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Best Led Zeppelin Songs: 14 Top Tracks, Ranked!

We have a whole lotta love for the iconic “Rock and Roll” gods and their legacy of unforgettable tunes.

After Robert Plant sang “Stairway to Heaven” at a charity event in England last October — the first time he’d done so since 2007 — the rock god said it may have been the last time he’ll ever perform it. “It’s a long song. Who can remember all those words?” he quipped to Rolling Stone, though he added a small glimmer of hope to fans of one of the best Led Zeppelin songs ever by saying, “Who knows? Something could change somewhere.”

Still, the classic song remains the same — as do the memories it evokes for the legend. “It was cathartic,” he said of his 2023 performance, “’cause it’s such an important song to me for where I was at the time and where I was with Jimmy [Page] and with John [Paul Jones] and Bonzo [John Bonham].”

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A wide array of other artists, of course, have covered the tune — from Pat Boone and Dolly Parton to Mary J. Blige and Heart, who delivered a knockout live version of it in 2012 when they helped honor Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors. “At the dinner afterward, each member came up to us,” Heart’s Ann Wilson told Classic Rock Revisited of the compliments she got for fighting through her nerves and singing one of the best Led Zeppelin songs in front of the band’s actual members. “Plant was like: ‘Oh my god, I’ve grown to hate that song so much because everybody murders it so badly. But you guys did great!’ Then Page told me: ‘You played that so well.’ And I just kind of swooned. What a night.”

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Heart’s nerves — and reverence — were not surprising. As music critic J.D. Considine wrote for Led Zeppelin’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, “To say that Led Zeppelin invented heavy metal is like saying Einstein was good with numbers.” Their insanely creative blend of rock, blues, funk, soul, jazz, and reggae, sometimes mixed with of Celtic and Eastern flourishes, was truly unique, and hard to resist. “Led Zeppelin were a central, reserved area between four musi­cians who had more or less different tastes in music,” Jones, who played bass, keyboards and more for the band, once explained of how their eclectic sound developed.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin (1973)Hulton Archive / Handout / Getty

Rock fans sure responded to their inventiveness, and the band was an absolute global sensation within a year of releasing their very first album, Led Zeppelin, in 1969. Throughout the following decade, they continued to push rock’s boundaries and astound fans with their skills and their love for music. “Passion is the word,” Page once said. “It was a very passionate band, and that’s what really comes through.”

Sadly, Bonham’s tragic 1980 death from alcohol-related pulmonary aspiration led the guys to wind things down as a group, though their contributions to the recording industry have never be forgotten. “When I formed Led Zeppelin, I formed it with the idea and ethos that it was going to change music. That’s what I wanted to do, and it clearly did,” Page insists.

Let’s salute the rock gods and take a listen to some of the best Led Zeppelin songs from their revered career.

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14. “Misty Mountain Hop” (1971): Best Led Zeppelin songs

It’s fun to sing along to the uniquely arranged rising-falling vocals on this track, one of the best Led Zeppelin songs, and certainly one of the trippiest. “It’s about a bunch of hippies getting busted, about the problems you can come across when you have a simple walk in the park on a nice sunny afternoon,” Plant notes in Classic Rock Stories: The Stories Behind the Greatest Songs of All Time of the tune, which also weaves in references to The Lord of the Rings.

13. “Good Times Bad Times” (1969)

“‘Good Times Bad Times’ is really short, as far as minutes and seconds, but there’s just so much that goes on in that,” Jimmy Page told Guitar World of this powerful punch of a track that clocks in at under three minutes. As Rolling Stone put it, “Jimmy Page’s guitar pounces from the speakers, fat with menace; John Bonham’s kick drum swings with anvil force; Robert Plant rambles on about the perils of manhood. Hard rock would never be the same.”

12. “D’yer Mak’er” (1973): Best Led Zeppelin songs

“I didn’t expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious,” Jimmy Page said of this reggae-tinged song, whose title is a play on how “Jamaica” is pronounced with a British accent. “The song itself was a cross between reggae and a ’50s number, ‘Poor Little Fool,’ [and] Ben E. King’s things, stuff like that.” The result is a “rock-steady heavy-metal doo-wop jam,” as Rolling Stone put it, noting that “Plant’s giddy vocals turn a string of stuttered vowel sounds into one of the band’s catchiest pop songs.”

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11. “Trampled Under Foot” (1975)

Stevie Wonder’s “Superstion” helped inspire this upbeat winner, John Paul Jones has shared, as noted in Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band. “I just started playing ‘Trampled Under Foot’ on the Clavinet, and [Bonham] came in with this glorious stomp that had this great feel. He could play in front of the beat, and he could play behind it, depending on what was needed. ‘Trampled Under Foot’ had this swagger,” he said, and we think it still does.

10. “Going to California” (1971): Best Led Zeppelin songs

This, one of Led Zeppelin’s rare ballads that was performed acoustically, shows off a folksy side of the band, both musically and lyrically: “Going to California with an aching in my heart,” Robert Plant sings, “Someone told me there’s a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.” The singer and company have noted that Joni Mitchell and other Laurel Canyon artists helped to inspire this quietly powerful and popular track.

9. “Fool in the Rain” (1979)

Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream author Dave Lewis wrote about how the 1978 FIFA World Cup helped to inspire this song, which would prove to be the final single Led Zeppelin released in the U.S. before disbanding. “The idea emerged to layer on their own samba halfway through the hop-skip riff arrangement,” Lewis notes, adding, “Crazed as it sounds, it works beautifully right through [Jones’] street whistles to [Bonham’s] delightfully constructed timpani crashes.”

8. “Rock and Roll” (1972): Best Led Zeppelin songs

Ian Stewart, the Rolling Stones’ co-founder and onetime pianist/keyboardist, appears on this iconic track, which Grammys writer Jim Beaugez calls “a straight-laced, up-tempo boogie inspired by Little Richard.” One can definitely hear that pioneering piano man’s influence on Stewart’s playing, and when you add Jimmy Page’s Chuck Berry-esque playing into the mix, you can’t go wrong!

7. “Black Dog” (1971)

Its unmistakable and iconic opening line — “Hey hey mama said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove” — lets you know exactly what you’re in for with this classic rocker, which, in 2007, a poll in Britain’s Q magazine named the No. 1 Greatest Guitar Track. The best part? Knockoff bands would never replicate its sound. “It’s got a beat that’s a count of five over a count of four, and trips and skips and stuff like that,” Robert Plant told Musician magazine. “We just wanted to see people try and move to it, and then miss the beat.… It was a trick, a game…and it just stopped a lot of other people from doing the same thing, from copying it.”

6. “Ramble On” (1969): Best Led Zeppelin songs

American Songwriter raves that “Jimmy Page’s acoustic [playing] is stirring and Robert Plant’s vocals are electrifying” on this track, which also features lyrics inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. It adds that John Paul Jones on bass is “sublime” as he “moves like a gymnastics ace and ducks, weaves, and punches like a gold medal-winning boxer.” Keep this one on repeat to power you through the day.

5. “Kashmir” (1975)

The reason this tune closes out side two of their Physical Graffiti double album, Jimmy Page told The Guardian, was that it was “supposed to be: That’s it. Nothing follows that. You need time to catch your breath after” hearing it. We’d have to agree it’s a stunning piece of work, which the Guardian classifies as the band’s “most globe-crushingly colossal moment.”

4. “All My Love” (1979): Best Led Zeppelin songs

This timeless ballad will forever be one of the best Led Zeppelin songs. It was co-written by John Paul Jones and Robert Plant in memory of Plant’s son Karac, who died from a stomach virus at home in 1977 at the age of 5 when the band was touring the U.S. “I was just paying tribute to the joy that he gave us as a family and, in a crazy way, still does occasionally,” Plant told Dan Rather, noting that his son also inspired his 1993 release “I Believe,” and that Karac “turns up in [other] songs for no other reason than I miss him a lot.”

3. “Immigrant Song” (1970)

This “was the opening track on [Led Zeppelin III] that was intended to be incredibly different,” Robert Plant said of “Immigrant Song,” which features his iconic wailing and plenty of echo feedback. Jack Black famously made a video pitch to the band, asking them for permission to use it in 2003’s School of Rock. “This is a movie about rock, and without that song, this movie will crumble into smithereens,” he admittedly begged them. The actor, Plant told Vulture, “made a magnificent meal of it,” adding that his grandkids all enjoyed the film and Black’s riffs throughout it.

2. “Whole Lotta Love” (1969): Best Led Zeppelin songs

“That riff was so fresh and it still is,” Jimmy Page told Guitar World of this classic tune, adding, “If somebody plays that riff it brings a smile to people’s faces. It’s a really positive thing.” Well, it definitely pleased his bandmates. “When I played the riff for [them] in my living room,” he told the Wall Street Journal, “the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive. Like a forbidden thing.” And as we all know, forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

1. “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)

No surprise here! Though radio stations played this track, the band never officially released it as a single. One advantage to that, at the time, was it prompted audiences to seek the album out and listen to the LP in its entirety. It’s since entered the Grammy Hall of Fame and made countless “greatest songs of all time” lists, including Rolling Stone’s. “All epic anthems must measure themselves against ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” the magazine has stated, noting that Page insists the song “was a milestone. Every musician wants to do something of lasting quality, something which will hold up for a long time. We did it with ‘Stairway.’”

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