Like any rock ‘n’ roll outfit, Led Zeppelin would disagree on occasion. The band had to accept that differences of opinion were part of the job if they were to continue as the most dominant force in rock music. The group worked because they were a democracy and, on occasion, they would release music despite all four members noting being particularly fond of a track.
Jimmy Page is a perfectionist and is the man behind some of the most formidable riffs of all-time; even before joining Led Zeppelin, he was one of Britain’s great guitarists. Then after the band’s reign of dominance, he walked on water. Throughout eight studio albums, Led Zeppelin created an abundance of tracks that, in many peoples eyes, are the definition of perfection. However, in the view of the band, there is the odd occasion where they let their brilliance momentarily slip.
The beautiful blend of the mercurial Jimmy Page on guitar alongside the expertly delivered bass from John Paul Jones, Robert Plant’s world-class searing vocals and underpinned by the masterful drumming of rock’s most incredible powerhouse John Bonham is a recipe for the ages. However, even these four talents would occasionally come unstuck.
One body of work that Page isn’t proud of is the entirety of the band’s final album, In Through The Out Door, released in 1979. In 1993, Page said he and John Bonham considered it “a little soft” and told Guitar World: “Presence had been an electric guitar album. [Then] Jones had this writing renaissance because he hadn’t written whole numbers before and suddenly he had.”
For the entire album, Bonham and Page felt useless as their two bandmates were the creative forces driving In Through The Out Door. “Bonzo and I had already started discussing plans for a hard-driving rock album after that,” he added. Sadly Bonham’s death in 1980 would prevent them from creating the record that the pair of them had dreamt of making together, and instead, their last album would be one that neither was fond of.
However, there remains one song in particular that rubs him the wrong way; the heartfelt ‘All My Love‘, a track which showcased a more tender side to the band. “I was a little worried about the [‘All My Love’] chorus,” Page said in an interview published in Brad Tolinski’s Light and Shade. “I could just imagine people doing the wave and all of that. And I thought ‘That is not us. That is not us’.” However, Page didn’t want the song to be taken off the album as it was one that Robert Plant delivered straight from his heart and addressed his grief towards his son, Karac.
“In its place it was fine, but I would not have wanted to pursue that direction in the future,” Page added. Whilst the song isn’t to his taste, the sentiment is one he got behind even if he didn’t like the execution.
‘Livin’ Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)’ is another song by the group that Page hates, and it’s one of the few tracks by the group that they never played live. Although Robert Plant has paid it on a handful of occasions as a solo artist following the group’s split, the track is a mainstay on the radio.
The song appeared on their wondrous sophomore album, one of the finest albums of all time and a perfect set of songs that bleed together beautifully. ‘Livin’ Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)’ flows perfectly after ‘Heartbreaker’ on the second half of the record, and it is hard to imagine the album without the track living on it.
Page’s riff on the track is nothing short of phenomenal, but the lyrical content, on the other hand, is ropey for even back in 1969. The song is drenched in misogyny towards a real-life groupie who used to follow the band around. Perhaps, Page is embarrassed about the lyrics, explaining why Zeppelin never performed the number live. He’s never confirmed his reasoning for why he holds such a strong dislike for the track, but this is the most rational explanation.