| It was on this date, Nov. 8 1971, Led Zeppelin released their fourth album. With no title printed on the album’s cover, it is the biggest selling L.P. In Rock history that was never legally titled! Nope! One of your all time favorite album’s, simply has no title! It was generally referred to as “Four Symbols”, ( a reference to the four original hand drawn images that appear only on the album’s inner sleeve and label. ) “The Fourth Album” or Led Zeppelin IV |
However, even without an official title, the record has gone on to sell over 37 million copies worldwide! The front cover features a 19th century rustic oil painting which was purchased by Robert Plant from an antique shop in Reading, Berkshire, England. The back cover reveals a 20th century urban Apt. tower block ( see below ) located in Butterfield Court in Eves Hill, Dudley, England. According to the band, the contrast of the two photos was to represent the diversity and timeless nature of Led Zeppelin! Got it ? Nah, we didn’t either! Much to the horror of the bands record label, Atlantic, the entire album, front and back contains no text, not even the standard catalog number on the jacket’s spine! YIKES! The only graphics beyond the photograph’s front and back is the album’s “Inner sleeve” which features four unique hand drawn symbols that were individually created by each of the four members! AND, here is an SMS Trivia note you may not be aware of: The inner sleeve actually features a FIFTH symbol! ( an image resembling three upside down triangles) This extra image is meant to be an asterisk, referring to vocalist Sandy Denny from the band Fairport Convention! In an unusual move for “Zep” they brought Sandy in as a guest vocalist on “The Battle Of Evermore” THE “FIFTH ZEPPELIN” so to speak! So, naturally Sandy deserved her own symbol! Right?
But, hold on Black Dog, no need to run and rifle thru your old vinyl to check out those weird images, we’ve included the four original drawings and yes, the one you don’t remember that represents Sandy Denny
“20th century back cover”
These four are THE ZEP’S
Lto R; Page, Jones, Bonham and Plant
The triangles are Ms. Denny
Yes, each symbol was individually chosen or designed by each band member and, at least to them hold a deep significant meaning. All are rich with Medieval and Gothic lore!
With the exception of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper, no other record package has been the subject, study and analysis as Led Zeppelin IV In fact, as the record grew in popularity many journalists began calling the album “Zoso” A reference to Jimmy Page’s symbol ( top left ) see it?
Meanwhile, as a good friend of ours always says, “It’s what’s in the Jacket that matters” Perhaps!
With Led Zeppelin IV we all have our favorite tracks, but today, we have to hear the great Sandy Denny’s duet with Robert Plant, after all, she does have her own symbol!
Dig! The Battle Of Evermore
But wait! We know you have a favorite song, story, or perhaps symbol? When it comes to Led Zeppelin IV, we all do, WHAT’S YOUR’S ?
Your place for more stuff you didn’t know, you didn’t know!
For more about Led Zep IV click the link below
Mr. Sir or Madame, we certainly couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Hell, the truth is we just couldn’t have said it at all! Not like you my friend…WOW and Thank You!
One question: We’ve always been Curious, was there ever any romance between Sandy and Robert or Sandy and Jimmy or even Sandy Robert and Jimmy?……Just askin’
Thanx yet again for sharing your always unique and knowledgeable perspective!
Never thought anyone had caught Sandy Denny’s symbol on LZIV. Congratulations! Considering the group’s legendary reluctance to assign credit when due, Sandy getting her tiny, triple pyramid symbol (on the inner sleeve, of course…) anywhere was an occurance as rare as it was well-deserved.
Regarding “Evermore”, as Page explained in 1977: ‘The Battle of Evermore’ was made up on the spot by Robert and myself. I just picked up John Paul Jones’s mandolin, never having played a mandolin before, and just wrote up the chords and the whole thing in one sitting Robert played the role of the narrator while Denny represented the town crier. Page elaborated: “The song sounded like an old English instrumental first off. Then it became a vocal and Robert did his bit. Finally we figured we’d bring Sandy by and do a question-and-answer-type thing.”
To thank her for her involvement, Denny was given the symbol on the album sleeve of three pyramids. This is the only song Led Zeppelin ever recorded with a guest vocalist.
In a 1995 interview, Plant stated: “For me to sing with Sandy Denny was great. We were always good friends with that period of Fairport Convention. Richard Thompson is a superlative guitarist. Sandy and I were friends and it was the most obvious thing to ask her to sing on “The Battle of Evermore”. If it suffered from naivete and tweeness – I was only 23 – it makes up for it in the cohesion of the voices and the playing”.
In 2010 when Universal Music released the definitive “Sandy Denny”, 18 CD boxset of virtually every single track she ever recorded or demoed (the collection long out of print and currently fetching north of $700 on eBay) only one title remained ‘unavailable’ for licensing. No prizes for identifying the usual suspects who nixed the inclusion her most famous, yet conspicuous-by-it’s-absence performance.