Led Zeppelin III is the third studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded between January and August 1970 and released on 5 October by Atlantic Records. Composed largely at a remote cottage in Wales known as Bron-Yr-Aur, this work represented a maturing of the band's music towards a greater emphasis on folk and acoustic sounds. This surprised many fans and critics, and upon its release the album received rather indifferent reviews.
Although it is not one of the highest sellers in Zeppelin's catalogue, Led Zeppelin III is now generally praised, and acknowledged as representing an important milestone in their history. Although acoustic songs are featured on its predecessors, it is this album which is widely acknowledged for showing that Led Zeppelin was more than just a conventional rock band and that they could branch out into wider musical territory.
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, formed in 1968, consisting of Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, mandolin), and John Bonham (drums). With their heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock sound, Led Zeppelin are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock, even though the band's individualistic style drew from many sources and transcends any one music genre. Led Zeppelin did not release songs from their albums as singles in the United Kingdom, as they preferred to develop the concept of "album-oriented rock".
Thirty years after disbanding following Bonham's death in 1980, the band continues to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. The band have sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 111.5 million certified units in the United States, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. They have had all of their original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number one spot. Led Zeppelin are ranked number one on VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" and Classic Rock's "50 Best Live Acts of All Time". Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the '70s" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history." Similarly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes the band as being "as influential in that decade [70s] as The Beatles were in the prior one."
In 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited (along with John Bonham's son, Jason) for the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert at The O2 Arena in London. The band was honored with the "Best Live Act" prize for their one-off reunion at MOJO Awards 2008, where they were declared the "greatest rock and roll band of all time."
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