From their inception until the release of this album, Led Zeppelin were (rightly) seen as a bombastic heavy blues-based band – one-trick ponies who did an awesome job of cranking up blues songs, but without much to show in the way of diversity.
Led Zeppelin III changed that perception quite handily, introducing folk music into their repertoire, which they also cranked up, but not as drastically. The change happened organically for the band. With their first album, they had something to prove so they leaned heavily into the music, and the second album was recorded in bits and pieces while on the road, a manic time period that resulted in music reflecting that energy. For Led Zeppelin III, the band craved some peace, so they retreated to the English countryside, living in a house (Bron-Yr-Aur) without electricity and running water and then relocating to Headley Grange where they recorded using the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit. The circumstances and the atmosphere encouraged them to play more in an acoustic style, although they certainly did not abandon their innate power.
The album had fewer hits, and received less radio play, but it went to #1, simply on audience anticipation, and over time it stands up at least as well as its louder predecessors.
Since I’ve Been Loving You
Out on the Tiles
That’s the Way
Hats Off to Roy Harper
October 1970 - Billboard Charted #1
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