Metal pioneers Black Sabbath were reaching beyond their heavy musical roots by the time they recorded their fourth album in 1972, coming up with an amalgam of classic heavy riffing, a growing sense of melody, and even some touches of progressive rock. The album endures as a classic today - even though it was almost derailed by the band's growing substance abuse.
Few '70s hard rock bands could come anywhere close to Led Zeppelin when it came to creating sophisticated studio recordings, as evidenced by 'Misty Mountain Hop,' No. 8 on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs. A simple enough song in its construction, based around a straight funk rock riff, the group made it into a classic by recording a multi-layered track that holds up over repeat listening.
Led Zeppelin's classic-beyond-classic first album was perhaps the heaviest debut in rock history to that point. But the album also hinted at Zeppelin's more prosaic side with today's entry on our countdown of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You' -- an acoustic song the musicians recorded as an homage to folk queen Joan Baez.
Led Zeppelin certainly took a turn for the unusual with 'Dancing Days' from the 'Houses of the Holy' album, which is No. 19 on our countdown of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs. With its multi-tracked guitars, unusual melody and danceable groove -- a true rarity among Zeppelin tracks -- the song was a hard rock track, pop song, dance track and world music opus all rolled into one.
Few groups in rock history could pull off straight blues rock as well as Led Zeppelin, as evidenced by 'You Shook Me,' the next entry on our countdown of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, from the group's self-titled first album. Zeppelin essentially re-invented rock music arranging with this track, which elevates the drums to a principal instrument in the mix.