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The 40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time

The definitive guide to Zeppelin’s finest recorded moments

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page performing live onstage, playing his Gibson Les Paul guitar.

Robert Knight Archive/Getty

World-changing riffs, blues fury, power-ballad grandeur, Hobbits and so much more

This list appears in Rolling Stone’s new collectors edition, Led Zeppelin: The Ultimate Guide to Their Music & Legend.

Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page Robert Plant John Bonham John Paul Jones
16

‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ (1973)

Amazingly, this uncharacteristically poppy boogie-rock sugar shot was Zeppelin's first single that didn't make the Top 50. Plant sings a pure-hearted come-on over Page's open-road strumming, then the band kicks in for three minutes of fleet, booming choogle.

Led Zeppelin Robert Plant
15

‘What Is and What Should Never Be’ (1969)

One of Plant's earliest songwriting attempts is allegedly about an affair with his wife's younger sister. Its woozy production and bulldozer gearshifts from tender, pastoral verse to demon-steed chorus make for music strung between lover's plea and torrid fantasy.

Led Zeppelin Robert Plant Live Performance
14

‘The Ocean’ (1973)

Dedicated to their sea of fans, "The Ocean" drops a knotty, funky beat that air drummers have been screwing up for decades. It's also a showcase for Bonham the vocalist; he and Jones make a rare appearance on backing vocals for the outro, and when he counts the band in at the opening, he sounds like a cross between a pirate and a rapper.

Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page Bowed Guitar Solo
13

‘Dazed and Confused’ (1969)

This psychedelic-blues beast became the centerpiece of their stage performances for years. Singer-songwriter Jake Holmes recorded the original version in 1967. Page reimagined it for Zeppelin's debut, and their ever-expanding live jam on his arrangement, featuring Page's epic bowed solos, often stretched out as long as 45 minutes.

Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page Robert Plant John Bonham John Paul Jones Backstage
12

‘Communication Breakdown’ (1969)

The down-stroke riff of "Communication Breakdown" comes very close to punk seven years ahead of schedule. The lyrics allude to Eddie Cochran's "Nervous Breakdown," but if the song got its spark from the Fifties, Zep's deranged attack was something brutally new.

Led Zeppelin John Paul Jones Mandolin Three Neck Guitar
11

‘Going to California’ (1971)

Zeppelin's prettiest song: Page's gentle acoustic fingerpicking weaves together with Jones' mandolin, while Plant tries on some country twang. Rumored to be written about Joni Mitchell, it could just as easily be about any California girl "with love in her