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4.7 out of 5 stars
Physical Graffiti
Format: Audio CDChange
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2005
....and all I listened to was THIS album. I was 12 going on 13 and already in my 3rd band (they all sucked) and looking for my next shot at glory when Zepp just yanked the rug out. I cannot even explain how much "Trampled Under Foot" made my nuts hurt or how much "Kashmir" made my soul soar or how much "Boogie With Stu" - well, you get the picture. I already had a copy of one of Howlin' Wolf's "Folkways" releases so I guess I was curious about the BLUES. Ok, so I was 12, but I also had all of Zepp's previous albums and more Sabbath, Neil Young, and *sigh* REO SpeeeeeedWagon than I care to admit. So, again, I was no stranger to anything vinyl, 8-track, or cassette could muster. Something about "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" tied it all in with my Dad's Kingston Trio records and I was ruined for life. Music could be, and WAS anything. Don't tell me about overblown, over produced records.....No, Steve Perry's Journey was still on the Eastern horizon and Uriah Heep still sounded quite like System of a Down (C'Mon...listen to "Aerials" and tell me it doesn't belong on the "Demons and Wizards" album). It's all music folks and it all has impact. This one impacted the Hell outta me.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Oh the seventies. Its a real shame that I was born in '79. I've been an avid rock fan for the last ten years or so and after listening to tunes from every decade its my opinion that the music was definately at its creative peak in the late sixties and early to mid seventies. Sure its bands, even the great ones, weren't without their excesses. And yes many times they would play long elaborate solos where short ones would do. Plus who can forget that these bands also had to release a mandatory live album with plenty of extensive jamming and a bloated double album with more than enough filler to go around.

While these criticisms are valid, it is what makes these bands so much fun to listen to. Whether its the spacey concept albums of Pink Floyd, or the super long blues jams of the Cream and the Allman Brothers Band all these factors contributed to an era where the muscians were musicians and the music was for the fans. Now rock is just another souless, faceless, corporate, over produced, over processed product with little if any passion. (ok not all modern bands suck, but the great ones are fewer and farther between.)

Ok now to the review. Physical Graffiti is Led Zeppelin's bloated double album with its share or filler. (boogie with stu, black country woman.) But it is truly one of the era's great double albums. This album is also marks a change in Zeppelin's sound. At this point Jimmy Page was really into layering his guitar tracks. This produced a very dense and heavy sound.

On the first disc we are treated to four Zep classics. "The Rover," has a great riff while "In My Time of Dying," is a homage to Zep's muscle. Bonham's drums are especially powerful on "Dying." "Trampled Underfoot" is exhillarating blend of funk, blues, and heavy metal. Closing out the first disc is my personal fav from the Zep repetoire, the immortal "Kashmir." This song is again a showcase for a hypnotically powerful Page riff and the Bonzo thunder. The song with its eastern influenced lyrics is complimented with an orchestra of Indian musicians. All these factors lead to a truly epic listening experience.

Disc one is a powerful album in itself. However disc two despite some of the filler has many great moments. "In the Light," is an underrated epic, while "Down By The Seaside," is a dreamy ballad. "The Wanton Song" opens with a truly powerful and funky riff. As great as those songs are they pale in comparison to heartbroken "Ten Years Gone." "Ten Years," is a perfect break up tune about regret and the feeling of emptyiness that accompanies losing someone you thought was your soul mate. A true classic. After some filler, the album closes with the heavy and rockin "Sick Again." Its a great way to close one of rock's greatest double albums. (It is second only to the Beatles delightfully uneven White Album.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is my favorite album of all time. In the rock genre, I don't see how you could top it. It has everything you could ask of a true masterpiece - epic classics, haunting ballads, bluesy pyrotechnics, successful experiments. If I had to go to the proverbial desert island, this would be the album I would take. It is one of the main reasons I started playing guitar. Perhaps no other band in the history of rock is able to sustain such an incredibly wide, versatile gradient of sound - from the heavy, infectious blues of the opening tracks, Custard Pie and The Rover (a very underrated tune, almost like brilliant garage band rock) to the acoustic melancholy of Bron-Yr-Aur to the wistful beauty of Ten Years Gone. The first side of what was originally released as a double album is quite simply perfect. Following the first 2 tunes is In My Time of Dying, an incomparable blues prayer workout with probably the most mind-blowing electric slide guitar work you will ever hear, accompanied by Plant's plaintive, spiritual wails pleading to be taken to the promised land when he's all through. Bonham's drumming is, as always, thunderous and apocalyptic, and really drives this one along. Houses of the Holy (misplaced by name, since this was the title of the last album released) is another catchy, almost playful straight-ahead rocker, while Trampled Underfoot is one of the true triumphs in the Zep catalog, and as close to hard-core funk as you will ever find the band. Jonesy's staccato synth playing turns this burning, sex-laced pile-driver into a rock song that is almost danceable; you just can't help but move around to it. The album's magnum opus is Kashmir, a 7+ minute song influenced very heavily by Indian and Eastern music, and which is quite simply breathtaking in its scope. The sonic backdrop is expansive, the lyrics are vintage Plant (mystical and scenic), and the guitar / synth (pseudo-strings) interplay is spellbinding. This is one of those tunes which really takes you away, transports you. It stands as one of the high points in all of rock. Bron-Yr_Aur is the acoustic highlight on the album, and harkens back to Page's more folky days from Zep III. The second side is more experimental, and feels more like a hodge-podge of odds and ends in some places, but with Zeppelin, even that can turn into another classic album side. In the Light continues with the dark, mystical feeling evoked in Kashmir, with a haunting, almost Pink Floydian keyboard part leading the way in the intro. Great guitar part, great vocal performance. Ten Years Gone is another high point, and really helps to establish Zeppelin in the rock pantheon as far as versatility and sheer brilliance. The guitar parts are aching and evocative, progressing from lurking and foreboding to almost anthemic in the chorus. I love the lyrics in particular on this one, describing a la Stairway to Heaven the choices we all make in life and how fleeting is the passage of time. The album jolts and bounces through Night Flight, a lively loose tune in which the band really sounds like they're enjoying themselves at the height of their success, and barrels into The Wonton Song, another very underrated, powerful rocker. Some of the guitar work in the breaks on this one is mystifying - Page is a peerlessly creative guitarist. Down By the Seaside is a pretty little tune, much more laid back and relaxed than most of them Zep did. Towards the end of the set, Black Country Woman is a raunchy, bluesy (yet acoustic) stomp that (I think) they recorded outside, and Boogie With Stu (with Ian Stewart from Stones fame) is a fine piano driven tune which once again can get you up and dancing. Despite all their innovation and success, give Zeppelin credit for staying true to their roots - blues, rockabilly, you hear all of them on this one. The album closes out with Sick Again, another powerful (dare I say almost grungey before grunge?) scorcher which is a fitting end to a powerful album. In short, Physical Graffitti has no holes or lapses, no throwaway songs, and IMHO is the best rock album ever made, amidst a catalog of inspired, brilliant Zeppelin albums.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 1999
Up to 1975, when I was in high school, my friends and I would constantly argue on who was the best band of all time. Steven would pick the stones, armando would pick the beatles and I would pick ZEPPELIN. When this album came out, we never argued again
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2002
Led Zeppelin rock! This album was recorded at Headley Grange and was, for lack of a better term.....a working album and almost every track was recorded from the speed of thought. Physical Graffiti is one of my favorite albums. If you are the kind of person that doesnt mind hearing a great disc over and over again without getting tired of hearing it, this is for you. You get everything and the kitchen sink with this disc, acoustic imagery in "Bron-Yr-Aur", hard driven blues in "The Rover", emotional stirring with "Ten Years Gone", Indie/Blues/vocal orchestra in "Kashmir", and music that just makes you feel like getting up and dancing around the house like "Boogie with Stu", "Black Country Woman" and "Down by the seaside". There are so many different influences with this group that just made the music work....whouda thought? I wish I did that well in chemistry. This is two of the desert island discs IMHO. Try it....
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2003
In 1975 Led Zeppelin released their finest work(yes it is better than Led Zep 4)It is also undoubtedly the greatest heavy rock album of all time. Unsurpassed some 28 years after its release it is rock and roll at it's finest. With Page again producing(from his knowledge as a session musician), they had 8 songs for the new album, just a bit long for a single album. So they decided to go through the vast work they had left over from previous albums and had another 8 songs. These 15 songs would be released in 1975 to unprecedented critical praise and commercial success (a New York store said they were shifting 500 copies an hour!)
The album highlights are the bluesy In My Time Of Dying, the epic In The Light, and without a doubt the greatest song ever recorded, the immense Kashmir. Any rock fan or of music in general haven't lived until they've heard this album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2007
I agree with all the 5-stars for several reasons. Page and Co. got it so right on this album,even though tracks on this album were from different time periods in their recording career,up to that point.(wikipedia it)

Considering Page was in the arms of Morpheus most of the time, and the band was playing catch up while he dozed somewhere in the studio,it's truly amazing that they got this so right. You can taste the guitar tones on this one and I'm glad they didn't have ProTools around to over-correct every little sound. This album still breathes as if it is a living thing,after all the years since release. Every song is a gift to the Zep fan...go buy this monstrous CD!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2015
I was slow to warm to this album. When I first discovered Led Zeppelin in high school, I raced through their discography and was in constant anticipation of this album, which is considered by many to be one of their best albums, if not the absolute best one. When I finally listened to it, though, I was disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high, and perhaps my taste in music was not as sophisticated as it would later become. I don't know. I just found it pretentious, overlong, and overrated.

Listening to it again, I now consider myself converted; it's great. It's widely known that Zeppelin had recorded a follow-up album to Houses of the Holy and discovered that it was too long for one LP and too short for a double LP. They did not want to cut anything, so they padded it out with outtakes from Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, and Houses of the Holy and this album is the result. Some have commented that the new songs are not on the level of songs from previous albums and the old songs were rightly left off past albums. I disagree completely.

To be fair, the opening track "Custard Pie" (with none too subtle sexual innuendos) is simply not on the level of "Black Dog" or "Whole Lotta Love," but it's close, and many of the other new tracks (like "Trampled Under Foot," "Kashmir," and "Ten Years Gone") rank with their very best work. Several of the songs here that were previously left off other albums (like "Houses of the Holy" and "The Rover") are among the strongest songs here. Three outtakes from their untitled fourth album ("Down by the Seaside," "Night Flight," and "Boogie with Stu") appear here and while they probably did not fit particularly well into the continuity of that record (their masterpiece, in my opinion), they're perfectly songs and they really work in the context of this album. They’re not filler; not at all.

As a result of the different sources for these songs, the album has a wonderful eclecticism that none of their previous records really have. There’s songs that rock hard (like “Houses of the Holy”), brilliant epics (like “Kashmir”), and soft and acoustic fare (like “Bron-Yr-Aur”); it feels balanced in very organic ways. Of the outtakes from Led Zeppelin IV featured here, “Boogie With Stu” is particularly great. With a sort of muddy, murky tone that recalls albums like Exile on Main St. and The Basement Tapes, the song stands out as a highlight from the latter portion of the album. Jimmy Page puts down his electric guitar to play mandolin, and Ian Stewart (longtime keyboardist for The Rolling Stones) plays piano; there’s a kind of “Sweet Virginia”-like vibe that really works.

I don't write this review as a Led Zeppelin fanboy. Most great bands, even bands as great as Led Zeppelin, have a few albums that stick out as being subpar. Even in their classic years, The Rolling Stones recorded Their Satanic Majesties Request, an album I have never really connected with, and let's not forget the fact that The Clash--who made albums as great as London Calling--ended their career with the flawed Combat Rock and the terrible Cut the Crap. On this album, though, Led Zeppelin found a way to make two brilliant records that could have felt boated, pompous, and excessive in lesser hands. Physical Graffiti is not Led Zeppelin's best album, nor it is their greatest achievement, but it's up there and easily their last great record.

A note on where the old material comes from:

From Led Zeppelin III sessions: "Bron-Yr-Aur"

From Led Zeppelin IV sessions: "Down by the Seaside," "Night Flight," and "Boogie with Stu."

From Houses of the Holy sessions: "The Rover," "Houses of the Holy," and "Black Country Woman."
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Well....I guess everybody DOES have their own opinions----and Lord knows I've "smattered" enough of mine around within the context of my reviews here at Amazon. I've finally felt compelled to write a review for my personal favorite band, and quite possibly my all-time favorite Album (right next to "Abbey Road" and "Who's Next"). However, after reading through more than a few reviews here---- some VERY comprehensive, I decided that most of my comments would end up sounding very redundant. So with that said, maybe I'll throw some of the aforementioned "opinions" around....

To me, this (and every other LZ) release embodies everything I know to be a GREAT Album,...by a GREAT band. When I say GREAT album, I mean a release that has a varied mix of songs...though still remaining cohesive; musicians that play for the songs----songs that play for the musicians; and 'Good Time' music that never becomes "dated-sounding" for me. Led Zeppelin is among a VERY ELITE crowd as far as I'm concerned....in that, I can't imagine this band with ANY other than these four men----each member as equal as the next. The above said "elite" would include bands such as The Beatles, The Who, Rush, and possibly KISS and Van Halen as well. And as known, some of these bands were able to "trudge" on with different members....however, when it was announced that the Mighty Zep would not continue after the death of the GREAT John Bonham, it was none too shocking for me. That is quite a testament to the "Brotherhood" of a great band----and in the case of the three remaining members, felt they needed to morally do the right thing and "call it a day" for their 'Fallen Comrade'.

Led Zeppelin WILL be remembered as long as Rock and Roll exsists...and the music heard on "Physical Graffiti" is a Major reason why. Every song offers the listener something different and special----- My favorites?......that's like picking your favorite Child! However, if pressed I would pick "In My Time of Dying", "Kashmir", "Trampled Under Foot", "Houses of the Holy", "The Wanton Song" and "In the Light". I would strongly recommend this piece of musical Art to anyone not familiar with this legendary band, as well as any and all releases by them. In conclusion (and at the possible cost of many "Not Helpful" votes cast against me)..... If ever stranded on a desert island, I would take this over "Tommy", "The Wall" and "White Album" any day of the week....or month.....or YEAR. One of The BEST ever recorded-----BUY NOW!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This is a record that a ten year old me frequently escaped to. It conjured up mythic landscapes and mystic places that resided in my young imagination. There were times I felt as though I was moving upward to the sun and being consumed by its Brilliant Light. Could these "fantasies" have triggered a fascination with the spiritual...the mystical...the unexplainable in later years?

I think we all know the answer.

My mother passed away in January of 1975. One month prior to the release of this masterpiece which I received as a birthday present for my 10nth birthday in March. My mother was a classical pianist as well as violinist and I'm sure that she would've greatly appreciated this album for its sweeping and breathtaking arrangements. I have often said that if it wasn't for Led Zeppelin, Mad Magazine, and certain substances that allowed me to see through the veil of the seen and the unseen, I would've probably grown up "normal". I would've probably had a 9-5 job and had lots of money in the bank, and the best of everything, but no depth of soul...no Inner Light to guide my thoughts and feelings by...and all those things that I might have accrued in my seemingly "normal existence" would've just proven hollow and insignificant.

Fortunately, I had this album to lose myself in. Fortunately, I was drawn to things that seemed to almost guarantee the happy fact that I am strange, weird, and totally happy inwardly and outwardly and it is this gratefulness...this deep appreciation...this sincere joy that I have for my life that draws even more good my way.

This album is probably my favorite. It is probably their most powerful statement of what they were able to do musically as well as magically. From John Bonham's thunderous drumming, to Jimmy Page's fantastic guitar work, to John Paul Jones thoughtful bass licks, to Robert Plant's soulful wailing, it is a mystical masterpiece that belongs in EVERY audiophile's collection.

Peace & Blessings.
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