It was about 4 years ago when I first got this album. 4 years of constant playing, yet still fresh and enjoyable with every listen. I know that is a massive cliche, but hear me out.
Led Zeppelin IV is up there with Revolver, Beggars Banquet, Rubber Soul and a few others that makes up my greatest albums ever list. And I'm not the only one. I've met many Led Zep fans over the years, and everyone of them has a look of admiration, and occasionally a tear in their eye, when we start talking about IV, such is the brilliance of the album.
I think it is the fact that one half of the album is polar opposites to the other half. Half the songs are loud, heavy metal songs, the other half are mystical Celtic folk. And, it isn't a neat "Side one: Metal, Side two: Folk" type arrangement, a bit like Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home. Its a constant mix of the two, so you are never sure whether after the fade out one song, you are going to pleasantly serenaded, or deafened. Very few albums have managed to put two conflicting styles on a single disc, without sounding pretentious or plain silly.
My personal highlights of the album are 'The Battle Of Evermore', a Celtic folk song, that is mainly just a guitar and mandolin, and Robert Plant and guest vocalist Sandy Denny singing the Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit inspired lyrics, in that distinctive Led Zeppelin style. The other highlight is 'When The Levee Breaks'. Everything about that song is perfection. The drum beat, the guitars, the harmonica (One of the main reasons why I went out and bought myself a harmonica.)and the vocals.
If there is any weakness on the album, I would have to say it is 'Stairway To Heaven'. Not that it is a bad song, but constant radio play and wannabe Zeppelin fan-boys, who "claim" it is their favourite song in order to look "rock-chic" (Whatever the Hell that is) has sucked the life out of what was once a good song.
All in all, a brilliant album and I challenge anyone to say otherwise.