Top Ten Led Zeppelin Songs Of All Time

Led Zeppelin

By Mike O’Cull

You can’t talk about rock and roll without talking about Led Zeppelin. Full stop.

Led Zep was one of the most important bands of the classic rock era and, to many fans, embodies the pinnacle of the genre. Why? Because the songs were truly great, perfect for their times, and made a Godzilla-sized imprint on millions of people.

I’m here today to bring you my list of the top ten Led Zeppelin songs of all time. I realize that no one list is going to make every reader happy so I’m letting you know up front that these are my personal favorites and don’t represent any kind of written-in-stone statement by the rock gods who come from the land of the ice and snow. If you have a list of your own, post it in the comments below so we can compare notes.

Are you ready to get loud? Let’s jam!

1 – “Stairway to Heaven”
“Stairway to Heaven” is the single most important and famous song Zeppelin ever recorded. It was the peak of the band’s development up until that point, contained all the musical and lyrical elements that would come to define the Led Zep sound, and became a touchstone of Western rock music, even being used as a punchline in movies like Wayne’s World . Love it or hate it but “Stairway to Heaven” will never go away. Listen to “Stairway to Heaven” here!

2 – “Rock and Roll”
“Rock and Roll” speaks to the blues energy and influence that allowed Zeppelin to exist and cranks it up to the breaking point. John Bonham’s legendary drum intro is a noisy, aggressive, attention-demanding kick to the head that will be a topic of discussion as long as there are drummers to count it out. There was a time when, if your cover band didn’t open its set with this, you were automatically lame. Crank it up and bask in its glory. Listen to “Rock and Roll here!

3 – “Ramble On”
This is one of the early bits of genius that let people know that Zeppelin was going to be a lot more than a new version of The Yardbirds. The blend of acoustic and electric, light and heavy sounds was a forerunner of “Stairway” and gave vocalist Robert Plant the space to showcase his multifaceted style. Plus, no rock song in history sounds as much like autumn as “Ramble On.” It pulls at the yearning part of your heart that always appears when summer fades and the breeze begins to get colder. The song is a musical and emotional winner that can’t be denied. Listen to “Ramble On” here!

4 – “Communication Breakdown”
Pure, perfect, power chord rock and roll is the crux of the biscuit on “Communication Breakdown.” Jimmy Page’s fire-breathing signature riff is dead simple but completely unforgettable and Robert Plant wails on the mic like a man possessed. The intensity of the entire band here gives the track the sense of imminent danger that great rock music needs. I never get tired of this one. Listen to “Communication Breakdown” here!

5 – “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
One of the many epics in Zeppelin’s body of work, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is an emotional powder keg that showcases Robert Plant’s overwhelming presence and talent. Page’s arpeggiated guitar part is another eternal “must learn” for aspiring players and Bonham rages then pulls back. If you have to explain Led Zeppelin to someone with a single song, play this one for them. Listen to “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” here!

6 – “Over the Hills and Far Away”
The acoustic 12-string beginning of “Over the Hills and Far Away” is one of the most recognizable guitar parts in all of rock music. The rest of it slays, too, showing fans an evolving band and one of Page’s best multi-tracked guitar arrangements. This FM radio staple never lets me down and always boosts my mood. Listen to “Over the Hills and Far Away” here!

7 – “Kashmir”
This chugger from Physical Graffiti puts Middle Eastern scales on top of a hard John Bonham drum beat and shows us Robert Plant finding a new tier of freedom and emotion. “Kashmir” is another of Zeppelin’s big radio songs and is permanently installed as an earworm for multiple generations of rock fans.
Listen to “Kashmir” here!

8 – “Immigrant Song”
Page’s molten, octave-jumping riff here is one of the heaviest things in the Zeppelin catalog. There’s no way to forget it once you hear it. “Immigrant Song” features all four band members going all out and will always be amazing. Don’t try to match Plant’s high vocal notes, though, as you’ll probably hurt yourself. These guys aren’t mere mortals like us. Listen to “Immigrant Song” here!

9 – “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid”
Technically, this is two songs but you really can’t have one without the other. This two-fer is Led Zeppelin at its hard, blues/rock best and can only be played loudly. The power of these grooves is enough to melt a glacier and Plant’s thinly-veiled eroticism leaves little to the imagination. Absolutely monstrous. Listen to “Heartbreaker” here and “Living Loving Maid” here!

10 – “Whole Lotta Love”
“Whole Lotta Love” proves that big, simple riffs will always triumph in the end. The song is all pocket, except where it breaks down, and is one of the sexiest, hip-shaking rock songs of all time. It just feels good and, in this game, that’s often more than enough. The sonic fandango in the middle was quite progressive in its day and still holds up in the modern era. This is one of the rock genre’s definitive songs and shows just how much music can be pulled out of just a couple of chords. Listen and learn. Listen to “Whole Lotta Love” here!

I hope you have enjoyed this list of the top ten Led Zeppelin songs of all time. Let me know your faves in the comments section below!

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