Fifty years ago today, November 8, Led Zeppelin released its classic fourth studio album, an untitled collection commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV.
The massively successful album is packed with some of the band’s best-known songs, including one of the great all-time rock anthems, “Stairway to Heaven,” and cemented Led Zeppelin’s reputation as the world’s biggest hard rock band.
Led Zeppelin IV missed topping the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at #2, but the album has gone on to sell over 23 million copies in the U.S., making it among the five best-selling studio albums ever in the States.
Besides “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin IV features “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Going to California” and more.
“Black Dog” reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, Led Zeppelin’s second highest-charting single in the U.S. after “Whole Lotta Love,” which peaked at #4 in 1970.
Two guest artists are featured on Led Zeppelin IV. Former Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny duets with Robert Plant on “The Battle of Evermore,” and original Rolling Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart plays piano on “Rock and Roll.” Denny was the only guest vocalist ever to appear on a Led Zeppelin song.
Heart sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, who famously saluted Led Zeppelin at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors by performing “Stairway to Heaven” with late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham‘s son, Jason, tell ABC Audio that Led Zeppelin IV made a major impact on them.
Ann credits the album with being “probably one of the biggest turning points of my musical life,” while Nancy says that Led Zeppelin “painted…culture-altering landscapes” on the record.
Meanwhile, a video series profiling the making of Led Zeppelin IV has been posted on the band’s YouTube channel.
Here’s the album’s full track list:
“Rock and Roll”
“The Battle of Evermore”
“Stairway to Heaven”
“Misty Mountain Hop”
“Going to California”
“When the Levee Breaks”
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