You aren’t learning guitar unless you’re trying to learn a shoddy version of the beginning to “Stairway to Heaven,” so for all the novice guitar players out there, this week’s Remember Whensday is an ode you. In rock n’ roll vernacular it’s known as Led Zeppelin IV, Four Symbols, Runes, Hermit, and more, but on November 8, 1971, Led Zeppelin gifted upon the world their fourth album.
The album is known as Four Symbols because during Led Zeppelin’s tour shortly following the release of the album, they would project four symbols onto their stage equipment before each show. Page designed his own symbol, which looks like it’s saying “ZoSo.” He never revealed why he did so or what it means. Jones’ symbol was a circle on top of a triquetra, symbolizing both confidence and competence. Bonham used three interlocking rings symbolizing the members of his family, and finally Plant used his self-designed circle encompassing a feather. In one of the longest interviews Page ever participated in, lasting almost six hours with Trouser Press in 1977, he explained the reasoning behind these symbols:
“After all this crap that we’d had with the critics, I put it to everybody else that it’d be a good idea to put out something totally
anonymous. At first I wanted just one symbol on it, but then it was decided that since it was our fourth album and there were four
of us, we could each choose our own symbol. I designed mine and everyone else had their own reasons for using the symbols
that they used.”
He mentions the “crap” that they recieved from critics of the their third album, so Led Zeppelin IV was their spit-in-the-face kind of album to anyone who has doubted that these rock gods were losing steam. I mean, not only was the album one of the best selling albums of all time with 37million copies sold, but the album was full of iconic songs and sounds from the obvious solo in “Stairway To Heaven” to the drum beat starting out “When The Levee Breaks.” And while there is so much controversy over Led Zeppelin stealing sounds from other previous artists, whether that’s true or not, this album influenced a multitude of future rock artists and even beyond that very genre.