Carter’s Catalog: Led Zeppelin’s Debut Album

On January 12, 1969, the self-titled debut album from Led Zeppelin first hit U.S. stores. Upon the band’s arrival in America, they were simply known as Jimmy Page’s new band after the Yardbirds. And as Carter Alan explains in the video above, rock critics were not quick to embrace them.

Rolling Stone didn’t get Led Zeppelin,” he says of the legendary magazine’s early criticisms of the band. One review from them soon after the album’s release read: “It would seem that if they are to fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer, editor and some material worthy of their collective talents.”

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My how times have changed! A 2001 review of the album from Rolling Stone awarded it five stars and said no other Zeppelin album “sounds quite as gratifyingly raw or is as comprehensive in defining the band’s intentions.” The album is also on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, at #29.

Led Zeppelin’s debut is a prime example of how the reception an album receives at the time of its release doesn’t necessarily reflect its ultimate legacy. The band obviously went on to become one of the most influential and celebrated of all rock bands, and it all started with the first record.

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