To celebrate John Paul Jones' 70th Birthday, we revisit their best tracks
Cai Trefor

10:58 3rd January 2016

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3 January, 2016: To celebrate John Paul Jones' 70th birthday we have ranked Led Zeppelins best tracks. From 'Stairway To Heaven' and 'Whole Lotta Love' via 'Black Dog', to their folk explorations on Led Zeppelin III, this list gives some back ground to the rock classics that have made the world a better place.

John Paul Jones has had a remarkable career so far. He started out as a session musician as a teenager before meeting Page when he was playing in The Yardbirds. The two connected musically and were considered virtuoso's of their instrument. With such a powerful ability, the two recruited Robert Plant after he was refred to them by Terry Reid. Page saw Plant do a version of 'Somebody To Love' at a college gig in Birmingham and knew straight away they had their man. With Plant's friend Bonham convinced to be the drummer, the New Yardbirds as they were first named, were born then in 1968.

They soon changed their name to Led Zeppelin and conquered the world - setting the bar musically and writing the rule book in terms of how to behave and dress like proper rock stars. What was really special about Led Zeppelin was how each band member was important as the last, each irreplaceable, as was proved when Bonham passed away and the band ended. 

Since then John Paul Jones has continued to make great music in other groups, forming his solo group and performing in Them Crooked Cultures and with Seasick Steve. Meanwhile, there's always hope there could be another reunion and we'll see Jones team up with Page, Plant, and Bonham's son, Jason again. 

  • 19. 'We're Gonna Groove': This was written by soul Ben E King, who sadly passed away this year, and it's the opening track to Coda. It was originally going to be on Led Zeppelin II but didn't make the cut. However, it saw the light of day in 1982's Coda, the posthumous album to Bonzo.

  • 18. 'Gallows Pole': This song appeared centuries ago as the folk son 'The Maid Freed From The Gallows'. Led Zeppelin give it a great overhaul with Page on banjo, and Jones on mandolin. this version is on Led Zeppelin III, the bands folkiest album, which was composed in a remote cottage in Wales known as Bron Yr Aur

  • 17. 'Misty Mountain Top': The lyrics of this song, which is taken from Led Zeppelin IV, refer to the 7 July 19689 legalize pot rally in Hyde Park, where police made arrests. The lyrics portray Plants quest for a better society where individual freedom and support the nanny state. John Paul Jones' electric piano part is a distinct attribute to the song and drives it.

  • 16. 'When The Levee breaks': Another highlight form Physical Graffiti, Dave Grohl's favourite Zeppelin album. This track is a blues track originally written by Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie in 1929. Plant and Page first bonded over their shared fondness for american blues music and it only seems right that they continue their exploration throughout their career together.

  • 15. 'No Quarter': This is one of the most spell binding songs they ever created. The haunting textures behind the heavy guitar playing, and loose tempo, and creepily possessed vocal enactment by Plant. Some argue that it's among the first incarnations of what has become known as doom metal.

  • 14. 'The Ocean': A Typically powerful Page riff drives the song, and Tom Morello wrote on Facebook about it saying, 'that damn riff is insane and the two Bonham snare hits with it genius'. You can find 'The Ocean' on Houses Of The Holy.

  • 13. 'I Can't Quit You Baby': This is heavily steeped in the blues and meditates on Plant's love desires - he executes it with such majesty. It was released on Led Zeppelin II.

  • 12. 'Moby Dick': When Led Zeppelin play this live, they play a typically powerful blues riff that's taken its inspiration from Bobby Parker's 'Watch Your Step' and give way for Bonzo to do one of the best drum solos of all time which - at times - he played for up to 30 minutes.

  • 11.'Ramble On': The songs lyrics are influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien as it makes references to Mordor and Gollum. It's mystical feel is emphasised further by the heavy folk sounding in the verses, suiting the topic. The amplified electric sound kicks in in the choruses, thus exhibiting every corner of the bands musical influences.

  • 10. 'Rock and Roll': After the folk meanderings of Led Zeppelin III, Rock and Roll was the response to critics who argued Led Zeppelin weren't hard rocking any more. They damn were.

  • 9.'Immigrant Song': The words 'the Land of ice and snow' refers to their trip to Iceland. The song is about this trip where they played a gig organised in a hall by the university gigs because their original was cancelled because civil servants were going on strike. Page's repetitive riff here is fierce and definitely an influence on metal bands that came after them.

  • 8. 'Dazed and Confused': This would sometimes get improvised for up to 40 minutes live and the riff has a dark Sabbath-esque tone. Meanwhile, Plant sings of isolation, rejection, and paranoia. It's definitely a highlight of Led Zeppelin II.

  • 7. 'Babe I'm Gunna Leave You': This is one of the most down tempo songs they recorded, but also one of their most powerful. It's a cover of a song by Anne Bredon but they didn't know she wrote it at first, it was just considered a classic folk song.

  • 6. 'Good Times Bad Times': This was featured as the opening track to their debut album, which caught on quicker in the US than it did in the UK but once they established themselves, they were the most celebrated hard rock band in the world, and remain so.

  • 5. 'Kashmir': This is taken from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti which was the first they released on their own label, Swan Song. When it entered the charts all five of Led Zeppelin's previous albums re-entered the charts, making them the first band to have six album in the charts at the same time. Kashmir is a highlight and an eight minute epic with an orchestra to add to the atmosphere.

  • 4. 'Black Dog': John Paul Jones is credited for writing the main riff here. The song is built around a call and response between Plant and the band and it's one of the most explosive songs on their fourth album.

  • 3. 'Heartbreaker': The intro riff is one of the finest hard rock guitar parts ever. The track is a highlight of Led Zeppelin II and the an explosive start to side B of the vinyl.

  • 2. 'Whole Lotta Love': If you grew up in the '90s you'll know the riff from watching top Of The Pops. It's taken from Led Zeppelin II and is based around that perfect riff. It breaks down in the middle as the as they do an experimental jam, the way it comes back in to the song is just perfect - they were top musicians.

  • 1. 'Stairway To Heaven': The highlight of their Led Zeppelin IV and the first thing everyone learns on guitar. It starts out like a folk song with soft picking and a flute before Bonzo's drums kick in and make it one of the most exhilarating tracks of all time.It was also much too long for most radio , which was something the band always intended as they saw the tracks should be listened to as part of an album. Radio eventually gave in as it was just too good.

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