No band, save for The Beatles, has fewer “deep cuts” than Led Zeppelin. Not only did the foursome of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham release a paltry total of 73 album tracks over the course of their career -- excluding 1982’s Coda compilation -- but so many of those tracks have become part of pop culture’s consciousness. Where do you even start?
What constitutes a Led Zeppelin deep cut, anyway? Should it be any non-single? Tracks that did not appear on the Mothership best-of collection? Songs that are ignored by radio? Ones that were rarely, if ever, performed live? In the end, our list wound up a combination of all those queries. Much of the band’s early work, namely Zeppelin’s unimpeachable first five albums, has become so ubiquitous that it’s next to impossible to call any track a deep cut, so it should be no surprise that much of this list comprises of material from albums released from 1975 onward.
Quibbles aside, however, the main goal of this piece is to offer a fun glimpse of sides of Led Zeppelin that often go overlooked: the cheeky side, the adventurous, the soulful, the wistful. Acoustic or electric, blues or folk, funk or prog, funny or sad, Zeppelin at their best were capable of executing any musical whim that entered their imaginative minds. For those who have to endure a steady diet of “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog”, and “Whole Lotta Love” on the radio, hopefully this will serve as a welcome respite, not to mention a reminder of the versatility of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most important acts.