Led Zeppelin produced eight studio albums of the highest quality over 13 years from 1969-1982 with their output being unparalleled over that period, as their heavy rock sound dominated the airwaves. With John Bonham and John Paul Jones as one of the most formidable rhythm sections of all time, the group was completed by the talents of Jimmy Page on guitar and Robert Plant on vocals with prolific efficiency.
Picking your favourite Led Zep album is a difficult task and we’d assume for the band’s leader Robert Plant it would be like picking your favourite child. However, Plant is in no doubt as to what his favourite record is by his former group.
The singer has spoken on multiple occasions about his favourite song by the band which is ‘Kashmir’, a track which appeared on 1975’s Physical Graffiti and has gone on to typify their outrageous sound. Speaking to Rolling Stone once upon a time, Plant made the admission: “It’s one of my favourites… that, ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’ and two or three others really were the finest moments,” he reflected.
Everything in ‘Kashmir‘ embodies everything great that Led Zeppelin represents according to Plant who added: “‘Kashmir’ in particular. It was so positive, lyrically. It’s the quest, the travels and explorations that Page and I went on to far climes well off the beaten track… That, really to me is the Zeppelin feel.”
Plant continued: “‘Stairway’ is a nice, pleasant, well-meaning, naive little song, very English. It’s not the definitive Led Zeppelin song. ‘Kashmir’ is.”
When asked by Rolling Stone in the same interview which Zep album was his favourite, Plant didn’t hesitate and revealed his personal preference: “Physical Graffiti, strong stuff. And it sounded good too. It sounded very tough, but it was also restrained, exhibiting a certain amount of control as well.”
As recently as 2018, in a feature-length piece with Dan Rather he spoke in further detail about the intricacies of the track that make it so perfect to him: “It was a great achievement to take such a monstrously dramatic musical piece and find a lyric that was ambiguous enough, and a delivery that was not over-pumped,” said Plant.
“It was almost the antithesis of the music, this lyric and this vocal delivery that was just about enough to get in there.”
Physical Graffiti was a dawning of a new chapter for the band as they had now full creative control with no overlords following their exit from Atlantic Records and go independent with their new label Swan Song Records.
Guitarist Jimmy Page was on production duties for the record with Zeppelin no longer being restricted by the restraints that being on a major label offer and could re-write the handbook of what a mainstream rock album should be. ‘Kashmir’ is the perfect example of the album’s vast expansive sound which was captured on the record.
The record was released as a double album on 24 February 1975 and featured a mammoth 15-tracks which lasted for a vast time of close to 83 minutes and managed to capture the band at the peak of their artistry.
The risk-taking venture could have gone either way for the band following their exit from Atlantic, but it reaped huge rewards for the four-piece with it being a commercial and critical success upon its release and debuting at number one on album charts in the UK and number three in the US.
Robert Plant’s Favourite Led Zeppelin Album
Physical Graffiti (1975)