Kaleidoscope, 'Side Trips'
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page called them "my ideal band" in a 1972 interview. "Far out and heading further," ex-Zeppelin singer Robert Plant would later affirm on Twitter, citing the heady brew of country blues, Middle Eastern modes and ascending improvisation on Kaleidoscope's creative peak, the 1968 LP A Beacon From Mars. This 1967 debut (featuring the multi-instrumental wizardry of future Jackson Browne sidekick David Lindley) was even weirder, in its way – that winding fusion chopped into too-short nuggets that suggested someone restlessly switching stations on a short-wave receiver. The brevity meant the Jazz Age corn and slavish Byrds imitations passed quickly. Far more promising and influential, particularly on Page and Plant's acoustic tangents on Led Zeppelin III: the riffing oud, boogie cadence and prayer-call chorale in "Egyptian Garden"; the desert-march air of the Appalachian lament "Oh Death"; and the eerie Balkan-spiced blur of invitation and warning in "Keep Your Mind Open."