Why ‘Houses of the Holy’ Is Led Zeppelin’s Greatest Album of All Time

It’s crazy to think that it’s been over 50 years since Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy was released. The iconic hard rock/heavy metal outfit delivered eight studio albums during their heyday, each of which has its own unique appeal. But there is nothing quite like Houses Of The Holy.

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The Beginnings of Led Zeppelin’s Magnum Opus

By the time Houses Of The Holy was released in 1973, Led Zeppelin was already a household name. And they didn’t just have a cult following; their songs were charting and they were a cultural, commercial, and critical success. It’s hard to keep up that momentum, but somehow, they managed to take it to the next level with Houses Of The Holy.

The band wrapped up their Australian tour in 1972 and used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to start working on the album. Many of the songs had already been worked out before they sat down to record, too. It was clear from the get-go that Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and recording engineer Eddie Kramer were ready to create something next-level.

What Set ‘Houses of the Holy’ Apart?

When it comes down to it, it’s the kind of album that can be enjoyed for its singles. “The Rain Song”, “Dancing Days”, and “The Ocean” are noteworthy. However, it’s easy to enjoy the album as a cohesive, whole piece of work. But its likeability and chartability went beyond the structure of the album. It came down to a number of other factors.

The main thing that makes the album so good is its diversity in genres. House Of The Holy is funky in a way, with odd timing and without losing Led Zeppelin’s hard rock and heavy metal roots. It’s got something for everyone: diehard fans and normies alike.

If you’re going to experience House Of The Holy for the first time, give the whole thing a thorough listen. Though, “The Rain Song” is one of the greatest Led Zeppelin songs to date. “The Ocean” and “The Crunge” are close seconds.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

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