Led Zeppelin and heartbreak aren't words that often are associated with each other. Yet for all of the machismo and bravado that went into creating some of rock and roll's best known songs, the group was also consistently unafraid to display their vulnerability by talking about the dark side of love. From their very first album in 1969 right up to their late-'70s days as fools in the rain, romance gone wrong was never far from their minds. So prepare your fragile heart for a trip through the Top 10 Led Zeppelin Heartbreak Songs:
'How Many More Times'From: 'Led Zeppelin' (1969)
Proving that a Led Zeppelin heartbreak song need not come in ballad form, 'How Many More Times' -- which closes the group's 1969 self-titled debut -- is as heavy and as powerful as any track from that landmark record. Singer Robert Plant appeals to keep his lover around by promising "rings, pearls and all”. But at the same time, he also contemplates how much longer he can be on the receiving end of her shoddy treatment.
'Four Sticks'From 'IV' (1971)
The percussion-heavy ‘Four Sticks’ from Zeppelin’s 1971 legendary album ‘IV’ is driven by an urgent, pulsing beat from John Bonham. As impressive as his bandmate's work is, Plant is more concerned with bidding a fond farewell to his former beloved, declaring he's “Got to try to find a way, got to try to get away / ‘Cause you know I gotta get away from you, babe”
'Black Country Woman'From 'Physical Graffiti' (1975)
There is something instantly familiar about this Led Zeppelin heartbreak song, which can be found tucked away on side four of their ‘Physical Graffiti' double album. The up-tempo track bears many of the hallmarks of great blues songs, with a betrayed Plant bemoaning “Hey, hey mama, what is wrong with you?” before promising to get his revenge by declaring “That’s alright, I know your sister, too.”
'Your Time Is Gonna Come'From 'Led Zeppelin' (1969)
"What goes around comes around" seems to be at the heart of the message in this gem from Led Zeppelin’s debut. The song opens to the sounds of John Paul Jones’ heavenly organ playing, but it isn't long before Plant offers a biting, scathing attack on someone that has done him wrong. He confronts the cheater with the litany of ways he has been wronged ("Lyin', cheatin', hurtin, that's all you seem to do...") before telling them, in no uncertain terms, that he is moving on with his life.
'Hey Hey What Can I Do'From: 'Immigrant Song' single (1970)
This 40-year old B-side stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of Led Zeppelin's finest moments. Although things start on a relatively optimistic note, our narrator soon realizes that not only will his woman not be true, but that she’ll be drunk all the time and “wanna ball all day." If this sounds like your idea of the perfect woman, well then... we wish you the best of luck with that.
'Fool In The Rain'From 'In Through The Out Door' (1979)
What ‘Fool In The Rain’ doesn’t boast in terms of sheer ferocity -- and let’s face it, it is musically an anomaly of sorts in the Led Zeppelin catalog -- it makes up for with one of the band's strongest melodies and a particularly lovely, heart-on-the-sleeve performance from Plant. Over a cascading piano riff (and a spectacularly cool samba breakdown), our hero finds himself soaking wet and wondering exactly where things went wrong as he waits for a girl he realizes deep down isn't right for him: “You swore you’d never leave me baby. What ever happened to you?”
'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You'From 'Led Zeppelin' (1969)
This heartbreaking song from Led Zeppelin’s debut record lays everything on the line right off the bat. Let's face it, “Baby, I’m gonna leave you” leaves little to interpretation on the part of the listener or the intended subject. In spite of claiming to be “…happy every single day," and believing that their romance may be rekindled down the road, rambling seems to be foremost on Plant's mind: “I’ve got to go away.”
'Heartbreaker'From 'II' (1969)
Old dogs don’t need new tricks, at least as far as Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker’ is concerned. Centered around one of rock’s most recognizable guitar riffs, Plant once again spells things out quite clearly: “Her style is new but the face is the same as it was so long ago." He then goes on to say how he personally was burned by one particularly thoughtless (or perhaps mean-spirited) act: “One thing I do have on my mind, if you can clarify please do. It’s the way you call me by another guy’s name when I try to make love to you.”
'Since I've Been Loving You'From 'III' (1970)
The fact that you can hear John Bonham’s kick drum pedal squeak in the opening moments of this song only adds to the loneliness and isolation that comes along with not heeding the words of those you are otherwise closest to. But Plant finally acknowledges that yet another troubled relationship has run its course, as he sings: “I open my front door, hear my back door slam. You must have one of them newfangled back door man.”
'Dazed and Confused'From 'Led Zeppelin' (1969)
One of Led Zeppelin’s best-known heartbreak songs is also one of their darkest in terms of lyrics. When at the outset of the song Plant alleges that a woman’s soul was “created below," you know this isn’t going to be a happy-go-lucky kind of story. After all his attempts to do whatever he can to appease his partner, Plant is a man that has been spurned and now will not stand for any more nonsense. The line “Wanted a woman, never bargained for you” sums his thoughts up rather succinctly.
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