Led Zeppelin is one of the most influential rock bands in the genre’s history. Inspirational for all who would come after, their guitar-driven sound would be credited as the pioneering force for the hard rock and heavy metal genres we have today.
One of the best-selling artists of all time with somewhere north of 200 million worldwide record sales, they used their songs to tell stories, experiment with different styles, and pave the way for the rock bands that would come after them. In this article, we’ll look at 45 of the best Led Zepplin songs of all time:
The members of Led Zeppelin has repeatedly said that Kashmir is the best single they’ve ever released, and I’m not going to argue with them on this one. The lyrics were written by Robert Plant while driving through the Sahara Desert on a seemingly endless road.
Kashmir has gone down as one of the best rock songs ever, not just one of Led Zeppelin’s best. It used various accompanying instruments, including brass and string groups and a sitar, to achieve its legendary sound, eventually becoming one of the band’s signature songs that reek of Zeppelin vibes.
2. Whole Lotta Love
Whole Lotta Love was a defining song for Led Zeppelin, becoming their first hit song and earning a gold certification in the US. If you listen closely to the lyrics, you’ll quickly understand how obscene the song actually is, but that did nothing other than give it more fame and recognition.
VH1 named Whole Lotta Love the third-greatest hard rock song of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it at number 75 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. To this day, it contains one of the most iconic guitar riffs in all of rock music as well, being voted the greatest riff of all time by a listener poll on BBC Radio 2.
3. Black Dog
There’s a solid argument to be made that Black Dog is the Zeppelin song that has the most badass guitar riff in all of Led Zeppelin’s catalog. Q Magazine even ranked it number one in their list of the 20 Greatest Guitar Tracks of all time.
John Paul Jones was responsible for the riff, coming up with it after being inspired by Muddy Waters’ Electric Mud album. Black Dog would become a staple of Led Zeppelin performances, debuting at the same 1971 concert that saw Stairway To Heaven play on stage for the first time. Its original release broke into the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 and US Cash Box charts.
4. Stairway To Heaven
Stairway to Heaven was many people’s introduction to Led Zeppelin, so for many fans, it’s the band’s best song. An absolute classic in rock history, it’s been played countless times on radio stations nationwide, still being played on modern rock and classic stations today.
Widely regarded as one of the best rock songs of all time, Stairway To Heaven was never released as an official single by Led Zeppelin, something the band members were careful to keep from happening as they saw it as a milestone in their sound.
5. Immigrant Song
Next, we’ll discuss one of my all-time favorite Led Zeppelin songs. Immigrant Song is built on repeating riffs and focuses on Norse mythology that goes over warfare and earning a place in Valhalla. Immigrant Song was included on their 1970 album Led Zeppelin III, being inspired by one of the band’s tours that took them to Reykjavik in Iceland.
A huge commercial success, it would make it number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and eight on the Cash Box charts.
6. Ramble On
Ramble On was heavily influenced by the J. R. R. Tolkien story The Lord of the Rings, mentioning several places and characters from the books. While it almost sounds like a violin is used in the song, Page actually achieved it with his guitar through some skillful strumming techniques.
It was a rather mellow song for the band, winding up as one of the more balanced offerings from them that comes at the song from more of a folk-blues angel while highlighting the storytelling of Plant.
7. When The Levee Breaks
When The Levee Breaks was originally a country blues song by Memphis Minnie from 1929. Led Zeppelin reworked the song into a rocker, using it as the closing track on their fourth album.
At the time of release, many critics saw it as Led Zeppelin’s best song on the album, showing a totally different side to the band that paid tribute to the blues songs of the past.
8. Since I’ve Been Loving You
Since I’ve Been Loving You came out on the 1970 Led Zeppelin III album and was apparently the hardest song on the album to record. A live recording in the studio was what got used for the album, featuring very little overdubbing or other work put into it.
It was one of the best examples of Led Zeppelin taking classical blues structure and forging their own path with it to make something new. Guitarist Magazine would rank the guitar solo of Since I’ve Been Loving You at number eight on their list of the Top 100 Guitar Solos of All Time as well.
9. Good Times Bad Times
Good Times Bad Times was the opening track of Led Zeppelin’s debut studio album in 1969 and the first single released in the US. Rarely was it used as a concert song, mainly due to how difficult it was to play and the fact that Jimmy Page had to use a speaker to create the swirling effect in the song. It would also become the band’s first charting song in the US, making it number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 66 on the Cash Box charts.
10. Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused had a long history before Zeppelin produced their version. Jake Holmes originally wrote it in 1967 as a folk-rock song, but Jimmy Page heard it and reworked it for the Yardbirds.
Later, after adding new lyrics and arrangements, Page’s new group would use it for their debut album, Led Zeppelin. For most of the band’s career, it was a staple concert song and one of Zeppelin’s signature songs.
11. Achilles Last Stand
Led Zeppelin was never afraid to release music inspired by mythology, and after Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had traveled around a lot, they took on some Eastern elements to their music. Achilles Last Stand was one of those songs, becoming the band’s longest and most complex song of all time, running over 10 minutes and interweaving different sections flawlessly.
Don’t let the size be daunting for you. It’s an absolute masterpiece that contains one of Jimmy Page’s favorite guitar solos.
12. Misty Mountain Hop
Misty Mountain Hop is another one of the incredible songs to come from Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album. It was the B-side to Black Dog, referring to the 1968 Legalise Pot Rally in London.
Exceptionally funky, it’s another one that includes some sly Tolkien references and deals with hippies, with the societal problems going on wanting the narrator to escape to a fictional mountain peak in Tolkien’s realm.
Recommended: Songs about mountains
13. Communication Breakdown
Communication Breakdown was one of the very first songs Led Zeppelin worked on after the band formed, becoming a feature on their early setlists before the release of their debut album in 1969.
All it took for them to get going was a riff from Page, and the other members wrote and played around with it, eventually ending up with something that almost sounded like the punk music that would come shortly after it in the UK.
14. Rock and Roll
Rock and Roll is an iconic Led Zeppelin song that I still hear on modern rock radio stations today. Easily one of the most dynamic hard rock songs in history, it featured a guest appearance by Roling Stones’ pianist Ian Stewart and was a feature of Zeppelin’s fourth album in 1971.
For a long time, it served as Zeppelin’s opening concert number and did fairly well commercially. Rock and Roll broke into the top 50 of both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box charts while receiving a silver certification in the UK.
15. The Rain Song
The Rain Song was a ballad running for over seven minutes that was first released on Led Zeppelin’s fifth studio album Houses of the Holy. Like any great musician with a lot of pride, the song itself was conceived when John Bonham was told that Led Zeppelin sucked at writing ballads.
In an incredible “I’ll show you” moment, The Rain Song was born. Critics loved it but had a hard time classifying it into any genre, making the song so brilliant it defied being put into any one box.
16. Going To California
Going To California is yet another entry on our list that originated on Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album. It’s a folk-style song, using alternative tunings and acoustic guitars to find its footing, that started out as a song about the California earthquakes the band experiences while mixing songs out there.
17. The Ocean
The ocean references in The Ocean were a metaphor for the sea of hands that Robert Plant performed in front of on a nightly basis. It was one of the standout tracks of their 1973 album Houses of the Holy and was met with wildly mixed reviews upon release. Fans and the band loved the song, though, which mattered much more to Zeppelin.
18. Over The Hills and Far Away
Here’s another one from Houses of the Holy. Over The Hills and Far Away was released as the first single from the album, rising to number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and appearing in concert well before it debuted on the album.
19. No Quarter
Continuing with Houses of the Holy, No Quarter became a staple of Led Zeppelin concerts from the time it was released until they hung up their instruments and called it quits. Like Immigrant Song, it draws on the Vikings and Norse mythology to give your enemies no mercy.
It wasn’t met with positive reviews at the time, but looking back on it, it’s clear the song displayed the band’s songwriting prowess.
20. Ten Years Gone
While Ten Years Gone was originally intended to be an instrumental piece, Plant added lyrics to it, and the band ended up producing one of the best tracks on their 1975 Physical Graffiti album. Its dreamy and hypnotic sound drew comparisons to the Beatles’ work and was one of the prettiest songs the band ever released.
Not to be confused with the later Pat Benatar song, Heartbreaker was one of the band’s best tracks on their Led Zeppelin II album in 1969. Guitar World Magazine ranked its guitar solo at number 16 on their list of the greatest guitar solos of all time, and Heartbreaker was included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2010.
22. In My Time Of Dying
In My Time Of Dying was a gospel song from Blind Willie Johnson that was inspired by a Biblical verse in Psalms. Several notable artists covered the song, with the versions from Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin being the most popular.
23. What Is and What Should Never Be
The second track of Led Zeppelin II, What Is and What Should Never Be was the first song that Robert Plant received writing credits for. It’s said it was based on a romance he had with his wife’s sister, so if that gives you the ick, stay away.
Tangerine was one of the folk-rock songs that stood out on the acoustic side of Led Zeppelin III. An early version was recorded in 1968 when Page was still part of the Yardbirds.
Friends was another Eastern-inspired song from Led Zeppelin. Unlike other artists that wanted to use Indian elements, the band played them on their own instead of bringing in Indian musicians for the recording.
26. The Song Remains The Same
The opening track of Houses of the Holy was one of the few that critics saw as being worthy of Led Zeppelin’s earlier work. It was also used as the title song of the band’s 1976 concert film and was a major fan favorite song.
27. D’yer Mak’er
Apparently, I don’t understand English accents well. The title of D’yer Mak’er is a play on the word Jamaica when spoken in an English accent. It was Led Zeppelin’s attempt at imitating reggae music and brought the band a lot of criticism, and some say it started off as a joke in the studio but wound up on the album. Still, it’s a good song despite not being one that fit into their typical sound.
28. The Battle Of Evermore
Led Zeppelin dove back into the Tolkien references to produce this duet between Robert Plant and Sandy Denny. Another amazing example of the band’s storytelling, The Battle Of Evermore, was one of their best acoustic compositions.
29. Gallows Pole
Led Zeppelin’s version of Gallows Pole stands out among the sea of people that recorded the folk song simply because their version ends with the hangman in the song hanging the protagonist rather than setting him free. It’s one of their more traditional songs and one of the few that speeds up as it progresses instead of remaining at the same tempo or slowing down.
30. Dancing Days
Dancing Days was one of the singles from Houses of the Holy that was released in the US in 1973 and was inspired by a song Page and Plant heard while in Bombay. It was performed in concert as early as 1972, though it would be dropped from setlists after the album’s release.
31. The Lemon Song
The Lemon Song was one of the best Led Zeppelin songs to hear in concert, mainly because Robert Plant would often make up lyrics for it when he sang them live. Those altered ones were more overtly sexual than the already (to some people) offensive references that were already in the song.
32. Fool in the Rain
Fool In The Rain was a standout track on Zeppelin’s 1979 album In Through The Out Door. It was sadly the last single the band would release before disbanding in 1980, but it rose to number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 nonetheless.
33. Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Nobody’s Fault But Mine was another song that originally came from Blind Willie Johnson and was covered by numerous artists over the years. Zeppelin’s version appeared on their 1976 album Presence and was more of a secular electric rock song.
34. Houses of the Holy
The title track of what many considered one of Zeppelin’s worst albums, Houses of the Holy wasn’t even included on the album. It was never played live by the band but was the only song in their repertoire to use a cowbell.
35. Trampled Underfoot
Trampled Underfoot was the result of a jam session in 1972 and was one of the funkiest Zeppelin tracks to get down to. It reached number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 39 on the UK Singles chart.
36. Four Sticks
Four Sticks was made to reflect John Bonham using two sets of drumsticks in live shows, totaling four sticks used on the drums. It’s got a bit of an odd time signature and was one of the few songs that Zeppelin had to do multiple takes for during the recording.
37. Sick Again
As big as Zeppelin were, it’s no surprise they had quite a few groupies following them around. Sick Again was all about a group of such women that Led Zeppelin encountered on a US tour in 1973, approaching it from a sad angle rather than a braggadocious one.
38. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is another example of Led Zeppelin adapting a folk song to their signature style. It started life as a song by Anne Bredon in 1950 and would be covered by numerous artists over the years, with Led Zeppelin’s leaning much more into the hard rock style than Joan Baez’s.
39. Moby Dick
Mody Dick is less a song and more of an instrumental. The entire thing is a John Bonham drum solo featured on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II. It would be played quite often at live concerts and is regarded as one of the best rock drum solos of all time, with all credit due to John Bonham.
40. The Wanton Song
The Wanton Song features one of the slickest Jimmy Page guitar solos in Zeppelin history, featuring a backward echo that was pulled off by using a Leslie speaker. The song itself evolved from a jam session and was included on their Physical Graffiti album in 1975.
41. Bring It On Home
Led Zeppelin adapted Bring It On Home in tribute to the great Sonny Boy Williamson II in 1969. The intro and outro were lifted directly from Williamson, but the rest was an original hard-rock composition.
42. Traveling Riverside Blues
In line with their other tributes to bluesmen of the past, Travelling Riverside Blues was originally recorded by Robert Johnson in 1937. Zeppelin eventually released the song and saw it climb to number seven on the Top Rock Tracks chart in the US.
43. In the Evening
For some, In The Evening was the best track on Led Zeppelin’s 1979 album. It had the best guitar riff on the album and seemed to be their attempt at releasing a pop song. Sadly, it was never released as a single.
44. Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)
Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) was a song that was pretty funny as it describes a groupie that stalked the band at the beginning of their career. It was never a favorite of any band member, though, never being played in concert and only found on their Led Zeppelin II album in 1969.
45. All My Love
In Led Zeppelin’s history, Jimmy Page had a hand in writing all but two of their songs. All My Love, from their 1979 album, was one of those two, which is apparent in its soft-rock sound. By no means a bad song. It was one of the better ones on their last album and was written in tribute to Robert Plant’s son.
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