How Led Zeppelin Continued to Dominate Rock and Defy Critics on ‘III’

Carter's Catalog | Video by Matt Dolloff, 100.7 WZLX

What did critics have against Led Zeppelin back in the ’70s? In retrospect rock historians all agree on the band’s greatness, and the amazing run of albums they put together in the early part of their career.

It was mostly the heavy blues-rock style, which most critics frowned upon at the time, that Led Zeppelin employed which drew the ire of many. But the fans loved it, and they got a surprise on Led Zeppelin III when the band introduced acoustic and Celtic folk elements into their songs. Suddenly, burners like “Gallows Pole” were joined by more folk-based tunes like “Tangerine”.

Whatever the issue was between critics and Zeppelin, they just couldn’t come to grips with the fact that four exceptionally talented artists were coming together, almost magically, to create music that may not have been completely original or groundbreaking but was just on another level of quality from most other stuff that was coming out at the time.

Even though Zeppelin had clearly put out another strong effort, the critics just wouldn’t have it – they had already made their minds up by that point. It was not until Led Zeppelin IV that most critics would finally admit that they were witnessing greatness, but fans knew what they were hearing all along. Led Zeppelin is, and always was, legit.

Carter’s Catalog is a regular web video series featuring WZLX Music Director and rock historian Carter Alan, who examines the impact and legacy of classic albums. See much more from Carter here on


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