Why is Led Zeppelin’s Coda on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Just because it’s the end, there’s still plenty of reasons to get the led out.
What does Led Zeppelin’s Coda mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I’m a massive Led Zeppelin fan, as the two (somewhat to very) embarrassing little anecdotes below will help corroborate.
But to back up a step: at an impressionable point in my youth, someone advised me not to bother with anything Led Zeppelin had produced post-Houses of the Holy.
And thus, it took me some time to find my way to the band’s final two studio albums: 1979’s In Through the Out Door, and 1982’s Coda. While I can fully understand why someone would claim that Led Zeppelin’s first six albums are their best – because they clearly are, and comprise a mind boggling amount of the best hard rock music ever produced – there’s a wealth of strong material waiting to be explored even through to the self-described Coda.
It’s really “Ozone Baby” that puts Coda over the top as an exceptional album and worthy of best 1,000 albums ever inclusion (and I know you don’t have to guess that there are a goodly number more of Led Zepp albums coming, some of which will be ranked… highly). As loose feeling and yet tightly performed and produced a rock song you’ll ever hear, it’s Led Zeppelin (still) at the peak of their powers.
“Poor Tom” starts off with an extended drumbeat that sounds like it could almost be the opening to “Ballroom Blitz,” before quickly segueing into a gorgeous bluesy folk rock groove with that certain mystic flare that only Led Zeppelin can conjure.
Led Zeppelin II grants John Bonham, arguably the greatest drummer in rock n’ roll history (and who tragically passed away in 1980, two years before Coda’s release), a spectacular extended drum solo showcase on “Moby Dick” (which is really an instrumental song-as-device to show off Bonham’s otherworldly skills), and “Bonzo’s Montreux” is another Bonham showcase – stranger, wilder, and as ever impressive as hell.
“Darlene” is the kind of Led Zeppelin deep cut I like to think about in terms of, “If this was released by any other band, how would it fare?” It would very likely in almost cases be the best song they ever produced. By far. By Led Zeppelin standards, it’s more middling but a very pleasing 1970s-sounding hard rock song nonetheless.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Led Zeppelin’s Coda
A lot of little weird Led Zeppelin-related memories from my childhood flood my brain when I start thinking about it. Here are a few.
I wrote the band’s name on a notebook or book binder or some such, probably when I was in junior high (how else does one pass those grueling school hours while during such an age?). However, I spelled it incorrectly as it turned out. Thus, for some period of time long enough to have notched the memory into my brain synapses still some decades later, my little crew of frenemies taunted me with, “Oh, you like LED ZEPPELEEEN, Eric, huh? I hear they’re great, play us some LED ZEPEELEEEEN right now, huh?!”
Another time I was playing pick up tackle football at Cedar Road park with a bunch of friends. We did this a lot, until we reached an age when people started breaking bones, at which time we realized that we were all large enough that playing tackle football without pads or helmets was quite dangerous. Anyway, one time we were playing and I took it upon myself to start quizzing my teammates about Led Zeppelin songs to see if they knew which album the songs were associated with. “The Lemon Song, come on, you know this one, guys, it’s easy!” Yeah, I was a super nerd, and probably still am.
Some stats & info about Led Zeppelin – Coda
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Album Rock, British Bands, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Arena Rock, Blues Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Coda released? 1982
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #849 out of 1,000
Led Zeppelin’s Coda on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.