Houses of the Holy, the fifth studio album by Led Zeppelin, released on 28 March 1973 by Atlantic Records, signalled a major change in the band’s working routine.
The record, which arrived as the band’s fifth studio album, saw Led Zep elevate their sound to new levels. With a drive to add a new level of sophistication to their material, each member of the band installed individual home studios in a bid to expand their style and experiment their talents.
The album is worth celebrating least of all because it was the band’s first album composed of entirely original material, but the landmark it represented for the band. It was from this turning point that the musical direction of Led Zeppelin solidified and their now infamous, layering and production techniques came to the fore.
With big hits such as ‘The Song Remains the Same’ and ‘The Rain Song’ included, we’re focusing on the centrepiece of the record in the shape of the brilliant ‘No Quarter’. Written by John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the now-iconic track solidified its position as a mainstay in the bands’ live performances for years to come.
Discussing the technical difficulties of ‘No Quarter’, record producer Rick Rubin once commented: “It takes such confidence to be able to get really quiet and loose for such a long time,” when exploring the song structure. “[Led] Zeppelin completely changed how we look at what popular music can be,” he added.
Stepping into the Far Out Vault we’re revisiting a remarkable and somewhat rare clip of the band performing the song in 1970. The track is a grainy affair but the solidity of Bonham’s unique drums and Plant’s mesmeric vocal make it instantly recognisable as a Zep classic. The version is taken from a previously unheard recording and would wait until 1973 to be released to the public in the glorious form we all know and love on Houses of the Holy.
This version represents a lot of these ideals without being truly realised while still giving a great glimpse into the hearts and minds of the men who not only shaped a generation but shape popular culture as we know it today.
Stream the track, below.