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No. 36: ‘Four Sticks’ – Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs

One of Led Zeppelin‘s more unique songs, ‘Four Sticks’ often seems forgotten amidst the band’s catalog. It’s somewhat buried on side two of their famous fourth album, overshadowed by its more obvious siblings. But it deserves better, so we’re placing it here, at No. 36 on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs.

With a riff that plows along in 5/4 time and some hypnotic percussion groove, ‘Four Sticks’ quickly takes on an almost other worldly quality. Time signatures change to 6/8 and back again without blinking an eye as John Bonham dishes out some primal tribal drumming that locks in perfectly with the bass and guitar riffing.

Lyrically, ‘Four Sticks’ doesn’t stray much from the magical mystical woman side of things, but Robert Plant delivers the goods and then some with a vicious vocal. Again, the key here is the groove, which is both demanding and rewarding. There are moments toward the end where you can imagine the fun carrying on forever. There is something about the mood created that is similar to, of all things, the German rock group Can, who created amazing hypnotic and driving music that also relied on a tribal quality.

People can cite Led Zeppelin as the definitive hard rock band of all time, and that’s fine, but there was so much more to their style and output, with ‘Four Sticks’ being a perfect example of their creativity and their willingness to explore.

Next: Hoedown Time!

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