A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Britain's Led Zeppelin pioneered the hard-rock genre, and Led Zeppelin IV contains several of the band's most memorable classics: "Stairway to Heaven," "Rock and Roll," "Going to California," "When the Levee Breaks," and "Black Dog." There's some raunchiness here, but it's confined to opening track "Black Dog," which includes sexy metaphors and Robert Plant's moaning, grunting, and screeching. Other than that, there's nothing really problematical, though younger kids may find this music a bit intense.
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What's the story?
This album, untitled but commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV, finds the band at the absolute top of its powers at the beginning of the '70s. Legendary guitarist Jimmy Page, vocalist Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham whip up a stunning, hypnotic brew, starting in the gutter with the sexed-up \"Black Dog,\" checking out the \"Stairway to Heaven,\" \"Going to California,\" and winding down into the pounding rain that's going to break the levee and bring the flood down on them all.
Is it any good?
This is generally regarded as Led Zeppelin's best album, with topnotch songwriting, playing, and vocals in a range of styles, from blistering hard rock to wistfully sentimental ballad to smoldering blues. Not to mention their definitive classic, "Stairway to Heaven," the most requested song of all time on FM radio. Even the less famous tracks are interesting: the epic "The Battle of Evermore," featuring as guest vocalist Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny, shows Led Zep vocalist Robert Plant's fascination with Celtic history and mythology.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the influence of this album: how many versions of "Stairway to Heaven," serious and otherwise, have you heard?
What do you know about guitarist Jimmy Page's work before and after Led Zeppelin? Do you have any favorites?
Quite a few of the songs here are classics, but their styles are very different -- which do you prefer? Do you think they still sound good today?