Robert Plant Still Doesn't Know What to Call Led Zeppelin's 4th Album

The story behind the 1971 album cover

October 28, 2019

Led Zeppelin’s fourth studio album does not officially have a title, but it has to be called something. Many fans call it Led Zeppelin IV, but Robert Plant still doesn’t know what to say after all these years.

In the latest episode of the legendary frontman’s “Digging Deep” podcast, Plant told the story behind “The Battle of Evermore” – the third track from the 1971 album. Host Matt Everitt said he never quite knew what to call the LP, so why not just ask Plant?

“I don’t either,” Plant unhelpfully replied. “In those days in Zeppelin, we were so much of a deal - in fact, it becomes almost like a kind of Spinal Tap thing where, sometime you can’t put the record out even though you’ve finished it because you haven’t got the artwork right.”

“Are you going to put the name on that album? ‘Are you kidding? Put the name of the band on the album cover? That’s far too corporate.’ But of course, we want everybody to know about it and buy it, and sell it, and hate it, love it and all that. So, yeah, I don’t know what it’s called. The Four Symbols is sometimes what it’s called.”

The inner sleeve of the album featured four symbols that represented each band member, while the cover featured no text at all. The album followed Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III, leaving many to just go with Led Zeppelin IV as the title to differentiate it from the self-titled debut. The 1971 LP has also been referred to as Runes and Untitled.

What is not open for interpretation is that Led Zeppelin IV, as we’ll call it, is one of the greatest rock albums of all-time. It features band classics like “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll,” the stellar deep cut “Misty Mountain Hop,” and of course the signature epic “Stairway to Heaven.”

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