Andre Gardner

English rock band Led Zeppelin at Heathrow Airport in London, UK, 11th June 1973. From left to right, they are singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham (1948 - 1980) and bassist/keyboard player John Paul Jones. (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

To many Led Zeppelin fans, music experts and fellow musicians, Led Zeppelin IV stands as the group’s masterpiece. Led Zeppelin IV, Zoso, Runes, call it what you want. It’s sold over 30 million copies in the U.S. alone. Worldwide sales have it over 50 million. It’s one of the top 5 best selling albums EVER. Everyone I knew had a copy back in the day, including me.

Looks like I’m talking on the radio after playing my copy of “Stairway To Heaven” on my pirate radio station in Medford Lakes, NJ, WAVG! This shot was taken back in the Spring of 1974.

Andre Gardner talks on a microphone on WAVG radio.

Andre Gardner makes an announcement on his pirate radio station, WAVG, Medford Lakes, NJ, in 1974. Photo: Tom Tracey

Too funny!

By all measure, Led Zeppelin IV is a near perfect album. There is really not a bad track on it. There is absolutely no filler, or wasted notes. Jimmy Page spent incredible amounts of time on recording and mixing. He even mixed the album TWICE before he was happy with the result. For fans, it didn’t matter that the band’s faces weren’t on the cover, we were trying to figure out who that guy with the straw on his back was. It mystified us, rocked us, and gave us a true rock and roll classic for the ages.

To this day, classic rock radio stations around the country play every single song off of this album! How many other albums bear that distinction? The list is quite small. Yet, with all the success of, it never hit the top of the U.S. album chart. Charts are weird like that sometimes. AC/DC’s Back in Black is another example of a huge album failing to hit the top spot (it peaked at #4).

Here is the album that kept Led Zeppelin IV from hitting #1, plus the eight behind it, as featured on today’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown on MGK. It’s from January 4, 1972:

  • 10. Meaty Beaty BIg And Bouncy - The Who

    This collection of Who singles and a few album cuts was the first of many “best of” Who collections to be released. It did quite well, selling a million copies and peaking here at #10.

  • 9. A Nod Is As Good As A WInk..To A Blind Horse - Faces

    There is hardly a more fun-sounding album The Faces’ A Nod Is As Good As A Wink..To A Blind Horse. One of two albums Rod Stewart recorded in 1971 (the other we’ll be hearing very shortly), this album hit its peak this week, January 4, 1972, topping off at #9.

  • 8. Imagine - John Lennon

    Inspired by a Yoko Ono poem, “Imagine” by John Lennon stands as one of the most beloved songs of our time. It’s the title track from this week’s #8 rock album from January 4, 1972.


  • 7. Every PIcture Tells A Story - Rod Stewart

    Almost the identical lineup of musicians play on this next album as did on the Faces album we featured earlier.  It’s Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells A Story and, after peaking at #1, it dropped to #7 on this week’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown!

  • 6. Madman Across The Water - Elton John

    Even though Elton John had his band lineup set by the time of this album, most of the songs were played by studio session musicians.  That would change after the success of Madman Across The Water, which was the #6 rock album on January 4, 1972.

  • 5. American Pie - Don McLean

    The old joke was people would ask Don McLean what “American Pie” meant, and he’d tell them it meant he didn’t have to work another day in his life!  That’s not entirely untrue, though McLean kept touring for decades after this song exploded on the charts.  It’s the title track off of album #5 on January 4, 1972.

  • 4. E Pluribus Funk - Grand Funk Railroad

    Grand Funk always had creative album covers, and it started with this one, their fourth release.  The cover was round, and featured the band in coin form, right down to the title of the album, E Pluribus Funk. It hit #4 on January 4, 1972, and features one of the band’s finest tracks.

  • 3. Teaser And The Firecat - Cat Stevens

    It was a hit album that spawned three hit singles, a children’s book, and an animated short film.  It was Cat Stevens’ third album, Teaser And The Firecat, and it drops one this week to #3, after peaking at #2.

  • 2. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

    It’s hard to believe, but Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, the fifth best selling album of all time and considered by many to be their finest, never made it to #1. Led Zeppelin IV, Runes, Zoso, whatever you want to call it, peaked here at #2 on January 4, 1972.


  • 1. Music - Carole King

    If there was anyone to keep Led Zeppelin IV out of the top spot, it should be this woman, one of the greatest and most successful songwriters of all time. This was the second of two albums she released in 1971, the first being the one that jettisoned her to superstardom as a solo artist.  This followup was also chock full of great songs, and was her second #1 album in a row. The #1 rock album on January 4, 1972 was Music by Carole King!

Sign me up for the 102.9 WMGK At Work Network email newsletter!

Join WMGK's At Work Network and get the latest rock news, exclusive presales, contests and more straight to you inbox.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.