Andre Gardner

June 1973: British rock band Led Zeppelin. From left to right, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham (1947 - 1980), John Paul Jones. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

The fifth album by Led Zeppelin, Houses Of The Holy, released 50 years ago today, could not have been released at a better time. To me, the album exudes a feeling of spring’s arrival, and it was the perfect followup to #4. I remember when the album came out very vividly.

I didn’t have enough allowance money to buy the whole thing, so I’d sneak a listen to some of the tracks whenever we’d hit a South Jersey diner that had a jukebox. There, I could hear four songs from the album on a jukebox-only EP: “The Song Remains The Same,” “The Crunge,” “Dancing Days,” and “D’yer Mak’er.” If I was lucky, there’d also be the single of “Over The Hills And Far Away” on the jukebox for me to enjoy..all for 50c!

I’m sure MGK’s Tony Harris will be doing something special for Houses Of The Holy tonight at 8 on “Get The Led Out,” so, in advance of that, here is my ranking of all eight songs on this wonderful album. Happy Anniversary!

  • 8. The Crunge

    Let’s face it, there’s not a bad song on this album. The fact that this song, the band’s funkiest, is 8 on my list only speaks to the quality of the all the tracks.

  • 7. The Song Remains The Same

    Originally conceived as an instrumental piece, the opening track to the album also became the title of their full length feature film some four years later.

  • 6. No Quarter

    John Paul Jones shines on this spooky track, with positively killer drum licks from Bonzo.

  • 5. The Ocean

    Written as a tribute to their fans, the “ocean” of people who’d come to their live shows, the fact they kept Bonzo’s countdown in at the beginning was the icing on the cake.

  • 4. Dancing Days

    When I think if warm weather songs, this one always pops into my mind.  It has such a good vibe, with some amazing Page licks, and Plant’s vocal is spot on!

  • 3. D'yer Mak'er

    When this first came out, this was my favorite track on the album.  I still love it – with all its silliness.

  • 2. Over The Hills And far Away

    Outside of the incredible melody, I just love that fact that the song starts off acoustic, transitions to a hard rock jam, then glides back into a soft acoustic ending. Plants vocals are double-tracked in a few spots, and I thought that sounded so cool!

  • 1. The Rain Song

    One of the most beautiful songs in the Led Zeppelin catalog, “The Rain Song” sends me to such a peaceful state whenever I listen to it, and I love playing this in a car during a downpour.  This gets my vote for the best song on the album.

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