hear him breathing in perfect time in the background.) But Bonzo sounds especially sick on this song. Significant portions of Zeppelin books is spent on describing the John Bonham drum sound. You can learn about where the mics were placed in the studio, and the way he tuned his drums, and the way the air felt in the room in which he was recorded. But I’m going to fall back on one of my favorite vague muso terms — he just had unbelievable feel. He is aggressively attacking his kit, but it’s not reckless or imprecise. It’s also not not reckless or overly technical. It’s tight but loose, booming but also weirdly … soothing? What I’m saying is that “hammer of the gods” stuff wasn’t just classic-rock bullshit.
26. “Over The Hills And Far Away”
Houses Of The Holy truly is the most “fun” Zeppelin album, the one where they pretty much tried everything. This one is the “let’s revisit our Led Zeppelin III guise but do it slightly better” track. It’s also the song of choice for dorm-room guitar pickers. This probably goes without saying, but it’s best to avoid anyone who’s opening line is, “Hey lady, you got the love I need / maybe more than enough.”