No album has achieved its classic status without putting in the work first. Even though some records may have come together easily in the studio, it all came from years of the band honing their craft before they had something that they could be proud of to give to their audience. Sometimes it just comes from hard work paying off, but sometimes they had to deal with the devil before making it to the other side.
Because for all of the great songs that come from these albums, there’s a lot of heavy baggage that went on in between the takes of these songs, with the band either not taking care of themselves or going through some of the most horrible obstacles imaginable to try and get what they wanted to hear out of themselves.
For all of the great music that eventually came of it, each of these songs could be a nightmare unto themselves, with band members reminiscing on how hard it was getting something going or the kind of spooky sounds that they heard when just trying to make the music come alive. Every artist may have to suffer for their art sooner or later, but the fact that all of these people managed to survive is honestly a miracle.
10. Presence - Led Zeppelin
There was pretty much nothing that could slow Led Zeppelin down after Physical Graffiti. The last few years had been a whirlwind of them turning into one of the biggest bands in the world, and even if the critics didn't agree, their blend of blues, hard rock, and Eastern influences became the bible for any kid wanting to start a rock band of their own. While Presence may have still been up to the standards that the band set for themselves, the fatigue that they were feeling is really evident on here as well.
Just before the band had started to work on the album, Robert Plant was in a very bad car wreck, which left him in a wheelchair for most of the sessions for this record. In between all of the great performances, there were many times where the band had to take a break for Robert to ease tension on his voice, not being able to get the same kind of breath support in his frazzled state.
That didn't stop the songs in the slightest though. If anything, hearing something like Achilles Last Stand sound as powerful as it does is equally impressive knowing that Robert was sitting down for most of it, having to reach deep into his throat and came through with one of the best Zeppelin songs ever created, living up to the epic standards that came after Stairway to Heaven and Kashmir. Robert may have been on unsteady ground in the studio, but by just sitting for the whole time, you can really feel him channeling the gusto of bluesy belters like Howlin Wolf on here.